The Bakers' Company continues to be closely involved with the baking trade, and a high proportion of its 220 members are Master Bakers and Allied Traders.
The Company is one of the oldest City of London Liveries with a history dating back over 800 years. The first known records of the existence of the Bakers’ Guild are contained in the great ‘Pipe Rolls’ of Henry II which listed the yearly ‘farm’ paid to the Crown and in these it is shown that the Bakers of London (the BOLENGARII) paid a Mark of gold to the King’s Exchequer for their Guild from 1155 AD onwards.
Only the Weavers’ Guild have an entry a few years earlier in the Rolls, so the Bakers, based on these records, can claim to be the second oldest recorded guild in London. However, associations with bread and bread making go back many centuries more. For a brief history of over 2000 years of baking and the Bakers' Company, please click here.
Now, alongside its other work, the Bakers' Company provides Scholarships and Prizes for young people in the baking industry, and endeavours to encourage them to become first-class tradesmen/women. It is closely associated with the National Bakery School, a part of South Bank University in London, situated nearby. Each year the top eligible student is awarded the Freedom of the Worshipful Company of Bakers and then may apply for the freedom of the City of London.
In addition, the Bakers’ Company maintains close connections with some of the main European Guilds (Livery Companies) and exchanges visits.
Among other interests are:
- Benevolent Society villas, accommodating principally retired bakers and their wives
- The Officer Training Units of London University
- Several charities connected with the City and elsewhere
Alderman Sir Paul Newall, a Past Master of the Company, served as Lord Mayor of London in 1993/94. Sir Paul brought great prestige to the Company in his highly successful term of Office, during which he toured many countries, representing London and the United Kingdom.
The Bakers’ Company assisted in raising funds and provided technical knowledge in the building of a replica bakery c.1892 at the famous Ironbridge Museum in Shropshire, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. This museum attracts large numbers of visitors and is classified as a World Heritage project. The bakery is a valued part of the Museum, demonstrating as it does the old craft of baking, alongside other crafts e.g. candle making, printing etc.
The Bakers’ Livery Hall is situated approximately 200m from the Tower of London. Its fine interior makes the Hall an ideal venue for functions and conferences, and always delights visitors. Enquiries to the Clerk for letting for these occasions are welcome.