Five questions about Livery Companies – Quick Quiz answers

We asked you five questions about the City of London’s 108 Livery Companies, descendants of the mediaeval guilds. Here come the answers!

  1. How many of the 108 companies have a direct connection with leather? Two, four, six or eight?
    Six – Leathersellers, Girdlers, Saddlers, Cordwainers, Curriers, Glovers. More tenuously you could add Upholders (upholsterers), Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers, and Loriners (see the answer to Q.5 below!)
  2. What did the members of the Worshipful Company of Curriers originally do for a living?
    1. Blend spices
    2. Treat leather
    3. Transport goods
    4. Groom horses

    Nothing to do with Indian curry, curry combs or carrying anything – “curriers” were responsible for curing leather.

  3. Which of the following trades or professions does not feature in the list of 108 companies?
    1. Water Conservators
    2. Actuaries
    3. Image Consultants
    4. Environmental Cleaners

    Actuaries have been one of the Worshipful Companies since 1979; Environmental Cleaners since 1986; and Water Conservators since 2000. No sign of Image Consultants yet, although Public Relations Practitioners are knocking on the door.

  4. Which of the Worshipful Companies was originally responsible for overseeing surgeons?
    1. Skinners
    2. Barbers
    3. Cutlers
    4. Butchers

    Skinners were in the fur trade. Cutlers have branched out a bit and also gone “oop North” to Yorkshire, where the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire has largely taken on the professional interest in steelware.

  5. What did/does a Loriner make?
    1. Metalwork for horses’ harnesses
    2. Wooden overshoes for use in mucky streets
    3. Opera glasses
    4. Church organs

    Wooden overshoes (pattens) were made by Pattenmakers; opera glasses would fall in the ambit of the Spectacle Makers; and church organs are made by organ builders, a trade a bit too esoteric to be represented in the Livery Companies. HRH The Princess Royal is a prominent Loriner (she was Master Loriner for 1992-93).

How did you get on? Why not let us know?

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About Dave

Dave was bitten by the expat bug at the age of 13 when he went to live in Germany. Since leaving school at the age of 30 (with a doctorate in something so obscure even he can't remember what it's about) he's also lived in Bangladesh, India and Thailand, and travelled to most European countries (including several that don't exist any more, though he denies responsibility), as well as Barbados, South Korea, St Vincent, UAE, Laos, and many more.

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