United Guilds Service
The establishment of the United Guilds in February 1943 was as a coordinated response to the challenges faced by the City of London following the Blitz of 1940-41.
The United Guilds Service was also a reminder of the religious origins of the Guilds. The first service was conducted was held on Lady Day - 25 March 1943 - the first day of the year by the old calendar. The King was petitioned to attend, along with Masters and Prime Wardens in their robes with such of their livery as ‘may be able’. The King did not attend; but, the Lord Mayor and the Aldermen did. Dr Fisher, the Bishop of London, gave the address.
The Lord Mayor hosted an ‘austerity luncheon’ after the service for the Masters and Prime Wardens. The Lord Mayor hoped that the service would be held annually as an opportunity for the Livery to ‘approach God with one voice of united prayer’. The then Master of the Mercers, Lt. Col. E. Clementi Smith, replied and emphasised the problems facing the Companies at that date and how they could be relied upon to do everything possible to rebuild the City.
The service is now an established part of the Livery year.