The Annual Report covers the period October to October.
Following in Fathers' Footsteps
To become the Master Cutler, he/she has to be elected by the Company of Cutlers. The Cutlers’ Company, was established in 1624 by an Act of Incorporation, which states that the Company will elect a Master, two Wardens, six Searchers and twenty-four Assistants. This happens every year.
Only Freeman of the Company can be elected a Member and there are two ways to become a Freeman.
They are – by servitude, which means the person has served an apprenticeship to the trade, or by redemption – by paying an entrance fee. Unlike the London Livery Companies, the Cutler’s Company does not have qualification by patrimony, which meant that if your father was in the Company – you too could become a Freeman.
One overriding requirement, today, is that a Freeman must be a manufacturer of metal goods, within the Sheffield Region. Many Freemen have followed their fathers into the family business, or into the same trade, and this results in two or three generations of a family being involved with the Company and often, becoming Masters.
The present Master, James Tear, has followed his father Paul, who was Master in 1997.
Other examples are the three generations of the Balfour family. Arthur Balfour joined the firm of Seebohm and Dickstahl, working his way from office boy to manager. He became Master Cutler in 1911. His son, R.A. Balfour became Master in 1946 and his grandson, Mark Balfour was Master in 1969.
Another example is that of the Neill family – James Neill, Master in 1923, Colonel Frederick Neill, 1937 and J Hugh Neill was Master in 1958.
The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire
The Cutlers' Hall