The charity for the footwear trade
Thereafter meetings were held at frequent intervals, mostly in the evening and a popular venue was the The Mitre Tavern in St. Martin's Lane. New members were soon enlisted and a booklet of rules and regulations was drawn up. The society was formed for the purpose of affording relief by way of annuity to aged and decayed members, their widows and orphans. Male candidates would receive £30 annually, females £20 and orphans £20 until they attained their 14 birthday. By 1850 there were ten annuitants including two widows.
Annual dinners were, from the beginning, a fundraising favourite with the earliest example taking place on April 28th 1837 at the Crown & Anchor Tavern in the Strand. Annual dinners continued for over a hundred years, usually with a local or national luminary presiding.
In recent years a more diverse range of fundraising activities have been tried including sponsored marathon walks, charity shows, staged with some pomp in West End theatres including the Shaftsbury and the Palace and, since 1946, the National Golf Championship of the Shoe, Leather and Allied trades.
Today, under the new name of The Footwear Industry Trust (FIT), this inventiveness and passion for raising money to help those in our industry who have fallen on hard times is as active as it ever was. Thanks to the efforts of board members, secretaries, patrons and generous members of the footwear community FIT income has risen almost every year since it was first created by Mr. Bonham and co in that small office on Gerrard street over 185 years ago.
President & Chairman
Become a corporate sponsor
The Footwear Industry Trust is all about building connections within the business we all call ‘The Trade’. By becoming a partner of our charity, your business can play an active rôle in giving back to the people who work hard to make the Great British Footwear Trade what it is today. Get in contact with us today and find out how you can give us the vital support that we need.