Visit to Vitners Hall
Got to have a good old snoop around the Worshipful Company of Vitners, one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London.
Livery companies are trade associations or guilds in which craftsmen from particular trades gathered together to essentially regulate competition within their trade and maintain standards. They also trained the young and looked after members in sickness and old age. They were, in effect, trade unions of an all-embracing kind and remain one of those wonderful peculiarities that exist in the City of London.
Along with the Mercers, the Vitners - who are were traditionally responsible for the import, regulation and sale of wine - are also involved with the rather curious ceremony of swan upping in which mute swans on the River Thames are rounded up, caught, ringed, and then released.
A privilege to visit such a great institution.