The Livery Weekend in Sheffield 10-12 June

Friday 10th June 2022

Traditionally the Livery Weekend has been held in Ironbridge.

2022 marked the first time for it to take place in Sheffield following the plan to spread the event around the UK.

We were most graciously hosted by The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire. Their Master and Mistress, James and Jo Tear, along with others in their support team, put on a most splendid program of events.

The Lord Mayor, Lady Mayoress, Sheriffs and members of The Livery Committee joined Masters and their Consorts from just about every Livery Company.

Coordinating plus 220 people was no small feat.

Sheffield played a crucial role in the Industrial Revolution. We would learn that significant inventions and technologies have been developed here and that the city enjoyed rapid growth in the 19th century on the back of the stainless steel and crucible steel industries.

On Friday evening we were welcomed into the Wintergardens for a drink and canape reception followed by a viewing of the Millennium Galleries displaying metalwork and art from both Sheffield and the world…this allowed us to get a taste for the Sheffield region’s significant industrial heritage.

It was a first time visit to Sheffield for many of us and we were staggered at the importance this region has played over the centuries.

Supper was served in the Galleries.

Saturday’s events covered 5 venues – allowing us an insight into the past, present and future.

We visited Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, Kelham Island Museum (see snuff photo!), Persistance Works, MetLase (a Unipart / Rolls Royce JV) and the University of Sheffield’s AMRC – Factory 2050.

Each venue offered fascinating facts – and the tour guides were exemplary under such time pressures.

The University of Sheffield is considered as one of the top 100 global teaching and research institutions.

The Gala Dinner was held in the splendid Cutlers’ Hall – without doubt one of the finest halls in the country – along with the very best of cutlery!

It was a busy day with no time for rest – and a lot to reflect on.

We gathered the next morning to discuss the 2022/23 Past Master’s Association – seemed strange to be doing this having been installed 10 days ago!

The final viewing and tour was Wentworth Woodhouse, a Grade I listed country house in the village of Wentworth, in the Borough of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, England. The building has more than 300 rooms, although the precise number is unclear!

The original Jacobean house was rebuilt by Thomas Watson-Wentworth (1st Marquess of Rockingham in the early 1700’s) and vastly expanded by his son, who was twice Prime Minister, and who established Wentworth Woodhouse as a political centre of influence. In the 18th century, the house was inherited by the Earls Fitzwilliam who owned it until 1979, when it passed to the heirs of the 8th and 10th Earls, its value having appreciated from the large quantities of coal discovered on the estate! It is now owned by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation and is undergoing an ambitious renovation project.

This weekend – typically held soon after our Installation – provides an ideal platform to meet other Masters and Consorts and we thoroughly enjoyed doing so. Some Masters only have a month to go; other a few months; some are into their second year. Whatever, we look forward to many more gatherings and to developing friendships amongst the City Liveries.

Exhausted, we returned home Sunday evening and collapsed into bed at a rather early hour!

Our sincere thanks to The Master and Mistress Cutlers in Hallamshire and all the many others involved in making the weekend a truly memorable one.