Founding of the Guild of Freemen

Founders of the Guild, 1910

Photograph of the founders of the Guild, taken in 1910

Up to 1835 all Freemen were members of Livery Companies that maintained their own organisation for social, educational and charitable aims. When the Freedom became available by direct application, many still joined Livery Companies and took the Freedom through them in the old manner.

Liverymen still have certain privileges, and membership and office in Livery Companies has always  been considered a status symbol. Those Freemen who became such through direct application had no comparable organisation to a Livery Company and after 1867 had virtually no
privileges either. Yet many people applied directly, wishing to identify with the ancient Corporation.

It took until the following century for an organisation of Freemen who were not also Liverymen to be set up. The first suggestion was a letter from George Chambers published in the City Press of 16 November 1907, but it was not until the summer of 1908 that the first public meeting, called by James Arthur Cannon, took place at the City Arms tavern in St Mary Axe.

The first Master was Cuthbert Wilkinson, a printer and publisher, and active in public affairs, local government and politics. The Guild was incorporated with the Companies Registrar on St George's Day, 23 April, 1910.

Our Members

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Master's Final Dinner at Fishmongers' Hall
"Just a line to say how much we enjoyed the dinner last night, super seat thank you! Please convey our thanks to the Master for a wonderful evening, superb food and company and thank him for all his events over the past year, we have had great times.
We now look forward to the next year, different venues and events." - Mr P.B.

Reception and Supper at Grocers' Hall
"My guests and I really really enjoyed the Ceremony and the dinner at Grocers’ Hall last evening, I am still on a high with sheer pleasure, you, everyone there so kind and welcoming". Mrs A R

"It was good to meet you at last and on such an excellent evening in one of the nicest Livery Halls in the City.  Thank you for making it such a special evening for M and me.   It was so well organised and enjoyable.   The food was first class and the company good as well". Mr D B

RNLI Demonstration and Supper at the Little Ship Club
"Thank you SO much for arranging a most enjoyable evening. Once again, I was able to catch up on friends and make new acquantainces - all thanks to you for the excellent place settings.  The weather was kind to us, the food was amazing and everybody around our table was very happy with the service and the meal."  Ms V H

"Following the interesting demonstration Guild Members and their guests retired back inside the Little Ship Club for a stunning two-course supper with some excellent wine and tremendous companionship discussing the RNLI’s great work being achieved on the tidal Thames.​" Mr D K
 
 

 

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