tough mudder

There are about 150 Livery Companies and Guilds scattered across the UK, with the  largest concentration being the nearly 120 based in the City of London. Their members generally join for life, subject to medical/welfare issues.

Active since the late Norman period, as trade-promotion, welfare and charitable organisations, today their nearly 50,000 members focus primarily on fundraising and other support for good causes.

Annual grants typically exceed £75m, routinely putting the City’s Liveries and Guilds sixth in the list of UK grant-making bodies, and that excludes the many thousands of hours  of personal time and pro-bono support, which their Members also provide.


The Good Liveries Do

Only members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (including reciprocal members) can join our Company, and given that there are nearly 160,000 of them, it will be understood that the status is quite sought after. There are two levels of members – Freeman and Liverymen.

Freeman of the Company

For almost all new Members, entry is gained by way of “Redemption”, for which the initial step is by completing an Application Form, which is done online by following the link below.


Why ICAEW Members Join Us


Membership Application Form

Annual Reptiles lunch group

Occasionally however, a Freeman is admitted by “Patrimony”. This is available to a son or a daughter of a Freeman of the Company and of the City of London who is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and who was born when the Freeman parent had already received the Freedom of the City.

Whichever route is taken, the same form is used and the application to become a Freeman is normally supported by one or two Liverymen of the Company, although applications made without a proposer or seconder are also considered. The Applicant is then generally interviewed by two members of the committee which runs the Company, called The Court of Assistants, before being considered for formal approval.

Having been elected in the ballot and having paid the annual subscription (called Quarterage), one becomes a Freeman of the Company.

Liveryman of the Company

Freemen are generally considered for advancement to the Livery of the Company after a couple of years of active membership. However, before asking to be considered, Freeman must first apply for and be granted the Freedom of the City of London. This is done via the Chamberlain’s Court at the City of London Corporation. The process involves the presentation of certain documents at an interview and then culminates in a short, but very enjoyable ceremony on a later time and date, which is agreed at the interview stage.


Whilst there is no maximum to the number of Freemen the Company may have, its Livery is limited by the Court of Aldermen to 350 people. Once they have obtained the Freedom of the City, it is open to any Freeman of the Company to ask the Court to consider their advancement to the Livery, but inevitably there is pressure on places.

Becoming a Liveryman is evidenced by the clothing ceremony, when a member takes the oath and is traditionally ‘clothed’ with the Livery of the Company. He or she is then introduced to the Master, Wardens, and the members of the Court before being welcomed at a Livery dinner.

Red Cros day

By happy accident of history, our Company is the only one of the City of London’s over 110 Liveries which is still permitted to wear a Livery uniform at formal events. This is a maroon jacket, in a variety of styles to suit men and women, which all Liverymen are encouraged to wear, most usually these days at black tie events.

In terms of further advancement within the Company, only a Liveryman can become a Court Assistant or vote at the Company’s annual general meeting or vote in the Common Hall of the City of London at Guildhall, where the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs are elected.