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The Cutlers' Company was established by a parliamentary Act of Incorporation in 1624
The cutlers of Sheffield had lobbied Parliament for an act to give them control over the organisation of the cutlery industry in Sheffield and surrounding areas. It operated in much the same way as a mediaeval craft guild - indenting apprentices, registering Freemen and controlling the quality of goods manufactured. The Company had the right to enforce its bye-laws and charge fines. But it is not a Livery Company like the Worshipful Company of Cutlers in London.
The Company of Cutlers consists of an annually elected group of thirty-three people – a Master Cutler, two Wardens, six Searchers and twenty-four Assistants. A Clerk and a Beadle are employed for administration and to perform ceremonial duties.
For almost four hundred years it has sought to maintain the standards and quality of Sheffield manufactured cutlery and steel products and to promote the name of Sheffield.
As manufacturing in the region has changed over the centuries, so the Company has reflected this by highlighting the innovation in the region as well as upholding Sheffield's heritage.
1897 Alexander Wilson was Master Cutler and was knighted shortly after Queen Victoria's visit to Sheffield; this was the first time that a Master Cutler had been so honoured during his term of office.
1912 James Rossiter Hoyle was Master Cutler.
1974 The Master, Ken Lewis, told the Company's annual feast 'I think that women can be Freemen of the company if they qualify by the same standards as are applied to men'.