Membership & Governance

Our members are the lifeblood of the Company, made up of approximately 1550 freemen and 285 liverymen.


Our Membership

More than half the membership of the Company comprises men and women engaged in the trade, which includes silversmiths and jewellers as well as those in allied areas such as design, retail and auction. The remainder of the membership incorporates a broad range of backgrounds and experience, with industry, commerce, education and the arts well represented.

The Company’s affairs are regulated by the Court of Assistants, whose members chair a variety of Committees consisting of liverymen and freemen.  A permanent staff headed by the Clerk (CEO) runs the Company on a day-to-day basis for the Court.

As with most other Livery Companies, the membership is made up of Freemen, Liverymen, and Assistants.


Freemen, of whom there are over 1550 in total, enter the Company by one of three routes:

  • By Service – on completion of an indentured apprenticeship to a master who is a freeman. The apprentice will have had to bring his or her 'masterpiece' to the Hall for inspection by the Wardens.
  • By Patrimony – for any person born after the date of a parent's freedom, having attained the age of 25 and been elected by a Selection Committee.
  • By Redemption – by application and on paying an entrance fee, having been elected by a Selection Committee.

Enquiries concerning membership of the Company should be addressed to the Deputy Clerk.


A Call to the Livery is made by the Court of Assistants every two to three years, as necessary, to maintain a sufficient total within the Livery. The election process is by application and subsequent selection from the Freedom.


The Assistants are in turn elected from within the Livery. The Court of Assistants, numbering up to 33, is the governing body of the Company. Each year, four members are elected to become Wardens, who meet regularly and act as the Company's executive committee. The senior warden is known as the Prime Warden and serves for a year, changing over in May.

The Court of Wardens and Court of Assistants are the governing bodies of the Company, with overall responsibility for its affairs. The Court of Assistants appoints the members of the 11 Committees which direct the day-to-day running of the Company. The Committee members are drawn in the main from the Livery and sometimes the Freedom; there are also co-opted advisors and Company staff who provide support to each Committee. There are always two members of the Court of Assistants sitting on each Committee, one of whom is the Chairman and they are elected indefinitely at three year intervals. Liverymen and freemen are elected initially for three years, with the opportunity to serve a further term of three years. Liverymen are also given the opportunity to experience the workings of the Committees by being invited to sit on the Committee for three years as supernumerary members.


The Court of Wardens

Chaired by the Prime Warden, this comprises the four Wardens with the Clerk and senior staff in support.  It is responsible for all matters relating to the policy and direction of the Company.

The Court of Assistants

This is the Management Board of the Company.  Chaired by the Prime Warden, the Court is made up of the four Wardens and all Assistants aged 80 or under.  Its prime purpose is to scrutinise and ratify the actions and recommendations of all the Company's committees and the Court of Wardens.  By virtue of also being Directors of the Company’s corporate trustee, the Assistants are also responsible for the overall administration of the Company’s charities.

The Investment Committee

Responsible for all key issues relating to the Company's investment and property portfolios.

The Assay Office Management Board

Responsible for directing the Company's hallmarking business.

The Goldsmiths Craft and Industry Committee

Responsible for directing the Company's support of the craft.

The Communications & Marketing Committee

Responsible for the promoting the Company and its activities, for maintaining the websites and social media, and for Goldsmiths' Fair.

The Charity Committee

Responsible for allocating the Company's general charitable grants.

The Education Committee

Responsible for directing the Company's grants and initiatives aimed at assisting schools and teachers.

The Antique Plate Committee

Responsible for scrutinising silver articles suspected of contravening the Hallmarking Act.

The Modern Collection Committee

Responsible for directing the purchase and commissioning of contemporary articles for the Company's collection.

The Collections and Library Committee

Responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the Company's collection of silver, jewellery and fine art, and the contents of the library and archives.

The House Committee

Responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the fabric and the running of the Hall. It is supported by a Wine Sub-Committee.

