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News from around The Company and The Craft
Installation Court and Livery Dinner 8th December 2016
Held at Draper’s Hall
At Court preceding the Dinner Alan Culverhouse was installed as Master and Bert Wiegman and James Tucker as Upper and Renter Wardens.
James Sampson and Dr Olga Shvarova swore their Declarations as Freemen of the Company. In addition Gary Johnson, Kevin McGuiness and Eddie Plume were Clothed in the Company.
The Master presented Lance Bombardier Frankie Scott of 109 Section (RA) Detachment, South East London Cadet Force – the winner of the Wheelwrights Royal Artillery Cadet of the Year Award for 2016 – with his framed Citation certificate, Nery Gun Bronze and a purse.
At Dinner the Immediate Past Master proposed the Installation Toast to the new Master. In turn the Master responded and then welcomed the new Freemen and Liveryman and proposed the Toast to them. The Liverymen responded.
Court Assistant Neil Sampson proposed the Toast to the Guests. Alderman Sir David Wootton, Master of Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass responded.
Company guests included the Master Pattenmaker, Master Joiner and Ceiler and Master Hackney Carriage Driver. From our Military affiliations we welcomed as Company guests General Sir Timothy Granville -Chapman GBE KCB, Master Gunner, St James’s Park , Col Phil Shepheard- Walwyn MBE RA, Chief of Staff, Royal School of Artillery, and Col D Smith, Commandant Greater London South East Sector Army Cadet Force
Personal guests included Master Woolman and Master Waterman.
Musical entertainment both before and after Dinner was provided by four students of The Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Visit to No 12 (B) Squadron RAF Marham 28th October 2016
On Friday 28th October, Sir Stephen Dalton arranged for The Master and a group of liverymen to visit No 12 Squadron at RAF Marham. The visit was arranged as a result of our recently formed association with No 12 Squadron.
We were introduced to Wing Commander Nikki Thomas and other members of the squadron and we were then given a brief history of the squadron and their current role. After this we were given a typical briefing for our “next mission” which was fortunately a fictitious one as I’m not sure that many of us understood our instructions fully!
After an enjoyable lunch we visited the engineering section and were give a tour of the aircraft hangars. We were all given the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of a Tornado and inspect the aircraft close up. Whilst we were outside in the hangars two Tornados returned to base from Cyprus and we watched them taxi past us as we gave the air crew a welcome wave home!
We then visited the flight simulator where we were all give the chance to “fly” a Tornado around Lossiemouth. Some of these sorties were more successful than others! However we all came away from the experience in the simulator in complete awe of the skills of the pilots and navigation/weapons officers.
After the tour The Master presented Wing Commander Nikki Thomas with a Wheelwright Crest and he was in turn presented with a picture of a Tornado signed by the squadron. We were also presented with a wheel from a Tornado jet which I shall attempt to display at one of our future dinners!
We are very grateful to No 12 Squadron for a fascinating day. We also send our best wishes and good luck to them on their next deployment overseas.
Michaelmas Court and Livery Dinner at Grocers’ Hall on 13 October 2016
On the 13th October the Michaelmas Court and livery dinner was held at Grocers Hall.
Our distinguished guests included Alderman Ian Luder Master of the Worshipful Company of Coopers and Past Masters, Clerks and Liverymen from The Salters, Masons, Blacksmiths, Woolmen, Musicians, Basket makers, Loriners, Shipwrights, Coach makers, Gold and silver wire drawers and the Management Consultants.
The Master presented the Master Wheelwrights Award to Mr Andrew Slorance.
The Master presented the Geofrey Udall award to Miss Harriette Pearson for her work in paediatric medicine.
New liverymen Stephen Callow, Matthew Hicks, Lt Thomas Wiegman and Benedict Wiegman were introduced by the Master.
Liveryman Roger Griggs , Chairman of the National Tyre Distributors Association and Communications Director of Kwik Fit presented the Master David Viner with two cheques for the 2020 Appeal Fund .
The first cheque £4,240 being the proceeds of a raffle held at the Annual Dinner of the NTDA where the Master was a VIP guest of the association and secondly a handsome amount of £10,800 was presented by Roger on behalf of his company Kwik Fit who have been raising money for the 2020 Appeal since the beginning of the year.
The Company and Charity Trustees were delighted with the efforts that have been made so far.
The response on behalf of the guests was given by The Revd Prebendary Jeremy Crossley.
Ceremony of the Keys, Tower of London 19th September 2016
Nearly 50 liverymen and their guests visited the Tower Of London on the 19th September for a personal tour and to witness the ceremony of the keys. The Chief Yeoman Warder Alan Kingshott was our excellent host and guide for the evening and gave us a most informative (and amusing) tour around the Tower. After the tour we were treated to an excellent buffet meal and refreshments in the yeoman warders club.
Once our meal was finished we witnessed the centuries old tradition of the The ceremony of the keys when the Tower is made secure for the night.
The presentation of the Openshaw Cup and model of the Nery Gun is made to the best overall student attending the Gunnery Career Course and this year’s winner was Warrant Officer (Class Two) B K Green who, on completion of the course will take up his post within the Royal Artillery Gunnery Training team. The runner-up this year was Warrant Officer Goguen of the Royal Canadian Artillery who was presented with an engraved pewter tankard. As is customary, WO2 B K Green will be invited to the Installation Court dinner.
The British Driving Society 52nd Annual Show
Held on the 19th June, 2016
For the 7th year in succession, the Company supported the British Driving Society at its 52nd Annual Show held at Smiths Lawn in Windsor Great Park, by sponsoring the Vintage Vehicle Class. This most prestigious event in the Association’s calendar provided a great day out in fine weather for some 70 Wheelwrights and their guests. This is the highest attendance at the Show that the Company has achieved to date.
The Master, David Viner presents the trophy and certificate to the winner of the Vintage Vehicle Class Bob Alexander, accompanied by his lady, Andrea Romp, along with Alan Culverhouse, the Upper Warden (far left) and Bert Wiegman, the Renter Warden (2nd from left). Bob was also the winner of this Class in 2014.
