We strive to achieve this by supporting City and livery functions.
We take part in the Lord Mayor’s show and in some years provide a float illustrating some aspect of plumbing. We also involve schoolchildren in the decoration of the float and have received tremendous support from the children at the Columbia Primary School in Tower Hamlets. The Sea Cadet Unit at Richmond is supported and they provide a carpet guard at our Annual Banquet at the Mansion House.
All Liverymen are encouraged to attend the annual United Guilds Service at St Paul's. This service started following a meeting of the Masters and Prime Wardens of the Twelve Great Companies, held at Goldsmiths' Hall, on February 1st 1943, when it was decided to hold a service in St Paul’s Cathedral for the Livery Companies and Guilds of the City of London. The idea behind the service was to help lift the spirits of the City following the Blitz during the Second World War. The Livery Companies continue gather together every year at St Paul’s on Lady Day.
Encouraging liverymen to actively participate in City elections
All Liverymen are Freeman of the City of London and are encouraged to exercise their right to participate in the election of the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs. The Company through the Master and Wardens participates in Ward elections.
Raising funds for Lord Mayor’s Charities
The Lord Mayor nominates a charity or charities for their year. The Plumbers make it a point to contribute usually giving the Lord Mayor a cheque at our Annual Banquet. We also strive to attend functions held on behalf of the Lord Mayor’s charity.
A City Tradition continued
At our formal dinners we observe the Ceremony of the Loving Cup. There is a degree of uncertainty about the origin of the ceremony surrounding the Loving or Grace Cup, but it is possible that it dates from the time of King Alfred.
The Cups are of silver or silver-gilt with a cover and are filled with spiced wine immemorially termed “Sack”. Immediately after dinner and Grace, the Master and Wardens drink to their guests a hearty welcome. The cups are then passed round the tables and each person after drinking, applies the napkin to the lip of the cup before passing it to their neighbour. While the drinker is occupied the neighbour on one side stands holding the cover of the cup in their right or dagger hand and the neighbour on the other side remains standing as protection.
This custom is to ensure that the drinker is protected from treachery like that practiced by Elfrida on the unsuspecting King Edward the Martyr at Corfe Castle who was slain while drinking. In Saxon days an enemy was sometimes stabbed when both hands were engaged holding the heavy drinking horns then used and whilst the arms were raised leaving exposed the vulnerable frontal sides of the body. Curiously enough it is anatomically not so effective to “stab in the back” because of the tough wall of muscle which has to be penetrated.
It is a constant source of argument which way the protector should face. At some Company banquets they turn their back on the drinker and at others they face the drinker’s back. The Armourers and Brasiers face the back of the drinker.