On joining the Company, a person becomes a Freeman of the Tallow Chandlers. Historically, the award of the Freedom marked the end of a seven year period of apprenticeship as a Tallow Chandler. A Freeman could then serve under any master, or set up shop independently. Freemen of the Company can also become Freemen of the City of London.
Freemen currently wait for between five and seven years before they are elected to full Liveryman status. The title also goes back to medieval times when only full guild members were permitted to wear the distinctive liveried costumes of their respective organisations, and enjoy the living (that is, use) of their individual guild halls – hence the title.
The Master for 2023/2024, the 456th recorded, is Julian Hill.
The Master oversees the Company’s activities, as well as representing the Company at a variety of charity, trade, ceremonial and social events. They are usually a long-serving Tallow Chandler.
Julian lives in Dorset, just inland from the Jurassic Coast, is married to Janie and has a daughter, Zinnia, and two sons, Rowland and Freddie. Both Zinnia and Rowland have recently become Freemen of the Company. Julian followed his father, grandfather and great grandfather into the Company, the latter two both also being Masters.
As an “Army Brat”, he had the good fortune to be brought up in some of the better Army postings – Bermuda, Cyprus, Singapore, Kenya, Aden and Malta. Sent to prep school in Seaford, he then went on to Eton before studying Politics and Economics at Bristol University where he got back together again with Janie who he’d first met in Zermatt at the age of 17.
An initial stint as an Articled Clerk, just down the road from the Tallow Chandlers’ Hall in Dowgate Hill where the Law Firm Macfarlanes were then based, convinced him that he was not cut out for Corporate Life. Thereafter, Julian started various small businesses culminating, in 1991, in setting up offices in Hong Kong and China to develop and manufacture a wide range of different products for European based customers. Not only did this mean travelling to some of the more obscure parts of China, but also having the opportunity of witnessing first-hand the extraordinary transformation of a country from bicycles to high tech. Julian sold the business just before lock-down and, since then, has been enjoying retirement both down in Dorset and at the restored farmhouse he and Janie own in Andalucia, wondering how on earth he ever had time to do any work previously.
A keen biker, he has ridden, with Janie gallantly clinging on as pillion, Royal Enfields across Bhutan, Morocco, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and India, together with Harleys down the Great Ocean Road in Australia and Route 1 in California. They have also travelled extensively elsewhere including trekking in Nepal, riding horses in Kyrgyzstan, taking small boats way up river in Northern Lao, visiting the last tattooed headhunters in Nagaland and the deserts and Mosques of Iran. Julian feels extraordinarily lucky to have Janie as a partner who only occasionally asks if they can go somewhere different than a war zone or a remote jungle on holiday next time.
Julian has skied for most of his life, captaining the successful Company team in the inter livery skiing championships for the last few years. When he was younger and fitter, he enjoyed ski mountaineering and ski touring. He now prefers a more relaxed method of getting up-hill in order to ski off piste and has recently returned from a snow cat operation in the wilds of Kosovo. He also enjoys playing tennis, real tennis and cricket (just) and has recently taken up golf, much to Janie’s concern. He is more than happy to watch most sports and is still desperate for England to win the football world cup again.
Supported by a committee structure, the Court is the governing body of the Company responsible for all aspects of the business and the Court also acts on behalf of the Trustee (the Company) to govern the Benevolent Fund.
Led by the Master, the Court comprises: Past Masters, Deputy Master, the four Wardens (First, Second, Renter and Fourth) and Assistants (Liverymen selected to join the Court for two years). The Court oversees the policy and direction of the Company, as well as Committees including:
- Education and Charity Committee
- Finance and General Purpose Committee
- Investment Committee
- Nomination Committee
- Hall Management Committee
In addition, ‘Special Courts’ are convened to admit new Freemen to the Company and to advance Freemen to the Livery.
Brigadier David Homer, MBE is both the Clerk and Chief Executive.
The Clerk manages the governance of the Court and Committees, presenting issues for decision/approval and implementing outcomes.
In addition to usual Chief Executive responsibilities, and supported by the Office and Hall teams, the day to day role of the Clerk includes: maintaining close links with the schools and charities supported by the Company; liaising with the City of London, trades and trade-related businesses and affiliated organisations; the management of the Hall – and its associated events; and, the co-ordination of Company activities, in and outside the Hall.
While support to education and charity is the Company’s principal purpose, good fellowship – in and outside the Hall – is at the heart of everything we do. Societies and sports provide Liverymen and Freemen with the opportunities to share interests and have fun together.
Activities include inter-livery rowing, golf, shooting, skiing, cricket, sailing, real tennis, tennis, bridge and pancake racing; and, inside the Hall, a wine appreciation society.
Societies and sports help build and strengthen our bonds with each other, nurture our relationships with other livery companies and help develop unity of purpose in our giving.