Having watched the Show and enjoyed a good lunch or picnic, many then took advantage of the good weather and stayed to see the Queen take the drive past on the adjoining Polo Ground. Pictured below is the Queen inspecting the various Class Winners, along with Barry Luck, Chairman of the Show Committee. There were top quality polo matches during the afternoon with regular entertainment provided by a Guards’ Band – This has become a regular event in the Company’s Calendar and is not to be missed.
Wheelwrights Visit to Drewitts’ Carriages on 1st June 2016
With the kind permission of Tony Drewitt, 29 Liverymen and their guests enjoyed a private visit to a workshop near Faygate in West Sussex, to view a unique and eclectic mix of horse-drawn vehicles and steam-driven engines. This was a repeat of a similar visit in May 2014. Vehicles on display included a 1904 horse-drawn fire engine, which won the Wheelwrights’ Vintage Vehicle Class at the BDS Annual Show in 2013. The Master, David Viner, is pictured below with Tony Drewitt with the fire engine in the background.
Liverymen and their guests were given a tour around different parts of the workshop and the various steam-driven (see below left) and horse drawn vehicles that were on display. Tony is in the process of restoring a 1911 horse-drawn omnibus that when in service used to travel to Mansion House (below right).
During the morning refreshments were provided and music supplied by way of two barrel organs, one of which dated from 1900. David Viner very kindly arranged for steam-driven and horse-drawn transport to and from the workshop to our lunchtime venue, the Ghyll Manor Hotel in Rusper. The pictures below show the vehicles getting ready to leave.
Up until this point the weather had been very kind and although overcast it had remained dry. As the party set off from the workshop the heavens opened and sadly a number of the group were rather wet on arrival for lunch. This did not dampen spirits and staff at the Ghyll Manor Hotel very kindly lit a log fire and made arrangements to dry everyone’s clothes. Following a superb 3-course lunch at this beautiful oak-beamed 17th Century country house (see below) the Master thanked Tony and his team for making the visit possible and made a £200 contribution towards vehicle restoration works.
Inter Livery Clay Shooting Competition 18th May 2016
Upper Warden Alan Culverhouse, Renter Warden Bert Wiegman, Court Assistant James Tucker and Liveryman Chris Ball formed the Wheelwright team for the annual inter livery clay shooting competition held at Holland and Holland shooting grounds in Northwood. In spite of the wet weather we had a hugely enjoyable day with breakfast served beforehand and lunch for everyone afterwards. At lunch the presentations were made to the best teams and individuals although we did not feature in these awards! However we did come 65th out of 86 teams which with no practice at all we felt was a reasonable performance. Bert Wiegman was our best shot of the day and came a creditable 22nd in the individual scores.
It was a very good day and an excellent way of meeting liveryman from other Companies. We all agreed that we should participate again next year and encourage other Wheelwrights to join us. As with many of the inter livery competitions it’s the “taking part” that is important and you don’t need to be an expert shot to compete.
The date of the 2017 competition is Wednesday 17th May.
The Wheelwrights’ Company Mansion House Banquet – Thursday 12th May 2016
The Wheelwrights’ Mansion House Banquet was held on Thursday 12 May. We were delighted that The Rt. Hon the Lord Mayor, Alderman the Lord Mountevans was able to join us at our banquet. The Lord Mayor is an Honorary Court Assistant of the Company.
Our principal Guest was Patricia Lovett MBE. Patricia has written a number of books on calligraphy and illumination, and teaches and lectures all over the world. She is Vice-Chair of the Heritage Crafts Association.
Stephen Callow Chairman of the National Tyre Distributors Association presented a cheque to the Master.
On the 17th of April over 50 liverymen, their families and guests joined the Master David Viner for a family lunch at The R.A.C Club, Woodcote Park. This was a relaxed and informal occasion and a great opportunity to meet other liverymen and their families. We all enjoyed drinks beforehand and then a delicious lunch.
The weather was also kind to us which meant we could wander around the grounds of the RAC Club and look at the marvellous collection of Bentley cars that had gathered on the lawn for a display.
Easter Court and Livery Dinner 2016
Held at Ironmongers’ Hall on 17 March
At Court preceding the Livery Dinner Dr Helen Carr, Lt Col Jonathan Sharp RA (Retd.) and Benedict Wiegman were admitted as Freemen to the Company and Roger Griggs and Alan Williams were Clothed in the Company.
At Dinner the Master welcomed the new Freemen and Liverymen and proposed the Toast to them. The two new Liverymen responded.
The Master made presentations to Mrs Nancy Hitzig representing City of London Sinfonia and to the representative of Dr Mayowa Osundiji ,winner of the Geoffrey Udall Prize 2015.
The Renter Warden, Bert Wiegman, proposed the Toast to the Guests including the Prime Warden Basketmakers, Prime Warden Blacksmiths and Master Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers.
The principal guest Alderman Peter Estlin responded on behalf of all the guests.
Weekend with Working Wheelwrights 11th-13th March 2016
The Annual visit to Mike & Greg Rowland’s Workshop in Colyton, Devon has been so successful and such fun that it has become a regular part of the Wheelwrights’ Calendar of events. There were 28 Liverymen and their guests that took part, the highest so far, of which 11 were newcomers. All the participants are featured below enjoying the sunshine at the end of a hard day’s graft.
As has been the case in recent years, Liverymen and guests meet up on the Friday evening for our weekend stay at the Mason’s Arms in Branscombe. The accommodation and food they provide is very good, so after a good night’s rest and a hearty breakfast this sets everyone up for making wheels on the Saturday.
Mike, Greg and his apprentice George took us through all the elements of the wheel making process. This covered shaping the spokes, driving them into the hub, making the tangs on the spokes, fitting the felloes, measuring the wheel, bending, heating and fitting the tyre. As the picture below shows the finished article looks pretty good.
Greg, Mike and Doreen Rowland always look after us very well over the weekend, for which the Company is most grateful. Following the shaping of spokes (see Pauline Norris below right) and making the tangs (see PM Clare Chisholm below left) we stopped for a splendid lunch prepared by Doreen helped by her daughter and granddaughter. As the pictures show, George Richards played an important part in the weekend by coaching one of the two teams in the skills he has been taught under the Wheelwrights’ Apprenticeship.
