Joining A City Of London Livery Company Or Ward Club

Some quick pointers for those interested in joining a livery company before I put the ‘sorting hat’ on. The steps are basically:

1 – learn about livery companies.  There are currently 111 livery companies, several companies, and some guilds:

2 – consider which ones you might like to join. Shopping around is good, as this is a decision for life you’ll want to get this right. You don’t have to belong to only one, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Consideration should be given to:

  • commerce – your profession(s), though you may wish to experience variety other than your profession;
  • community – your lifetime passion(s) or hobby(ies) where you would appreciate the fellowship;
  • charity – the charitable focus of the livery and your desire to contribute or volunteer;
  • tradition – any family or school affiliation with a livery.

3 – contact one you might like to join, usually the Clerk is the best initial contact and will often hand you over to a Membership Committee member or chairman. From there, you’re welcome to ask to join and each one will help you do so. If you don’t feel comfortable, slow down, feel free to go shopping or attend some other ‘open houses’ or events. Once you feel that the people in that community are the sort of people you’d like to associate with, apply. The test we’ve always had in the World Traders for new members has been, “are these the sort of people where you’d be happy to sit next to almost any member for a couple of hours and chat”, because you’ll be having those fun two hour chats a lot!

And after you join, be sure to keep an eye on the wider City of London Livery Community by joining our LinkedIn group –

Another, less demanding, yet fun, way to get started in getting better embedded in your City community is to join a Ward Club. There are 22 of these – Fees are typically small as they are not-for-profit (like the livery companies) but don’t do quite as much charitable giving. They typically meet once a month to do something social that also gets you ‘behind the scenes’ of City buildings or institutions. The finest Ward Club, of which incidentally I am President, is Broad Street Ward Club. Let me know if you need a sponsor.