Shoemakers

07 May Douping

Douping is the traditional method of ‘introducing’ new members to the Shoemakers Trade.

In old Scots, the doup is the bottom of anything, including the buttocks. Annually, the Shoemakers Incorporation annually ‘rode’ the marches or visited the property and land they owned. If a new member was present, he was douped on one of the march stones. The method being that he was lifted by the other members and placed three times on his doup on the stone.

The Trade uses the march or Douping Stone on Watson Lane off Rosemount Place, although others were apparently used in the past.

Of historical interest, below is a photograph of Eric Munro being douped circa 1929, having joined the Trade on 1st November 1928.

Historical phot of Shoemakers Douping, circa 1928

1. James Strachan, 2. To be identified, 3. Marcus Raffan,  4. To be identified,  5. John Cassie, 6. To be identified, 7. David Law, 8. Eric Munro, 9. To be identified, 10. To be identified, 11. To be identified, 12. To be identified, 13. To be identified, 14. Ken Burnett, 15. Bill Strachan, 16. John Findlater, 17. Alex Smith, 18. Samuel T. Law

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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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13 May Aberdeen Shoemakers enjoy hospitality of York Cordwainers

Deacon Mervyn Donald and Master Mathew ReidOn the weekend of the 10th & 11th May 2014, the Deacon Convener and Deacon of the Shoemakers Incorporation, along with their wives, were invited to attend the livery dinner and charter service following the installation of the new Master of the Company of Cordwainers in York, Mr Mathew J Reid.

The Company of Cordwainers is one of the seven York Guilds & Companies, The Guilds, founded in the medieval period or earlier, have retained traditions that stretch back into the mists of time and add greatly to the rich pattern of life in the City of York. However, by 1808 for unknown reasons the Company ceased to function but in 1977 a number of people connected with the footwear and leather trades revived the Company. The Original letters of Ordnance are held in the York Minister Library. Cordwainers were shoemakers and derived their name from the Spanish city of Cordova, which manufactured the finest leather from goat’s skins.

The weekend started with an evening meal with the Masters and Clerks of the London Livery Companies who were also attending as guests of the Master Elect. The meal organised by the Livery Company of Saddlers was an excellent opportunity to meet fellow guest and there partners and to talk over similarities within our various organisations.

Representatives from Scotland also included the Deacon Convener from Dundee, The Deacon Convener from Irvine, a Past Deacon from the Kirkcudbright Trades and the Late Deacon and Ex Deacon of the Cordwainers of Glasgow. (more…)

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08 Nov Burgess of Trades, Graeme Cursiter

Graeme CursiterOn the 31st October 2013, Graeme Cursiter was admitted as a Burgess of Trades at the Aberdeen City Council Meeting, completing his admission into the Shoemakers Incorporation.

This follows his earlier submission of his Essay piece to the Trade.  Graeme now has full rights as a member of the Shoemakers Incorporation.

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08 Oct Aberdeen Shoemaker’s Incorporation 2013 Election Dinner

shoemakersThe Aberdeen Shoemaker’s Incorporation held their Election of Office Bearers on Tuesday 10th September 2013 at Trinity Hall.

The newly elected Officers for the following year are:
Deacon Mervyn Donald
Boxmaster Alastair Hunter
First Master Graeme Cursiter
Second Master Graeme McKenzie
Third Master Alastair Graham
Fourth Master Christopher Watson
Late Deacon Brian Scott
Clerk & Assessors Mr Malcolm Gunnyeon and Mr Craig Pike

The Election dinner was held in the Minor Hall on Saturday 14th September 2013. (more…)

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13 Sep Shoemakers welcome David A Ross into their Trade.


David RossOn Tuesday 27th August 2013 David Ross was accepted into the Aberdeen Shoemakers Incorporation. David is a school friend of Deacon Brian Scott and Member David Suttie from Aberdeen Academy days.
David like many in the Trade is Oil and Gas work related serving as a Quality Assurance Consultant.
His wife Barbara is looking forward to the Social evenings held within Trinity Hall and meeting the wives and partners of the other 20 members.
David enjoys local history and now being part of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen. David like those before him will not doubt be intrigued as to the involvement with both the City Council and Aberdeen University.
The photograph below shows David performing the traditional essay piece of cutting out from a sheet of leather the sections to form a brogue shoe. His Essay Team is carefully watching his work prior to reporting back to the other Trade members that his work was carried out by his own hand.

(more…)

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13 Jun Douping of Alastair Graham

Following our visit we went to Loanhead Terrace/Watson Lane where one of our March Stones still remain marking where our lands lay. Tradition is that new members are douped onto the stone. Today’s Health & Safety environment we carried out our dynamic risk assessment in that we covered the stone with tissue to prevent any cross contamination of materials onto our members clothes. Each member had already attended a manual handling course and this is probably the only occasion where members are physically man handled. Care was taken when placing Alastair’s behind onto the stone not to cause injury. No doubt in the past new members was not given the same care and attention as Alastair received. After the douping we returned to the Hall and celebrated with the usual first class meal served in the Hall.
Pictured from L to R Boxmaster Mervyn Donald, Chris Watson, Gordon McKay, Lewis Stuart, Deacon Brian Scott, Alastair Graham & Late Deacon Brian Donald

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13 Jun Aberdeen Shoemakers Inc Marches

The tradition of riding the marches is still maintained within the Shoemaker Trade and each year during the Month of May the Trade Members visit their old feuing lands which can include a visit to a place of interest and douping of a new member before heading back to Trinity Hall for dinner.
This year the Trade visited the Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society at Foresterhill Hospital and was enthralled listening to Dr James Grieve, pictured right, a past president of the Society talking about the many medical links to North East Doctors who were all members of the Society. The Aberdeen Shoemakers Incorporation intends to make a donation from the funds raised at their recent Male Evening held at the Hall to support the Medico-Chirurgical Society. The facility at Foresterhill is not dissimilar to that of Trinity Hall in that it’s one of Aberdeen secrets. Dr Grieve intimated that the Woolmanhill Hospital site would soon be coming onto the property market for sale. This would be a magnificent site for Aberdeen to create a museum which could hold many different local interests which currently does not have a home to display materials and information about their history. Aberdeen has a great history relating to paper making; granite working and weaving to mention a few. What an opportunity to create both a tourist attraction and educational

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13 Jun Shoemakers Welcomes New Member

SM_NewMemberAberdeen Shoemakers Inc welcomed new member Graeme Cursiter, into their Trade last night. Graeme and his wife Gillian attended the recent prospective members evening at Trinity Hall where they were able to ask questions relating to the Hall, the Seven Incorporated Trades and regarding joining the Shoemaker Trade. Graeme carried out his essay piece of cutting out the leather pieces to form a brogue shoe with Essay Masters Richard Harwood, Alastair Hunter & Albert Thomson.
As the Aberdeen Shoemakers Inc is an open Trade Graeme being involved in the oil and gas industry joins other members sharing the same profession. The Trade members have many different professions however all carry out the same essay piece to become a member in order to maintain the traditions of the Trade.
The members of the Aberdeen Shoemakers Inc welcome Graeme and Gillian into their company and look forward to sharing many social events in the coming years.

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