Freedom of the Company

Becoming a Freeman of the Company

The first stage of membership is to become a Freeman of the Company. There are three routes to apply:

  1. By right. If you are qualified as an orthoptist, dispensing optician, optometrist or ophthalmologist or have passed WCSM examinations at Level 2 or above, you can apply to become a Freeman.
  2. By patrimony. If one of your parents was a Freeman of the Company before or at the time of your birth, you can apply to become a Freeman by patrimony.
  3. By recommendation. If you do not qualify under either of the above routes, you can still apply to become a Freeman but you will need your application to be supported by two existing Liverymen of the Company.
Click here for the current Application Form and for full details of the admission process.

How much does it cost?

When your application is approved and you make your Declaration as a Freeman, you will be asked to pay £135 to cover your first year’s membership and a small administrative charge. You will then renew your membership at the next renewal point (1 June) by paying the quarterage set for that year. Currently, Quarterage for Freedom is £120 per year; quarterage for Liverymen is £300 per year. At least 8 weeks’ notice will be given of any increase in quarterage. If you do not pay your annual Quarterage, your membership will end.

Following formal admission, which tends to take place a few months later, new Freemen pay the proportion of Quarterage covering the period up to the next renewal date of 1 June. Quarterage then becomes due on 1 June each year.

What happens to my form?

Application forms go forward to the Court for approval. The Clerk contacts all those whose applications have been approved to invite them to make an appointment to be admitted to the Freedom formally, in a short ceremony.

Click here for the Declaration required to be made by all new Freemen (taken from the Company's Book of Ordinances of 1630)