I mentioned the other day that as we walk through the countryside various words pop into my head, and we discuss them, sometimes having a good laugh about them, sometimes wondering about the origins. So this week’s word is Livery.

To me as a horse obsessed individual that means a stable where you pay for someone else to do the work of looking after your horse, so you can actually just enjoy riding him/her. But then I realised there’s another meaning. Livery as in uniform, for a posh hotel, or a fancy palace, or country house in days of yore. Why the two meanings I thought?

Well here’s the original meaning from the French word Livree, meaning, handed over or dispensed, that is something that is provided, for example a distinctive uniform in a non-military context which shows a relationship between the wearer and some organisation. In other words a modern equivalent might be branding.

Livery companies are also in the mix, the societies in London where the membership is defined by what they do rather than what they wear. Liverymen has a specific definition. I’m relying on that fount of all knowledge Wikipedia.

A uniform is defined as a distinctive outfit that serves to identify members of a group, rather than belonging to an organisation. So I wondered about how the two notions could be mixed and I found a little video of the staff at the Ritz hotel in London, all wearing Uniform, but the chef is clearly also wearing Livery – with the hotel logo (brand) on his jacket. Click here to see the clip, which is remarkably interesting in its own right.

But the meaning of livery also slips to the service that is handed over, as in Livery stable, or apparently you can even have boat livery – that is rental, rather than boat branding.

All rather fascinating don’t you think. To cheer us up in theses tricky times here’s a horse in a stable, getting a bit of attention and praise.

Yes, you may stroke my nose for as long as you like.
Conmfortable quarters?
Happy Customer

I hope you enjoyed the blog as much as this lovely chestnut horse seemed to! Come back for more on walking the walk, or talking the talk