As a special treat this year, on the Saturday afternoon, The Master David Viner very kindly subsidised organised trips around Colyton Village in a late 19th Century Landau provided by Maria Bisset of Ben Ford Carriages Ltd Bridgwater. The pictures below left shows from left to right, Craft Chairman David Mortlock, Mike Rowland, the Master David Viner, Greg Rowland and George Richards standing in front of the Landau. Below right, the Master sets off on trip around Colyton accompanied by his lady, Andrea, Susie Morris, our Clerk and her husband David.
On the Saturday evening we returned to the Masons Arms for a splendid meal, followed by the traditional drawing of lots to determine, who should take home the wheels. The lucky winners this year were Andrea Romp and Michael Drury.
The Master, David Viner, was presented with a traveller that had been made personally by apprentice, George Richards. Our hosts, Mike and Greg, were each presented with a bottle of single malt whisky and their ladies with chocolates.
The weekend was organised by Phil Clarke for which the Company is most grateful. Given the continued success of the weekend, the Upper Warden is keen that it be repeated in 2017.
Visit to Whitechapel Bell Foundry
On the 3rd of March 2016 over 30 liverymen and guests visited The Whitechapel Bell Foundry. An entry in the Guinness Book of Records lists the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as Britain's oldest manufacturing company, having been established in 1570 (during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I) and being in continuous business since that date. Whitechapel's famous bells include the original Liberty bell(1752), the Great Bell of Montreal and, probably best known of all, Big Ben at the Palace of Westminster. Cast in 1858, this is the largest bell ever cast at Whitechapel, weighing 13½ tons. To this day, a cross-section of the bell surrounds the entrance door to the Foundry.
We were given a most informative tour of the bell foundry by the current owner Alan Hughes. The Hughes family have been running the foundry for well over a hundred years.
After the tour Alan’s’ wife and daughters provided us with excellent food and drink in the upper rooms of the foundry building.
We were also delighted that two weeks later Alan and Kathryn Hughes were able to accept the Masters invitation to join us at the Easter Court and livery dinner held at Ironmongers Hall.
Benefactors Court and Feast of St Willigis Court Luncheon 2016
Held at Wax Chandlers’ Hall on 28 January
At Court preceding the Luncheon Peter Taylor OBE was admitted as Court Assistant.
Past Master John Taylor TD proposed the Toast to St Willigis and Past Master Edward Jackson proposed the Toast to all the Benefactors of the Company
Installation Court and Livery Dinner 2015
Held at Draper’s Hall on Thursday December 10th
At Court preceding the Dinner David Viner was installed as Master and Alan Culverhouse and Bert Wiegman as Upper and Renter Wardens.
Stephen Callow, Capt Rohan de Silva and Mrs Sonia Rogers swore their Declarations as Freemen of the Company. In addition Stephen Banks, Donald Carmichael, Roy Cullen and Sonia Rogers (who was already a Freeman of the City of London) were Clothed in the Company.
The Master presented Cadet Staff Sgt Chloe Burt of 109 Section (RA) Detachment, South East London Cadet Force – the winner of the Wheelwrights Royal Artillery Cadet of the Year Award for 2015 – with her framed Citation certificate, Nery Gun Bronze and a purse.
At Dinner the Immediate Past Master proposed the Installation Toast to the new Master. In turn the Master responded and then welcomed the new Freemen and Liveryman and proposed the Toast to them. The Liverymen responded. Court Assistant Eliott Porte proposed the Toast to the Guests.
Company guests included the Master Carpenter, Master Joiner and Ceiler and Master Hackney Carriage Driver. From our Military affiliations he welcomed as Company guests Incoming Commanding Officer of 1st Regt Royal Horse Artillery, Commandant of Royal School of Artillery, Assistant Commandant Royal School of Artillery, and Commandant Greater London South East Sector Army Cadet Force
Personal guests included Sir Alexander Graham GBE and Lady Graham (Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress 1990/91), Master Woolman, Master Waterman, Master Tin Plate Worker and Immediate Past Masters of Pattenmakers and Glovers.
The principal guest, Peter O’Donoghue, York Herald responded on behalf of all the guests.
Musical entertainment at the reception and after the meal was provided by students of Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Honorary Court Assistant Alderman the Lord Mountevans installed as Lord Mayor on Friday 13 November 2015
At the Silent Ceremony in Guildhall Alderman The Lord Mountevans was sworn in as Lord Mayor for the ensuing year. Immediately afterwards, and on behalf of the Company, a small group of Liverymen led by the Master and Wardens presented him with an illuminated scroll to celebrate his Installation.
The following day the Company entered a float in the 800th Lord Mayor’s Show. Please click here to view report
Presentation to The Lord Mayor, Alderman the Lord Mountevans
Immediately prior to the Installation Court Meeting Members of the Court led by the Master and Two Wardens attended Mansion House. They presented to the Lord Mayor a 9 inch diameter wheel hand made by Honorary Liveryman and retired Working Wheelwright David Bysouth. The wheel, as is traditional with an English wooden wheel, had an elm hub, oak spokes and ash felloes and decorated in gold leaf. The Lady Mayoress was present.
Michaelmas Court, Annual Church Service and Livery Dinner
Held at Goldsmiths’ Hall on Thursday October 15th 2015
At Election Court preceding the Livery Dinner David Viner was elected Master, Alan Culverhouse was elected Upper Warden and Bert Wiegman was elected as Renter Warden for the ensuing year.
At the Court Andrew Gillespie was admitted as a Court Assistant. Ann Hopcroft, Donald Carmichael, Roger Griggs and Stefan Hay swore their Declarations as Freemen.
Jorge Crespo, Edward Crouch, Stefan Hay and Barclay Lawrence were Clothed in the Company.
Nick Gill, Andrew DeLisle and Paul Zelesnika were admitted as Yeomen to the Company.
At the conclusion of the Court meeting the Court Members made their way to The Church of St Vedast alias Foster and were joined by Liverymen and their guests for the Annual Church Service conducted by the Hon Chaplain the Right Rev’d Michael Marshall and assisted by the Rev’d Viv Bridges. The Preacher was The Most Rev’d and Right Hon Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York who took his theme on the joy of relationships from the reading by The Master of Ecclesiastes 7 verses 1 -14.
