The Maximum Number of Glass Sellers

The Glass Sellers Charter is dated 25th July 1664. The Bye-Laws were approved on 28th November 1664, and the new Livery Company was allowed a Master, two Wardens, twelve Assistants, and one Clerk. The number of Liverymen was unlimited, as was the custom at that time.

However, in the early 1700’s, politics had started to play an increasing part in City Elections – both in the Wards and in Common Hall. The Court of Aldermen decided to adopt a new rule to limit Liveries in order to keep the number of Liverymen entitled to vote at Common Halls within manageable proportions.

Thus, when the Glass Sellers asked the Court of Alderman to give approval to their livery, it was granted on 8th May 1712 with a restriction of their Livery numbers to just 60. It appears that this was the first ever limited Livery.

All companies which have been granted a livery since 1712 have limited numbers in their Livery. This includes some Companies which were in existence long before 1712 but which had also not sought to adopt a distinctive livery. However, there are still 56 old “Pre 1712” Companies which possess no limit in numbers but do hold approved liveries. So, had the Glass Sellers applied earlier, they would not today have had any limitation on numbers, nor needed to have applied for increases.

Numbers in the Glass Sellers varied but, by 1724, it was only 40. However, membership grew, and on 1st February 1825 it was agreed that the Livery could expand from 60 to 120.

Numbers continued to ebb and flow. In 1882 there were only 51 members and that had fallen to just 38 in 1892. It was to be 122 years before expanding the limit was considered again. On 16th September 1947 approval was granted for the Livery to expand from 120 to 180.

Just 54 years later, on 10.5.2001, it was agreed that the Livery could expand once more – this time from 180 to 230, which is the present maximum.

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