Heritage » History » 1908 to 1929

The Early Years

16 November 1907First suggestion of the foundation of the Guild published in the City Press.
29 July 1908A group of Freemen met in the City Arms (a tavern at 2 St Mary Axe) and passed a resolution to form an association to be called the Guild of Freemen of the City of London.
13 November 1908 The first Guild event took place and the first Master was elected.
28 January 1909The first Guild dinner took place.
7 April 1910The Guild was granted a licence by the Board of Trade to dispense with the word 'Limited' after its Company name.
23 April 1910The Guild was registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee. (Members would not be shareholders but would undertake, in the event of the Company being wound up, to make a contribution of up to £1 towards any outstanding debts). The Articles of Association set out the internal management of the Guild and, by name as well as office, the new officers who would head it.
1 August 1910The Earl Marshal's warrant granting armorial bearings to the Guild was signed and sealed.
1911The Guild of Freemen's lodge was warranted. Membership was restricted to members of the Guild of Freemen of the City of London.
March 1912The first edition of the Guild of Freemen magazine was published.
13 November 1912The establishment of a Guild club was proposed. Arrangements were put in place for members to have luncheon at Keyzer's Royal Hotel, near Blackfriars. The Court could not agree about setting up a club. Rather than abandon the idea, some members kept it alive and, some two years later, formed the City Livery Club.
December 1913The Guild started a search for premises.
1914Guild Member Sergeant Major George Dorell, "L" Battery RHA, was awarded the VC for outstanding gallantry at Nery on 1st September 1914, during the BEF retreat from Mons.
14 December 1914The structure of the Court was agreed as 22 Life Members and 11 Members to be elected triennially (i.e. 1918, 1921, 1924 etc).
18 January 1915The Guild formed a contingent for the City National Guard - to protect against an invasion of the enemy.
November 1915The Guild established an office and club room at Keyzer's Royal Hotel.
May 1916The Guild's office and club room were requisitioned by the War Office. The Guild moved to the Cannon Street Hotel.
1 January 1917The Benevolent Fund was established; three trustees were appointed.
October 1918On behalf of the Guild, the Court sent a message of congratulation and thanks for their 'glorious victories' to Sir Douglas Haig, Marshal Foch Arthur J Balfour MP and the Ambassadors of our Allies.
March 1919The Guild's office was moved to the Cripplegate Institute.
1919The Guild's members raised funds to buy The Victory Cup - the Guild's first Loving Cup. This led to the introduction of the Joining Ceremony for all new members, and the inclusion of the Loving Cup Ceremony as part of the Joining Ceremony.
March 1920The publication of the Guild's magazine was resumed under the title of The Freeman.
1920The Guild's membership passed 1,000.
1920 approx The Guild set up the Christ's Hospital Presentation Fund to support the presentation of pupils by the Guild at Christ's Hospital.
11 July 1921The Guild's office was moved to Bakers' Hall. This remained the home of the Guild until Bakers' Hall was destroyed by enemy action in December 1940. Salters' Hall was used for Court meetings when Bakers' Hall was unavailable.
1921The Master, Francis Sully, laid the foundation of a collection of silver plate for the Guild.
1921The Guild first took part in the Lord Mayor's Procession.
1923The Court decided that gowns and Tudor hats should be provided for the Master, Wardens, Clerk and Beadle.
November 1923 The Court decided to defer a decision on the admission of women to formal membership of the Guild.
October 1927Guild Member Louis Campbell Johnston formed a company limited by guarantee called the British Humane Association which operated a clinic in Pimlico. He also donated a significant sum to the BHA in the name of the Guild, thereby making them founders and giving the Guild the right to appoint 3 directors (trustees) of the BHA. The BHA remains active though it has changed significantly over the years. The Court still appoints three trustees.
1929 The Guild celebrated its 21st birthday. At the Guildhall banquet the call to order before the toasts was by a roll of drums by the cadets of St Dunstan's College OTC and by the King of Siam's Own Scouts.