The Ward Clubs of the City of London were originally formed as Rate Payers Associations but have long since developed a new role. The Ward of Cordwainer Club was founded in 1902. Its centenary was marked with the publication of The Ward of Cordwainer Club 1902 – 2002, obtainable from the secretary, and the commissioning of the Cordwainer Statue.
The objects of the Club are to promote and encourage interest in the affairs of the City, to generate a friendly spirit and improve the quality of life mainly within the Ward. It is also intended to give support to the Alderman, his Deputy and Common Councillors in carrying out their considerable duties on behalf of the City of London and the Ward in particular.
The Ward maintains a strong link with the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, founded over 700 years ago, and which today plays a strong role in nurturing young talent in the fashion and shoemaking industries.
The Club is managed by a Committee consisting of President, Vice President, Chairman, Vice Chairman, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer, the two immediate Past Chairmen, together with other elected members of the Club and Common Councillors of the Ward. Former Presidents of the club include a number of Lord Mayors who have also served as Aldermen in the Ward – Sir Walter Vaughan Morgan, Sir Cuthbert Ackroyd, Sir Peter Venneck, Sir Brian Jenkins and Sir Roger Gifford.
Other than the President, Vice President and the Common Councillors, the Committee is elected on a rotation basis and the Officers are elected annually.
Ward Club Committee 2023-2024
President: Alderman Alexander Barr
Vice-President: Sir Michael Snyder
Chairman: Lance Shaw
Vice-Chair: Sam Walker
Hon. Secretary: Simon Burton
Assistant Hon. Secretaries: Joyce Sarpong, Mirka Pyke
Hon. Treasurer: Jon Norton
The Revd. George Bush
Jamel Banda CC
Amy Horscroft CC
Hon. Independent Examiners: Adrian Houston, Liz FryThe Club currently has over 25o members (as at January 2024), with membership open to individuals with an interest in, or association with, the Ward. Potential applicants are invited to contact the Secretary or complete and return the Ward of Cordwainer Application Form. The annual membership subscription is £50 for the first year , thereafter £25 pa.
The Club organises various functions and activities throughout the year for its members and their guests. Visits have included the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Guildhall Art Gallery and the Old Bailey.
The Club also organises formal and informal luncheons to which members are welcome to bring guests. There is an annual ‘members only’ luncheon which provides an opportunity for members to meet each other and to welcome new members to the Club.
The Club’s major event is The Annual Lunch which is held in December at one of the Livery Halls in the City of London, and the Club is usually honoured to have the Lord Mayor and one of the Sheriffs as its guests.
Recent Ward News and Events
“With the recent death of Sir Roger Gifford we have not only lost our President but also a wonderful man and friend whom we loved for his charisma and wit and for the genuine interest he took in the many aspects of our lives.
Roger led the Club with great enthusiasm, skill and aplomb and we all felt affected and positively supported by his infectious personality and presence amongst us.
We have been lucky to have had him as President of the Ward Club that he described as the best Ward Club and the envy of all others!
How we will all miss him”.
Carmen Hart, Chairman
Tour of the Ward by The Ward of Cordwainer Club – 9th September 2021
On Thursday 9th September, our Chairman Carmen Hart, as part of her aim to support the Ward and it’s economy, arranged a walk around the Ward lead by the excellent Andy Catto a Blue Badge City guide for Ward Club Members.
Cordwainer Ward is the smallest Ward in the City (albeit the most interesting!), the journey was not too long, but was very inspiring starting with the history of our two historic and magnificent Churches; St Mary le Bow and St Mary Aldermary as we passed along Bow Lane which runs between them.
We admired the Cordwainer Statue commissioned to celebrate the centenary of our Club on Watling Street, before walking around the St Pancras church garden and ended up at the impressive Bloomberg European Headquarters which has been recognised with landmark architectural and ergonomic awards. We paused outside the London Mithraeum the UK’s most significant archaeological site housed beneath the Bloomberg building, which showcases the Ancient Temple of Mithras. We then strolled along Cheapside to dine at the wonderful Place Below restaurant which is in the crypt of St Mary le Bow for a convivial supper enjoyed by some 25 of us.
Music in the Churchyard 29th June 2021
“Sir Roger Gifford was a very early collaborator in the annual Live festival which started in 2014 and seven years later is still going strong.
