If he wishes, DAMHA resident Fred Snowden is able, by law, to drive livestock through the centre of the city of Durham.
That is one of the ‘perks’ of being a Freeman of Durham.
Whilst Fred has never felt the need to exercise his historic right, he is rightfully proud to be one of only 326 Freemen and even prouder that for the last three years he has been the Warden of the Barbers’ Company. The Barbers’ Company is one of eight trade guilds/companies within the Freemen of Durham.
During his time as Warden, Fred, who became a Freemen in 2005, had a number of responsibilities, including admitting new members, acting as host for guest speakers and representing the Barbers’ Company at meetings and public events.
He says: “I have always been proud to be a Freemen and it was an honour and a privilege to serve as the Warden of the Barbers’ Company over the last three years.”
Fred, who lives in Ushaw Moor and is one of our Residents’ Representatives, is Durham born and bred. His father was a weaver at the carpet factory in Walkergate all his life and his grandfather was a painter at Durham Cathedral. After leaving school he served his time as a plumber and did this until his retirement in 2012.
In 1961, Fred joined the Durham Rowing Club and is still a member. He has helped to coach young rowers in the city, many of whom have gone on to row at a high level.
Fred is now hoping one of his children will follow in his footsteps as the sons/daughters of Freeman can also become Freemen if they wish.
He says: “They are all in their 20s so probably a bit young to think about becoming Freemen at the moment, but hopefully one day they will join me in becoming one of the custodians of the city.”