Plumbers on parade at the Plumbing Museum


On 7th March 2024, David Hamilton, Chair of the Plumbing Museum and Workshop Trust #PMWT alongside members of the Board of Trustees were delighted to welcome the Master Plumber and members of the Horsham Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Club to the Workshop at Amberley Museum in West Sussex.

One of a pair of Coronation Planters made at the Plumbing Museum and Workshop Trust

The Veterans’ Club is comprised of people from all branches of the uniformed services who meet regularly for breakfast and outings, and provide each other with mutual support and assistance. Eddie McCourt, a Liveryman and demonstrator at the Plumbing Museum, organised the visit by the Veterans’ Club where he is also a member. Katrina Burton, Director of Amberley Museum, was a pleasant addition to the party.

L-R outside the Workshop: Sarah Turnces, Eddie McCourt, Katrina Burton, Michael Turner, Donna Lee, Denise Reekie, Alan Stock, David Adams, David Hamilton, Peter Cheesman, Paul Gooderson, Jon Richard, Marina Meldrum, Sandie Nicholson, Ian Nicholson, John Lockyer.

Master David Adams described the role and activities of the Plumbers’ Company, and that the Company and the Plumbing Museum are keen to build upon their existing links to the armed forces. The Company provides awards to encourage trainees, and supports cadet organisations in the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, and the Army, and is keen to encourage greater interaction at all levels.

Mingling in the Workshop

The visit took place at a very opportune moment, as the demonstrators had just completed the task of constructing two decorative lead planters, which will be presented to His Majesty King Charles III and Queen Camilla to commemorate their coronation. This is a joint gift from the Company and the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. This was the last chance to view the completed planters, and appreciate at close quarters the delicate and intricate work involved in their creation before they are transported to Sandringham House where they will be filled with plants by the Gardeners’ Company.

Eddie McCourt demonstrates lead pouring

The Master and veterans were treated to a demonstration of how lead is poured and cast, and they were talked through the technicalities that needed to be overcome in casting such large containers. They also saw for themselves how the demonstrators achieved the delicate detail of the cyphers and decoration.

The fun began as the Master and veterans took turns in casting and polishing lead:

Following the visit, the Master said:

I was delighted to visit the Plumbing Museum and Workshop Trust, and to meet our guests from the Veterans’ Club. It is always a pleasure to meet with members of the Services and to hear their stories. We owe them so much. The Plumbers’ Company has long-established links with the armed forces, and the Plumbing Museum, within Amberley Museum, is keen to extend those ties. The Plumbing Museum would welcome visits from more veterans’ clubs, cadet forces, and current service personnel. I was thrilled to try pouring lead under the guidance of our expert lead workers, and the veterans and I produced some unique pieces to take home with us! The Plumbing Museum team made us feel extremely welcome over the whole visit, and this will go down as one of the highlights of my year as Master.

The Master showing off his leadwork

Mick Turner, Secretary of the Horsham Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Club, said:

Eddie McCourt had told us about what he does at the Plumbing Museum, but it wasn’t until we saw it for ourselves that we were able to appreciate all that is involved. Everyone at our club had a great time and learned more than we expected. We hope to visit again soon.

Afterwards, Mike wrote to say:

Eddie McCourt  is a member of the Breakfast Club. We meet weekly to offer support to those veterans from all three branches of the armed forces who might need it and more importantly to enjoy the company of like-minded people who have served their country in various theatres worldwide.

Eddie told us of his activities at Amberley Museum and of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers, suggesting that we might like to visit and view a project which they were engaged in, making two planters for HM King Charles III and HM Queen Camilla. We jumped at the opportunity to visit Amberley Museum and meet with the Master, the Chair of the Plumbing Museum, and Katrina Burton, Director of the Amberley Museum, and were given a warm welcome on arrival.

Our visit was very informative, and we were given the opportunity to not only see the planters but be able to do some rubbing down “wire wool supplied”. We were also able to do some lead moulding ourselves, with everyone producing a piece to take away as a souvenir of the occasion. We left Amberley feeling that we had forged a new relationship with an organisation that was veteran focused, and hope that we can continue this partnership in the future with further visits, and possibly further involvement at some level.