At the Livery Dinner that followed The Master welcomed the new Freemen, Liverymen and Yeomen and proposed a Toast to them. The four new Liverymen responded individually.
Earlier this year the Hon Chaplain celebrated the 40th year of his consecration and as he is an accomplished pianist to Concert standard the Master had asked him to play. His playing of Chopin’s Fantaisie Impromptu delighted all.
Court Assistant Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton GCB RAF (Ret’d) proposed the Toast to the Guests and who included The Archbishop of York, the Prime Warden, Goldsmiths’ Company, The Master Painter Stainer, The Master Upholder, The Master Turner and Lt Col T Pennett TD, RA Commanding Officer 106th (Yeomanry) Regt RA. The principal guest, Alderman and Sheriff Charles Bowman responded on behalf of all the Guests.
From left: The Archbishop of York, The Master, The Honorary Chaplain
Reading from left to right Beadle: Upper Warden: new Liveryman Jorge Crespo: new Liveryman Edward Crouch: Master Painter - Stainer : Prime Warden Goldsmiths: Alderman and Sheriff Charles Bowman: Master: Archbishop of York: Master Upholder: Master Turner: new Liveryman Stefan Hay: new Liveryman Barclay Lawrence: Honorary Chaplain: Renter Warden: Clerk
Riding for the Disabled (RDA) – Carriage Driving Show – 28th July 2015
The Wheelwrights have supported the RDA Southern Carriage Driving Show over a number of years by way of providing rosettes for every competitor that takes part in the Show. As in previous years, the event was held at the Felbridge Showground near East Grinstead in West Sussex. There were 50 entries to the 2015 Show, which is the highest number of participants they have had to date. Although overcast the weather stayed fine and a good day was enjoyed by all. The Master, Ian Armfield, is shown presenting a rosette to the winner of the ‘Novice Whip’ Class (top) and presenting a cheque to the Show Organiser, Carol Porte.
The British Driving Society 51st Annual Show
2015 was the sixth year of our support for this the most prestigious event in the Society’s year and as ever held at Smiths Lawn, Great Windsor Park.
Over 30 Wheelwrights and guests attended and watched Mrs Amy Bracey judge our Vintage Vehicle Class. First place was awarded to the team of Friesans driven by Joanna Hartland with a Browns of Windsor Roof Seat Brake carriage. Bob Alexander took second place with Bullet and Bandit in a petrol tanker by S Jones and Sons of Manchester.
After lunch there was the option of watching more Classes or adjourning to the adjoining Polo Ground for very high class Polo with intervals occupied by marching displays by Guards Band. At the conclusion of the Polo all BDS competitors then paraded past HM The Queen and the Society’s Patron, HRH Prince Philip with Her Majesty presenting the Supreme Champion Trophy.
The Master presenting the Trophy to the 2015 winner, Joanna Hartland
Summer Court and Livery Lunch 2015
Held at Tallow Chandler's Hall on Thursday July 9th 2015.
At Court preceding the Livery Lunch Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton GCB RAF (Ret’d) and Mrs Rosemary McCollin were Clothed in the Livery and Sir Stephen was also admitted as a Court Assistant.
Roy Cullen, 2nd Lt Thomas Wiegman and Alan Williams were admitted to the Freedom of the Company.
At Dinner The Master welcomed the new Court Assistant, the new Liveryman and the three new Freemen and proposed the Toast to them. Both Liverymen responded.
The Renter Warden, Alan Culverhouse proposed the Toast to the Guests and who included The Prime Warden Basketmakers, The Master Gold and Silver Wyre Drawer and The Master Engineer.
The principal guest, Mark Smith, Curator Royal Artillery Museum, responded on behalf of all the guests.
The Clerk: XXXXXxxxxxxx New Liveryman Rosemary McCollin: XXXXXXXxxxxx: The Upper Warden: The Master: Mark Smith, Curator, Royal Artillery Museum: Renter Warden, XXXXXxxxxxx New Court Assistant Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton GCB RAF (Ret’d);Bishop Michael Marshall, Honorary Chaplain: The Beadle
Mansion House Banquet 2015
Held on 20th May 2015.
The Master proposed the three traditional Toasts with the City response very much on a joint basis by Alderman and Sheriff Dr Andrew Parmley and Sheriff Fiona Adler.
The Toast to the Guests was proposed by the Upper Warden, David Viner.
The response, on behalf of all the Guests, was undertaken by Dr David Starkey CBE the Historian and Broadcaster.
Company Guests were The Master Skinner, The Master Leatherseller and the Master Joiner. Personal guests included The Master Glover and members of several other Livery Companies.
The Master presented the 2015 Master Wheelwrights’ Award to Martin McElhatton (please see details in Section on this website), a Paralympian and Chief Executive WheelPower including the running of Stoke Mandeville Stadium and who gave a short response.
A Guard of Honour was provided by cadets from The Royal Artillery badged 97 and 109 Cadet Batteries of the South East London Army Cadet Force (SELACF).
From left to right: The Clerk: Sheriff Fiona Adler and her Consort David Moss: Mrs Andrea Romp: Upper Warden: Mrs Wendy Parmley: Ald and Sheriff Andrew Parmley: The Master, Mrs Catriona Armfield: Chief Guest Dr David Starkey CBE: Mrs Penelope Culverhouse: Renter Warden: Philip Jordan QPM and Honorary Chaplain.
Easter Court and Livery Dinner 2015
Held at Skinners’ Hall on Thursday March 26th.
At Court preceding the Livery Dinner Elliott Porte was admitted as Court Assistant. Soheila Benlevi, Nicola Daniels, Nicholas Dutt, Stuart Jackson and Anthony Le Cras were all Clothed in the Company.
At Dinner The Master welcomed the new Court Assistant and the new Liverymen and proposed the Toast to them. The Liverymen responded. Liveryman Lt. Col. Andrew Gillespie proposed the Toast to the Guests and who included the Master Carman and The Master Furniture Maker.
The principal guest, Nigel Pullman JP responded on behalf of all the guests.
