The livery companies of the
City of London, currently 110 in number, comprise London's ancient and modern
trade associations and
guilds, almost all of which are styled the "Worshipful Company of..." their respective craft, trade or profession.
 London's livery companies play a significant part in
City life, not least by providing charitable-giving and networking opportunities. Liverymen retain voting rights for the senior civic offices, such as the
City of London Corporation, its ancient municipal authority with extensive local government powers.
The term livery originated in the specific form of dress worn by retainers of a nobleman and then by extension to special dress to denote status of belonging to a trade. Livery companies evolved from London's medieval
Royal Charter responsible for training in their respective trades, as well as for the regulation of aspects such as wage control, labour conditions and industry standards. Early guilds often grew out of
parish fraternal organizations, where large groups of members of the same trade lived in close proximity and gathered at the same church.
 Like most organisations during the
Middle Ages, these livery companies had close ties with the
Catholic Church (before the
Protestant Reformation), endowing religious establishments such as
churches, observing religious festivals with hosting ceremonies and well-known
mystery plays. Most livery companies retain their historical religious associations, although nowadays members are free to follow any faith or none. Companies often established a guild or meeting hall, and though they faced destruction in the
Great London Fire of 1666 and during
World War II, thirty-nine companies maintain their sometimes elaborate and historic halls.
Most livery companies still maintain contacts with their original trade, craft or professional roles. Some still exercise powers of regulation, inspection and enforcement, while others are awarding bodies for professional qualifications. The
Scriveners' Company admits senior members of
legal and associated professions, the
Apothecaries' Company awards post-graduate qualifications in some medical specialties, and the
Hackney Carriage Drivers' Company comprises licensed taxi drivers who have passed the "
Knowledge of London" test. Several companies restrict membership only to those holding relevant professional qualifications, eg. the
City of London Solicitors' Company and the
Worshipful Company of Engineers. Other companies, whose trade died out long ago, such as the
Longbow Makers' Company, have evolved into being primarily
Carmen received City livery status in 1746 no new companies were established in London for 180 years until the
Master Mariners in 1926 (granted livery in 1932).
 Post-1926 creations are known as modern livery companies.
The Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars, the newest, was granted livery status on 11 February 2014, making it the 110th City livery company in
order of precedence.
The Honourable Company of Air Pilots is exceptional among London's livery companies in having active overseas committees in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand and North America.