Membership and Aims
Company Membership and Aims
With the decline of the trade of currying in the UK, the Worshipful Company of Curriers’ Livery has developed into a modern fellowship with around 100 professional men and women, many of them working in or close to the City of London. Among them are lawyers, insurers, solicitors, financial analysts, chartered accountants, representatives of academia and public relations, the police and retired service personnel. The Livery also includes some people who work in the currying industry or related leather technology, design and fashion.
The Livery exists to act as a fellowship who:
- Support the leather trade, by any practical means, from bursaries and scholarships to promoting excellence in design, fashion and production.
- Make charitable donations and give grant support for the relief of poverty and hardship amongst the young, the aged, the infirm and the socially disadvantaged within London.
- Give general support for art and education, including music and drama within the City.
- Engage with units of the Armed Forces, demonstrating solidarity through active participation with affiliated military units.
- Fulfil a civic role in support of the City of London and the election of its officers.
The Company is governed by a Court consisting of 12 Assistants. One of the smallest Courts of all London Livery companies, it is presided over by the Master, who is elected each year, and by two Wardens. The Wardens are also elected annually and become the Master in turn.
There are a number of Committees which, under the guidance of the Court, deal with business and other Company matters. All members of the Company are fully encouraged to take part in this work as well as to help engage and maintain active relationships with those whom the Company chooses to sponsor and support.
The Clerk to the Company is responsible for the overall administration of the Company and for liaison with the City. On ceremonial occasions the Clerk is assisted by the Company Beadle.
Leather Currying Today
The historic trade of the Curriers’ Company, that of preparing and dressing of leather by cleaning, scraping, stretching and finishing by oiling, waxing or colouring, hides to the desired surface finish after the tanning process, declined rapidly in the UK during the early part of the 20th Century. Currying activity is now restricted mainly to the dressing of leather for a few specialist high end products.
Much of the leather still produced in the UK is now worked almost entirely by machine. However, there are exceptions, an example being the one remaining firm of curriers still working in Walsall, one of the great centres of the English leather trade in the 19th and 20th Centuries; J&E Sedgwick & Co produces hand-finished leather predominately for the equestrian market.