From left to right: The Clerk: The Upper Warden: New Liveryman Barclay Lawrence : New Liveryman Stuart Jackson: New Liveryman Nicola Daniels : Nigel Pullman JP, Chairman of the Livery Committee and Guest Speaker: The Master: Paul von der Heyde, Master Furniture Maker: Lt.Col Paul Holder RLC, Master Carmen: New Liveryman Ms Soheila Benlevi: Bishop Michael Marshall, Honorary Chaplain, The Renter Warden: The Beadle
Weekend with Working Wheelwrights 6-8th March 2015
The Annual visit to Mike & Greg Rowland’s Workshop in Colyton, Devon was very successful and great fun again this year. It was attended by 22 Liverymen and their guests, of which 9 were new comers, although from the feedback they gave, they too are likely to become regular attendees. The accommodation and food at the Mason’s Arms Branscombe, where we stayed, was very good Mike, Greg and his apprentice George took us through all the elements of the wheel making process. This covered shaping the spokes, driving them into the hub, making the tangs on the spokes, fitting the felloes, measuring the wheel, bending, heating and fitting the tyre. Everyone took part and as the pictures of the two teams below show, the finished articles look good.
Greg, Mike and Doreen Rowland always look after us very well over the weekend, for which the Company is most grateful. Following the making of the tangs on the spokes (see the Master and Greg Rowland pictured) we adjourned for a splendid lunch prepared by Doreen helped by two of her granddaughters. George also played a big part in the weekend by passing on some of the skills he has been taught under the Wheelwrights’ Apprenticeship Scheme.
As a special treat this year, on the Saturday afternoon, Greg had very kindly organised trips around Colyton Village in a late 19 th Century Landau provided by Maria Bisset of Ben Ford Carriages Ltd Bridgwater. The pictures below show the Master, other Liverymen and their guests enjoying their ride in the sunshine.
On the Saturday evening we returned to the Masons Arms for a splendid meal, followed by the traditional drawing of lots to determine, who should take home the wheels. The lucky winners this year were the Master and Janet Clarke.
The Master was presented with a traveller that had been made personally by apprentice, George Richards. Our hosts, Mike, Greg and their ladies were given “thank you” presents.
On the Sunday morning an optional private tour of Beer Caves was arranged and attended by 13 of those that went on the weekend. John Scott provided a very interesting tour, covering the social history of the caves and the bats that inhabit them.
Given the success of the weekend it seems likely that it will be repeated in 2016.
Installation Dinner, Drapers' Hall
11th December 2014.
At Installation Court preceding the Livery Dinner Ian Armfield was appointed Master, David Viner as Upper Warden and Alan Culverhouse as Renter Warden.
The Past Master, Clare Chisholm proposed the Toast to the new Master who in his response set out his theme for the year and concluded by proposing a Toast to the new Liveryman, Mark Xu. The Toast to the Guest was proposed by Liveryman Sir David Pepper KCMG. The principal guest was Sir Robert Worcester KBE, DL who responded on behalf of all the guests. Other Company guests included The Master Tin Plate Worker, The Master Farmer and several Senior Representatives of our military affiliations. Personal guests included The Master Waterman, The Master Glover and The Master Mason. Cadet Staff Sgt Jacob Gleed of 97 (RA) Detachment, South East London Cadet Force – the Winner of the Wheelwrights Royal Artillery Cadet of the Year Award for 2014 also joined us for Dinner having earlier been presented with his framed Citation Certificate, Nery Gun Bronze and purse.
The Michaelmas Court and Livery Dinner 2014
Held at Saddlers’ Hall on Thursday October 16th.
At Election Court preceding the Livery Dinner, Ian Armfield was elected Master, David Viner was elected Upper Warden and Alan Culverhouse was elected as Renter Warden for the ensuing year.
At the Court Baroness Grey –Thompson DBE, DL swore her Declaration as Honorary Freeman and Ms Soheila Benlevi, Nick Dutt, Anthony Le Cras, Stuart Jackson and Mrs Rosemary McCollin swore their Declarations as Freemen.
In addition Stuart Boreham and Mrs Sandra Herbert were Clothed in the Company.
At Dinner the Master presented the Geoffrey Udall Prize for Paediatrics to Ms Zoe GB-Dumaka who responded with her thanks. (Please see Charity Section)
The Master welcomed the new Freemen and Liverymen and proposed a Toast to them. The two Liverymen responded. Past Master Graham Westwell proposed the Toast to the Guests and who included Col. John Bridgeman CBE, TD, DL Master of the Worshipful Company of Turners. The principal guest Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE, DL responded on behalf of all the Guests.
From left: The Clerk, The Master Turner, The Upper Warden, The Master, Baroness Grey- Thompson, The Renter Warden, The Hon. Chaplain, The Beadle.
Working Wheelwrights' Lunch 2014
The Lunch provides an opportunity for Wheelwrights from all over the Country to get together, as guests of the Company, to discuss developments in the trade and other current issues, such as the Apprenticeship Scheme. The Master is pictured below with many of the key people involved in the running of the Wheelwrights’ Apprenticeship under the Livery Companies Apprenticeship Scheme (LCAS), including our two apprentices.
Pictured from left to right are Liveryman Robert Hurford our Trade Specific Qualifier: David Johnson - LCAS Project Manager: Jo Mabbutt - LCAS Administrator: George Richards, Apprentice to Liveryman Greg Rowland (next to him) : The Master : Liveryman John Wright - Mentor to the apprentices : Joseph Fredricks, Apprentice to Yeoman Phillip Gregson on the end right.
Riding for the Disabled (RDA) - Southern Region Carriage Driving Show
The Wheelwrights have supported the RDA Southern region Carriage Driving Show over a number of years by way of providing rosettes for every competitor that takes part in the Show. As last year, the event was held at the Felbridge Showground near East Grinstead in West Sussex. Participation is the whole object of the Show and our Rosettes are very much welcomed by participants many of whom are wheelchair bound. You will see from the photographs below it was a particularly warm day this year, reaching 27 degrees C. The Master is shown presenting rosettes to Emma Capon, the winner of the ‘Novice Whip’ Class (left) and Pat Hammond, the winner of the ‘Open Driving’ Class (right).
