History of Tax Events

It is a traditional function of livery companies to maintain historical records of the livery and to foster interest in the history of their associated trades. The Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers has only a short history since its formation as a guild in 1995 (see link) but the imposition of taxes, in many diverse forms, goes back for millennia. Many members of the Company have a longstanding interest in the history of taxation, a rather neglected area for academic research, and in 2008 the Company formed a History of Tax Group. The profession of tax adviser is also a fairly young one and the Group's interests include the development of the profession and the history of tax administration.
The first meeting was held in February 2009 when the late John Jeffrey-Cook gave a talk on “The Remarkable William Pitt and his Taxes”, which formed the basis of an article published in the British Tax Review in 2010. Since then the group has met twice a year in February and October. These meetings are open to all with an interest in the history of taxation and are held in the early evening, and sometimes followed by lively discussion over supper in a nearby restaurant. Attendees at these meetings include a cross-section of company members, together with spouses and guests, students and professors of the history of tax, current and former members of HM Revenue and Customs, and members of the tax judiciary.

Meetings are open to all, Company members and non-members alike, but places must be booked in advance (Booking Form link below). If you would like to attend future meetings of the group please e-mail adminwcta@ciot.org.uk to be included on email circulation. 

Forthcoming meetings:

15  October 2018 (Monday) Professor Caroline Barron will be speaking on Taxation in the Medieval City of London.

Biographical details: 

Professor Caroline Barron is an Emeritus Professor of the History of London at Royal Holloway, University of London and the President of the British Association for Local History.

Her research interests lie in the area of late medieval British history, particularly the history of the City of London, the reign of Richard II and the history of women. She has written on Richard II for the New Cambridge Medieval History and on London for the Cambridge Urban History of Britain. Her book London in the Later Middle Ages: Government and People 1200-1500 was published by the Oxford University Press in 2004. She is also interested in urban literacy and in the ways in which the 'small people' of London expressed their concerns and priorities.

Booking form: Click here for more information and to book your place

Outline: Taxation in the Medieval City of London 

In the medieval period (c.1066-1500) the City of London was taxed by the Crown along with the rest of the country. Gradually the national system of taxation evolved from obligatory feudal exactions to voluntary grants agreed by Parliament. London always claimed special conditions and exceptions in paying national taxes, and evolved its own systems for raising money in the City in response to demands from the Crown. The citizens also developed ways in which to raise money for communal enterprises (such as the City's piped water supply or the new Guildhall built in the early fifteenth century) to improve civic amenities. Money was almost always raised via the Wards In short, this talk will consider how, in the medieval period, the wealth of London was tapped for the common good whether national or local.

Past meetings:

The material included in this section has been written by the authors from the presentations given by them to members and guests of the History of Tax Group of the Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers and is reproduced for educational purposes with the permission of the authors and where applicable by agreement from the publishers. All rights reserved.

February 2018       Martin Daunton: "The Politics of Land Taxation in the British Empire" - Click here to view slides
October 2017        Helen Thornley: "The Women’s Tax Resistance League 1909-1918"
February 2017       Matthew Peppitt: "Taxing the ultimate luxury – Plate duty: the taxation of the goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ trade 1719 – 1890"
October 2016        Peter Allen: "National Insurance: Tax or Welfare State?"
February 2016       Professor Sir John H Baker:  "The Curious Case of Mr Trull"
October 2015        Professor Chantal Stebbings: "Tax and Quacks: the Medicine Stamp Duty 1783 - 1941"
February 2015       Professor Martin Daunton: "Creating a new fiscal constitution in post-war Japan"
October 2014        Peter Fawcett:  "Taxation in Classical Athens"
February 2014       Professor Julian Hoppit, FBA"Scotland and the British Fiscal State, 1707 - 1800"
October 2013        Dr John Avery Jones CBE: "Seven Appeals and an Acquittal: the Singer Family and Their Tax Cases" 
March 2013          
John Pearce: "Rewriting Income Tax Law 1907-56"
October 2012        David Williams: "Surveying Taxes in the Great War 1914-1918"
February 2012       Prof. Jane Frecknall Hughes"The History of the Tax Profession"
October 2011        John Pearce: "The Road to PAYE"
February 2011       Prof. Chantal Stebbings: "Victorian Asylums: the Tax Factor” 
September 2010    John Brown CBE: “Paul de Voil’s VAT decisions”
September 2010    Prof.David Southern: Inflation,Taxation & Revaluation:Germany 1920-1930”                      
February 2010       Prof. Jane Frecknall Hughes: “Magna Carta Revisited”
September 2009    Dr John Avery Jones CBE: “Finding historical tax material in the ‘PRO’”
September 2009    Richard Thomas: “Sir Sidney and Sir John: the Rowlatts and Tax"
February 2009       John Jeffrey-Cook: The Remarkable William Pitt and his Taxes”