The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters traces
its origins to 1589 when William Lee of Calverton in Nottinghamshire
invented a method of knitting mechanically. It was incorporated by
Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, on 13th June 1657
and was re-incorporated and its privileges extended by Letters Patent of
His Majesty King Charles II on 19th August 1663 with the style, “The
Master, Wardens, Assistants and Society of the Art or Mystery of
Framework Knitters of the Cities of London and Westminster and the
Kingdom of England and the Dominion of Wales”.
The Company was incorporated by order of the Court of Aldermen as a Livery Company of the City of London on 9th June 1713, being 64th in order of precedence. A comprehensive history of the Framework Knitters, written by Sheila Mason, a Liveryman of the Company, was published in 2000. It details the Company’s relationship with the craft, the hosiery and knitting industry and its rôle as a City of London Livery Company. Indeed, the Company takes great pride in the fact that it has provided no less than eight Lord Mayors of the City of London.