The Master’s Blog

The Master of The Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames – Mr Simon McCarthy.

McCarthy, Simon

I have been persuaded to write a Master’s Blog describing where I go as Master and what I get up to. I will add to it from time to time.

To read the Master’s most  recent blog  just see below-

For previous blogs click on the link below

The Master’s Blog July 2017


The Master’s Blog – October 2017

September started well with an invite to the Master and Mistress from The Lighterage Committee.  We spent an enjoyable afternoon watching the Steve Faldo Barge driving race aboard the Pride of London.  It was wonderful to spend time with the older generation of Lightermen witnessing one of the Company’s oldest and traditional sports.   It’s very important that we keep this masterful skill alive.

An invite to Trinity House by the Elder Brethren to listen to the guest speaker and shipping minister John Hayes speak about the importance of apprenticeships on the River Thames.  This tied with the launch of the Government’s apprenticeship programme, to be rolled out over the coming year.

September 13th saw the Master and Mistress attend a dinner hosted by the Guidable Manor of Southwark, pre dinner we had attended an enlightening lecture by Suzanne Marie Taylor, on The Rose Theatre.  The 1587 Rose was Bankside’s first purpose built Tudor Playhouse. 1n 1999 the site was re-opened, and work continues to excavate this historic site further to secure its future and unlock its past.

Evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the granting of a Royal Charter to The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries. The Apothecaries can be traced back to the Guild of Pepperers, which was formed in 1180.   Sitting beneath the dome of this majestic building, listening to an Organ Voluntary by Johann Sebastian Bach is a memory I will take away with me for a long time to come.

In late September we took 20 apprentices to Henley on Thames to introduce them to the skill of sculling.  Over two days we teach skills for the Watermenship Award and, hopefully, the art of Sculling.  On Saturday evening we held a dinner at The Leander Rowing Club attended by 60 Freemen, Apprentices and their guests.  Sunday saw the weekend culminate in probably the highest quality of sculling we have witnessed for many years.

27th September it was over to Chelsea for Sally and I for the Livery Companies’ reception at the National Army Museum. The Livery Companies of the city of London have supported the Armed Forces of the crown for generations. The evening’s reception celebrated this historic support and the National Army Museum’s connection with the civic heart of the city.

Next up was a real treat for me.  On 29th September I was privileged to host the Globe Rowing Club President’s annual dinner at our Hall; it was a special evening given that my rowing career started out at Globe Rowing Club some 40 years ago.

An evening of superb food and wine, and of course old rowing related stories, many embellished after a few beers. What’s not to love about an evening spent reminiscing with old friends.

October 4th saw me conduct my first court meeting! All seemed to go smoothly, I think they went easy on me.   The court installed Derek Mann as a Court Assistant, Darren Knight as an Honorary Court Assistant. Triple Olympic gold medallist rower Pete Reed received an Honorary Freedom to the company.

I attended the annual Doggett’s reunion dinner at our hall, not only as a past Doggett’s winner but also as Master. This was a proud moment for both my son Harry and I.  This is always a special evening and it was great to see so many Doggett’s winner and competitors in the same room, and believe it or not, behaving themselves.  It always helps when you are enjoying good food and wine prepared by Steve Pini, chef of Fishmongers Company.

A night off from eating and drinking saw me attend the Company of Furniture Makers’, Young Furniture Makers exhibition in the Dutch Church in Austin Friars. This was an exhibition of excellence in the craft of furniture making by the finest young designers in full time higher education.

One of the most colourful and moving services throughout the Corporation’s year is The National Service for Seafarers, held in Saint Paul’s Cathedral.  Unfortunately, this year’s service was cancelled to a tragic death in the Cathedral on the day.  We managed to salvage the evening by holding a small, but intimate dinner at the hall, with court members and guests.

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The afternoon of Sunday 15th October was spent giving out bursaries at London Rowing Club, following a commemorative service at St Mary’s, Putney. The Thomas Martin Foundation charity dates back to early 1600. Mr Martin, having fallen in the river Thames, was rescued from drowning by a Waterman. On his death, he set up a charity to fund the education of the children of the Freeman of the River Thames.

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Sally accepted an invitation to lunch for the City’s consorts and mistresses from the Mistress of the Tallow Chandler’s, Mrs Kate Long.  This gave this year’s consorts the opportunity to get to know one another and build relationships for the year to come, without any interference from the Masters!

The last function of the month saw me attend a Question And Answer evening for Sportonspec; attended by the good and great from the City and the Sporting World. The aim of the evening was to raise awareness of the Doggett’s Coat and Badge, in the hope that we can secure sponsorship and spectators for the race, which moves to its new place in the Company’s calendar, 4th September 2018 at 3.30pm.

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