Today as part of our 100 women nominated to receive the Freedom of the City of London I was delighted to support Sophie Timms who works in Tower Ward for her support of women in the city. It was a wonderful experience and a pleasure to play a small part in her ceremony.
In total over 100 women will receive the Freedom of the City of London to commemorate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918. The Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by our municipality upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary.
Drawn from a wide range of backgrounds – but all with a connection to the City – the 106 women include the likes of Sally Balcombe, chief executive of VisitBritain/VisitEngland; Louise Jeffreys, artistic director at the Barbican Centre; and Jodie Whittaker of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama best known as the first female Doctor in Doctor Who.
Historically unless declared a freeman or free woman you could not setting a business and trade in the city. So having this right was hugely important, and it led to John Wilkes, an 18th-century Chamberlain, saying at each ceremony: 'I give you the gift of joy' because it was a licence to make money. To have the Freedom of the City is to be a guildsman. Trade and the freedom were intimately connected from the very beginning." We still say this and today Sophie was given joy as a result!
Amazing women helping make London amazing.