We were entertained by the Vaux Quintet which is a versatile Jazz band while being protected from the elements by large canopies and plenty of drinks while we listened and chatted.
The event was followed by dinner for 25 Club members in Taverna Etrusca outside. The heaters and the wine kept us warm. There was a great sense of enjoyment at the first live event for 18 months.”
Elected as her Vice-Chairman was Sam Walker.
This year’s programme of events has already started with a virtual meeting on May 20 with Roy Hay, guitarist and song writer mainly of Culture Club, and Nico Golfar his executive producer, with both joining from Los Angeles. As we emerge from the June targeted end of easing of national lockdown restrictions the club looks forward to hosting in-person events and with luck, on June 29, expects to have its first live event ‘Music in the Churchyard’ followed by dinner.
City Surveyor Talk – 23rd February 2021
The Ward Club were delighted to welcome Paul Wilkinson the City Surveyor to join us for a webconfeerence to share with the club the future of how the City of London Corporation is working to get ready for the ‘new normal’ in readiness for businesses to return to London, and to share with us the Corporation’s vision for ‘reimagining the City”!
Burkhard Keese – 14th December 2021
Burkhard Keese, CFO of Lloyd’s of London joined the Club for a virtual talk via videoconference. Burkhard talked about the surreal times we are living in and the impacts on the insurance industry and Lloyd’s. He also spoke about his personal experience of flying his own twin engine prop plane to meetings around Europe during 2020 to avoid using commercial flights!
Virtual Quiz Night – 1st October 2020
The Ward of Cordwainer Club held it’s first ever virtual quiz on the evening of the 1st October.
We had multiple rounds of questions including some trivia on locations in the Ward kindly put together by our Chairman David Reynolds.
Cordwainer Club Annual Luncheon – December 2019
The Cordwainer Ward Club Annual luncheon event was held on 13th December 2019. The Luncheon, which was attended by more then 100 guests proved to be the highlight of the Ward Club’s calendar of events in 2019, presenting Cordwainer Club members an ideal opportunity to entertain guests, friends and business contacts in spectacular surroundings at a very special time of year.
The event was held at Haberdashers’ Hall, a modern oasis of calm in the heart of central London, located opposite the King Henry Gate of St Bartholomew’s Hospital. which was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 2002.
The guest speaker this year was The Honourable Tom Sackville. Tom was born in London and educated at Oxford and Madrid University, before starting a career in financial services in New York. In 1983 he became a Member of Parliament, later serving in Margaret Thatcher’s and subsequent administrations as Whip, Health Minister and as Lord Commissioner of the Treasury. He took up his present role as CEO of the International Federation of Health Plans (iFHP) in 1998. Tom was for some years President of FECRIS, a French based European federation of support organisations for families who have lost members to pseudo-religious cults. Tom recounted his time as a Member of Parliament, and his interactions with fellow MP’s, sharing both interesting and amusing andedotes from his life and career.
Sheriff Christopher Hayward gave a heartfelt speech on behalf of the Lord Mayor and City of London Corporation, followed by Sir Roger Gifford on behalf of the Ward team. (Photo of Club Chairman Michael Bunn giving Welcome address to guests)
Fusilier Museum Tower of London – 22nd October 2019
Household Division’s Beating Retreat on Thursday 6 June 2019.
The Household Division’s Beating Retreat is a spectacular evening pageant of music and military precision drill, including horses, cannon and fireworks. The annual concert is performed on Horse Guards parade in front of the beautiful backdrop of St James’s Park.
24 members and their guests attended the event on 6 June. In brilliant sunshine the party enjoyed the two hour festival of military bands led by the Household Division. The party had previously met for a very enjoyable supper in the restaurant at the National Portrait gallery.
Private Exhibition from the Mary Rose 28th May 2019
A large number of members attended a private exhibition on the Mary Rose in the East and West Crypts of the Guildhall on 28th May 2019. Mary Rose was King Henry Vlll’s favourite ship. She served him for 34 years before sinking in front of his very eyes in July 1545 while fighting off a French Invasion. Raised from the depths of The Solent in 1982, the purpose built museum opening in 2013. Members received a captivating presentation from Dr David Starkey, Tudor historian, TV Presenter and Trustee of the Mary Rose, and saw up close some stunning Mary Rose Tudor artefacts. Following the presentation members enjoyed a buffet dinner in the beautiful East and West Crypts of the Guildhall.