Summer Court and Livery Luncheon 2014
At Court preceding the Livery Lunch Stuart Boreham, Mrs Sandra Herbert, Barclay Laurence and Simon Smith swore their Declarations as Freemen of the Company. In addition Sidney French and Simon Smith (who was already a Freeman of the City of London) were Clothed in the Company.
At Lunch, The Master welcomed the new Freemen and Liveryman and proposed the Toast to them. The Liverymen responded. Court Assistant Dr John Hawkins proposed the Toast to the Guests. Guests included the Master and Mistress of The Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers and The Master of The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers.
The principal guest, Charles Cowling, Immediate Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries responded on behalf of all the guests.
From left Clerk -Ms Bridget Hynard: Upper Warden - Ian Armfield: Master Coachmaker and Coach Harness Maker – The Hon Michael Callaghan: Immediate Past Master Actuaries’ Company – Charles Cowling: The Master: Master Hackney Carriage Driver – Graham Woodhouse: Renter Warden – David Viner; Beadle – Paul G Tredgett
The British Driving Society 50th Annual Show
The Company again supported the British Driving Society at its 50th Annual Show, held at Smiths’ Lawn in Windsor Great Park. This most prestigious event in the Association’s calendar provided a great day out in blazing sunshine for 30 Wheelwrights and their guests. Having watched the Show and enjoyed a good lunch, many then took advantage of the good weather and stayed to see the Queen take the drive past on the adjoining Polo Ground. There were top quality polo matches during the afternoon with regular entertainment provided by a Guards’ Band – an event not to be missed.
Visit to Drewitts' Carriages
With the kind permission of Drewitt’s Carriages, twenty Liverymen and their guests enjoyed a private visit to the Drewitt’s workshop near Faygate in West Sussex, to view a unique and eclectic mix of restored horse-drawn vehicles and steam-driven engines. These included a 1904 horse-drawn fire engine, which won the Wheelwrights’ Vintage Vehicle Class at the BDS Annual Show in 2013. Other vehicles on display included an 1894 Metropolitan Fire Engine with pumping handles (pictured below in full operation), a Burrell Road Locomotive built in 1927 (pictured below left with the Master and Tony Drewitt) and a horse-drawn omnibus (below right) and which has featured in The Lord Mayor’s Show on several occasions. Both fire engines are capable of pumping water up to 70 feet high.
During the morning musical entertainment was provided by two hand operated barrel organs, one of which dated from 1900. The visit was followed by a good pub lunch at the award winning Star Inn in nearby Rusper that dates back to 1486. By way of thanks to Tony and his team for making the visit possible, a contribution of £160 was made towards restoration works.
Mansion House Banquet 2014
Wednesday 14th May 2014
The Master proposed the three traditional City Toasts with the response from Alderman Jeffrey Evans, Honorary Court Assistant of the Company and representative of The Lord Mayor who was abroad on official business. The Toast to the guests was proposed by the Upper Warden, Ian Armfield.
The Reverend Stuart J Foster, Chaplain to His Grace the Duke of Rutland and UK Ambasssador for the UK Charity “Go Make a Difference in Tanzania” responded on behalf of all guests. Personal guests included The Master Pattenmaker.
The Master presented the Master Wheelwrights’ Award to Greg Eden and Russel Simms (please see details in Section on this website) for their work in providing bespoke wheelchairs.
A Guard of Honour was provided by cadets from The Royal Artillery badged 97 and 109 Cadet Batteries of the South East London Army Cadet Force (SELACF).
From left: The Beadle : Master Pattenmaker : Mrs Ian Armfield : Upper Warden Ian Armfield: the Hon Mrs Juliet Evans : Alderman The Hon Jeffrey Evans, Honorary Court Assistant and Representative of The Lord Mayor : The Master : Kevin Thomas : The Rev’d Stuart J Foster : Mrs Penelope Foster : Renter Warden David Viner : Mrs Andrea Romp : The Chaplain : The Clerk
Easter Dinner 2014 at Cutler's Hall
Thursday 27th March 2014
At Court preceding the Livery Dinner both Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton GCB, LLD (Hon), DSc (Hon). BSc, FRAeS, CCMI (who retired in 2013) and former Second Sea Lord Sir Charles Montgomery KBE, ADC (who retired in 2012) swore their Declarations as Freemen of the Company. They were granted Honorary Freedom as recognition of their support as Patrons to the Company BattleBack Appeal.
In addition Edward Crouch, Jorge Crespo and Nicola Daniels swore their Declarations of Freedom and Ms. Elizabeth Greenhill and Roger Saunders were clothed in the Company.
At Dinner The Master welcomed the new Freemen and Liverymen and proposed the Toast to them. The two new Liverymen responded. Liveryman Phillip Clarke proposed the Toast to the Guests. The principal guest was retired Judge His Honour Gerald Clifton and he responded on behalf of all the Guests. Other Company guests included the Master Lighterman, Lady Dalton and, Lady Montgomery. Other guests included Mrs. Rosemary Clifton (personal guest of the Master), The Master Woolmen (personal guest of Past Master Richard Proctor), Ald. Mr. Charles Bowman (personal guest of Upper Warden) Mr. and Mrs. Venetia Howes (personal guests of Past Master Richard Sermon – Venetia was the first Lady Master of the Marketors Company).
The “Four Masters” promoters of The Wheelwrights’ BattleBack Appeal with two of the Patrons and who had been made Honorary Freemen of the Company at Court that afternoon.
From left: Past Master Graham Westwell 2012: Past Master Stephen Clark TD 2011: Lady Anne Dalton: Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton GCB, LLD (Hons), DSc (Hon), BSc, FRAeS, CCMI: The Master : Vice Admiral Sir Charles Montgomery KBE, ADC : Lady Adrienne Montgomery : Past Master Richard Proctor 2010 : Past Master David Wernick 2009
Visit to a Working Wheelwright's Workshop in Colyton, Devon
On 8th March 2014, a party of 20 Liverymen, spouses and partners spent a day at the workshop of Mike and Greg Rowland, at Colyton in Devon. This was the third year that the Rowlands have hosted a visit by the Livery. Once again, thanks to a great deal of preparatory work by Mike and Greg, attendees were able to try their hands at all the key stages in making a wheel - from shaping the spokes to fitting the tyre. Those who attended not only learnt about the wheelwright’s craft from the inside, but also had the chance to get to know some of their fellow Liverymen better and had a great deal of fun.
