Recognising the Saddlers contribution over the years – from our founding to today

Features | By Catherine Gowers


Since the inception of the Northampton Institute in the 1890s, City, University of London has had a successful relationship with the Worshipful Company of Saddlers and it continues to this day. As City’s longest standing donor, the Saddlers financial support has helped City develop through the years and benefitted students for over a century.


The relationship began in 1891 when Saddlers, along with The Worshipful Company of Skinners, donated a generous fraction of the income from Kitchin’s Charity (£1,078 plus £1,000 per annum) to enable the founding of the Northampton Institute (which would later become City, University of London). Saddlers provided the bulk of the money for the construction and equipping of the Institute, allowing it to open in 1894.

Improving City’s campus

The Saddlers have continued to contribute to campus developments over the years, partly funded through money from Kitchin’s Charity. The Charity utilises income generated by the will of the former Warden of the Company, Robert Kitchin and has donated 50 per cent of its fund to City annually. The money has been used to build key areas on campus such as Saddlers Bar (now CityBar) and Saddlers Common Room, which are still used and enjoyed by students to this day.


The Fund also provided discretionary funds for key initiatives. In 1971, the Saddlers donated £150,000 to facilitate the construction of a sports centre, providing students and staff with facilities to train for sporting competitions and undertake indoor sports including tennis, football, lacrosse and gymnastics. The Centre was opened on 14th June 1974 by the Master of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, Robert Snowden and the University’s Chancellor, the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Hugh Wontner and was fittingly named Saddlers Sports Centre. The centre continued to grow and has now developed into CitySport, which features Saddlers Sports Hall in honour of the Livery Company.


Campus developments are key to improving the student experience and in 2007, thanks to a significant donation from Saddlers, the Saddlers Student Centre opened to provide students with support for all aspects of student life. The money funded an office for student queries and a Student Adviser post (Saddlers’ Student Adviser) which, alongside the other Student Advisers, provides expert support and guidance to City’s students.

Supporting City’s students

The Saddlers support has always focused on helping students develop and reach their potential. One way is through grants, scholarships and awards, which have funded students’ experiences including Study Abroad bursaries to support education at partnered universities around the world.


Through the PhD Progress Award, the Saddlers have helped students whose research makes a difference to the lives of vulnerable people. In 2016, they awarded two PhD students from the School of Health Sciences, Abi Roper and Becky Moss, the prestigious Award which enabled them to develop and evaluate interventions for people who have aphasia. Speaking about the award, Abi says: “I want to express my sincere thanks to the Worshipful Company of Saddlers for this unique opportunity. I believe this award will offer a significant contribution to healthcare research in two important ways. Firstly, it offers me an invaluable opportunity to develop my research in the field of speech and language therapy and technology. In addition, through the dissemination of the research, the Award also supports the development of this crucial field for a group of individuals with severe communication difficulties whose ‘voice’ is otherwise rarely heard in healthcare research.”


Students still benefit from financial support from Saddlers via The Worshipful Company of Saddlers Studentship, a fee waiver awarded to one student per academic year studying for a PhD in interdisciplinary psychology.


To this day, the Saddlers extend invitations to the annual Saddlers Reception and Dinner where colleagues, including the Saddlers Student Adviser, enjoy speeches and dinner while networking with members and guests of the Livery Company. City remains most grateful for the unique relationship which has spanned the University’s history and for the continuing generous support to its campus and its students.