Our History

Eric Hill – also founder of the British Institute of Cleaning Science – helped by Sir Kenneth Cork, then Alderman for the Ward of Tower and later the Lord Mayor of the City of London, set up the organisation. An opening meeting took place on 22 October 1972 in the Stanley Dell Room of the City Livery Club, attended by 43 colleagues and friends from the cleaning industry. At this meeting the ‘The Guild of Cleaners’ officially began.

Becoming a Livery Company

In 1983, Alderman Sir Kenneth Cork sponsored the Guild’s Petition to be recognised as a Company of the City of London without livery. At this time the Guild also changed its name to the ‘Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners’. On 7 June 1983, the Court of Aldermen was pleased to agree with the Petition praying for recognition as a Company without a grant of livery.

A further Petition, this time sponsored by Alderman Sir Christopher Leaver, was submitted on 12 February 1986 and the Court of Aldermen agreed to the Company being constituted as the 97th Livery Company of the City of London on 22 October 1986 (the 14th Anniversary of the formation of the Guild).

The Windsor Herald of Arms presented the Environmental Cleaners with its framed Royal Charter in November 2011, having been granted by HM The Queen in 2010.

We can have up to 450 liverymen. The Environment Cleaners is an equal opportunities organisation and has had three lady Masters, so far.

  • HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was an Honorary Freeman of the Company.
  • The Lord Mayor of the City of London 2003, Alderman Sir Robert Finch and the Lord Mayor of the City of London 2010, Sir Michael Bear are both Honorary Liverymen.

The Armorial Bearings

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The armorial bearings of the Company comprise a shield, helmet and crest, blazoned with the motto ‘Tergere est Servare’ (To clean is to preserve).

The shield is a simple design and is exactly the same as the insignia and motto adopted by the Guild.

The tincture of Azure and Argent (Blue and Silver), as well as the madonna lilies and above all the cross, have long been accepted as symbolic of cleanliness, purity and sacrifice – all being admirable aims for those connected with keeping the environment clean. These tinctures and charges have been arranged in an armorial manner using the age-old device of counter changing (white on blue and blue on white) in order to achieve a bold heraldic design.

The crest, which is the device above the shield, is always depicted in Letters Patent of Armorial Bearings surmounted upon a helm having lambrequin (a scarf worn over a helmet) issuing from the top of the helmet.

The crest retains the basic tinctures of blue and white. The turreted tower represents a city, and the dragon rising from it represents the City of London.

The besom brush held by the dragon obviously indicates cleaning and the stars on its wings represent shining brightness.

The Founder and Founding Members

Founder: Eric Walter Francis Hill TD

The Guild of Master Cleaners, as it was formerly known, was founded on 22 October 1972 and became a livery company on 22 October 1986. There were 44 founder members.

At the annual Installation Banquet and the Ladies Banquet, a toast is given by the most senior Past Master present to the memory of the Founder, using the words “The Founder – Eric Walter Francis Hill”. Eric Hill was also the founder the British Institute of Cleaning Science. He died on Tuesday 11 September 1990.

Founding Members

  • Gordon Davies *# (First Master of the Guild)
  • Donald Pearse * (1st First Senior Warden of the Guild)
  • David Williams *# (1st Junior Warden of the Guild)
  • Lord Ashcroft
  • Anthony O’Connor #
  • John Ayres *#
  • James Pendle #
  • Ronald Ayres
  • George Perkins #
  • Brain Barclay *#
  • Peter Pritchard
  • Alan Berry
  • Harold Russell #
  • George Clayton #
  • Maurice Ryer
  • Henry Courtney
  • Mark Silver
  • Milton Davis
  • Mervyn Silver
  • Patrick Doyle #
  • Paul Silver
  • Edward Evans
  • Dr Brian Smith *
  • John Fraser #
  • David Smith #
  • Sidney Gordon
  • Phillip Turner #
  • Robert Goymour
  • Theo van der Pasch #
  • Eric Green *
  • Alan Vause *
  • Reginald Hall
  • Gordon Warren
  • Doreen Heyes #
  • David Watt *
  • Adrian Hurd
  • Donald Wells *
  • Leslie James
  • Harold Whiting *
  • Eric Laker #
  • Stanley Wilby
  • Lt. Col. Ian Little *#
  • Robert Wilson
  • John Morris

* Past Masters
# Deceased