Modern Companies - a note on their history
Forming a new livery company
A brief summary:
The process is overseen by the Court of Aldermen. In simple terms, it is a three stage process. First the potential new company seeks to form a Guild. After (usually) four years, they apply to become a Company (without livery). And after a further four years, are given permission to become a Livery Company. Throughout this process, they will be guided and advised by a nominated "Sponsoring Alderman", someone who is also prepared to take on the new guild, and champion it on their behalf.
One of the first rules towards becoming a livery company is that it does not clash with another existing one. Even if it is not readily apparent, senstive souls can easily perceive a conflict. So the first advice to those with a new livery in mind is to identify any company on whose toes you may be treading, and get them on side.
The Court will require three things of any new guild. Sufficient numbers of committed members (100 is the minimum). A charitable fund of a specified amount. And a demonstration that any new guild can make a positive contribution to its craft or trade in the City of London.
The Clerk to the Chamberlain's Court, is the authority on this subject, though the granting or otherwise of guild, company or livery status is wholly within the power of the Court of Aldermen.
Guilds - a more detailed note from the Clerk to the Chamberlain's Court on forming a new guild.
The Aldermen and Magistracy Sub-Committee of the Court of Aldermen have prepared guidance on the subject of Royal Charters. You may read it at this link.