Dame Julie Kenny has become The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire’s second female master in its 383rd history.
The master cutler acts as the head of the company of cutlers and fulfils the role of Sheffield ambassador.
Before becoming this year’s Master Cutler, Dame Kenny who is from Sheffield, was a successful South Yorkshire based entrepreneur and was honoured with a Damehood in 2019 for her work in heritage. She has also served as a Deputy Lieutenant for South Yorkshire since 2005 and High Sheriff of South Yorkshire in 2012-2013.
The installation of this year’s Master Cutler took place in Cutlers Hall, followed by a service in Sheffield cathedral.
The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire was set up in 1624 for the purpose of maintaining standards of craftsmanship in the cutlery trades in Sheffield.
The organisation also supports manufacturing in Sheffield, manages charity and fundraising, is involved in education and the community and protects the name Sheffield.
Every year there are 33 people who are elected every year by the company to become a part of the company who would then elect a master. The first ever female Master Cutler was Pamela Liversidge back in 2012. She was a mechanical engineer and has had one of the buildings from the University of Sheffield names after her.
Dr Joan Unwin, archivist, said: “There has never been any bar to women in the 400-year history of the Company. To become a Freeman, the person must have been apprenticed and trained in the core trades of cutlery – women weren’t apprenticed.
“There will be another Lady Master in about six years’ time and there are currently four women Members of the Company.”