The Worshipful Company of Saddlers is one of the very oldest of the City of London Livery companies. The earliest surviving records of a Guild of Saddlers in London date from circa 1160 AD, although the Guild could well pre-date that.
Destroyed by the Great Fire of London and then bombed during the Blitz, the original Saddlers’ Hall dates back to the 14th Century and has been rebuilt several times.
Today, the Saddlers’ Company still has a close interest in, and involvement with, its original trade. This is exemplified in its support of the Society of Master Saddlers, its leadership of the development of saddlery training standards, its support of saddlery trainees and apprentices through bursaries, awards and prizes, and its promotion of British saddlery.
The Company supports almost all disciplines of British equestrianism, concentrating on younger and emerging riders, through the award of saddlery prizes and vouchers at a broad range of equestrian competitions across the country. It aims to promote the use of high quality British saddlery by riders of all ages and experience for the greater safety and comfort of both horse and rider.
Active philanthropic involvement in education and charity has always played a fundamental part in the Company’s life and this continues to the present day. The Company’s current educational activities range from a close association with City University of London (of which it was one of the founding Companies), through means-tested bursaries at Alleyn’s School in Dulwich, as well as the promotion of educational projects at schools in the inner-city boroughs bordering the City of London – and most particularly with the City of London Academy Islington.
The Company is the Trustee of a number of historic charities. These were founded with funds bequeathed by past members of the Company but it also endows its major charity, The Saddlers’ Company Charitable Fund, which responds to a wide range of charitable initiatives, with a particular emphasis on charities working for the benefit of disabled people and disadvantaged youth.