The Membership Committee

Responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Company membership of Freemen and Liverymen. It is supported by an Events Sub-Committee.

Court of Wardens

Chaired by the Prime Warden, the Court of Wardens comprises the four Wardens with the Clerk and senior staff in support.  It is responsible for all matters relating to the policy and direction of the Company. The positions on the Court change annually, as the Prime Warden holds the post for one year, before returning to the Court of Assistants.

Prime Warden, Michael Wainwright

Michael Wainwright, Managing Director of Boodles, was educated at Shrewsbury School and Exeter University. He graduated in Business Studies and Economics and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1983.

Michael joined Boodles in 1984 and is Managing Director of the company. He is the fifth generation of the Wainwright family to own the business, which was established in Liverpool in 1798.  Boodles have nine shops in total – five in London, including Bond Street’s flagship, three in the North-West of England and one in Dublin.

Michael is currently Fundraising Trustee for the Rainbow Trust, a children’s charity that provides emotional and practical support to families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.

Prime Warden Michael Wainwright

Michael is married to Annie and they have twins, Honour and Geordie, who are both at university.  His hobbies include golf, shooting, wine, national hunt horse racing, vegetable gardening and Liverpool Football Club!

Read more about Michael's inauguration as Prime Warden here.

Second Warden, Judith Cobham-Lowe, OBE, FIoD, FCIL, FRSA

Judith’s early career covered a variety of jobs, including being asked to teach traditional skills back to the Mohawk Indians on the US-Canada border and fronting ‘Megamorphosis’, a bilingual World Service series of 9 programmes on the impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Other roles included Fellow in International Management at what is now Cass Business School, then at Manchester Business School, and becoming a Tutor on the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme, culminating in an appointment as Deputy Director in the European Business School.

On the back of this international experience, she became MD of a City-based corporate strategy practice, working in 19 countries, advising the Boards of such companies as BP, BT, Standard Chartered, Glaxo, Accenture and National Grid, on their longer-term future.

Keen to mitigate the restrictions of consultancy, she inadvertently became the first woman ever appointed a Non-Executive Director by the Institute of Directors’ Board Appointments Service. This led to seven further public and private sector NED Chairmanships, Deputy Chairmanships and Directorships, including becoming the first woman NED to join HM Treasury.  She also served on a BBC Advisory Board.

Judith became a Goldsmiths’ Liveryman in 1993.  Since then, she has been closely involved in the Company’s charitable and education activities, including the Goldsmiths’ Centre’s Apprenticeship Programme.  In May 2017, she will become the Company’s first female Prime Warden in 700 years.

Her wider interests include opera, classical theatre – she is a Patron of both the ENO and the RSC - and finding a foolproof method of discouraging Crossrail-tunnelling moles in a large South Warwickshire garden.

Third Warden, Michael Prideaux

Michael spent much of his executive career at British American Tobacco, where he was a member of the Management Board and responsible for Corporate and Regulatory Affairs from 1998 - 2012.  He joined B.A.T.  Industries, then a diversified conglomerate spanning tobacco, financial services, retailing and paper and pulp in 1989. He was Chief Executive of Charles Barker City, a leading corporate and financial public relations, advertising and design business from 1983-89, having previously sold advertising space for the Financial Times from 1976-83.

Michael is Chairman of Trustees at Chelsea Physic Garden and also Chairman of the Old Etonian Association. He was Master of the Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders in 2012.

Fourth Warden, Geoffrey Munn OBE, FSA, FLS

Geoffrey is the Managing Director of London jewellers Wartski, and specialises in jewellery, 19th century precious metalwork and Fabergé. He is a regular expert on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow.  He  has written a number of books and has curated many exhibitions, including Tiaras at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2002.

Geoffrey is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries; the Linnean Society of London; and The Royal Society of Arts. He is also Chairman of the Friends of The British Antique Dealers' Association Trust. He was appointed an OBE in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to charity in the United Kingdom.

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History of the Company

The history of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London, founded in 1327.


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