Ranked third in precedence of the Livery Companies, the Drapers’ first Royal Charter dates to 1364. The Arms show sunbeams coming from clouds with Imperial crowns of gold. They honour the Virgin Mary, who ‘shines in the shadow of the sun’.

Throgmorton Avenue EC2
Tel: +44 (0)20 7588 5001
Tube: Bank

Armourers And Brasiers

The Company Hall, on this site since 1346, escaped the Great Fire of 1666 but was rebuilt in 1839. Note the ‘Armorer’ spelling on the earlier arms - which combine swords and pots - by the front door and the two knights in suits of armour on the roof.

81 Coleman Street EC2
Tel: +44 (0)20 7374 4000
Tube: Moorgate

This page deals with GUILDS. London’s guilds brought together craftsmen to impose regulations and care for those who fell on hard times in the days before central government or insurance took over at least part of that burden. ‘Guild’ is from the Saxon gildan (to pay), referring to the annual subscription due from members.

Thanks to Cynthia Lydiard Cannings for her invaluable inspiration and help on this subject.

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Coats of Arms 1 2 3 4


This Guild dates to at least 1160, with a Royal Charter granted by King Richard II in 1395, and its arms predate the College of Arms. It has two mottoes – ‘Hold Fast, Sit Sure' and 'Our Trust Is In God' – displaying a slight lack of faith in the Guild’s product.

40 Gutter Lane EC2
Tel: +44 (0)20 7726 8661
Tube: St Paul’s


The Ironmongers' grant of arms was from Henry VI in 1455, and the supporters are salamanders. These lizards are supposedly born in fire, no doubt from a habit of hiding inside a wet log and dashing out when it is thrown into the flames.

Shaftesbury Place EC2
Tel: +44 (0)20 7776 2300
Tube: Barbican

Wax Chandlers

The Wax Chandlers have had a hall on this site since 1501. Two unicorns support their Arms, which show three candlesticks and the red roses of the Virgin Mary – a symbol of purity. Look for the beehive on the hall’s frontage – an essential of the trade.

6 Gresham Street EC2
Tel: +44 (0)20 7606 3591
Tube: St Paul’s


They may look like goats but the supporters are panthers ‘crowned Or’ with flames from mouths and ears. The three sacks are of madder – the expensive red dye once used for British Redcoat uniforms. The Dyers’ Charter is from Henry IV in 1471.
11 Dowgate Hill EC4
Tel: +44 (0)20 7236 7197
Tube: Cannon Street


The Stationers (a union of booksellers and manuscript illuminators) formed in 1403, being joined by printers a century later. The Company’s role in producing bibles, including the first printed in English is shown in its arms, bearing the Dove of Peace.

Ave Maria Lane EC4
Tel: +44 (0)20 7246 0999
Tube: St Paul’s


Three roebuck feature in the Arms of 1479 on the gates here. Much more interesting are the beaver-rich Arms of the Hudson’s Bay Co – former occupants – adorning the gatehouse roof. ‘Pro Pelle Cutem’ – ‘A Skin for a Skin’ – reflects the risks trappers took in the wilds of Canada.

St Helen's Place EC3
Tel: +44 (0)20 7330 1444
Tube: Bank



One of the oldest Livery Companies was first recorded in 975. The Arms of 1540 have the motto 'Omnia Subjecisti Sub Pedibus, Oves et Boves' – ‘Thou Hast Put All Things Under His Feet, All Sheep And Oxen’. The Guild has a weekly lunch – of beef.

87 Bartholomew Close EC1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7600 4106
Tube: Barbican


This Guild for those making girdles (or belts), received its Letters Patent in 1327 but no longer practises its craft. The Arms show three gridirons – gridle or girdle irons – and the pun is carried through to the crest of St Lawrence who was martyred by fire on a gridiron.

Basinghall Avenue EC2
Tel: +44 (0)20 7638 0488
Tube: Moorgate

Information Technology

Granted a Livery in 1992, this is the 100th Livery Company. Its Arms’ stars represent electricity and the spread of light, and the book and keys are knowledge. Mercury, god of communication, is on the crest. ‘Cito’ means ‘swiftly’ as well as IT Company.

39a Bartholomew Close EC1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7600 1992
Tube: Barbican


Founders were workers in brass or tinplate, producing small cast articles such as candlesticks and pots and pans, hence the items on the Arms. One of the oldest Guilds, it dates to 1365 at least and the Arms to 1590. Aliwal North in South Africa also uses the guild’s Arms.

1 Cloth Fair EC1

Tube: Barbican

Tallow Chandlers

Formed in about 1300, Tallow Chandlers made candles from animal fat (and later provided street lighting). Its Arms date to 1456 and its hall was rebuilt in 1672. The shield with three doves is supported by two angels crowned with stars of light.

8 Dowgate Hill EC4
Tel: +44 (0)20 7248 4726
Tube: Cannon Street


The makers of knives with a cutting edge are an old trade and the Cutlers have an Ordnance from 1344. The Arms of 1476 have a elephant crest added in 1622 – its ivory is used for knife handles. The Hall exterior has a beautiful frieze showing the trade.

Warwick Lane EC4
Tel: +44 (0)20 7248 1866
Tube: St Paul’s