It is not until the early twentieth century that reliable documentary evidence can be found, which confirms the existence of an association of meat traders that represented the commercial interests of London butchers.

What we do know is that on the eighth day of June 1907 seven butchers from within the London area signed the Memorandum and Articles of Association which established the Incorporated Society of London Meat Trades (ISLMT).

The newly formed organisation pledged to promote commerce, pass on information, and to protect the commercial interests of its members. Representation was to be made to the legislative and regulatory authorities, and there was also a commitment to support research into animal diseases of the day which threatened to compromise the supply of sound and wholesome meat which was to be sold to the public.

Also, in the true spirit of 19th century philanthropy, there was provision in the articles to promote charitable works in aid of those within the trade who had fallen onto 'hard times' The new organisation had 1100 members and the annual subscription for each shop was to be half a guinea (52.5p), or one guinea (£1.05) if the member wished to receive an issue of the Meat Trades Journal posted to him each week.

The President was Councillor John Lindsey who had a business in Putney High Street, and the Treasurer was Mr Walter Brazil of the Kings Road, Chelsea. On the 6th January 1919, by special resolution, the organisation's name was changed to 'The Union of London Retail Meat Traders Incorporated' and this remained up until more recent times when it became The London Retail Meat Traders Association (LRMTA).

The Relationship between London and the National Federation

It is true that the relationship between London butchers and the National Federation from the early days has always been close. It is almost certain that the signatories to the M & Arts of the Incorporated Society of London Meat Trades (ISLMT) would have attended the meeting held at the Wellington Hotel, Dewsbury in Yorkshire which laid the foundations for creating the National Federation of Meat Traders (NFMFT, the forerunner to the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders) in 1888.

What is known is that three London butchers, together with William Coggan and John Lindsey (both signatories to the ISLMT) were, with three Yorkshire men and two Lancastrians, signatories to the M & Arts of the NFMT. And both Coggan in 1900 and Lindsey in1910 went on to be President of the NFMT.

Since the creation of the national organisation the relationship between London and the Federation has gone from strength to strength. In whichever guise, from the days of the ISLMT through to the LRMTA, the organisation was always affiliated to the Federation. This remained so until 1974 when direct membership to the Federation was introduced. It was then that, by special resolution, the LRMTA determined that qualification for London membership would be conditional on the applicant being a member of the NFMT.

To this day, whilst the London member enjoys the benefits that dual membership gives, the relationship remains strong. London has over the years been a continuous supporter of the Federation in fielding representatives and providing many National Presidents. Indeed, the links have never been stronger than they are now when, in 2010, Roger Kelsey, Secretary to LRMTA, was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders.

The values and the principles encompassed in the original Memorandum and Articles of Association of the ISLMT, and the spirit in which they were written, hold as true and remain as relevant today as they did then and have been throughout the hundred years or so that the organisation has been in existence.