London Occupations

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Livery Companies

108 livery companies have operated in London. Wikipedia maintains a list of The City Livery Companies, along with links to company websites.

  • The Livery Companies Database is a helpful resource that supplies contact details for each active company.
  • The Records of London's Livery Companies Online (ROLLCO): A site providing records of Apprentices and Freemen in the City of London Livery Companies between 1400 and 1900. This a partnership between the Centre for Metropolitan History, The Clothworkers' Company, The Drapers' Company, The Goldsmiths' Company and The Mercers' Company to provide a fully searchable database of their members over time.


Histories have been written on many London livery companies. The British Library has compiled a detailed list.


A bibliography of surviving records from each company was published in 1985.[1] The list is available online.

Apprenticeship records are one of the most valuable genealocial sources created by London livery companies. They often name the following information about an apprentice's father: name, residence, and occupation. Cliff Webb has abstracted the records of many companies:

Records from the following companies are included in Webb's abstracts: Apothecaries, Armourers and Brasiers, Basketmakers, Blacksmiths, Bowyers, Brewers, Broderers, Brown Bakers, Butchers, Carmen, Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers, Combmakers, Cooks, Curriers, Cutlers, Distillers, Dyers, Fan Makers, Farriers, Feltmakers, Fishmongers, Fletchers, Founders, Framework Knitters, Fruiterers, Gardeners, Glass-sellers, Glaziers, Glovers, Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers, Grocers, Gunmakers, Horners, Innholders, Ironmongers, Longbowstring Makers, Loriners, Makers of Playing Cards, Masons, Musicians, Needlemakers, Painter-stainers, Pattenmakers, Paviors, Pewterers, Pinmakers, Plaisterers, Plumbers, Poulters, Saddlers, Spectaclemakers, Tallow Chandlers, Tinplate Workers, Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders, Turners, Tylers and Bricklayers, Upholders, Vintners, Waxchandlers, and Woolmen.[2]

The website Records of London's Livery Companies Online: Apprentices and Freemen 1400-1900 offers free indexes to The Clothworkers' Company apprentices (1545-1908), The Drapers' Company apprentices (c.1400-1900), and a sample of The Goldsmith's Company apprentices (1600-1700). There are plans to add The Mercers' Company apprenticeship registers by 2013.[3]

In 1641, a list of members of City Companies was compiled:

  • The Members of the City Companies in 1641, As Set Forth in the Return for the Poll Tax. FHL Film 454036 Item 1

In 1651, signatures of members of 22 City Companies were taken:

  • London Citizens in 1651, Being a Transcript of Harleian MS. 4778. 1910. Digital version at Internet Archive - free.
22 companies are represented: Apothecaries, Armourers, Bowyers, Bricklayers, Butchers, Carpenters, Cordwainers, Chirurgeons, Cooks, Coopers, Curriers, Founders, Freemasons, Girdlers, Glasiers, Innholders, Painter-Stainers, Poulters, Sadlers, Tallow Chandlers, Turners, and Waxchandlers.

In 1696, oaths from livery company members were recorded. This source acts as a census of liverymen:

77 companies are represented: Grocers, Mercers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Skinners, Merchant Taylors, Haberdashers, Salters, Ironmongers, Vintners, Clothworkers, Dyers, Brewers, Leathersellers, Pewterers, Barbers, Cutlers, Bakers, Wax Chandlers, Tallow Chandlers,Armourers and Brasiers, Girdlers, Butchers, Saddlers, Carpenters, Cordwainers, Painter-Stainers, Curriers, Masons, Plumbers, Innholders, Founders, Poulters, Cooks, Coopers, Tylers and Bricklayers, Bowyers, Fletchers, Blacksmiths, Joiners and Ceilers, Weavers, Woolmen, Scriveners, Fruiterers, Plaisterers, Stationers, Broderers, Upholders, Musicians, Turners, Basketmakers, Glaziers, Horners, Farriers, Paviours, Lorimers, Apothecaries, Shipwrights, Spectaclemakers, Clockmakers, Glovers, Combmakers, Feltmakers, Frameworkknitters, Silk Throwers, Carmen, Pinmakers, Needlemakers, Gardeners, Soapmakers, Tinplateworkers, Wheelwrights, Distillers, Hatbandmakers, Pattenmakers, Glass-Sellers, Tobacco Pipemakers, Coachmakers, Watermen, Officers and Yeomen of Guard, Trinity House, Ordnance Office, Officers of Tower, Officers and builders of St Paul's, Heralds, Lutestring Company, Clergy: Archdeaconry of London, Clergy: Archdeaconry of Middlesex, London Dissenters.[4]

Abstracts of apprenticeship entry books for the Carpenter's Company (1654-1694) have been published online.

