18 Apr New members for Shoemakers Incorporation

Shoemakers new members, Mark McCue and Alistair WalkerOn Tuesday 14th April 2015, Mark McCue, a private banker and stockbroker and Alistair Walker, a chartered surveyor, were admitted into the Shoemakers Incorporation.
Through an Act of Parliament in 1424, craftsmen including Shoemakers were permitted for the first time, to elect a Deacon to represent the Trade. In 1520, a Seal of Cause was granted, permitting the trade to form as an Incorporation.
Potential members had to prove their worth as shoemakers by making and presenting to the Trade, a pair of shoes or boots made “by their own hands”. This is called an Essay Piece (Initially known as a Sey or Masterstick) and overseen by Essay Masters.
However, Aberdonians probably do not realise that Shoemaking as a trade has been lost to the city. The last Shoemaker, Lewis Stuart, closed his premises in Rosemount Place in 2007 after three generations. (more…)

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27 Mar Kilometres or miles? Which is longer?

I have now completed two UK “End to End” 14 day cycles rides. My first, in May 2013, was Lands End to John O’Groats, which for me, was a very daunting prospect as I had never tackled such a cycling challenge and this combined with the fact that I was beyond retirement age, it was a physical challenge that somewhat concerned my family. I had carefully selected Peak Tours, a cycle tour specialist from web research of the range of organisers of cycling holidays, believing that they would provide the most supportive arrangements and so enable me to achieve my objective of safely completing the trip. Such was my enjoyment of the experience that I put my name down for a place on Peak Tours’ Dover to Cape Wrath challenge, again over 14 days. This I completed in August 2014.

It is said that “there is no fool like an old fool”, and my actions after completing Dover to Cape Wrath, adds considerable credence to that saying because, I have once again put my name down for another 14 day cycle ride, again organised by Peak Tours – this time it will be from the English Channel to the Mediterranean or more precisely, Caen to Nice. This will be done in May 2015.

On any long distance outdoor challenge such as this, there are a number of factors which are going to test you: – (more…)

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25 Mar Tour of the Aberdeen City Archives

On the evening of the 24th March 2015 a number of the Hammermen and Tailors Incorporation met for a Tour of the Aberdeen City Archives. Welcomed by Mr Hall, of the Archives Department, the members were firstly given a short tour of the Towns House specifically the St Nicholas Room, the newly refurbished, Town and County Hall and the Bon Accord Room.

Matthew, in his talk presented the history of the City and the significance of various parts of the building.

We then were taken to the Charter Room and shown a number of the archives including details of the construction of Union Street, City Seals and original regalia, and records relation to apprenticeships and indentures.

After the visit we had a meal in a nearby restaurant before making our way home. Overall a very interesting and informative evening.

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17 Feb Rev Dr Patrick Sibbald’s portrait displayed

Left Ex Deacon Tom Ironside, Chairman of the Artefacts Committee Right Neil Curtis MA MLitt AMA FSA Scot, Head of Museums, University of Aberdeen

Left to right: Ex Deacon Tom Ironside and Neil Curtis

Following a review of the portraits, after the hanging last year of the portrait of our current Patron Rev Iain Thomson, it was noted that we were missing a number of portraits of our earlier Patrons. During investigation by a member researching the Patrons of the Incorporated Trades, one of the four missing portraits, Dr Patrick Sibbald, was discovered in the collection of the University of Aberdeen.

This led to discussions with Neil Curtis, Head of Museums at the University, who arranged to have the portrait photographed, in order that the Artefacts Committee could consider having a high quality photographic reproduction of the portrait displayed in Trinity Hall.

At the Convener Court Dinner held last year in Trinity Hall, Ex Deacon Convener Parkinson was discussing the subject with Prof Sir Ian Diamond, Principal of the University of Aberdeen. An offer was made to possibly loan the original to the Incorporated Trades for display within Trinity Hall providing it was not already on display at the University. To formalise this we were asked to write to the University requesting a long term loan of the portrait from their collection, which was agreed. (more…)

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10 Feb New exhibition to open at the Tolbooth Museum

Tolbooth MuseumOn Saturday 7th February a new exhibition opened in Aberdeen’s Tolbooth Museum celebrating the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen. The seven trades are Hammermen, Bakers, Wrights and Coopers, Tailors, Shoemakers, Weavers and Fleshers.

The Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen is one of the most important institutions in the city of Aberdeen and it houses a collection of artefacts of international importance. The history of the individual Trades dates back to the medieval period when groups of craftsmen came together to protect their own interests, to create rules to regulate and manage their trade, elect a leader (Deacon), control quality of output, maintain their reputation and seek to look after the elderly and infirm of their trade.

