No one could practise a trade or craft in London, set up shop, take apprentices or vote unless they were ‘free of’ (admitted to) a livery company.
The companies checked on the quality of their members’ work, and members of a particular trade or craft tended to congregate in the areas best suited to their business requirements. Arrows came from the Fletcher’s of Grub Street; printers, booksellers and stationers had their presses and shops in Fleet Street and St Paul’s Churchyard; and leatherdressers lived by Curriers’ Hall on London Wall.
The Goldsmiths' and Pewterers' Companies insisted that their members mark their wares. Goldsmiths were expected to live in company properties along Cheapside, the main shopping street, where their workshops could easily be inspected.