St Mary Le Bow – Baroque Music concert 11th May 2019
On 11th May, the Academy of St Mary-Le- Bow, the church’s resident orchestra performed a concert of Baroque Music. The programme was entitled “Flavours of the Baroque”, drawing attention to the composers of the works and their different styles.
Ward of Cordwainer Club: Members Luncheon 8th May 2019
Members of the Club attended a luncheon in the Members’ Private Dining Room at the Guildhall, London. The was an opportunity for members to welcome the newly elected Chairman, and to discuss ideas and plans for upcoming Ward Club events for the remainder of 2019.
Tour of Bloomberg Building 9th April 2019
Bloomberg’s new European Headquarters is one of the most sustainable office buildings ever designed, named the winner of the 2018 Stirling Prize. Members enjoyed an evening visit to the building with an introduction and tour led by one of the architects from Foster + Partners. It was a fascinating insight into the 1 million sq ft complex which is kitted out with vacuum-flush toilets, breathing ‘gills’ in the facade, a petal-studded ceiling that provides lighting, cooling and acoustic attenuation, and a host of other features that mean it uses 70% less water and 40% less energy than a typical corporate office. The building also features artwork from a number of esteemed international artists. The tour concluded in the London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE where Members were able to enjoy drinks and canapés, and a visit to the City’s only Roman Temple.
Annual General Meeting and Lunch, 28 March 2019
The Ward Club’s Annual General Meeting was held at the Tallow Chandlers’ Hall on 28 March. Michael Bunn was elected Chairman and David Reynolds Vice Chairman for the coming year. Michael is the principal of MB Associates, an accountancy business operating from premises in Bow Lane. Sue Hills joins the Committee. The accounts show the Club to be in a healthy position, and membership increased during the year by six to 228. The outgoing Chairman David Tucker reported that highlights for him were the speech by Nigel Wray, owner of Saracens Rugby Club, at the AGM and the speech by Xavier Rolet, former CEO of the London Stock Exchange at the annual lunch.Following the AGM Simon Bishop, Deputy CEO of Plan International, the global children’s charity, was the guest speaker at the luncheon
Launch of Cordwainer Water Fountain 20th March 2019
The first of 10 new City water refill points to be rolled out this year, has been installed in Bow Churchyard, as part of the City Corporation’s Plastic Free City campaign. The water refill point, sponsored by the Cheapside Business Alliance (CBA), has been conveniently situated between St Mary Le Bow church and Aberdeen Standard Investments’ London offices. At the unveiling ceremony led by the Lady Mayoress, Lindy Estin, were Alex Barr, Sir Mark Boleat, Tracey Graham and former Cordwainer Councilman, George Gilon.
International Women’s Day – Cordwainer Ward Women receive the Freedom of City of London – 8th March 2019
To commemorate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act in 1918 (‘universal suffrage’) the City’s Court of Common Council nominated c100 women to receive the Freedom of the City of London. Your Ward team were proud to nominate a number of leading women from Cordwainer Ward to receive this award. A drinks reception was held at the Guildhall Art Gallery on 8 March, International Women’sDay, with speeches from The Lord Mayor, Peter Estlin and the Chairman of Policy and Resources, Catherine McGuiness, with a number of the Cordwainer recipients in attendance. Many of the Freedom ceremonies have now been held, and Sir Michael Snyder and Alex Barr were proud to be there for the Mansion House Ceremony in April for Sue Hills (T Rowe Price), Allison Perrott (Sweetings Restaurant) and Mary Gilmore (Beauty Essence), all as the Lord Mayor’s guests. Also nominated, but unable to attend the ceremony was Jess Patel of the Bow Lane newsagents.
Annual General Meeting and Lunch, 22 March 2018
The Ward Club’s Annual General Meeting was held at the Tallow Chandlers’ Hall on 21 March 2018. David Tucker was elected Chairman and Michael Bunn Vice Chairman for the coming year. David is the Chief Executive Officer of Worldwide Currencies, and Michael is a chartered accountant. Dominic Turner joins the committee and John Miller was appointed Assisted Honorary Secretary. The accounts show the Club to be in a healthy position, and membership increased during the year by six to 222. The outgoing Chairman Jon Norton reported that highlights for him were visits to the London Metropolitan Archives and Freemasons’ Hall, being a guest at a Worshipful Company of Cordwainers dinner and the Club’s participation in the City Beerfest.
