Summons to Common Hall

For the past several centuries, the Livery have been summoned to Guildhall for a Common Hall twice yearly; once, to elect the Lord Mayor (on Michaelmas Day, 29 September) and once to elect the Sheriffs (on Midsummers’ Day, 24 June). Where those dates fall on a weekend or religious holiday, provision are in place to move them to the closest available alternative.

Each year, in June (for the Shrieval elections) and in September (for election of the Lord Mayor) a Precept (or Summons) is issued by the Town Clerk, currently John Barradell OBE, to all Livery Clerks for onward distribution. The traditional wording of the Summons is generally as follows:

To the Master and Wardens of the Worshipful Company of XXXX

These are to require you to cause all the livery of your company to be summoned to meet at Guildhall on Monday 24 June, next, by 11.45 am for the election of sheriffs and other officers, annually chosen on Midsummer Day.

The Lord Mayor will take the chair at 12.00 noon precisely.

Hereof you are not to fail. [DATE]

BARRADELL

To the Master and Wardens of The Worshipful Company of XXXX

These are to require you to cause notice to be given to all the liverymen of your company to appear at Guildhall on Wednesday, 2 October, next, for the election of a Lord Mayor for the year ensuing, for which purpose the Lord Mayor will take the chair at 11.45 am, precisely.

The election will be preceded by the customary service at the Guild Church of St Lawrence Jewry-next-Guildhall at 10.45 am.

And you are to take special care that all the ornaments of your company be provided against the next Lord Mayor’s Day, being appointed by Act of Parliament to be on the second Saturday in November next.

Hereof you are not to fail. [DATE]

BARRADELL

In practice, these traditional precepts are now part of a wider piece of communication, in which further details are provided, such as the timings of arrival for Masters, the ceremonial sheet setting out the events to take place at Common Hall, lists of candidates, and so on.

Both Common Halls tend to be very popular events and seating is provided on a first-come-first-served basis, so early arrival is recommended. Passes are issued to Clerks, who in turn provide them to eligible Liverymen on request, and these will need to be shown on entry to the Guildhall to prove your right to attend. Those without a pass in advance are able to obtain one on the day through having details verified against the Common Hall register, although this can take some time due to demand on the day and so obtaining a pass in advance is extremely prudent to avoid delays. Spouses or guests who are not Liverymen should not attend, as this is an electoral event restricted to those eligible to participate and they will not be permitted entry.

The procedure at both Common Halls is similar and set out in the relevant sections elsewhere on this website, and arrangements for the livery are broadly identical at each. Both elections generally conclude by 1pm, although there is some variability as one might expect. Following the election, it is customary though by no means mandatory, for Liverymen to attend a lunch or dinner with their fellow Liverymen.