One exciting feature of this year’s visit was the chance to meet the Rowlands’ new apprentice, George Richards. George is the first apprentice recruited under the Livery Companies Apprenticeship Scheme. The climax of the afternoon was the unveiling of George’s first complete piece of work, a wooden bicycle. The Master helped George fit the metal tyres to its wheels, and George took it for its inaugural ride.
At the end of a most enjoyable day two wheels were completed, and after dinner lots were drawn to decide which of the visitors would take them home.
Installation Dinner, Drapers' Hall
At Court preceding the Livery Dinner Mrs Clare Chisholm was appointed Master, Ian Armfield as Upper Warden and David Viner as Renter Warden. Mrs Helma Hamilton-Deeley was appointed Deputy Clerk. The Past Master, Stephen Kirk proposed the Toast to the new Master who responded and in turn proposed the Toast to the Guests. The principal guest was Mrs Caroline Aston, Royal Historian and Biographer who responded on behalf of all the guests. Other guests included the Lord Lieutenant of Rutland (a personal guest of the Master), The Master Waterman and Lighterman (personal guest), Master Glover (personal guest) and several representatives of our military affiliations. Cadet Staff Sgt Sam Hall of 96 (RA) Detachment, South East London Cadet Force – the Winner of the Wheelwrights Royal Artillery Cadet of the Year Award for 2013 also joined us for Dinner having earlier been presented with his framed Citation Certificate, Nery Gun Bronze and purse.
Visit to the College of Arms, London
A repeat visit was made to the College of Arms which is the official heraldic authority for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and much of the Commonwealth including Australia and New Zealand. As well as being responsible for the granting of new Coats of Arms, the College maintains registers of Arms, Pedigrees, Genealogies, Royal Licences, changes of name, and flags. The Heralds, besides having ceremonial duties, advise on all matters relating to the peerage and baronetage, precedence, honours and ceremonial as well as national and community symbols including flags. Our host was William Hunt, The Windsor Herald of Arms, who was the Principal Guest at our Easter Livery Dinner in March 2013. He had arranged a private tour and gave a short talk on the History of Heraldy, the role of the Heralds, the architecture of the building (one of the very few listed buildings remaining from the 17th Century in London) and how the College is run. We then moved to the Records Room and were shown records, some of which date back to 1484. William gave an explanation as to the background/composition of our Company Coat of Arms. Following the tour there was a light supper.
Visit to the Rural Life Centre, Farnham, Surrey
The Master, Upper Warden, and Craft Committee Chairman, were joined by other Liverymen and guests.
The Centre has established one of the foremost collections of artefacts and exhibits, giving a fascinating insight into village life and crafts. We were treated to a very informative guided visit led by Trevor Harding and John Larke. The Master is pictured with Trevor alongside a double shafted boat wagon, built by Fred Smith of Basingstoke, which it is planned to renovate.
This year being the 150th anniversary of the birth of George Sturt, who was the local wheelwright, the Centre featured a special exhibition including
annotated proof copies of works by Sturt writing under his pen-name of George Bourne. George Sturt is quoted extensively in Eric Bennett’s book
The Master is pictured, outside the George Sturt exhibition, presenting Trevor Harding with a donation from the Company to help the Rural Life Centre in its renovation work. David Viner, Craft Committee Chairman gets 'hands on' the wheel of a Timber Niff, which was recently refurbished by Douglas Andrews, a Yeoman of the Company and The Master hands a donation to the Centre from the Company.
Annual Church Service
We returned to St Stephen Walbrook for our Annual Church Service and which was followed by a buffet supper and the opportunity for attendees to mingle with each other. Prayers were led by Rev’d. Mrs Viv. Bridges who has served us so well as Interim Chaplain for the last 18 months. We had the first opportunity to welcome back from New York our Chaplain, Right Reverend Michael Marshall who was the Preacher. The Church Choir entertained during supper with items from Musicals and Opera. The Collection was for Treloar School.
The British Driving Society 49th Annual Show
Held as ever at Smiths Lawn, Windsor Great Park. Our Class for Vintage Vehicles was judged by Eugene Larkin, a Working Wheelwright and Coach maker from Northern Ireland as well as Chairman, Northern Ireland British Driving Society.
The winner was Lee Bonnell driving Otto and Boyett, Dutch Wannbloods to a 1904 Shand Mason Fire Engine. This is an unusual and rare vehicle. Pulled by two greys with brass gleaming it made a real spectacle.
Please click here to see an article and photograph of the winning entry by courtesy of Carriage Driving Magazine.
The Heritage Crafts Association
The Immediate Past Master and the Chairman of the Craft Committee attended the 2013 Convention incorporating the Annual General Meeting at the V & A Museum.
One of the keynote speakers in the afternoon was Phillip Gregson who spoke about his family background in the wheelwrighting craft (he is fourth generation) and his life as a working wheelwright. Illustrated by slides. He enthused as regards the support given to the Craft by the Worshipful Company.
Visit to a Workshop in Colyton, Devon
On 9th March, 11 Liverymen and 9 spouses gathered at the workshop faced with the ambitious plan to make two complete wheels. Some components were already prepared with finishing needed to enable people to obtain ‘hands on’ experience of all aspects of making the wheel.
Following an introduction to the tools and the components of the wheel the two groups set about shaping the spokes, fitting them to the hub, then making the tenons in readiness for engaging the spokes to the felloes. The felloes were then cut to size and drilled in readiness for fitting the spokes.
After a break for lunch they started fitting all the components together, as well as measuring and rolling the tyre metal in readiness for bonding. The fire was lit, the metal tyres heated to the correct temperature so that they could be bonded to the wheels and finished.
On the Sunday morning, 16 went to Beer for a private visit and tour of the Stone Quarry Caves provided by John Scott, the owner. The caves date back to Roman times and records relating to them provide fascinating tales about the area and its inhabitants. The Caves have provided stone for buildings all over the world, including St Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower of London and Windsor Castle. The Caves museum has records showing that Mike/Greg’s ancestors were making wheels in Colyton back in 1340.
Click here for more information on how a wheel is made.
