The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers ranks seventieth in the 110 Livery Companies of the City of London. The Company was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1670, but is first recorded as a trade association for the makers of pattens in 1379 and the trade itself dates from the 12th century or earlier. Pattens were wooden-soled overshoes which were helpful to pedestrians negotiating the mire-filled streets of medieval Britain. However, with the advent of paved streets and rubber galoshes, pattens became obsolete by the end of the 19th century.
Because of this history the Company has strong links with the Footwear trade and many members come from that industry. Support is given to young footwear designers and the Company’s charitable activities include the funding the design and bespoke fabrication of orthopaedic shoes, particularly for the UK’s injured servicemen. However, the Company’s membership, which is limited to 250, also includes around 40 from the facilities management profession, built environment and facilities service industry.
There has been a community of Facility Managers within the Pattenmakers for over 30 years. The emergence of modern day facilities management in the 1980’s coincided with a reduction in the size of the UK footwear industry creating an opportunity for the new profession within the ranks of an ancient company. It is believed that there are more FM people in the Pattenmakers than in any other Livery Company. The FM Pattenmakers often say that Pattens were designed to keep people out of the mire and that’s what FM’s do too!
Consistent with the ethos of the London guilds to train their apprentices, the Young Managers Scheme was conceived by Past Master Richard Paice to encourage ambitious young managers to compete for a Pattenmakers’ Award. Each year employers are invited to put forward candidates who have shown promise during their training and early employment stages. This scheme was originally restricted to candidates from the footwear industry but there is also a Pattenmakers Young Manager Award specifically for young managers in facilities management and the built environment.
Each Award year commences with the winners attending a Banquet at the Mansion House to receive their citations. The actual award consists of a training programme specifically developed in conjunction with the applicant’s employer and designed to meet both the company and the individual’s needs. All training costs are paid by the Livery although employers normally help with basic travel expenses. All Young Manager Award winners also receive an Honorary Freedom of the Livery along with the Freedom of the City of London. The 2016 Award was won by Sam Lenehan nominated by Carillion.
The Pattenmakers has held an annual Built Environment and Facilities Management Dinner (also known as the Built Environment Dinner) for more than 20 years. As well as being enjoyable social occasions and networking opportunities these have included talks on matters of interest like the building of the Shard and the Crossrail project. This year’s dinner was addressed by Phil Sullivan, Chair of the Kings Cross Construction Board on the impact and challenges of the Kings Cross regeneration project.
The City of London Corporation’s annual Sustainable City Awards are given to organisations which have demonstrated excellence in sustainable development. The Pattenmakers’ Company is responsible for the Award for Building Sustainable Communities which is usually presented at the annual dinner. In addition to these specific activities and the formal dinners FM Pattenmakers participate in all of the many activities of the Company which range from involvement in the Lord Mayor’s Parade or the annual Carol Service in the Company Church, St Margaret Pattens to whisky tasting or clay pigeon shooting.
Membership opportunities with The Pattenmakers are limited and are subject to the policies and practices of the Company. However, the FM community within the Company offers a warm welcome to professional facility managers and individuals from the Facilities Management industry who are interested in joining a Livery to support worthwhile charitable activities, for fellowship, and to participate in the life of the City of London.