Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards

A Welcome from The Master

Welcome to our website. Here, you will find information about the background of our Company and the role we have within the City today as well as fascinating information about playing cards and their history. The Company offers a varied programme of events to our members to suit all interests.

I hope you enjoy looking through the site and please feel free to get in touch if there is anything we can help you with.

Paul Bostock BA DPhil
Master Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards

MASTERS CARDS 2021 -2022
Celebrating 100 years of the BBC

NEW DATE: Inter-Livery Bridge Competitions 2023

Our next Inter-livery bridge event will be Monday 1st March 2023 at Drapers’ Hall.


Playing Cards of the Month

"'Cotta's Almanac for 1805' -  'Joan of Arc'"
By J G Cotta, Tubingen, 1804 for issue in 1805.

The first complete transformation pack with a known date. The court cards depict characters from the play "Die Jungfrau von Orleans"

Find out more here


A Brief Company History

The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards is one of the early Trade Guilds in the City of London.

The Company was founded as the:
"Mistery (trade, art, or occupation) of Makers of Playing Cards of the City of London"
by a Charter granted by King Charles I on 22nd October 1628.

Some 164 years later, on 27th November 1792 the Court of Aldermen of the City of London granted the Company its Livery. Accordingly, though 75th in order of precedence, it is one of the older of the City Livery Companies, which now number 110.

The Makers of Playing Cards is a craft, rather than a trade, Company.

Artist's impression of the Company's House
at St John's Gate Spitalfields
Used for the Masters Installation Cards in 1884
See the cards

The Company Today

Since the formation of the Company in the Middle Ages when playing cards were the sole entertainment for the population, the production and use of playing cards in London has declined. Today the Company still has card makers as Members.

However, the Company has many other Members connected with playing cards including card collectors, dealers, bridge players, magicians and other professions.

If you are interested in helping to "Make a Difference" in the City and beyond, please get in touch to find out more about how we can help you to make the best use of your skills.


Inter Livery  Bridge Competition
Competition Results 2020

Company of Makers of Playing Cards

Historic Cribbage Final Playoff
Joe aged 72, vs Harry aged 13


Find out how, with your support, we help charities throughout the country

Makers of Playing Cards Charity
Download Our Brochure

Makers of Playing Cards Charity
Our Information

Makers of Playing Cards Charity
Our News


Articles by Senior Warden Dr Paul Bostock 
Fascinating Articles on Playing Cards

Inter Livery  Bridge Competition
Monday 2nd March 2020

PM Roddy Somerville Curators Corner
Unusual Packs From Our Collection


About the WCMPC Playing Card Collection
We have a large collection of cards and papers relating to playing cards over the centuries and currently stored at the London Metropolitan Archive.

The Company maintains and continues to expand its world famous collection of playing cards first presented by Past Master Henry Phillips in 1907 and housed by arrangement with the City of London at the London Metropolitan Archives.

The Company is currently undertaking an ambitious project to make digital images of our historic collection available: WCMPC Playing Card Collection online.

In 1907, Past Master Henry Phillips presented his own collection of playing cards to the company. He had been Master four times between 1854 and 1897. The collection at that time numbered 599 items, and these together with the John Berry and Waddington collections are now housed in the London Metropolitan Archive and total several thousand packs of cards dating back to the late 17th century. They are available for inspection by appointment.



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Corde Recto Elati Omnes:
With an Upright Heart All Are Exalted

The Company has been a "Force for Good" in the City for over 380 years. From enabling leisure and entertainment in the Coffee Houses, Parlours and Ale Taverns of King Charles's time, to our more modern role of providing opportunities for disadvantaged children, we have always attracted able people who want to make a difference.

If you are interested in helping to "Make a Difference" in the City and beyond, please contact the Clerk to find out more about how we might help you to make the best use of your skills.