Why not join the proposed visit in 2014.
Working Wheelwrights Lunch
The Master supported by the Upper Warden, 4 Past Masters, and 5 Liverymen hosted 15 working wheelwrights.
The Chairman of the Craft Committee spoke on the continuing involvement of the Company with the Craft. Our annual lunch is the only forum where working wheelwrights meet together in any number.
Sir Stirling Moss OBE
He was granted the Freedom of the City of London at the Ceremony conducted by Murray Craig, The Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court, City of London in the presence of The Lord Mayor. Lady Moss accompanied her husband. The Master, Wardens and Members of the Court attended the Ceremony. Our new Honorary Freeman and Lady Moss were then entertained to Lunch.
Sir Stirling had previously been granted Freedom of the Company at Armourer’s Hall on 6 October 2011.
General Sir David Richards GCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Gen. and Lady Caroline Richards
The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David and his wife, Lady Caroline were admitted to the Freedom of the Company and clothed as Honorary Liverymen at Stationers’ Hall.
They had both been granted the Freedom of the City of London by Paul Double, the City Remembrancer in the presence of
the Lord Mayor on 30 May 2012.
Also in attendance were The Lady Mayoress, The Chief Commoner Kenneth Ayres MBE, The Master, Wardens and Members of the Court of the Company.
Our new Liverymen were then entertained to lunch.
The British Driving Society - 48th Annual Show
The third time we have presented a Trophy at this most prestigious event in the Association’s calendar.
Held at Smiths Lawn, Windsor Great Park. The entries in our Class for Vintage Vehicles included a carriage restored by the Royal Mews and entered in the name of H. M. The Queen which came third. Over 30 Wheelwrights and guests watched the Show and many stayed on for the drive past the Royal Box on the adjoining Polo Ground. High quality Polo all afternoon with Guards Band playing regularly.
The Master and Wardens presented a framed Certificate and Trophy to the winning owner, John Bailey. His son,
James Bailey was driving Ursula to a 1906 Mills of Paddington Dog Cart.
The Lord Mayor's Coach
The Lord Mayor’s Coach was built in 1757 and at a cost said to be around £1,000.
Visit to a Workshop in Colyton, Devon
With the encouragement of Graham Westwell, the Master, the Company organised a visit to Liveryman Greg Rowland’s workshop in the historic village of Colyton in Devon. This provided an opportunity for Liverymen to roll up their sleeves and gain hands on experience making a wheel under instruction.
17 Liverymen and guests attended the weekend trip and were involved with the wheel making and a further four had attended on the Saturday afternoon. We stayed at the Dolphin Hotel in Beer and that is where we celebrated the successful completion of two wheels on the Saturday evening. Lots were drawn to decide who should take home the signed wheels and the lucky individuals were Helma Hamilton-Deeley and David Mortlock. Mike, Greg, their family and helpers were thanked by the Master and the Craft Chairman, David Viner, for making everyone feel most welcome and for hosting a very enjoyable weekend.
Below left Graham hammers home the first spoke in the hub and below right Greg Rowland has everyone’s attention.
Visit to the UK from the USA by John Boag, Honorary Liveryman
The Facebook entry by John Boag, the Master Wheelwright, Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA following his visit to the UK and Germany and accompanied by his Journeymen Paul Zelesnikar and Andrew de Lisle. John Boag was made a Honorary Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights in July 2008
Riding for the Disabled - South East Region Annual Competition
The Master, Upper Warden, Chairman of the Craft Committee and LIveryman David Bysouth attended the annual regional competition at Felbridge Showground and presented the rosettes that were donated by our Company
The Company traditionally donates all the Rosettes for this highlight of the year for this Region and every competitor receives a Rosette.
History of the Bysouth Family of Wheelwrights
My grandfather, John Head Bysouth was apprenticed to a wheelwright in Brigg Lincolnshire. In the 1890's he set up a workshop behind the White Hart in Church Street, Baldock, Hertfordshire. He then moved to bigger premises in an old maltings building (which still exists in 2002) on the corner of Park Street in the same town, and also opened a workshop in Braughing. Of his five sons, three became wheelwrights. The eldest, Fred helped to run the Braughing workshop and eventually took it over. This business ceased in the early 1950s.
The youngest, Bert, bought the Park Street business in 1936, moved it 100 yards up the road and employed some six to eight men for some years, reducing to one over time. Tom Brown who had started with my grandfather, John Head in 1929 remained with the business until it closed in 1977.
My father, Philip, who was between these two wheelwrighting sons, set up as a wheelwright and undertaker at Lakenheath in Suffolk in the mid 1920s, but was not successful and found work with MG, Fuller of St.Ives Huntingdonshire and Creaseys of Knebworth, car and lorry body builders. With others he developed a cart to use the new Dunlop land tyres, which they exhibited at Crystal Palace. In 1935 he bought a business which had been established in 1790 at Little Downham, near Ely, Cambridgeshire. This was a village business comprising a wheelwright, builder and undertaker, and employed 10-15 men. During the war it was a protected establishment, considered essential to the war effort which meant that no-one could be called up for military service, and special food rations were allowed for staff doing hard physical work.
Philip continued making carts, tractor trailers etc. until 1949, when the Ferguson system had put an end to horse-drawn farm vehicles, and ill health had forced him to sell up. I was employed in the Little Downham business until it closed, and after National Service became a Funeral Director until my ability as a wheelwright was sought again, and I established the business at Three Cups, Heathfield, Sussex in 1980. Two school leavers came to me as apprentices, Douglas Andrews and later, Daniel Lambert-Gorwyn, who obtained their City and Guilds Certificates through the training board supported by the Wheelwrights Company. Douglas Andrews has now taken the business over on my retirement, over a hundred years after my grandfather started in the trade.
Wheelwrights and Wheelwrighting
This appears in the 2002 report titled Crafts in the English Countryside:
Towards a Future
This landmark publication published in 2002 examined the state of the traditional crafts and trades in the English countryside. The first major survey for nearly 80 years, the main report drew on the knowledge and expertise of many leading authorities on the traditional rural crafts. David Viner wrote the section titled Wheelwrights and Wheelwrighting and which reviews the then current state of the industry.