The Merchant Taylors' Membership Index 1530-1928 at (£).

Walcot, Cynthia. 'Artists - 1823. A List of names and addresses of Artists in London,' The Hampshire Family Historian, vol. VIII, no.4 (Feb. 1982), 148-149, Family History Library Ref. 942.27 B27h

Guildhall Library

The original records of most London livery companies are deposited at the Guildhall Library.

Manuscripts on Microfilm

Apprenticeship and Freedom Records Microfilmed by FamilySearch
Company Apprenticeship Years Freedom Years
Apothecaries 1694-1837 1694-1890
Armourers and Brasiers 1535-1826, 1835-1878 1535-1876
Bakers 1721-1730
Barber Surgeons 1672-1861 1522-1757
Basketmakers 1639-1844 1694-1766, 1808-1927
Blacksmiths 1631-1781 1728-1855
Bowyers 1723-1759, 1788-1865 1704-1722, 1760-1814
Brewers 1685-1906 1685-1824
Broderers 1694-1713, 1763-1878 1694-1728
Butchers 1654-1893 1658-1844
Carmens 1678-1853 1680-1942
Carpenters 1654-1892 1694-1856
Clockmakers 1686-1890 1712-1878
Coach and Coach Harness Makers 1722-1822 (1803-1893 index) 1803-1893
Cordwainers 1647-1965 1678-1961
Curriers 1658-1856 1678-1840
Cutlers 1575-1627, 1703-1848 1613-1863
Distillers 1765-1862 1638-1708, 1721-1899
Dyers 1706-1900 1650-1826
Farriers 1619-1862 1694-1739
Feltmakers 1694-1858 1755-1898
Fishmongers 1614-1860 1593-1870
Fletchers 1519-1602, 1732-1898
Founders 1643-1781 1681-1801
Framework Knitters 1694-1873 1713-1889
Fruiterers 1749-1903 1749-1938
Gardeners 1607-1658
Glass Sellers 1665-1853 1664-1913
Glaziers 1694-1854 1729-1794
Glovers 1694-1794 1735-1851
Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers 1731-1837 1693-1938
Grocers 1629-1896 1345-1652, 1686-1907
Gunmakers 1694-1902 1720-1745
Haberdashers 1583-1833 1526-1725
Horners 1694-1849 1847-1889
Innholders 1808-1919 1673-1921
Joiners 1641-1793, 1806-1866 1651-1804
Longbowstringmakers 1700-1785, 1794-1797
Masons 1694-1856 1694-1795
Merchant Taylors 1583-1861 1530-1909 (index)
Musicians 1765-1877 1776-1881
Painter Stainers 1666-1950
Parish Clerks 1668-1943
Pattenmakers 1673-1883 1674-1899
Plumbers 1696-1794
Shipwrights 1727-1794, 1825-1875 1694-1894
Stationers 1555-1900 1555-1900
Upholderers 1698-1947
Wax Chandlers 1596- 1694-1857
Weavers  ?Beg. 1681  ?Beg. 1681
White Bakers 1565-1860 1631-1935

Web Sites


  1. 'Sources: London Livery Companies', A Survey of Documentary Sources for Property Holding in London before the Great Fire: London Record Society, 22 (1985), pp. 12-36. URL: Date accessed: 03 January 2012.
  2. About London Apprenticeship Abstracts 1442-1850, British Origins, accessed 31 December 2011.
  3. Belinda Griffin, 'Records of London's Livery Companies Online,' Family Tree Magazine, 21 June 2012,, accessed 22 June 2012.
  4. Cliff Webb, "Association Oath Rolls - Background to the Documents", British Origins, accessed 3 January 2012.