Admission to the Livery
Only those who are already Freemen of the Company and Freemen of the City of London can apply to move up into full membership of the Company and become a Liveryman. Being a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers is a mark of distinction within the world of optics.
What are the benefits of being a Liveryman?
Liverymen may be nominated for election to the Court of the Company. They can be more involved in how it runs and develops and to take office as a Steward, a Warden or, indeed, Master of the Company.
Liverymen may apply to attend the Court Luncheons held each quarter and the annual Livery Dinner. They also have priority for any formal Gregorie Dinner held outside London.
Liverymen have a much wider network of contacts with the members of other livery companies. There are regular invitations to social events, meetings, lectures and ceremonial occasions, such as the United Guilds Service held at St Paul’s Cathedral each year, where the Masters of all 110 City Livery Companies process, gowned and robed, to hear the highest quality choral music and a Sermon delivered by the Bishop of London,
Liverymen of all the City Livery Companies vote in the annual elections for Sheriffs of the City of London and for election of the Lord Mayor, in the “Common Hall” process at Guildhall. This is one of the oldest ceremonies in the City of London.
Being Clothed as of the Livery
The original meaning of “Livery “ was clothing – and all those who come to be admitted as Liverymen are still clothed in a Livery gown during a special ceremony conducted in front of the Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants. The ceremony can only be conducted within the Court, in London. At least once a year we have international representatives within our new Livery group and we’ve enjoyed clothing several members of the same family in successive ceremonies – fathers and daughters, siblings, cousins – though each ceremony is individual.
The Master and Wardens decide when it is right for a Freeman of the Company to be invited to be “clothed as of the Livery”. This depends on whether there is space in the Livery, whether the individual may have skills and experience which would be useful for the effective governance of the Company, in which Liverymen may be called upon to participate, and their commitment to the principles of fellowship in the Livery world. You have to be both a Freeman of the Company AND a Freeman of the City before you can join the Livery.
There is absolutely nothing secret about the process of becoming a Liveryman. You come before the Court of the Company to make promises of commitment to the Company, the City and the Crown. You wear a gown and receive a medal to denote your membership of the Company as an esteemed and worthy professional and you are introduced to other members in public at the celebratory lunch which follows. The guiding principles for the Livery are commitment to the causes for which the Company was established, a willingness to participate in the life of the Company and to maintain its reputation within the City of London and politeness and respect for others at all times.
Applications for the Livery must be supported by two existing Liverymen. This need not be a major barrier. Freemen who are not in contact with Liverymen every day can ask for the help of the Clerk and she will be happy to arrange meetings or other introductions, as needed.
An updated CV will be required.
Liverymen must pay a fine on admission to the Livery (currently £900). This includes VAT, a silver Livery medal and admission to the Court Luncheon following the ceremony at which new members are clothed “as of the Livery”. The admission fine is effectively a demonstration of commitment to the Company, which in turn provides a lifetime of membership, subject to continuing payment of the annual subscription (Quarterage) each year. The current Livery rate of Quarterage is £350 per year.
Liverymen are also expected to commmit to making regular contributions to The Spectacle Makers’ Charity.