Pattenmakers were at work in London in the 12th century and probably much earlier. However, the first record of them as a guild or 'mysterie of patynmakers' is in 1379. Over the years the Pattenmakers integrated the separate trades of tassemakers, pouchemakers and galochemakers. The Company still refers by early Court decree to its incorporation with the ’ancient mysterie of Galochemakers' in the 15th century. In 1670 the Company of Pattenmakers was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II. In 1717, the Court of Aldermen of the City of London granted livery to the Company, enabling the Company to use the title The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers.
Pattens are undershoes designed to lift the wearers and their shoes above the mud and grime of early streets and dirty wet floors indoors. Most pattens take the form of a shaped wooden platform with leather or cloth straps to hold the shoes upon it. Early pattens had wooden wedges beneath the platform. In later years these were replaced with an iron ring and uprights attached to the platform above. In the 18“ century pattens for elegant ladies were made to match their shoes in fine silk or embroidery. Pattens were worn principally by women, but also by men and children until in Britain surfaces of roads, pavements and drainage improved in the 19“ century.
The centre of pattenmaking in London was in Rood Lane (previously St Margaret Pattens Lane), adjacent to the Guild Church of St Margaret Pattens. Rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren in 1676 following the Great Fire of London, the church is the Company's spiritual home and houses a permanent exhibition of pattens and pattenmaking.
The mission of the old established livery companies today is fellowship and charity, whilst also playing their part in the support of the Lord Mayor and Corporation of the City of London. Whilst some of these companies still practise their traditional crafts, the Pattenmakers no longer do so. However, the Company's support for the footwear trade is as relevant now as it ever was, and many Pattenmakers still work in that sector. The Company has reinvented itself by supporting the provision of orthopaedic shoes for injured members of the armed forces and others.
The Charitable Foundation funds bespoke orthopaedic shoes and also supports young orthopaedic shoe designers and podiatry students in their university studies. Within the City of London, the Foundation provides bursaries for City of London Schools, a St Paul's Cathedral chorister, and many other City of London institutions, including of course its Guild Church of St Margaret Pattens. It has military affiliations in each of the main divisions of the armed services, including support for young people in the Kent Army Cadet Force. Gifts to the Foundation to sustain its work are warmly welcomed and these and Gift Aid declarations can be made easily at wwwvirginmoneygiving.com.
The Company, which was involved with the making of girdles
(or belts), received its Letters Patent from Edward III in 1327. While it no
longer practices its craft - although it has the honour of presenting the
girdle and stole worn by the Sovereign at each coronation.
In 1431 Andrew Hunt bequeathed the Company buildings and land which are substantially the site of the present Hall. Hunt's buildings became the Company's Hall, which was developed and improved over the years. In common with many other livery halls, this building was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. The replacement, built in 1681 at a cost of some £1,500, was destroyed by enemy action in 1940, and rebuilt in 1961.
In 2006, the Company decided to refurbish the Hall and to add a further floor. Work on this project started straight after Election Day 2007 and was completed in May 2008.
It is not possible to trace the origin of this Company but
there is no doubt that it existed as an unincorporated fellowship at a very
remote period. The trade of Pattenmaking was at one time a thriving industry
in the City of London, and, according to Stow, in his “Survey of the Cities
of London and Westminster”, was probably carried on in what now is Rood
Lane, but which was formerly known as St. Margaret Pattens Lane, in which
the church, known to this day as St. Margaret Pattens, still stands.
The mystery of “Patynmakers” was first mentioned in the City records in the year 1379. Shortly after this period the mystery was combined with those of the Pouchemakers and Galochemakers.
In the year 1517 the Pouchemakers were authorised by the Court of Aldermen to unite and be translated into the Leathersellers’ Company, and since that date the mysteries of the Galochemakers and Patynmakers have been combined as a separate body under the title of Pattenmakers.
The Company was incorporated by Charles II on August 2nd, 1670. The charter associated all persons using the art or mystery of making Pattens or Clogs within the cities of London and Westminster, and ten miles every way distant therefrom, as the Master, Wardens, Assistants and Fellowship of the Company of Pattenmakers of the City of London, with power to make bye-laws for the government of its members, and for the regulation of the trade, and to impose fines for offenses against such bye-laws.
The Court of Aldermen, by an order dated 1674, decreed that all persons using the trade of Pattenmakers were to he admitted to the freedom of the City of London.
The Company was granted Livery by the Court of Aldermen on the 26th March 1717.
Owing to the improved paving of the streets the wearing of pattens in London became less customary and the trade gradually fell into desuetude. While the charitable and social functions of the Company have continued in full operation, the powers conferred by Charter have not been exercised since the early part of the 19th Century. A sketch of a patten is shown on the inside rear cover of this menu. (web note - see above)
The recent history of the Company has been one of expansion in numbers authorised through a supplemental Charter, together with a much closer association with the shoe trade. Its charitable activities have also greatly expanded and include support for young managers in the footwear industry, the armed forces, orthopaedic footwear, bursaries and grants to universities and schools and support to the mayoralty and civic life of the City of London.