The City of London Corporation

The Square Mile

The City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile, dedicated to maintaining a vibrant and thriving City, while supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally successful UK.

Based in Guildhall, the City Corporation looks after and promotes the City of London. It is headed by the Lord Mayor, with the Court of Common Council being its main decision-making body. It is a uniquely diverse organisation, with a role that goes beyond that of an ordinary local authority. It has its own government (the oldest in the country, with origins that pre-date the Westminster Parliament), its own Lord Mayor and an independent police force.

As the governing body of the Square Mile, the City Corporation aims to:

  • Contribute to a flourishing society.
  • Support a thriving economy.
  • Shape outstanding environments.

By strengthening the connections, capacity and character of the City, London and the UK as a whole, it benefits all the people who live, work and visit the City. Its reach extends far beyond the Square Mile’s boundaries and across private, public and voluntary sector responsibilities. This, along with its independent and non-party-political voice and convening power, enables it to promote the interests of people and organisations across London and the UK, as well as playing a valued role on the world stage.

The City of London

The City and Livery Companies

The Livery Companies and the City of London have grown up together. They share common goals and, since the earliest beginnings of the City, have together been strong and active in its support.

“The Livery Companies are integral to the City’s governance: each year Liverymen elect the Sheriffs of the City of London, endorse the election of a new Lord Mayor and play a prominent part in major events.”

Some of these guilds can trace their origins back to the 12th century, with the earliest charter still in existence being granted to the Weavers’ Company in 1155.

All Livery Companies come under an element of control by the City of London’s Court of Aldermen. To form a new Company, a group of people (usually numbering at least 100) must satisfy the Court that they have the resources and willingness to continue their association indefinitely, having already been long- and well-established. In addition to strong ties with the Square Mile, the potential new Company must have a significant number of members engaged in its particular trade, profession or craft, which must not overlap or clash with that of an existing guild.

In 1385, a regulation was introduced requiring each Lord Mayor to have previously served as a Sheriff and, until 1742, to be a member of one of the twelve senior livery companies (the Great Twelve). Today, each new Lord Mayor will still belong to one of the City Livery Companies, with their election supported by their fellow Liverymen in Common Hall at the end of September each year.

The Lord Mayor will also be an Alderman (literally, elder man), whose Court oversees the creation and conduct of the Livery Companies, as explained above. Aldermen are elected by the Square Mile’s 25 Wards. The City’s franchise gives voting rights to a wide representation of organisations within the Square Mile, enabling nominees or representatives of Livery Companies that occupy premises there to be voters.

The Livery Companies also play a prominent role in many great occasions. Each year’s United Guilds’ Service in St Paul’s sees the Livery Companies, City Corporation and Church joining together for a magnificent ceremonial event, while the Lord Mayor’s Show features spectacular displays by many Livery Companies, particularly those with close links to the new Lord Mayor and the two incoming Sheriffs.

The Livery Companies and the City of London have enjoyed a long, close and extremely effective working partnership, sharing objectives, supporting excellence and together promoting the Square Mile. This partnership is fostered through a dedicated committee, the Livery Committee, which strengthens these ties as well as constantly seeking new ways to promote joint initiatives for the future.

The Livery Committee
The Weavers' Company Crest

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