Following my previous post on my journey of becoming a Liveryman and obtaining the Freedom of the City of London . I thought you may be interested in my next step which was on Thursday 3rd September when I was honoured to be ‘clothed’ in the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Butchers in a ceremony which for the first time in the Company’s history was allowed to be witnessed by my family and good friends Vaughan & Susan Coleridge-Matthews. The ceremony was followed by the traditional champagne reception and a superb Luncheon of racks of Devon Lamb for the 160 Liverymen and guests in the Great Hall of Ironmongers’ Hall, as Butchers’ Hall has been leased to developers for Five years before its refurbishment.
The Worshipful Company of Butchers is one of the seven oldest of the City of London Livery Companies, we are ranked 24th in order of precedence out of 111 Livery Companies. Granted its Royal Charter of Incorporation by King James 1 in 1605, the Worshipful Company of Butchers has been the significant power behind the trade in the City of London and around Smithfield for over a thousand years. Direct links with the Crown go back before the 12th century when rents were extracted for markets and grazing.
Livery Companies play a vital part in the government of the City of London, the constitution of which, although unique in the structure of local government in the United Kingdom and enshrined in custom and tradition, is assuredly as effective, economic and democratic as any. Above all, it maintains the position of London as a world centre of business life.
Every Liveryman of the City of London plays his or her own part in the government of the City, as all Liverymen must initially become a Freeman of the City of London. This status allows the Liveryman to choose and elect the Lord Mayor of London and the Sheriffs of the City each year. Liverymen participate in many functions of the City and of the Corporation.
Admission of the individual to the Livery is, accordingly, an act of dedication to the cause of good government and order – and of community service. The Liveryman may earn, indeed may expect to receive if he or she discharges his obligations, the respect and approbation of his fellows. He or she, however, must not expect any personal material advantage or preferment.
The Company is highly active within the City of London and the meat industry. We proudly participate in The Lord Mayor’s Show during November while the traditional delivery, by Liverymen, of a boar’s head to the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House is symbolic of a payment for rent on a piece of land supplied to the Butchers by the Lord Mayor in 1343-but which the City no longer owns and the Butchers no longer rent!
Such events provide the opportunity for fellowship between industry members and the City of London. As part of its educational charitable work the Company is proud to facilitate the development of butchery skills through competitions, courses and apprenticeships while funding bursaries for the Postgraduate Meat Management Diploma at Harper Adams University and supporting Nuffield Scholarships.
A proud and active Livery Company we look forward to serving the country and our industry over the next millennium.