TODAY (Thursday) at the Cutlers’ Company we are celebrating the traditional Cutlers’ Feast. To say it is a longstanding event is something of an understatement as we have held one in an almost unbroken line since the Company was first formed in 1624.
It began as an evening gathering of the Company in a local hostelry, after the accounts had been approved.
Over time it grew in stature and importance so that by the late eighteenth century the celebrations lasted three days - day one for gentlemen, day two for ladies and day three for employees and servants. All work stopped for the duration of the feasts.
Thankfully, in modern times we have adopted a far more business-like approach. Delightful though wining and dining in the magnificent Cutlers Hall is, none of us should forget that the objective of the Cutlers’ Company is to support and champion manufacturing and technology in our region. There is a lot of work to be done.
It is true that the Feast gives us an opportunity to return some of the splendid hospitality we have received during the past year but it also offers Members, Friends and Freemen of the Cutlers’ Company and business people the chance to promote the skills, products and expertise of the region to the country’s top decision makers.
This year, on the morning after the Feast, we will be taking our guests on a tour of the Advanced Manufacturing Park – a showcase for innovation and inward investment which marks us out as forward thinking. Some of the the guests will also be taken round Independent Forgings and Alloys where they will see large pieces of hot metal being forged, a skill at which Sheffield has long excelled.
In the early 17th century the Company was concerned with maintaining the quality of our industry and protecting our Freemen from counterfeiters.
Today we do much the same but on a global scale and with a far wider remit.
The Feast may only be a gathering of a few hundred people but we will be working hard to ensure that the Sheffield Region leaves its mark on all our guests.