A twenty-year-old York College fashion student has demonstrated that the ancient craft of fine leather-working is alive and well.

Georgia Tyssen won the ‘Cordwainers Medal’, awarded each year to a first-year BA fashion student at the college by the Company of Cordwainers of York. Cordwainers were historically workers in fine leathers and the company is one of just seven craft Guilds and Companies which survives in the city today.

Georgia, who was born and bred in York, studied the technique of leather moulding and used it for the ‘body moulding’ on a chiffon and georgette dress. She took into account her own medical history and health when developing the details of her design, and outsourced the manufacture of the fastening detail to York College’s contemporary craft department, which used a 3-D printer.

She was presented with her medal by the Master Cordwainer of York, Ann Reid, at the Cordwainers’ recent Martinmas Feast.

The Company of Cordwainers made two interesting visits this summer.

The first was to Bishopthorpe Palace, where 20 Cordwainers enjoyed a private tour to the historic home of the Archbishop of York.

Our second visit was to the Castle Museum where, after a guided tour of Kirkgate, we were treated to a viewing of some of the Museum’s historic shoes.

Visit to Castle Museum

Pageant Master, Don Marshall, was presented with an Armed Forces Day Flag by the Lord Mayor.

He was one of three Service Veterans awarded the honour this year.  Don received it in recognition of his Army service and his work with the Parachute Regimental Association of York.

Congratulations from the Company.

Sadly Don Marshall passed away in 2020.

The Company welcomed the Lord Provost of Aberdeen as the guest speaker at the Livery Dinner in May.

The Lord Mayor and the Civic Party were also present at the dinner that followed the installation of the new master Mrs Ann Reid.  We also had guests from the nine London “leathery” Companies and from 3 Scottish Trades.

The Charter Day service was also well attended with a long procession from All Saints Church to Bedern Hall.

The Company of Cordwainers 2018 Charter Weekend was a great success.

The weekend included the installation of the new Master, Ann Reid MBE; the Livery Dinner – where the Lord Provost of Aberdeen was the guest speaker; and the well-attended Charter Day service which included a long procession from All Saints Church to Bedern Hall.

In February the Court Dinner was held at the Grange Hotel.   We were pleased to welcome representatives of The Master’s charity, York Young Carers.   The Master presented them with a cheque for £2000 to help them support this vital work.



The names of all those York people who lost their lives in the First World War are recorded in the Kings Book of Heroes and have been read out across the City in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.   The Master and Clerk read our portion out at the Railway Memorial on 29th October.

The 2018 staging of the York Mystery Plays returned to pageant wagons which promenaded through the city streets in September.

The event, presented by the York Festival Trust and Guilds of York, requires the participation of hundreds including the Master and Court members who escorted our waggon to the four stations.

The Company of Cordwainers’ waggon play, the Temptation of Christ, was performed by some very talented actors from York University and directed by Nick Newman.

The Master’s first social event during his year of office was a visit to Robert Thompson craftsmen in Kilburn.

Robert Thompson was a British furniture maker who was born and lived in Kilburn, North Yorkshire.  There he set up a business manufacturing oak furniture, which featured a carved mouse on almost every piece.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable visit and we were able to see the workbench where the Master did his apprenticeship, we were delighted to see that he can still wield an adze axe.

On 26th June, Ann Reid travelled to Buckingham Palace to be invested with her MBE for services to Local Government.

The Company of Cordwainers is so very proud of her achievement.

Congratulations Ann!