Today the Trades are based in Trinity Hall, the third building of that name. Over the centuries they have amassed one of the most impressive collections of art, artefacts and furniture in Aberdeen. Many of these pieces were created as ‘essays’, or pieces of work, by individual craftsmen to show their eligibility to join their trade.


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23 Jan Your invitation to attend Trade Awards 2015

TradesAwards_web_logoTrinity Hall has been selected to host the official launch event for the Trades Awards 2015, sponsored by Stewart Milne Group.

The event will take place on Wednesday 4th February 2015, 6 -7.30pm and will be a chance to learn how applying for Trades Awards 2015 benefits local businesses and about the partnership between the Trades Awards and the Stewart Milne Group, whilst also offering attendees the opportunity to have a tour of Trinity Hall, and take in the incredible history of our unique venue.

Trades Awards is an annual event which rewards and recognises tradesmen and trades businesses in the North-East of Scotland and is open to any individual or business that comes under the category ‘construction’, which by definition is any individual business involved in the design (internal and external), planning, construction (internal and external), decoration, modification or restoration of a building or structure. They must also have an operating office in the North-East of Scotland.

If you would like to attend this event, please email your R.S.V.P to Lucy Alphonse at: by 28th January or feel free to call 01224 626000 for more information.

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08 Jan Annual Ladies Tea 2014

Ladies are highly important to the successful running of Trinity Hall. The thought of a Dinner Dance without ladies is unimaginable, and many other social functions would be diminished in their absence, but they also work hard in support of the members, being actively involved particularly in the annual Children’s Christmas Party and in various charity fund raising events.
In recognition of and thanks for all this help the ladies are honoured at the annual Ladies Day Tea, attended by members, their spouses and partners, and friends. Most Trades also take the opportunity to invite widows of former members, regarding it as highly important to maintain links with the widows.
The 2014 Tea was particularly well attended by 135 members and guests, who enjoyed a traditional Christmas meal of Scotch Broth, Turkey and Ham, and Trifle. The toast to “The Ladies” was proposed by Master of Trades Hospital, George Esson. In her reply on behalf of the ladies his wife, Mrs Lindsey Esson, reflected on the flowers which should be in a Trinity Hall bouquet -– the twin flower (Linnaea Borealis) to note the remarkable coincidence that the Late Deacon Convener is a twin, the Deacon Convener and his wife are both twins, and Lindsey herself is a twin; the corn marigold, represented in the arms of Dr William Guild, first Patron of the Seven Incorporated Trades, the 17th century Scots name for which was “guild”; and two flowers represented extensively in the 19th century windows which adorn the Major Hall, the daisy Bellis Perennis, and flax. (more…)

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09 Dec Santa back at Trinity Hall

Santa with assistant Master of Trades Hospital George Esson handing out presentsOn the afternoon of the 6th December, the 2014 Christmas party for children and grandchildren of members was held in Trinity Hall. The event was organised by Lindsey Esson, wife of the Master of Trades Hospital, who was ably assisted by the Deacon’s wives and partners.

Patron Rev Iain Thomson, along with his wife Christine, coordinated the party games before the children were entertained by Gary Seagraves and his magic rabbit Basil.   Some children, and Rev. Thomson, were included in the show as magician’s assistants, which was well received by both children and adults.

After a feast of sandwiches, pies, cake and ice-cream,  Santa visited the children and assisted by Master of Trades Hospital, George Esson, dispensed presents to all.

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02 Dec Winter Graduations – University of Aberdeen

Emma Paterson 2Representatives of the Incorporated Trades again attended the graduation ceremonies of the University of Aberdeen. Our links, which hark back to the 1500’s, continue and reinforce the link with our first Patron and Principal of Kings College, Rev Dr William Guild.

This year’s Ceremonies were attended by Deacon Convener Sandy McKinnon, Master of Trades Hospital George Esson, Late Deacon Convener David N Parkinson and Deacon of the Wrights & Coopers Alan Steele.

Congratulations to all the students that graduated, but especially to Emma Paterson who graduated on Thursday morning and was involved as part of her Curatorship Studies in assisting the Trades with research into our collection of historic ceremonial chairs.


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18 Nov Leopard Magazine features New Deacon Convener

The November issue of the Leopard Magazine features an interesting article about Deacon Convener, Sandy McKinnon, and his election as the 427th Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades.

“New Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen is previous master of Trades Hospital, baker Sandy McKinnon. Sandy was unanimously elected at October’s meeting in the Trinity Hall, as the 427th Deacon Convener.
Previous incumbent David N Parkinson now becomes Late Deacon Convener, having focused his time in office on further promoting links with the educational establishments in Aberdeen to build on the original ethos of the Incorporated Trades through “apprenticeships” and historical research.”

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