The Company’s early records were believed lost in the Great Fire of London 1666. The Company’s first and subsequent Royal Charters are held in the Manuscripts department at the Guildhall. Other documents held at the Guildhall include early Minute Books dating from the reign of King Charles II.
Silver and Plate
The most celebrated items of silver and plate in the collection are two fine silver wine cups. The first, a Charles II period cup presented by Past Master Railing in 1938-39, is one of the earliest known pieces of Newcastle silver. The other is London silver and dates from the Commonwealth period.
There are further cups, bowls and other items in the collection. The Beadle’s staff, dating from 1750, was lost for many years, but re-discovered in a Brighton antiques shop by a sharp-eyed Pattenmaker and thence happily reunited with the Company.
As far as is practicable, items in the collection are displayed at the Company’s formal dinners. More detailed articles on them appear from time to time in The Pattenmaker.
Some of the Company’s collection of pattens are permanently displayed in an exhibition of pattens and pattenmaking at St Margaret Pattens Church. This includes the tools of the last working pattenmaker, William Gardner, which were acquired by the Company when he died in 1903. Amongst items of particular interest are ‘poulaine-style’ pattens (used to accommodate the very pointed shoes common in the 17th and 18th centuries), a selection of children’s pattens and an unusual pair of mid-18th century lady’s pattens and matching shoes, both worked in polychrome needlework.
The Armada Chest
The Company’s Armada Chest is a mahogany chest believed to have been the property of a Spanish admiral and relic of the Armada.