There are three ways to enter The Merchant Taylors' Company: through Servitude, Patrimony or Redemption. Each of these routes differs slightly to the next, however all culminate in awarding the candidate the Freedom of the Company. They all also rely upon the candidate's oath, committing themselves to progressing the Company's fraternal, educational and philanthropic aims.
Once the candidate has entered into the Freedom, they are able to progress to Livery, and, if they choose to become more involved in the Company's governance, they can put themselves forwards to join the Court of Assistants. When on Court, they will have the chance to be elected as Master for a year, joining a long line of leaders who have shaped the Company.
Selecting the right candidates to join the Company have been instrumental in ensuring its future and has continued to deliver an engaged, passionate and committed membership for 700 years.
Freedom by Servitude is also known as an apprenticeship. This remains the most common route into the Company. Data measured at the beginning of the Millennium showed that over 60% of members joined through apprenticeships.
Apprentices are introduced to the Company by a mentor who, in one of several ceremonies throughout the year, is bound to them as master and must lead their apprentice through the Company's induction process to the point of Freedom, when the bond is broken and the apprentice becomes a Freeman in their own right.
To enter the Company through Patrimony, a parent must have been Free of the Company at the time of the candidate's birth.
An increasingly popular means of entry into the Company is through Redemption. As the Company strives to create a balanced, diverse and inclusive community of members, Freedom through Redemption plays a key role, when candidates cannot enter through Patrimony or Servitude.
Potential members are sponsored at an interview with the Admissions Committee by a member of Court or the Livery. The sponsor believes that the candidate will be able to contribute to the Company's ambitions of transforming lives through education and philanthropy and will add to the Company's community environment.
Recently, the Company has accepted tailors through Redemption, committing itself anew to its ancient heritage.
Once a candidate has completed their apprenticeship or perhaps entered through Patrimony or Redemption, they are welcomed into the Company's Freedom. They then must engage within a variety of Company areas as well as turn 30 before they are able to join the Livery.
Once a Freeman, a member is able to welcome to the Company an apprentice, allowing them to have a direct input into the Company's future.
The process for joining the Livery is through self-nomination to the Membership Office, and then by interview with the Admissions Committee. The candidates wishing to join the Livery must demonstrate a reasonable knowledge of the Company, have demonstrated their commitment to the Company's work in philanthropy and education.
Once accepted into the Livery, a member is able to welcome two apprentices to the Company at one time and they are able to engage in further Company activities.
Through joining the Livery, Company members also receive City of London privileges, such as the right to vote in the Lord Mayor election in September, as well as the election of two sheriffs, in June. with these privileges also come the responsibility of acting for the good of businesses and residents within the Square Mile. Find out more about how the company is working to support the City of London Corporation further in our News section.