Following the AGM the owner of Saracens Rugby Club, Nigel Wray, was the guest speaker. He spoke about the philosophy behind the Club, which has a family atmosphere, and also the work of the Saracens Foundation, which supports education and employability, inclusion, participation and health and wellbeing. The new Chairman, David Tucker, outlined his programme for the year. This includes a talk on Sir John Smith (whose statue is in Bow Churchyard), a tour of the new Bloomberg building, a presentation on the “Saracens Way” and the usual events at the Lord Mayor’s Show and the switching on of the Bow Lane lights. The Chairman announced that the former head of the London Stock Exchange, Xavier Rolet, would be the guest speaker at the annual lunch in December.
Annual Lunch, Guildhall, 8 December 2017
In December, the chairman welcomed the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress to the Old Library in the Guildhall. The guest speaker was Jane Platt, a non-executive director of the FCA and formerly CEO of National Savings. She spoke about the dawn of premium bonds and the cutting edge technology which was pioneered by the technologists formerly at Bletchley park and creators of Colossus. She compared this to bitcoin, which is concerning regulators and may be transient, and the technology underlying it, blockchain, which will endure.
Ward Club Chairman, Jon Norton, present a cheque to the Lord Mayor, Charles Bowman, for his charities.
Switching on of Bow Lane lights – 21 November 2017
On 21 November the Lady Mayoress, Samantha Bowman, in her first official engagement switched on the Christmas lights in Bow Lane and Watling Street. Mrs Bowman was accompanied by the newly elected Lord Mayor, Alderman Charles Bowman, and the two sheriffs, Alderman Tim Hailes and Neil Redcliffe. Following the switching on the official party visited a number of shops and bars in Bow Lane and Well Court, and members of the Ward Club enjoyed refreshments in Ye Olde Watling.
The proceeding were enhanced by carol singers from the City of London Academy Islington.
Cordwainer’s elected members, Alex Barr, Sir Michael Snyder, Sir Mark Boleat and Sir Roger Gifford with the Lady Mayoress, Samantha Bowman.
Visit to Freemasons Hall, October 2017
In October, the Hon Sec Tom Moore and Sir Michael Snyder organised a trip to Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street. This was followed by dinner at Tuttons.
Visit to John Lobb, shoemaker, September 2017
In September, the Club visited the premises of John Lobb in St James’s. Founded in 1866 by John Lobb, we met the fifth family owner, William Lobb, still maintaining the craft. The business has two Royal Warrants and has enjoyed many famous clients after being popularised by Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII). In the St James shop, individual lasts are made for clients – the shoes are made by 25 craftsmen located globally. The basement is a labyrinth of shelves stuffed with pairs of lasts! In indication of the quality (and price) is that black shoe polish costs over £50. Dinner was held at the Dukes Hotel.
Visit to Crossrail, June 2017
In June, an intrepid band of Cordwainers descended into the bowels of the earth to view the construction site of the Crossrail works at Liverpool Street Station and Moorgate Station. We walked along a platform that is a quarter of a kilometre long! Andrew Wolstenholme OBE, CEO of Crossrail, explained that at the time, the project was 83% complete and on budget. Over 700 apprentices have been recruited for the project and train testing is due to commence at the end of 2017. We enjoyed a dinner afterwards at The Botanist in Broadgate.
Tour of the Charles Dickens Museum – 23 February 2017
Thirty-four members and their guests enjoyed a private viewing of the museum which is housed in 48 Doughty Street, the house that Charles Dickens, his wife Mary and their first three children lived in from 1837 to 1839. The four-storey Georgian terrace house is furnished as it was when Dickens lived there. After a glass of wine, members were split into two groups each accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. We learned why forks and spoons on the dining room table were laid with the backs showing. This was to show the silver hall mark to impress dinner guests.
Following the tour, members adjourned to the Luce e Limoni Restaurant in the Gray’s Inn Road for a three-course dinner with an excellent Italian wine.
For information about the Ward Club contact –
Simon Burton – Honorary Secretary
LINK TO APPLICATION FORM FOR JOINING THE WARD CLUB