The Freedom and the Livery

There are three main ways by which an individual can obtain admission to the Company, subject to the approval of the Court:-

  • By Servitude: Available to apprentices who are formally “bound in” to the Company and serve a full term of apprenticeship (7 years)  and can provide a certificate of good and faithful service signed by their master, who has to be a Freeman of the Company. This was the traditional way of entering the Company and is still valid today.
  • By Industry: Available to students or apprentices with a recognised UK horological qualification and pre or post-qualification experience, the period of their training and experience amounting to at least 7 years. A list of UK qualifications recognised for the purpose of Admission By Industry is available from the Clerk.
  • By Patrimony: Open to any child, born subsequent to their father’s admission to the Freedom of the Clockmakers’ Company, on reaching the age of twenty one. It is an absolute right and applicants cannot be rejected.
  • By Redemption: Open to applicants not eligible as above, by invitation, but subject to sponsorship from two Liverymen, one of whom must be a member of the Court. This is the most usual method of admission to the Freedom these days.

In addition there are two other ways by which the Court can approve admission to the Freedom:-

  • By Gift: bestowed upon persons notable for achievement in, or connected with horology, the measurement of time, astronomy and kindred sciences or to persons who have rendered great service to the Company.
  • By Honoris Causa: awarded as an honour to a very small number of persons of distinction in recognition of their achievements not necessarily connected with horology.

Fines are payable on admission to the Freedom and subsequently on election to the Livery and higher offices. The Fine, which, used in this sense, is a fee paid for a privilege, is a single sum paid for each step in advancement and varies according to the grade the admission or election takes. Current details of Fines can be found at the end of the Company’s Livery List, published annually and sent to members of the Company. Women have been elected to the Freedom since the late seventeenth century.

In due course a Freeman may be invited to become a Liveryman and Member of the Court. In 1992 the first lady Assistant was elected to the Court. We elected our first Lady Master in 2004.

Freemen and Liverymen of all Livery Companies in the City of London have traditionally taken an active part in supporting good causes and charities, and members of the Clockmakers’ Company are expected to do likewise, in particular supporting their own Clockmakers’ Charity and Museum.

Before becoming eligible for election to the Livery, Freemen must first obtain the Freedom of the City of London. This is done by application in person through the City Chamberlain’s Office to the Court of Aldermen. If approved a second visit is necessary to be sworn in and obtain the Certificate of Freedom.

Liverymen, on election, are required to provide a condensed curriculum vitae. These are bound in volumes by the Clerk and provide a biographical record of the Livery. The volumes are displayed at important Livery functions.

The Livery Biography

The Livery Biography which contains the Biographies of all members of The Livery

Liverymen are entitled to attend and take part in the annual election of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of the City of London. The electors are confined exclusively to the twenty seven thousand Liverymen of the City Livery Companies.

The Company has a busy official and social calendar and many of these events are open on invitation and payment of the appropriate cover charges to Liverymen and Freemen. Where numbers are restricted preference will usually be given to Liverymen apart from any event organised especially for the Freemen.

The highlight of the year is the Annual Livery Dinner which now takes place in the Autumn. In recent years this has been held in various City Livery Halls and the Mansion House. These are always magnificent occasions frequently attended by the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs together with other City dignitaries and distinguished guests of the Company.

In 1994 the Court approved a special Liveryman’s badge Livery medaldepicting the Company’s Arms and suspended from a cord of the livery colours. This is available, on purchase, to all Liverymen to be worn on official Company occasions or when representing the Company.

Both the Livery and the Freedom have notice of the four Quarter Courts, which they may attend if they have any business to transact with the Company, at least seven days’ notice of which must be given to the Clerk.

What are the advantages of membership of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers?  The privilege of becoming accepted into an ancient society and participating in the heritage and customs of the past, as well as the opportunity to meet with leading figures in the world of horology.

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(for WCC Liverymen & Freemen)

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The Clockmakers of London

New 88 page edition of “The Clockmakers of London” now published by Sir George White, with substantially revised text and a large number of stunning new illustrations. Read more about it  …. & you can buy it for £15 on this link.

Training to be a Clockmaker?

If you are looking for information about the training opportunities for a career in clock and watchmaking, see A HELPING HAND FOR STUDENTS Further details can be obtained from clerk@clockmakers.org

Antiquarian Horological Society (AHS) Lectures

A formal affiliation was signed in 2014 between the WCC and the AHS. WCC Liverymen and Freemen are encouraged to attend the excellent AHS Lectures, which are free to WCC members and include teas before and wine afterwards, so are very social and interesting events. List of forthcoming lectures in London is on the AHS site.

National Benevolent Society of Watch & Clock Makers