The history behind Cutlers Hall ¦ Welcome to our first blog post

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

It's incredible isn't it?

The UK has spent what feels like an eternity underneath Covid19's dark blanket. Socialising, events and general happiness seemed to evaporate with no intent to return. But here we are, several months out of lockdown and we're back stronger than ever before.

(I'm editing this post now just as the government have announced we're going into plan B, fingers crossed there's no lockdown this christmas!)

The Cutlers hall was closed throughout those dreary days in lockdown, but that never stopped our Sales team working behind the scenes keeping the spirit of eventing alive.

Keeping the spirit of eventing alive.

If you are local to Sheffield, you may have already come across the breathtaking exterior of the Cutlers Hall and even more so the captivating interior rooms that it possesses.

But, if you're anything like me when I first crossed paths with this Grade 2 listed building, you may be wondering what it is all about.

Fortunately you do not have to wonder any longer.

I've been a sales and events executive here for several months now and I can wholeheartedly tell you that the awe of the venue never fades away.

So what is the Cutlers Hall?

The Cutlers' Hall is a magnificent venue steeped in history and grandeur. It is an impressive Grade II listed building in the heart of Sheffield.

The Cutlers' Company in Hallamshire has had three Halls on the same site. In 1638, shortly after it came into being, the Company bought land for their Hall on Church Street, Sheffield, opposite the parish church, which is now the Cathedral. The second Hall was built in 1725. The present Hall, a Grade 2* Listed building, was built in 1832 and extended in the late 19th Century. Grand from the exterior, its interior is magnificent and rivals the best of the Livery Halls in London.

The interior is magnificent and rivals the best of the Livery Halls in London.

Over the years, it has served as a focus for the Company's activities and as a venue for social events - both for the Cutlers' Company and for Hallamshire.

What happens at The Cutlers Hall nowadays, in regards to the Cutlers' Company?

In terms of the company, the purpose nowadays is the promotion and support of local manufacturing industries and businesses. The Freemen represent a large base from which to establish links and networks in Sheffield industries.

Today, qualified individuals who apply to the Company are granted their 'Freedom’. The name Sheffield is protected by law and the Company makes efforts to maintain its reputation. The Company also continues to prevent its illegal use on goods manufactured elsewhere.

As the face of industry in Hallamshire has changed, so has the Company. Much of its influence is exerted through the Master who has a significant platform both locally and nationally.

The Company runs several events during the year and these include: ‘The Cutlers’ Feast’, a dinner for some 400 people in the Cutlers’ Hall; Education Awards; Police Awards and the Forfeit Feast which is normally attended by the Lord Mayor of London.

In addition it is becoming increasingly involved in education seeking to re-establish the essential link between educational establishments and business in the Region.

Finally, the Company also administers three charities, The Cutlers’ Hall Preservation Trust, the Cutlers’ Company Charitable Trust and the Sir John Osborn Trust. Donations to good causes in the Region are made on an annual basis - for purposes which vary from the relief of poverty or distress; through education in the Sheffield region to the preservation of the Cutlers’ Hall and its collections.

What happens at The Cutlers Hall nowadays for the public?

The Cutlers Hall caters for all.

The Cutlers Hall is available to hire out for any occasion. Whether it be a champagne fuelled drinks reception or a multiple day business conference, a large-scale wedding evening do of 350 guests or a small intimate wedding ceremony of 11 people. The Cutlers Hall caters for all events no matter how large or small.

What is the Cutlers' Company?

Hallamshire was the southern-most shire of Anglo-Saxon Northumbria and its boundary separated Northumbria from Mercia. The manufacture of cutlery (implement with a cutting edge) has been carried out in this area for centuries, aided by abundant fast-flowing water to power the water wheels and sandstone to make the grinding wheels.

The Company had the responsibility for binding apprentices, admitting Freemen, registering marks and it devised regulations to ensure the quality of workmanship. The first Master Cutler in 1624 was the cutler, Robert Sorsby, who came from a well-established local family. Until the middle of the 19th century, the Masters Cutler were involved in the manufacture of one or more of the goods defined in the early Act and later bye-laws, with the majority being cutlers - the makers of knives.

For almost four hundred years, the Company has maintained the standing of Sheffield's metal-related industries, both at home and abroad.

The Company consists of 33 Members who are Freemen. They are the Master, 2 Wardens, 6 Searchers and 24 Assistants. All other Freemen of the Company, currently around 400, are known as the Commonalty

The edge-tool trade had originally been excluded from the Company, but its growth and the development of bulk steel-making in the mid-19th century led the company to amend its rules to admit these trades. In 1863, Thomas Jessop was the first steel manufacturer to

be Master Cutler. For most of the twentieth century, Masters have generally been from the steel, engineering and edge-tool industries.

Tell me more!

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for future blog posts about everything eventing and Cutlers Hall!

To keep up-to-date on when we post, make sure you're following our social media!

Until next time!

-Toni Charlotte

Sales Executive

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