The Company Is
The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire is the Voice of Manufacturing in Sheffield and South Yorkshire. The Master Cutler is a manufacturer and acts as the Voice of Manufacturing supported by the Members of the Company, Freemen and Friends.
The company structure, established in 1624, lays out several roles and all Members are involved in manufacturing:
The Master Cutler
The Senior and Junior Wardens. Subject to election by the Company the Senior Warden traditionally succeeds the Master Cutler at the end of the Master’s year. The new Master in installed on the first Tuesday of October each year.
The Searchers who are responsible for checking that the registered marks of new Freemen did not look too similar to existing ones. They also had the right to enter any workshop to ensure no fraudulent marks were being used and that blades were being made with an ‘edge of steel’. The Company had the power to issue fines and destroy ‘deceitful wares’. To this day they retain the right to destroy ‘shoddy goods’ in Paradise Square.
The Assistants. These are Members, including past Masters, available to support the Master Wardens and Searchers to perform their duties. The Chairman of the Company’s management committees are drawn from the Assistants.
Freemen are the Commonalty of the Company. All Freemen are involved with Manufacturing and the Company is drawn from the Freemen.
Friends are local non-manufacturing companies that provide key services to manufacturers such as Banks, Lawyers, accountant and other professional services.
The Company is supported day to day by the Clerk and his team including the Beadle. The Clerk is an old term and in modern parlance they are the Chief Executive of the Company charged with the day to day running of the Company, Hall and associated elements. The Beadle is head of security and also performs several ceremonial functions.