Our 750th anniversary commemorates the granting of the Company’s first ordinances by King Henry III in 1272.
The Ordinances imposed regulations on the craft of shoemaking within the City of London and stipulated that Cordwainers must work with the finest ‘cordwain’, goatskin leather from Cordova in Spain. They also quite clearly specified that Cordwainers must make new shoes from the best quality new leather, whereas cobblers must only repair old shoes with old leather.
750 years later, having survived plagues and pandemics, revolts, fires, and two world wars, the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers still supports excellence in the British footwear industry and in footwear education.
To mark the 750th anniversary of the Company, the Cordwainers are establishing the 750 Fund.
For generations to come, it will support the education and training of those involved in the footwear or leather trades.
It is envisaged that the fund will, for example, support recent graduates or individuals embarking on footwear or leatherwork careers, to participate in work placements by providing funding for travel or accommodation. Or it might enable entrepreneurs to participate in training courses relevant to the development of their fledgling businesses.
We have already had some very generous donations to kickstart the Fund, and throughout 2022 we will be raising money through our 7-5-0 Challenge.
We are also inviting all Cordwainers to seriously consider leaving a legacy for the Fund in their wills. Charitable giving is a fundamental part of being a Cordwainer today, just as it has been for centuries. The fact that we are able to make such generous charitable grants now is thanks to the generosity and philanthropy of the benefactors who have gone before us. As we reach the milestone of 750 years, we hope people will follow in their footsteps by leaving a gift that will resonate for centuries to come.