The Master Cutler is the head of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire established in 1624. Their role is to act as an ambassador of industry in Sheffield, England. The Master Cutler is elected by the freemen of the company on the first Monday of September of each year and the position taken in the first Tuesday of October. Despite the title, the Master Cutler does not have to be involved in the cutlery business, or even the steel industry, to be elected.
The first Master Cutler was Robert Sorsby (1577–1643). His son, Malin Sorsby, was Master Cutler in 1647, and in turn his son Robert Sorsby took the office in 1669. Another Robert Sorsby, a cousin of the first, held the post in 1628.
The Installation of the new Master Cutler and Company follows the annual election of the new Company. In the early years of the company, the Election, Installation, Church Service and celebratory meal (which eventually became the Cutlers’ Feast) all happened on the same day. Now, only the Installation and Church Service, followed by lunch, take place on the same day.
The Master Cutler for 2022–2023 is Dame Julie Kenny.
Notable and recent Masters Cutler have included:
In 1947 at a meeting of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire Ronald Matthews, a former holder of the office and Chairman of the London and North Eastern Railway suggested that the 7.40 train from Sheffield Victoria to London Marylebone, returning at 18.15, should be named after the Master Cutler. This was agreed by both the Company of Cutlers and the LNER. The Master Cutler was introduced by the LNER on 6 October 1947, running on the Great Central Main Line route from Sheffield Victoria to London Marylebone calling at only Nottingham Victoria and Leicester Central. The then Master Cutler, A Balfour, later the 2nd Lord Riverdale, rode on the footplate of the inaugural train. It has since been a tradition that the Master Cutler ride with the driver of the train during their year of office. Upon nationalisation in 1948, the service became the responsibility of the Eastern Region of British Railways. Known to staff simply as "The Cutler", the train carried a restaurant car and was generally hauled by a Gresley A3 Pacific.
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