In Memory of Liveryman Terry Fillary
This tribute is published in memory of Liveryman Terry Fillary MBE FCIPHE RP, a legendary exponent of the craft of lead casting.
Terry Fillary loved his career as a plumber and in particular the leadwork and lead casting aspects of it, for which he was an unrivalled expert. The other love of his life was his wife Betty and his two children Linda and Paul.
Terry and Betty met at the Ilford Palais in November 1954 whilst enjoying the third love of his life, ballroom dancing. He was as skilled on his feet as he was with his hands and both he and Betty enjoyed many years at their local dance club.
Terry’s father, Albert Edward (Ted) was also a plumber, and he had two brothers and a sister, Michael, David and Margaret. Terry trained as a plumber and undertook his apprenticeship through East Ham College of Building before being called up for his two-years National Service as a dispatch rider in the Army.
He then started his own business as a self-employed plumber and quickly developed his skills with leadwork and lead casting. He worked on numerous historic buildings throughout his career, including Crosby Hall in Chelsea and Selfridges in Oxford Street.
Keen to pass on his skills, he taught plumbing students at Hackney College and leadwork and lead casting in his workshop at home.
He also gave much of his free time to support the Plumbers’ Workshop Museum Trust at Singleton and with his good friends and colleagues Liverymen Phil Mead and Peter Cheesman showed off his lead casting skills at the many demonstration days held there.
Terry built up an outstanding reputation as an expert at lead casting and he recorded all his work and projects in his book “Ornamental Leadwork”, which he published in 2012. Our current Master, Dr Peter Rumley, gave him much help with it and in his dedication to him Terry wrote “To Peter, we sometimes do agree”. One of these projects was a beautiful Army General’s Cap Badge casting mounted on two lead cast crossed swords, which he presented to General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff of the Army, when he attended our Charity function at the Guildhall in 2009.
Terry will be best remembered for two exceptional Royal projects on behalf of the Company and the Plumbers’ Museum Workshop Trust. The first was for The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, for which he cast two planters, which now reside in the rose garden at Buckingham Palace.
His second and grandest project was for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, for which he made a splendid lead planter. He can be seen working on it here in his workshop.
Her Majesty asked for it to be sited at Sandringham House and in January 2013 we were delighted to present it to Her personally.
(L to R) Liveryman Allan Anderson, Past Master (PM) Edward Hopkinson, Master Charles Yuill, Clerk Air Cdre Paul Nash, Her Majesty The Queen, Liveryman Phil Mead, Terry Fillary, PM David Hamilton, PM Antony Paterson-Fox and Renter Warden Steve Hodkinson
Terry also took the opportunity, as only he could, to present Her Majesty with a copy of his own book.
A registered plumber and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, Terry was awarded the St Michael Medallion by the Worshipful Company of Plumbers in 1997; this is its highest award and one given only infrequently to those who have made an outstanding contribution to plumbing. Terry’s greatest recognition was to come in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List when he was awarded the MBE for his exceptional contribution to plumbing and the craft of lead casting.
Latterly Terry found lead to heavy to work with, so he changed to using wood. A close colleague of his, Liveryman Allan Anderson, was delighted to receive a model lorry with his company logo adorned on it.
Terry enjoyed a very full and active life, but had a major heart attack at home in Dagenham, Essex early on Tuesday morning 23 February 2021 at the age of 86. Despite all the efforts of the paramedics and doctors he passed away later that morning. He has left behind a lasting legacy of his achievements.
Terry’s funeral is at 2:40pm on Wednesday 7 April 2021 and will be streamed live via the following link:
My grateful thanks to Terry’s widow Betty, Liveryman Allan Anderson and the Master Dr Peter Rumley for helping me write this tribute.