This was a tour of The Stationers’ Company, The City of London Livery Company for the Communication and Content Industries.
We had an excellent guide who talked about the magnificent building, the stained glass windows and portraits and explained that it is because of, and not despite its 600-year history that the Company remains determined to continue to adapt to the ever-increasing pace of change in the media industry. The morning ended in the equally historic St Martin-within-Ludgate Church.
Livery Companies are as active today as they were in medieval times. They are an important part of both our history and the present and this visit is intended to be the first of several such visits. Many are still in their original “headquarters” and have collections of paintings and memorabilia.
Livery Companies were first created by groups of medieval tradesmen who joined together to promote, protect and regulate their trades. 600 years ago most craftsmen in London were itinerant. However the manuscript writers and illuminators decided to concentrate their efforts and set up stalls or ‘stations’ around St Paul’s Cathedral. Because of this they were given the nickname ‘Stationers’ and this was the obvious choice of name for the guild they established in 1403