Some bloggers coming across this site may wonder what the Drapers' Company is. They may be even more incredulous that someone who only has the most tangential connection with drapery can lay claim to the title of Master Draper.

Inevitably for an organisation that has developed over seven hundred years it is a complex question to answer. Our ancient organisation has evolved and developed over the centuries but there have always been three distinctive strands in its existence.

The first, more prominent in past centuries but not the major purpose today, is to act as the focus for sustaining standards (and to be honest the profitability) of the drapery trade. It did this by having a membership (divided into a senior section: the livery and a junior: the freemen) of like-minded individuals. Our monopoly control of the drapery trade in London slipped away some four centuries ago but the Company still does some work with the textiles industry in Britain and I will describe this in posts during the year. And, as described below, the livery and freedom has developed to support the Company's aims.

The second is to use any assets that have been gifted by Drapers over the centuries for charitable purposes. This has built up into a very considerable sum and even in these difficult times we are still giving away some £2.5 million a year across an extraordinarily wide range of activities, as well as supporting three almshouses and providing governors and similar appointments to a large number of schools and colleges.

The third is to use the abilities of the livery and freedom to promote the wider interests of the Company but also in turn to sustain close social links.

Find out more about the Company at http://www.thedrapers.co.uk/