The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards is one of the early Trade Guilds in the City of London. The Company was founded as the "Mistery (trade, art, or occupation) of Makers of Playing Cards of the City of London" by a Charter granted by King Charles 1 on 22nd October 1628. Some 164 years later, on 27th November 1792 the Court of Aldermen of the City of London granted the Company its Livery. Accordingly, though 75th in order of precedence, it is one of the older of the City Livery companies, which now exceed 100 in number. The Makers of Playing Cards was a craft, rather than a trade, company. The number of Liverymen is limited to 150.
Corde Recto Elati Omnes:- With an Upright Heart All Are Exalted.
The Company has been a "Force for Good" in the City for over 380 years. From enabling leisure and entertainment in the Coffee Houses, Parlours and Ale Taverns of King Charles's time, to our more modern role of providing opportunities for disadvantaged children, we have always attracted able people who want to make a difference.
Today's Livery comprises an eclectic mix of individuals. From Magicians to Musicians, from Promoters to the Professions, from Traders to Technicians our Freemen and Liverymen represent a cross section of that which makes London the great city it is today.
If you are interested in helping to "Make a Difference" in the City and beyond, please contact our Clerk to find out more about how we can help you to make the best use of your skills.
The livery companies developed out of the medieval guilds in the City of London. These guilds originally evolved from a religious base, as craftsmen in various specific trades congregated in parishes in the City. From their congregations voluntary associations were formed for mutual aid and protection of their members.
Gradually, trade considerations assumed a more important role with the guild's main role being the regulation of their trades or crafts within the City. They exercised control over standards, including the power of search, and the training of apprentices.
Members of the Livery, Liverymen, were and still are drawn from the freemen of the City and became freemen of the Companies, qualifying by patrimony (inheritance), servitude (apprenticeship), or redemption (purchase).
Management of the City of London was based on a charter granted to its citizens by King William I that provided it with a remarkable degree of autonomy. The City then won from King John the right to vote for their Mayor. Civic power originally rested with the Court of Aldermen who administered justice in matters of dispute within the City, regulated the Livery Companies and settled all inter-livery disputes. Liverymen elected the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs as they still do to this day.