A Cordwainer (or cordovan) is somebody who makes shoes and other articles from fine soft leather. The word is derived from “cordwain”, or “cordovan”, the leather produced in Córdoba, Spain.

Historically, there was a distinction between a Cordwainer, who made shoes, and a Cobbler, who repaired them. However, this distinction gradually weakened, particularly during the twentieth century, with the predominance of shoe retailers who neither made nor repaired the shoes themselves.

In London, the occupation of cordwainers was historically controlled by the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers. There is a Cordwainer ward of the City of London, which is traditionally where most cordwainers lived and worked.


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