The relationship of the City of London and the City livery companies was covered by a former Master of the Worshipful Company of Marketors, the Reverend Sally Muggeridge of Tilmanstone, when she addressed members of the Rotary Club of Dover on the origins and history of livery companies. Sally Muggeridge’s CV was a truly exhausting reading of achievement said Past President the Reverend Peter Sherred when introducing the niece of the late Malcolm Muggeridge for among other things she had been a broadcaster, a member of the General Synod of the Church of England, a board member of several major international PLCs, the recipient of numerous academic awards as well as being, like him, ordained to the self-supporting priesthood.
The origins of the livery companies are to be found in the medieval guilds the peak period for the formation of which was the 14th century. They catered for workers in the same craft who grouped together to regulate their trade. Many guilds set up their headquarters in large houses or halls used as venues for settling disputes and distinguished between themselves with distinctive clothing or ‘livery’ thus livery companies. Livery companies today, often divorced from the craft of their origins, are significant fund raisers for charity and have an ethos of socialising. Currently 110 livery companies exist, of different sizes, structures and interests, the coats of arms of each being displayed in the ceiling of The Guildhall in the City of London. The companies support the Lord Mayor as well as participate in ceremonial occasions.
Listening to Sally with the Rotarians was another distinguished guest Reg Hoare, a former long-term employee of Bradleys solicitors with whom he started in the 1960s, who now lives in retirement in Elham.