We are a flourishing Livery Company in the heart of the City of London, dedicated to Fraternity, Education and Philanthropy

As one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies, our Company evolved from medieval London's trade guilds. These organisations took their name, livery, from the distinctive dress of their members and oversaw their respective crafts, regulating the trade and tradesmen across the city.

Today, Merchant Taylors' Company is a community made up of people from a range of backgrounds, but all of whom share an interest in doing more good together than they could as individuals. The Company's activities range from supporting charitable initiatives, high-quality education (both state and independent) and it plays an active role within the City of London's administrative and ceremonial life.

The Company operates social housing and works with up to 40 small local charities each year across key areas of London to change people's lives for the better. Find out more about the Company's almshouses here, and read about the Company's philanthropic work here.

As it grew in size and status, the Company operated less as a trade regulator and increasingly for the good of those less fortunate


Further information about the Company’s history can be found in The History of the Merchant Taylors’ Company by Matthew Davies and Ann Saunders (Maney, 2004). This includes a select bibliography of works about the Company and its treasures. Copies are available from the Company.

The Company Archives

The Company’s archives are now at Guildhall Library for public use. Court minutes survive from 1562, and for the isolated years 1486-93. Accounts date from 1398. Membership records survive from the early 16th century, though the early years are incomplete.

Guildhall Library is now linked with London Metropolitan Archives, and the catalogue of the Company’s archives is on the LMA website. To go directly to the Introduction to the catalogue of the Company’s archives, use this link here and then type CLC/L/MD into the Search box. 

An PDF of our catalogue can be found here.

No permission is needed to access the archives for private study, including photography, though you will be asked to pay a daily fee to Guildhall Library for a licence to take photographs. For access arrangements please see the Library’s website.

Permission to publish material from the archives must be obtained from the Company Archivist, Stephen Freeth

Genealogical Enquiries

The Company has always had a large membership. There were around 8,000 members during the Civil War. The Merchant Taylors’ Company lost all contact with its nominal trade around 1690. Thereafter it administered charities, almshouses and schools. Few if any working tailors belonged to it, and few if any of the thousands of Merchant Taylor apprentices during this period were trained in tailoring. Links with the tailoring trade were renewed in the late 20th century.

For specific guidance about the Merchant Taylors' membership records, please consult the Research Guide. Genealogical enquiries can be directed to LMA. Other enquiries can be directed to Company Archivist, Stephen Freeth.