Trade guilds, which would later become livery companies, formed in London during the 12th Century.
Men and women, working in the same crafts or trades began to join together in informal associations. They originally functioned as social, religious and benevolent organisations looking after Members and their families who fell on hard times through no fault of their own.
Members and others made donations and bequests to the livery companies for charitable purposes.
Today, there are 110 livery companies in the City of London.
The Mercers’ Company is a livery company focused on being a philanthropic force for good. We have a rich history dating back over 700 years with philanthropy as the common thread between our past, present and future.
Our connection to our original trade has diminished over time but we maintain our centuries-old links with schools, the Armed Forces, our Church Livings, the City of London Corporation and other livery companies.
It is a privilege to be a Mercer, but with it comes a duty to give back.
We benefit from the breadth of professions, expertise and experience represented in our Membership.
Every year Mercers invest thousands of voluntary hours to help actively manage the heritage assets, commercial property and bequests entrusted to the Company’s care.
Each new generation brings a fresh set of ideas and experiences, so that as the world changes, the Mercers’ Company changes with it.
The Court of Assistants is the governing body of the Company.
The Court of Assistants is made up of:
- The Master, who is the chairman of the Court;
- Past Masters;
- Wardens; and
- Four other Members, who serve as Additional Assistants.
A number of Committees and several Advisory Groups advise the Court of Assistants on aspects of Company business.
The Mercers’ Company is supported by a professional team of 60 members of staff. The Clerk is the Chief Executive Officer of the Company.