CENTRE FOR METROPOLITAN HISTORY,
INSTITUTE OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH,
SCHOOL OF ADVANCED STUDY, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
THE LIVERY COMPANIES
EARLY MODERN LONDON
13 April 2000
Organisers: Ian Gadd, Darwin College,
Cambridge CB3 9EU (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Patrick Wallis, Lincoln College, Oxford OX1 3DR
Rooms 329-330, Third Floor, Senate House
Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
As Londoners prepare to go to the polls to elect a new Mayor for the metropolis,
it seems an appropriate time to revisit the institutional heart of an earlier
form of City government and society: the London livery companies. With, as
some suggest, perhaps as many as 75% of London's early modern adult male
population as members, the companies were integral to all aspects of the City's
political, social and economic life. Yet what were the livery companies?
Contemporaries and historians have offered vastly differing judgements.
From one perspective, these oligarchic 'Petit-States' exercised unhealthy
monopolies over trades and crafts preventing economic and technical innovation.
From another, the companies have been celebrated as 'Hives of Bees': maintaining
and enforcing standards in manufacture and retail; supplying money, men and munitions for the city and the crown; and caring for the life-long welfare of their members and families. This conference aims to bring
together new research and insights into the livery companies of early modern
London. While recent scholarship has successfully questioned many traditional
assumptions about their political, social and economic roles, substantial
parts of their histories still remain unexplored.
||Session 1: The Public Eye: Representation, Reputation and Charity
Ian Gadd (Darwin College, Cambridge), '"Of Great Antiquity": Early Modern Accounts of the London Livery Companies'
Dr James Robertson (university of West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica), 'The Adventures of Dick Whittington and the Social Construction of Elizabethan London'
Dr Ian Archer (Keble College, Oxford), 'Charity and the Livery Companies in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries'
||Session 2: Capital and Labour, Merchants and Craftsmen
Giorgio Riello (University College London), 'The Shaping of a Humble Family Trade: The Cordwainers' Company in Eighteenth-Century London'
Dr Perry Gauci (Lincoln College, Oxford), 'Informality and Influences: The Merchant and the Livery Company, 1660-1720'
||Session 3: In Search of Quality: Authority and Control
Dr Ron Homer (Honorary Archivist, Pewterers' Compnay), 'The Pewterers' Company's Country Searches and the Company's Regulation of Prices'
J.S. Forbes (former Head of the Assay Office), 'The Goldsmiths' Company: The Decline in the Effectiveness of its Royal Charters'
Dr Matthew Davies (History of Parliament, London), 'Governors and Governed: The Merchant Taylors' Company and its Court in the Late Fifteenth Century'
Patrick Wallis (Lincoln College, Oxford), 'Controlling Commodities: Search and Reconciliation in Early Modern Livery Companies'
||Round Table Discussion
Panel: Stephen Freeth (Keeper of Manuscripts, Guildhall Library), Dr Derek Keene (Centre for Metropolitan History), Dr Mark Jenner (University of York) and Dr Joseph Ward (University of Mississippi)
||Close of Conference
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