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’s archives were loaned to the Guildhall Library in 1996, so that they could be available for study by the public. Accounts date from 1398 and minutes survive from 1562, and for the isolated years 1486-93. The catalogue can be viewed online and is available for consultation there without prior appointment. No permission is needed from the Company to access the archives for private study.
The Company has always had a large membership. We know that there were around 8,000 members during the Civil War. Genealogical enquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org Alternatively, information about former members 1530-1928 can be obtained for a fee from Docklands Ancestors at www.ParishRegister.com. The Company’s charity fund receives a royalty from these fees. Other enquiries can be directed to LMA, as above, or to the Company Archivist, Stephen Freeth, at Freeth@ntlworld.com.