Welcome to the Worshipful Company of
Makers of Playing Cards
The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards is one of the early Trade Guilds in the City of London. The Company was founded as the "Mistery (trade, art, or occupation) of Makers of Playing Cards of the City of London" by a Charter granted by King Charles I on 22nd October 1628.
Some 164 years later, on 27th November 1792 the Court of Aldermen of the City of London granted the Company its Livery.
Accordingly, though 75th in order of precedence, it is one of the older of the City Livery companies, which now total 108. The Makers of Playing Cards was a craft, rather than a trade, company. Under the Company's charter, the number of Liverymen is limited to 150.
Originally the Company was created in order to regulate and control the importation of cheap playing cards, to protect the cardmakers and their families and to maintain quality.
The Crown received the benefit of the duties levied by the Company agreeing to pay a tax on all packs, the Ace of Spades being the chosen card to show the tax, every maker of playing cards had to have a mark of his own inrolled to indicate recognition of his name.
This tax on playing cards was abolished on 4 April 1960 as the cost of administration had become excessive.
The true origin of the Company’s Coat of Arms is unknown but an official Grant of Arms was presented on 31 March 1982. The shield shows the four suits with an upright hand holding an Ace of Hearts.
The motto is 'Corde Recto Elati Omnes' meaning 'with an upright heart all will be exalted'.
The Company Today
Since the formation of the Company in the Middle Ages when playing cards were the sole entertainment for the population, the production and use of playing cards in London has declined.
Today the Company still has card makers as Members.
However the Company has many other Members connected with playing cards including card collectors, dealers, bridge players, magicians and other professions.
If you are interesed in joining this ancient and Worshipful Company? Contact the Clerk for more information
A Force for Good
Corde Recto Elati Omnes:- With an Upright Heart All Are Exalted
The Company has been a "Force for Good" in the City for over 380 years. From enabling leisure and entertainment in the Coffee Houses, Parlours and Ale Taverns of King Charles's time, to our more modern role of providing opportunities for disadvantaged children, we have always attracted able people who want to make a difference.
Today's Livery comprises an eclectic mix of individuals. From Magicians to Musicians, from Promoters to the Professions, from Traders to Technicians our Freemen and Liverymen represent a cross section of that which makes London the great city it is today.
If you are interested in helping to "Make a Difference" in the City and beyond, please contact the Clerk to find out more about how we might help you to make the best use of your skills.
Modern Trade Affiliations
The Company is actively pursuing affiliations with modern successors to our ancient trade, notably the computer games industry but also the broader entertainment business. We are also embracing technology by exploring digitisation of our unique collection of beautiful and historic playing cards and ultimately making it available to explore online in a compelling, permanent virtual exhibition which can be searched by historians, students and collectors. We are actively seeking new Members who have skills in these areas to help in bringing this multi-year initiative to fruition.
Role of the Livery Companies of the City of London
The livery companies developed out of the medieval guilds in the City of London. These guilds originally evolved from a religious base, as craftsmen in various specific trades congregated in parishes in the City. From their congregations voluntary associations were formed for mutual aid and protection of their members.
Gradually, trade considerations assumed a more important role with the guild's main role being the regulation of their trades or crafts within the City. They exercised control over standards, including the power of search, and the training of apprentices. Members of the Livery or Liverymen, were and still are drawn from the freemen of the City and became freemen of the Companies, qualifying by patrimony (inheritance), servitude (apprenticeship), or redemption (purchase).
Management of the City of London was based on a charter granted to its citizens by King William I that provided it with a remarkable degree of autonomy. The City then won from King John the right to vote for their Mayor. Civic power originally rested with the Court of Aldermen who administered justice in matters of dispute within the City, regulated the Livery Companies and settled all inter-livery disputes. Liverymen elected the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs as they still do to this day.
The Master will be arrested at Mansion House in the City of London on Wednesday 29th May 2013 on charges yet to be proven. From there he will be transported by The City of London Police to be incarcerated in The Tower of London pending a sizable ‘bail’ donation to the Red Cross.
Only you can "spring" him!!
Download the Spring 2013 Newsletter Here
Next Livery Dinners
The next Liverymen only dinner is to be held on Thursday 4th July 2013 at Armoury House, home of the Honourable Artillery Company, and the next Dinner to include guests will be held on Monday 14th October 2013 at Trinity House.
Details of the events will be circulated and posted on the website at a later date.
Inter-Livery Bridge Competition
(Photos in Members Gallery)
The 31st annual Inter-Livery Bridge Competition was held at Drapers' Hall on Monday 4 March 2013.
The details of the winners, trophies and prizes can be found on the Company Events page or via the following link:
Master's Consort Ladies Outing to Wisley 26 June 2013
The Master's Consort, Rosemary Kitson, has announced that she is organising a Livery Ladies Day Out at the Royal Horticultural Society's Wisley Gardens, Surrey. Ladies interested in taking part should register their interest with Rosemary to allow her to plan the event. Details can be downloaded here:
WISLEY DAY OUT
Master's Programme for 2012 - 2013
The Master, Canon Nigel Nicholson CF DL, has announced his programme of events for his year as Master beginning on 30 November 2012. Members may download the Programme of Events for their diaries:
Download BrochureDownload the PDF Document