25 Apr Shoemakers

ShoemakersArms-150x150With the motto ‘Lord crown us with glory’, the shoemakers belong to a trade steeped in tradition. Their patron saints are the St Crispian and St Crispinian – brothers said to have settled in the 3rd Century to preach the gospel and who, according to legend, worked as shoemakers by night.

It has been said that the angels supplied St Crispian and St Crispinian with materials for their work – with French shoemakers naming their tools of the trade in their honour. October 25, the date on which they were martyred, remains a special anniversary for the trade across the world.

Commonly known as cordiners, the shoemakers were among the earliest members of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen in 1484 and today maintain their place at the heart of the modern organisation whilst never losing sight of their heritage.

Current Role of Members and Date Joined:

Donald A. Law 1951 Robert J. C. Bain 2000 Alastair Walker 2015
Gordon G. McKay 1968 Brian D. Donald 2003 Graeme Cheyne 2016
George D. Bruce 1976 Graeme McKenzie 2003 Iain Hunter 2016
David C. Leslie 1979 Albert Thomson 2004 Barney Crockett 2017
Lewis L. Stuart 1984 Brian Scott 2006 Francis Kiernan 2020
John M. Bruce 1992 David A. Suttie 2009 Stuart Cordiner 2020
Mervyn R. Donald 1992 James A. Graham 2012 Graham Findlay 2020
Richard J. Harwood 1993 Alastair D. Hunter 2012 Sarah Machray 2021
J. Alastair Milne 1994 David A. Ross 2013    
Christopher E. M. Watson 1996 Mark McCue 2015    


Read More

26 Jul First Lady joins The Aberdeen Shoemakers


The Aberdeen Shoemakers Incorporation welcomes Sarah Machray as our first lady member of the Incorporation and of The Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen.

Pictured with the Deacon of the Aberdeen Shoemakers’ Incorporation Brian Donald.

Read More

16 Jun Ex Deacon Donald Law – 70 Year Anniversary as a Member 12th June 2021

Ex Deacon Donald Law recently celebrated an amazing 70 years as a member of the Aberdeen Shoemakers Incorporation and of The Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen and is our longest standing member – ever!  What an incredible amount of time and a wonderful achievement.

Deacon Brian Donald presented Ex Deacon Donald Law with 12 bottles of wine (although only 1 in the photo!)

Read More

27 Jan Company of Cordwainers of York’s Charter Weekend

Photograph of the attendees of Company of Cordwainers of York's Charter WeekendThe Deacon Convenor and Deacon of The Aberdeen Hammermen Incorporation were delighted to attend the Company of Cordwainers of York’s Charter Weekend. The tour of York Minster was magnificent and Mike the Tour Guide was very knowledgeable. The Annual Livery Dinner in the fantastic Merchant Adventurers Hall, was excellent and pleased to celebrate the election of their new Master, Mrs Anne Reid MBE. (more…)

Read More

21 May Admissions of Burgess of Trade

On the 5th March 2018 at a meeting of the commencement of a full council meeting at Aberdeen’s Towns House, Graeme Cheyne and Iain Hunter of the Shoemakers Incorporation and Peter Murray of the Weavers Incorporation were admitted as Burgesses of Trade.  In the absence of the Deacon Convener George Esson, Ex Deacon Convener David N Parkinson proposed all for full membership.  Having met the requirements laid down and paid the appropriate dues to the Lord Provost they confirmed to abide by the rules and responsibilities of a city Burgess.


Read More

17 May York Cordwainers Dinner – May 2016

York & AberdeenFor a number of years the Deacon Convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades has been invited as a guest to the Election of the Master Cordwainer of York. Along with the Deacon of the Aberdeen Shoemakers Incorporation, Mervyn Donald and his wife Margaret, the Deacon Convener was represented by Late Deacon Convener David N Parkinson and his wife Margaret.

After travelling down on the Friday, an invitation was extended to attend an evening meal at the Grange Hotel with the Masters and Clerks of the London Livery Companies associated with the leather industry, along with the Master Elect, Clerk and Dinner Convener of Cordwainers of York. In all, 39 people sat down to an informal dinner.

After the meal, a surprise was sprung on the Masters and Convenors to each give a piece of advice to the new Master Elect from their personal experience, thinking on your feet did not seem to unduly worry those present.

Read More

20 Aug Burgesses of Trade of the Burgh of Aberdeen

On Wednesday August 19th 2015,  the two new members of the Shoemakers Incorporation, Alastair Walker and Mark McCue were installed as Burgesses of Trade at a ceremony held during a full council meeting at the Aberdeens Towns House.  Both Gentlemen were admitted as members of the Shoemakers Incorporation in April.

The Late Deacon Convener, David N Parkinson, standing in for Deacon Convener Sandy McKinnon, presented the applicant to the Provost and Council for admission as a Free Burgess of the Burgh of Aberdeen of his own Craft only.

Traditionally new members only had the right to vote at Trade meetings once they had been accepted as a Trade Burgess.

Shoemaker Alastair Walker and Late Deacon Convener David N Parkinson                        Shoemaker Mark McCue and Late Deacon Convener David N Parkinson

Pictured with Late Deacon Convener David N Parkinson are Alastair Walker (left) and Mark McCue (right)

Read More

28 May Meet our Members – Shoemakers John E. Harwood

The eldest member of the Shoemakers Incorporation is John Edward Harwood, who was born in Nigg on 8th April 1921.  John served in the Second World War and was awarded the 1939-45 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal, Palestine Medal, 1935-45 Medal and the Territorial Efficiency Medal.

He is registered in the members of the Shoemakers Incorporation as having entered the Trade on 10th December 1974, made a Burgess of Trade of the City of Aberdeen in February 1975 and Burgess of Guild the same year.

John was elected as Boxmaster of the Trade in 19683 and 1984.  Thereafter, he was elected as Deacon in 1985, 1986 and 1999.

John worked as a Retail Manager and Company Director of John Dunn Shoes in Aberdeen.

What is less known, is that John is also a poet and was a regular contributor to Leopard Magazine including ‘Souter…..How it was’: (more…)

Read More

25 May Shoemakers appointed in new positions

Late Deacon Brian Donald of the Shoemakers Incorporation was elected as Factor of the Trade Widows Fund (TWF), the first Shoemaker to hold this position.  Coming at a busy time for the TWF, the Incorporation wish Brian well in the coming years.

In February this year, Shoemaker Albert Thomson was made an Officer of Merit in Military & Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem.  This was in recognition of his charitable work for the Order and as a trustee of the Dame Bebe Barwiss-Holiday Memorial Trust, which was formed to advance the treatment of diseases and ailments of the eyes or skin.

Read More

25 May Tales of the Shoemakers Trade

In 1715 and 1745, the Aberdeen Shoemakers Incorporation was a hot bed of revolt during both the Jacobite rebellions. There are numerous references to the members of the trade and their apprentices being involved in illegal activities at the time of the rebellions.

There were at least two members of the Incorporation involved in the Battle of Culloden and it seems that the Trade in general favoured the Pretender. As a result, in 1746, all members of the Shoemakers Trade and new members of the future were required to take Oaths of Allegiance (to the King) and of Abjuration (disowning the Pretender).

For this historical insight, we refer to a member of the Shoemakers Trade with the wonderful name of Hercules McCook, who is listed in the members register as entering the trade on 17th April 1749.

The Shoemakers booklet ‘Acts, Oaths and Ordinances’ has the following entry, dated 27th July 1748: (more…)

Read More