Goldsmiths' Company shatters a 700-year-old glass ceiling as it appoints Judith Cobham-Lowe to its top job

Rebecca Smith
Judith Cobham-Lowe has struck gold as the first female Prime Warden
Judith Cobham-Lowe has struck gold as the first female Prime Warden (Source: Goldsmiths)

Long-standing City institution the Goldsmiths' Company is breaking a 700-year-old glass ceiling with its latest appointment.

It has announced today that Judith Cobham-Lowe OBE has become the first woman to be its Prime Warden.

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Cobham-Lowe has a background in academia; holding posts at what is now Cass Business School, Manchester Business School, and the European Business School. She became a liveryman of Goldsmiths in 1993 and has been involved with its charity and education work since.

Cobham-Lowe's year in the post will kick off the decade running up to the 700th anniversary of the firm's first Royal Charter. At least £70m will be given by the livery company and its charity over the next 10 years to support the gold and silversmiths' trade, as well as apprentice training and other charitable activities.

The company, which received its first Royal Charter back in 1327, and was founded to regulate the trade of the goldsmith, is still active in trade today. Over two million precious metal items are marked at the Assay Office in Goldsmiths' Hall each year, while there is also a separate centre in Clerkenwell giving business training to over 200 graduates and providing studio space to over 80 craftspeople.

Each year, four members are elected to become wardens of Goldsmiths and act as the executive committee. The Prime Warden is the senior warden and they serve for a year in the role, changing over in May.

Cobham-Lowe said:

Quite apart from kicking off the next decade of activity, it’s a tremendous honour to be chosen to lead a livery company that still has a real job to do: assaying and hallmarking precious metals, training apprentices, and changing lives through the gifts our historic wealth and current members’ donations let us make.

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