Membership of the Company

Members of the Company are of two classes - Freemen and Liverymen.

Members of the Company are of two classes-Freemen and Liverymen. Members of the former class (and the first stage in the process of membership), among whom are included many Lady Freemen, are eligible for benefits under certain Charities administered by the Company. but do not share in the full privileges of the Livery. The second stage, Liveryman, is reached only after the applicant has become a Freeman.

Admission is by Patrimony, by Servitude, or by Redemption, the fees payable being regulated accordingly and may be varied from time to time at the discretion of the Court. "Patrimony" implies that the father was a Freeman or Liveryman at the time of the birth of the applicant. "Servitude" implies that the applicant was bound apprentice to a member for at least four years before attaining 21. "Redemption" means "buying into" the Company. In accordance with the Company's Bye- Laws, the Court is entitled to exercise its discretion with respect to any application. Furthermore, although a person may be admitted to the Freedom subsequent admission to the Livery may not be immediate must wait, and is dependent on there being a vacancy. The determining factor in both stages is the applicant satisfying the Court's Sub-Committee of their suitability.

The actual procedure within the Company has changed very little over the centuries. The first stage of membership is still the ‘freedom’, and here it is interesting to trace the linkage with the past when ‘men of the misteries’ laid down conditions under which the members or 'freemen' should carry on their trade. The Coopers had such an ordinance in 1396. Wardens or Keepers were appointed to see that rules were not infringed. Admission to the 'freedom' of the mistery could be gained by inheritance (patrimony), apprenticeship (servitude) or purchase (redemption); these still apply but every freeman could. and indeed, was expected to become ‘free’ of the City of London - an essential to being allowed to practice his craft and a prerequisite to other benefits, privileges, social advancement and all that betokened being ultimately accepted into the 'Livery’.

All applications for admission to the Freedom, whether by Patrimony, Servitude or Redemption, received by the Clerk during each calendar year will be considered in January of the following year. On receipt of an application the Clerk will write to the proposer and the seconder requesting them to send him a confidential letter providing certain information concerning the applicant they are sponsoring which a Committee of members of the Court will require having before them at a personal interview. On a day set apart in January each year all applicants for the Freedom will attend at the Hall for the personal interview by the Committee.

Successful applicants will be asked to attend the next Common Hall (May) to be admitted to the Freedom of the Company and encouraged to obtain the Freedom of the City of London. If appropriate, and following successful application for admission to the Freedom of the City of London, Freemen are admitted to the Livery at a Special Court meeting held on the same day as, and immediately prior to, Common Hall.

Application for admission to the Freedom may be made on the application form available here:

 Freeman Application Form
 Liveryman Application Form

Following preliminary consideration of their applications, candidates are invited for interview before the Freedom & Livery Committee which makes its recommendations to the Court every December. Candidates are appraised of the success or otherwise of their applications early in the New Year and successful candidates are admitted to the Freedom or the Livery, as the case may be, at a Special Court meeting held on the same day as, and immediately prior to, Common Hall.

Except in exceptional circumstances, Freemen are not admitted to the Livery under the age of 24 and they must have obtained the Freedom of the City of London and have shown a wholehearted commitment to the Company's work and social life before applying for admission to the Livery.

Liverymen are eligible to vote at Common Hall (of the City) held in Guildhall on Midsummer Day at the election of the Sheriffs and of certain other City officials, and to take part on Michaelmas Day in the election of the Lord Mayor.  No Liveryman should abdicate his responsibilities in this sphere.

Liverymen should also exercise their right to vote at Common Hall (of the Company) to elect the Master and Wardens.

Further reading:

​http://www.coopers-hall.co.uk/?express=true#http://www.coopers-hall.co.uk/members1/freedom

Welcome

Ian Luder

Alderman Ian Luder
Master

The Worshipful Company of Coopers is one of the oldest in the City of London. In modern times it has evolved into the trustee of six principal charities and a social and charitable enterprise that retains an identity focused on the ancient craft of cask making.

We welcome members to enjoy a fellowship around our shared values and an interest in the history, culture and charitable endeavours that our company has pursued for the last 500 or so years.

We do hope you enjoy learning more about the Coopers’ Company, so please look around our website to find out who we are, what we do and how you can become part of it, should you wish to do so. 

Membership

Are you interested in becoming a Freeman or Liveryman?

Click below to find out about becoming a member today!

 

FIND OUT MORE

 

Family History

 

If you want to find out more about your relatives connected with the Freedom of the City, or simply learn more about your past, contact the

London Metropolitan Archives

Our Location