Membership of the Company

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 bylaws, 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 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 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 and 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.

Following on from a hugely successful & well-attended Open Evening in September 2023, the next evening will be held on Monday 29th April 2024 from 6.30 - 8.30pm.  To register your interest or further details, please email

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:

 Membership Application Form

All applications should be sent directly to the Clerk (

Useful information can also be found in the Membership Application and Admission Process & Procedure by clicking on the following link Application & Admission Procedure

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.