A Message from The Master

It is an immense honour and privilege to be elected to serve as the 192nd Master of the Company.

Introduction to the Master – Dr. Iain Reid

My link with the Thames started when I began to row, aged twelve, from the Emanuel School boathouse at Barnes Bridge – and where I first learned to respect the requirements of the working river. I continued rowing until my early twenties, but my rowing career was then terminated by overseas service in the Grenadier Guards. However, I continued to be involved in the sport, serving on various regatta and world championship committees. I was elected a Steward of Henley Royal Regatta in 1984 and served on the Committee of Management for nearly thirty years.

Having had a varied career (after the Grenadiers in advertising, film and latterly as an academic) I don’t have the wealth of working river experience of many of my predecessors, so I have been trying to make good that deficiency. I would like to thank all those who have been helping in my education – and I intend to continue learning so that I can serve and represent the Company to the best of my ability.

My academic field was industrial relations and my speciality was studying tight-knit, working communities which maintain excellence through good recruitment and the passing on of tacit knowledge – while continuously absorbing new ideas and methods. All that study now seems very relevant to the Company of Watermen & Lightermen as I set out to maintain those traditions that we all hold dear, while ensuring that the Company keeps its place in the leadership of all that is good about the River.

My objectives for the year?  I want to continue Simon McCarthy’s excellent work in drawing younger Journeymen Freemen into the heart of the Company so that we maintain our unique character and identity.  Secondly, I want to make the working of the Committees and the Court more open to our Freemen. Sadly, I think there are too many Freemen who don’t really understand all that the Company is doing to promote and maintain the reputation of the Thames; my aim will be to do more to educate and involve them.

Susan and I are looking to meeting as many of you as possible in the year ahead.

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