Cordwainer Statue

This Cordwainer statue was chosen to mark the 100th anniversary of the Ward Club.

It was funded by the City of London Corporation, the Ward Club plus members of the Club and also some businesses associated with the Cordwainers.

This bronze statue, is the work of Alma Boyes, and was unveiled in 2002 originally set up in a temporary location in Bow Churchyard. But subsequently relocated to its permanent home here in Watling Street

A reminder for you all that Watling Street is an ancient trackway for Britons and is the original Roman Road in England & Wales.

Going back to 1272 the first ordinances of the Cordwainers’ Company were drawn up, establishing the rules that governed the trade of shoemaking here in the City of London.

In 1350 The Statute of Labourers attempts to fix the price of goods. A pair of ‘cordwan’ shoes sold for 6d.

1493 The Cordwainers acquire their first hall in the shadow of old St Paul’s Cathedral on Maiden Lane

1666 Great Fire of London destroys Cordwainer Hall. The Clerk rescued many valuables, which were subsequently sold to pay the Company debts.

1828 Cordwainer William Marsden founds the Royal Free Hospital

Historically, there was a distinction between a cordwainer, who made luxury shoes and boots out of the finest leathers, and a cobbler, who repaired them. This distinction gradually weakened, particularly during the twentieth century, when there was a predominance of shoe retailers who neither made nor repaired shoes.

Until 2000, a Cordwainers’ Technical College existed in London. For over a hundred years, the College had been recognised as one of the world’s leading establishments for training shoemakers and leather workers.

It produced some of the leading fashion designers, including Jimmy Choo and Patrick Cox. In 2000, Cordwainers’ College was absorbed into the London College of Fashion, the shoe-design and accessories departments of which are now called “Cordwainer’s at London College of Fashion

Cordwainers were among those who sailed to Virginia in 1610 to settle in Jamestown. By 1616, the secretary of Virginia reported that the leather and shoe trades were flourishing. Christopher Nelme, of England, was the earliest shoemaker in America whose name has been recorded; he sailed to Virginia from Bristol, in 1619.

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts. Nine years later, in 1629, the first shoemakers arrived, bringing their skills with them.

 

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