Page 18 - November 2021
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  THE SALAMANDER November 2021
Short History of the Worshipful Company of Firefighters
The pandemic hiatus over the last year and a half has stopped the natural flow of information and social interaction which has usually accompanied the natural development of our organisation and it now feels that we’re coming out of a bit of a hibernation. As we
the Royal Charter granted to the Weavers’ Company in 1155. By 1515, an order of precedence for the Livery Companies was established withthefirsttwelvebeingMercers, Grocers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Merchant Taylors, Skinners, Haberdashers, Salters,
done best, namely fostering their professions, serving the community, supporting the City of London and promoting modern skills and professional development. Apart from we Firefighters, there are now other modern trades and professions such as Air pilots, Chartered Surveyors, Marketors and Information Technologists - we are the Modern Companies. The Firefighters have traditionally led the Modern Companies at the Lord Mayor’s show.
The right of citizens to elect their own mayor dates back to the charter granted to the City by King John in 1215. Originally, all freemen of the City could attend Common Hall and elect the Lord Mayor. Prior to 1742, the Lord Mayor was chosen exclusively from members of the twelve senior companies. Nowadays the Lord Mayor can come from any livery company. The ceremony takes place the Friday before the Lord Mayor’s show and known as the “Silent Ceremony” because , apart from a short declaration by the incoming mayor, no words are spoken.
The Firefighters was established as a Guild in 1988 with 72 members, becoming a Company (without livery) in 1995 and a livery Company in 2001. The first founding Father Master was Gerald D Clarkson. A new coat of arms was presented to the Company in 1997. The central element in the Coat of Arms is the Shield of the City of London. However, the sword is taken from its normal quadrant and placed centrally on
 look to restart our activities again, a short recap on our origins and what we have achieved to date might help set the perspective going forward.
We are of course a livery company. The origins of livery companies goes back to before 1066 and weer similar to fraternities of guilds that flourished throughout Europe by then. The guilds controlled the provision of services and manufacture and selling of goods and food in the City of London. The welfare of members, both spiritual and material, was always a major concern for the guilds. The earliest reliable historical record is that of
Ironmongers, Vintners and Clothworkers. We Firefighters come in a 103.
The usual entry into a trade or craft was by apprenticeship. At the end of their apprenticeship term, an apprentice could claim their freedom which entitled them to serve under any master or set up on their own. The whole municipal structure of London was built up on the status of a freeman and freedom of the City still remains a prerequisite for admission to the livery of a company.
Survival has been achieved by doing what they have always
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