The Worshipful Company of Turners

Supporting the Craft, City and Charity for over four hundred years

Membership of the Worshipful Company of Turners

Individuals with an interest in becoming members of the Worshipful Company of Turners are usually introduced by friends or family who are already Liverymen. However, candidates have also been admitted to the Company through other means.  If you do not know a member of the Company personally you should contact the Clerk to discuss this and he will be happy to help in any way possible.

Applicants from all walks of life are very welcome regardless of nationality, gender, ethnicity or religious beliefs although the Company retains their historic affiliation to the Christian faith.


Although the Charter and Ordinances impose no limit on the number of members of the Livery, total membership is currently around 200, drawn from many spheres of life, with numerous instances of successive generations of the same family. Most are Liverymen, that is full members of the Company, while the remainder are Freemen of the Company. Generally, candidates for admission are expected to have connections with or interests in the Craft of Turning, the Company or the City of London.

Methods of Admission

Admission into the Worshipful Company of Turners and any further progression is at the discretion of the Court and generally begins by gaining the Freedom of the Company.  There are four normal routes to the Freedom:

  • Redemption; the most common route; and obtained after the payment of a fee known as a “fine”.
  • Patrimony;when either of the applicant’s parents was a Freeman or Liveryman at the time of the applicant’s birth;
  • Servitude (Apprenticeship); where formal indentures have been entered into with a Liveryman of the Company for a period of not less than four years, commencing when the applicant was not under 15 nor over 18 years of age.
  • Presentation; when the Court wishes to recognise outstanding service to the Company or the Craft. This group includes Freemen Prizemen.

Levels of Membership

Freedom of the Company

To become a full member of the Company an individual will apply for and be granted the Freedom of the Company. If joining through Redemption, the applicant will be sponsored by a Liveryman, generally one to whom he or she is well known. It is likely that applicants will have attended Company functions. All applicants are interviewed and the successful ones are then admitted to the Freedom of the Company in a short ceremony before the Master and Wardens. A payment of a fee, known as a “fine”, is made by the applicant on receiving the Freedom. If an individual is joining under Patrimony or Servitude, the fine is reduced.  Applicants under the age of 35 joining by Redemption are also eligible for a reduction in the fine.

Freemen of the Company are entitled to attend some formal and social events and most cultural events such as visits to places of major interest in and around London and the Home Counties.  Freemen are also entitled to apply for membership of the City Livery Club.

Freedom of the City of London

For those applicants that do not already have it, the second stage is to obtain the Freedom of the City of London. Successful candidates will normally be encouraged to register their application for the Freedom of the City of London at Guildhall on the day they are admitted to the Freedom of the Company. Applications are set before the Court of Alderman for approval. Thereafter they are granted the Freedom of the City in a short ceremony in the Chamberlain’s Court at Guildhall.

The Livery

The final stage is to be admitted to the Livery. A Freeman that has shown a continuing interest in supporting the Company and has received the Freedom of the City is likely to be invited to become a member of the Livery approximately twelve months after becoming a Freeman.  Attendance at Company functions and other events is taken into account when considering a Freeman for the Livery. Being “Clothed in the Livery” takes place at a short ceremony before the Court. Once again, the payment of a fine is necessary to receive the Livery and this fine is reduced if the Freeman accepting the Livery joined under Patrimony, Servitude or is under the age of 35.

Liverymen are entitled to attend the majority of formal Company functions in their own right together with guests; take an active part in the running of the Company through joining, by invitation, a committee and possibly progressing to the Court of Assistants; attend and vote at the annual elections for the Lord Mayor and the two Sheriffs; attend all social and cultural events organised by the Company. Liverymen are also entitled to apply for full membership of the City Livery Club.

Interested in Joining?

If you are interested in joining the Worshipful Company of Turners please contact the Clerk for further information and an application form.

Contact the Clerk

Honorary Membership

The following notable individuals have been granted honorary membership of the Company of Turners of London during the past 250 years:

Year Honorary Member Citation
1872 Baroness Burdett-Coutts For her work in promoting the moral and social improvement of the people
1872 H M Stanley For his enterprise in discovering the great traveller, Livingstone, in Central Africa
1873 Sir Bartle Frere For bringing about the suppression of the slave trade in East Africa
1874 Sir George Gilbert Scott
and Sir Charles Lyell
For original investigations and published communications respecting the structure and materials used in turnery
1876 The Rt Hon Sir William Ewart Gladstone For advocacy in favour of the ‘chartered duties of the City Guilds’
1879 Sir Frederick Leighton President of the Royal Academy
1879 King Leopold II of the Belgians For his skill and keenness as an amateur turner
1880 Sir Henry Bessemer Inventor of the Bessemer Converter
1885 Sir John Alexander Macdonald Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada
1890 Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker Designers and Constructors of the Forth Bridge
1890 Sir John Gordon Sprigg Lately Premier of the Cape of Good Hope
1892 The Hon George Gibbs Premier of New South Wales
1893 Lady Amherst of Hackney For her skill as an amateur turner
1899 Sir Edward Poynter President of the Royal Academy
1909 Sir William Job Collins Vice-Chancellor of the University of London
1913 Sir Joseph Ward Lately Premier of New Zealand
1920 The Rt Hon David Lloyd George Prime Minister
1943 Maj Gen Sir E Bertram Rowcroft For appreciation of the work of REME during the 2nd World War
2002 Theodore Fabergé For his great work in promoting the Craft of Turning in England and world-wide
2013 Dame Fiona Woolf For her support of the Craft of Turning

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