I am a freeman of the City of London and a Court Assistant of the Worshipful Company of Grocers.
Today the Grocers’ Company plays a significant role in the City’s civic life, including the election of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs. The Grocers’ Charity supports a wide range of charitable activities including schools and education and a focus on the relief of poverty for youth, help for the disabled, medical.
The Grocers Company was founded in the 14th century by members of the Guild of Pepperers, which dates from 1180. The Company was responsible for maintaining standards for the purity of spices and for the setting of certain weights and measures. It was the weighing authority for the Port of London until 1666. Its members included London’s pharmacists, who separated in 1617 forming the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries.
The guild was known as the Company of Grossers from 1373 until 1376 when it was renamed the Company of Grocers of London. In 1428, two years after building its first hall in Old Jewry, the Company was granted a Royal Charter by King Henry VI of England.
One of the Great Twelve City Livery Companies, it ranks second in the order of precedence after the Mercers’ Company. It is said that the Grocers’ Company used to be first in the order, until Queen Elizabeth I, as Honorary Master of the Mercers’ Company, found herself in procession, after her coronation behind the Grocers’ camel which was emitting unfortunate smells; as a result, the Mercers were promoted.
The Grocers’ affiliations include the Coldstream Guards the British Army’s oldest regular regiment and whose motto is appropriately Nulli Secundus (Second to None) and HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
Further details of the Grocer’s Company and The Grocers’ Charity can be found by clicking this link.