The City of London Livery Companies
have their foundation in the ancient guilds, which regulated the standard of
work and conditions of employment for craftsmen and apprentices working
within the City.
Records of the paviors date back to 1280, when Paviors were first made responsible for the repair and cleaning of London’s streets and pavements. The trade included ‘gong ferming’, the emptying and cleansing of privies, a profitable business carried out in appalling conditions. In 1302 four Paviors were appointed as Surveyors of Pavements to regulate the making of pavements; further surveyors were appointed in 1311 not all of whom were Paviors which lead to conflicts of interest between guilds.
In 1479 the Company’s Ordinances were approved by the City Corporation giving it formal authority over the ‘craft or mystery of paving’. Its activities included not only the regulation of the skill but also charitable support of poorer brethren. In 1515 the Lord Mayor placed the Company number 56 in the Order of Precedence of Livery Companies. The Company flourished until the 1 9 century when its control of street works and industry practices diminished.
In 1889 the Company revived and received a modern Grant of Livery in 1900. In the last 100 years the Company has prospered supporting the paving industry and playing an active part in the civic life of the City. The Company provided six Lord Mayors and twelve Sheriffs throughout the 20 century.
During 1999 and 2000 the Company undertook a comprehensive review of its Ordinances, Rules and Standing Orders and modernised many of its practices. Today the principal object of the Company is to further the ‘craft of paving’ in its modern context that is the planning, research, design, construction, maintenance and management of all paved surfaces as used in floors, pedestrian areas, playing surfaces, hard standings, landscaping, pavements, streets, roads, motorways and runways.
In 2003 the Court of Aldermen approved the restated and updated Ordinances. Later the same year the Company petitioned Her Majesty the Queen for a Royal Charter of incorporation, some 330 years after an unsuccessful petition to Charles II in 1673 which, for reasons not now recorded, had been vetoed by the Court of Aldermen.
A Royal Charter was granted on 11 February 2004.