For Livery Companies
The Livery Companies are 108 trade associations in the City of London, almost all of which are known as the "Worshipful Company of" the relevant trade, craft or profession. The medieval Companies originally developed as guilds and were responsible for the regulation of their trades, controlling,...
in the City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...
, a Liveryman
is a full member of their respective Company.
Livery Company members fall into two basic categories: Freemen
. One may join as a Freeman, and thereby acquire the "Freedom of the Company", upon fulfilling the Company's criteria. A traditional mode of entry is to be admitted by "patrimony", in the case of either parent being a member of the company, by "servitude" if one has served as an Apprentice in the trade for a requisite number of years, or by "Redemption" on induction and payment of a "fine". The Company may also admit eminent individuals as Honorary Freemen. The term 'Livery' originated in the specific form of dress worn to retainers of a nobleman and then by extension to special dress to denote status of belonging to a trade. When a Freeman becomes a Liveryman the candidate is said to be 'enclothed', indeed a 'Livery Gown' is placed on them at the Court and they are seen at the next formal or social occasion wearing it. Thereafter only the Master, Wardens and Assistants in Companies are seen wearing these at Company events. The Masters wear them at the City's formal events, e.g. the two Common Halls and the United Guilds Service, and Lord Mayor's Show, wherever they may participate. Ordinarily Liverymen wear ties at formal functions and each Company differs by allowing ladies to wear distinct items subject to occasion, such as a scarf or brooch.
Freemen are expected to advance to become liverymen by a vote of the Court of the Company. Liverymen no longer have any local authority franchise in the City, but retain the exclusive right of voting in the election of the Lord Mayor of the City of London (Michaelmas 'Common Hall' 29 September) and for the Sheriffs (Mid-Summer 'Common Hall' 24 June) held in Guildhall as a ceremonial occasion. The votes are made by 'acclamation' subject to a challenge/demand from the floor for a ballot which would be held a week later. Any two Liverymen may nominate a candidate for the Freedom of the City.
Former Parliamentary Election Rights
Before the Reform Act 1832
The Representation of the People Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament that introduced wide-ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales...
the liverymen had the exclusive right to elect the four Members of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...
representing the City. Between 1832 and 1918 being a Liveryman was one of a number of possible franchises which could qualify a Parliamentary elector in the City of London (UK Parliament constituency)
The City of London was a United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1950.-Boundaries and boundary...
, as it was a preserved ancient borough franchise under the terms of the 1832 Act. See also City of London (elections to the Parliament of England)
The City of London was a Parliamentary constituency of the Parliament of England until 1707.-Boundaries and history to 1707:This borough constituency consisted of the City of London, which was the historic core of the modern Greater London...
for further details of the history of the involvement of Liverymen in Parliamentary elections.