York Cordwainers Dinner Group PhotographThe second weekend in May, so it is the York Cordwainers Dinner.

For a number of years the Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades has been invited as a guest to the Election of the Master Cordwainer of York Celebration Dinner. This is, however, a long way to go for only one evening so it’s normally a weekend away. As the Cordwainers include Shoemakers, a further invitation has recently been extended to the Deacon of the Aberdeen Shoemakers Incorporation.

After travelling down on the Friday, an invitation was extended to the Late Deacon Convener (who was representing the Deacon Convener) and the Deacon of the Shoemakers to attend an evening meal at the Grange Hotel with the reprehensive Master and Clerks of the London Guilds associated with the leather industry.

David Parkinson and Mervyn Donald with their respective wives(both Margaret’s) joined with the Master Elect of the York Cordwainers and the Master and Clerks along with their partners of the Coachmakers, Curriers, Girdlers, Glovers, Leathersellers, Loriners, Patternmakers and Saddlers. After the meal, (with surprisingly only one introductory speech) we returned to our own hotel for an early night.

Saturday morning is normally when the York Cordwainers organise a tour of one of the City‘s many historical sites. This year the option was either the Minster or Fairfax House. Fairfax House is one of the finest examples of a Georgian Town House in the country. The building, apart from being a home to the Fairfax family and others, was latterly a cinema and dancehall before being taken over by the York Civic Trust and restored to its former glory. The furniture in the house was donated by Noel Terry (yes, the Terry’s chocolate orange) as he was a trustee of the original Civic Trust. After the tour we met up with those that had visited the Minster for a snack lunch in the Treasurer’s House, situated at the rear of the Minster.

The afternoon is free time and a walk or shopping seemed to be the norm for those attending though a visit to the Railway Museum was high on the priorities for some.

Saturday evening starts with a reception in the Merchant Adventurers Hall followed by Dinner.

On Sunday we attend the Company of Cordwainers of the City of York service at the All Saints Church, Pavement, York. Processing from the Guilds Bedern Hall, along the lanes to one of the main squares and then to the service provides a photo opportunity for the many tourists in York. This year the service was conducted by Dave Hobman (Clerk to the Cordwainers) as the Chaplain was preaching elsewhere. After the Service we process back to the Bedern Hall along the Shambles and lanes of old York.

The customary photographs are taken and those that are not travelling great distances normally stay for lunch. The Scottish contingent: Aberdeen, Irvine, Kirkcudbright have all stayed for lunch for a number of years.

We very much enjoyed our weekend in York, catching up with those we have met previously, as well as making new contacts.

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