- Worshipful Company of Cutlers
The Worshipful Company of Cutlers is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The trade of knife making and repairing was organised in the thirteenth century; the organisation received a Royal Charter later in 1416. The Company has lost a strong connection to its trade, which shifted north to Sheffield, Yorkshire, where there is a similar association, the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire. Thus, it remains primarily as a charitable institution. It funds and administers a variety of educational initiatives such as scholarships and awards.
The Company ranks eighteenth in the order of precedence of Livery Companies.
Arms were first granted to the Company in 1476. The current elephant and castle crest was granted in 1622. It features two elephants and three crossed-swords, a helmet and a smaller elephant and castle. The original blazon reads: "Gules, three pairs of swords in saltire argent, hilts and pommels or Crest: An elephant's head couped gules, armed or". The elephant probably relates to the ivory used in hafting swords, knives and other weapons - an expensive material employed for the best of implements. The elephant and castle crest gave rise to a pub of the same name on the site of an old cutler's in Newington, London, which in turn gave its name to the entire area, the Elephant and Castle.
The present hall of the company is in Warwick Lane, on a site once occupied by the Royal College of Physicians. It was designed by T. Tayler Smith, the company’s Surveyor, and opened in 1888. It is a brick building, the facade decorated with a terracotta frieze depicting the processes of knife-making by the sculptor Benjamin Creswick, who had worked as a knife grinder in Sheffield.
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