Liverymen and Members’ Corner

This page was set up during the Coronavirus outbreak as a point of contact for all our members to keep in touch and also provide some light relief from the lockdown. We will keep it running post lockdown to copy the update sent to all members via email.  If you have anything you would like to add to it, please email it to the Clerk. The Clerk and Webmaster will have the final say on what will and will not be published!

I always look forward to May Day and the May Bank Holidays and this year it is rather special, with the second one moved into June to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee of her accession to the throne. Many of you will remember the lead planter made by our Plumbers’ Museum and Workshop Trust (PMWT) for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, now residing splendidly outside Sandringham House.

Those of you with even longer memories will remember the two planters we made for Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee, which now sit in the rose garden at Buckingham Palace.

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I’m delighted to say that the PMWT are making two further planters for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year and they will be sited at Windsor Castle. I will keep you updated on progress.


Most of us know Mayday as the international radio distress call, but it actually has nothing to do with 1 May.  It’s about 100 years old and originates from Croydon Airport, then Britain’s sole international airport.  The senior radio operator there, Fred Mockford, a former member of the Royal Flying Corps, was asked to come up with a simple way for a pilot to radio he or she was in trouble. He came up with the term ‘Mayday’ from the French ‘Venez m’aider’ (Come and help me); much of the air traffic from Croydon at the time went to Le Bourget in France.  Even the local hospital was renamed ‘Mayday Hospital’. And just to round off this little snippet of information, the distress call for an aircraft’s less serious incident is called a ‘pan-pan’ call, which comes from the French ‘panne’ (breakdown). A great pub quiz question!

May brings one of the highlights of the Livery calendar (for me at least!); the Inter-Livery Yacht Race at Cowes, Isle of Wight. This year, it’s on Saturday 21 May and a chance for us to win a third trophy in a row.


Click on the picture to find out more.


Keeping on the nautical theme, the next ‘informal’ social event is a trip on the Thames to Greenwich to visit the Cutty Sark and lunch in the Yacht Tavern. Places are limited, so click on the picture below for more details and the booking arrangements:



Two former Royal Navy officers are hosting a webinar for us later this week on 28 April to help us examine our own recruitment and retention in the Plumbers, under the title ‘Not all Plain Sailing’. Commodore Ellie Ablett and Commander Liz Walmsley are two highly respected and experienced speakers and it promises to be a fascinating and interesting discussion. To read more and join in click on their picture below:



Returning to our busy month of May, we have our Annual Lecture on Monday 16 May. Water features prominently in it, or rather the potential lack of it. The presentation by Dr Chris Lambert and Dr Priti Parikh, two experts and senior advisers in sustainable development, ‘The Jaws of Death’ will explore the risks to London’s future water supply and as always will be held in the splendid venue of The Royal College of Physicians next to Regents Park. It starts with refreshments at 5:45pm with the lecture itself at 6:46pm followed by drinks and dinner. It’s a great evening, so click on the image below to read more and book your place:



This brings me neatly to congratulate one of our former lecturers, from 2018, our very own Prof Mala Rao, a renowned expert in public heath, whose tireless work in the field has been recognised with an award. Read all about it by clicking on her picture below. Many congratulations Mala!



Gresham College will be holding its annual Sir Thomas Gresham lecture on 9 June which you can attend in person or on-line. It will be presented by the Nobel Laureate Sir Roger Penrose. All the details can be found through this link:

Also in June we have the largest industry trade event in the country, the Installers’ Show, at the NEC Birmingham, from 21 to 23 June. We will be attending this prestigious event and on Apprentice Day, 23 June, our Master Nick Jones will be presenting our apprentice bursary awards for 2022. Why not join him? Click on the image below to read more and register your attendance to come along.


We will also have a stall at the Becket Pageant Livery Fair in the Guildhall Yard on 17 and 18 June, where we will be demonstrating our ancient craft of lead casting. There will be numerous stalls from various livery companies; all the details can be found through the link in the image below:



The centrepiece of the pageant is a musical about the life and times of Thomas Becket. The livery fair is open to everyone, but if you would like to see the musical, tickets can be bought through this link:

Looking back into April we had a number of enjoyable events. The United Guilds Service returned to St Paul’s on 1 April, a colourful service, followed by lunch at Carpenters’ Hall. Click on the picture below of the Master, Wardens and their consorts to read more:



The Master and Kala also laid on a fabulous Persian Banquet for us, with some delicious food and entertainment. Again, you can read about it by opening the link in the picture below:



And the Plumbers’ Golf Society PGS enjoyed a warm sunny day at Wildernesse Golf Course in Kent for its spring social gathering. Many congratulations to Liveryman Barry Corfield who carded an impressive 10 under par to his handicap on the beautiful but challenging course to come first. Here he is receiving his prize:



And congratulations too to Liveryman Graham Setterfield who came in as runner-up with an equally impressive one over par gross on the back nine (apologies to the non-golfers for whom that probably means nothing!). Graham can be seen on the left in the picture below with his guest Paul Watkins:



Enough from me I think! Enjoy the forthcoming Bank Holidays and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our Spring events. There will be a separate update on our Court meeting and Masters’ and Clerks’ lunch shortly, and as ever, all our news and details of all our events and functions can be found through the website homepage.


I’ve kept up the link to ‘The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room’, with its selection of books, each chosen by Her Royal Highness. New ones are posted at regular intervals with information about the authors, including videos, pictures and commentary:

Clicking on the picture above will “take you into her room”.

I’ve also kept these stories here because they still bring a smile to my face!

 Plumbers’ Apprentice Statue Missing!

  Plumbers’ Apprentice Statue Found?

A Lesson or Two with Honorary Liveryman Jules Holland

The Order of Precedence Song


Join the company

With up to two dozen events each year, from dinners and dances to yacht racing and wine tasting; exclusive tours of engineering marvels to intimate looks at Londons hidden treasures, being a member of the company can be hugely rewarding and a lot of fun. There’s a reason we’re known as ‘The Friendly Company’! Become a part of our social history.

Find out more about the rewards of being a Liveryman and how to apply.