Welcome to The Leathersellers’ Company

The Leathersellers’ Company is one of the ancient Livery Companies of the City of London, ranked fifteenth in the order of precedence. It was founded by royal charter in 1444 with authority to control the sale of leather within the City. The Company no longer has this regulatory role, and instead devotes its energies to support for charity, education and the British leather trade.

The Company, The City & The Livery

The Leathersellers’ Company is made up of 150 liverymen and a variable number of freemen. There are three main routes into the freedom: by apprenticeship, patrimony (i.e. if the candidate’s father is a member) or by purchase at the Company’s invitation. Freemen are eligible for election onto the livery, and once on the livery, a member may be invited to serve higher office within the Company.

The Company is governed by an elected Master and three Wardens, and the Court of Assistants, which is a permanent body comprised of senior Liverymen who have served as Master (Pastmasters) and those who have not (Assistants).

The Company elects a new Master and Wardens each summer in a traditional ceremony. Members of the Livery assemble at the Hall before processing to church for the Election Day service. At a Confirmation Court in the following month, the outgoing Master and Wardens ‘crown’ their successors with silver garlands which date from the seventeenth century, and the new Master’s year officially begins.

The Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants act as a chairman and board of directors, meeting once a month to decide policy and oversee Company affairs. Assisting them is a small permanent staff headed by the Clerk, who is responsible for the day-to-day management of Company business.

Education & Support For Students

The Leathersellers’ Company has been supporting education at all levels since the 17th century. As well as offering grants for university students and directly funding a number of universities, we are involved with the running of secondary and primary schools in south London. These are Colfe’s School and The Leathersellers’ Federation of Schools which consists of:

  • Prendergast School
  • Prendergast Sixth Form College
  • Prendergast Ladywell School
  • Prendergast Primary School
  • Prendergast Vale School

Charitable Fund

The welfare of its members was one of the original functions of any Livery Company. Members paid a fee called quarterage which was used to support those too ill or infirm to work, or to pay for funerals. Livery Companies were also seen as reliable bodies to act as trustees for more general charitable bequests.

Today, the Leathersellers’ Company administers a number of ancient trusts and also has its own Charitable Fund. By these means the Company provides:

Charitable Grants to a wide range of charities and educational establishments

Educational Awards to UK students taking a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate degree at a UK University

Through the Leathersellers’ Barnet Almshouses the Company also provides sheltered housing for the elderly.

The Leather Industry

Although no longer the powerful controlling force it once was, the Leathersellers’ Company remains actively involved with the British leather industry, providing funding for technical education, research, and the conservation and display of historic leather items, and supplying representatives to sit on the boards of various industry bodies.

The role of the UK Leather Federation (formerly the British Leather Confederation) is to represent and promote the interests of the UK leather-producing industry and all those who support, supply or use the output of the UK leather industry in their activities.