The Wheelwrights Craft
The Company is active in the support and development of the wheelwright's craft and a list of practising wheelwrights in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is available.
As a founding member of the City & Guilds of London Institute, the Company has for more than a century been involved in the training of apprentices. In the fifty years up to the outbreak of the Second World War, the Technical Education Committee of the Livery managed and funded a training programme for wheelwrights at the Carpenters Training School in London.
In 1983 the Company established a Craft Liaison Committee (now called the Craft Committee) to further the activities of the craft on behalf of the Livery. The Committee's main task continues to be the guidance of training throughout the country and in this regard it worked for many years with the Rural Development Commission and subsequently the Countryside Agency at their training school in Salisbury.
In 2000 responsibility for the training of wheelwrights was transferred to the Herefordshire College of Technology where instruction was undertaken by two Liverymen of the Company under a course which was recognised to N.V.Q. standards. Unfortunately the withdrawal of funding for Rural Crafts apprentices has prompted a cessation of the course as it stood. The Committee is exploring the future for training in the wheelwrighting craft.
On 11 March 1993 the Company was presented with a model wheel made by the wheelwright apprentices at the Salisbury College under the guidance of John Wright a Liveryman and one of the two Tutors – see the above photograph.
The Company has taken part in major exhibitions held in Windsor Great Park and at the Guildhall in the City of London on the history of the craft together with practical demonstrations of how a wheel is made.
Contact is regularly maintained with working Wheelwrights and which includes an annual luncheon hosted by the Master of the Company.