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Sir Richard Hoare After a painting by Allan Ramsay (1713-84)
Sir Richard Hoare (1709-1754) was the grandson of the founder of the bank that still bears his name. He is shown here in a print that, at two shillings, is unusually expensive for its size. He wears the robes of office that he wore as Lord Mayor of London in the year 1745-6.
From as early as Saxon times, London craftsmen had grouped together to protect their interests. These fraternities developed into the great Livery Companies that underpin the administration of the City. In the eighteenth century no trader could operate within the boundaries of the City unless he or she was a freeman of one of the seventy-seven Companies. Women could become members and frequently ran businesses, but they could not progress to the more senior rank of liveryman from which was elected the City's governing body, the Corporation of London. Residents of each ward elected members of the Corporation from Liverymen: between four and twelve Common Councilmen according to the size of the ward, and one Alderman who held office for life. Each year the Lord Mayor and at least one of the two Sheriffs were elected from the Court of Aldermen by the Livery Companies.