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Women in the Livery

There is a new, and most interesting, paper from Erica Stary, the Past Master Tax Adviser, Past Master Plumber and Upper Warden Elect of the Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers, the subject of which is “Women in the Livery and High Civic Office in the City” – perhaps a dry title, but it conceals a paper that is both lively and of the moment.

Despite being a “Modern” and thus very young Company the Worshipful Company of Constructors is proud to have provided

  • One of the 5 ladies who have been Non-Aldermanic Sheriff (Past Master Christine Rigden, who is also the current Master Mason)
  • Three of the 150 Ladies to become Master of a Livery Company (Dr Christine Rigden 2009 – 10; Patricia Newton 2010 – 11; Victoria Russell 2014 – 15)
  •  The current Chair of the Livery Committee (Past Master Victoria Russell)

Whilst we should not be complacent we should also recognise the success the Company has had in this area in its short time in being.

Erica’s paper has a Foreword by the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman William Russell and was a project that arose out of “Lockdown” and originally set out to record the reasons for the establishment of the Lady Masters Association, but quickly expanded not only into looking at women holding high civic office but also the position of women in the livery since the middle ages and the contribution which women have made, and continue to make, to the success of the City Livery movement which in turn supports the Mayoral team and thus “UK plc”.

In her paper, Erica notes that “Lockdown” was not only an encouragement, but also a serious constraint on research – the inability to visit Guildhall Library and the limited amount of information available on the world-wide web.  The only sources for information were the liverymen, past masters, prime wardens and upper bailiffs, former sheriffs and lord mayors, wardens, clerks, other friends, company and city archivists, and many, many others who have helped her to track down information.

Erica intends that the work will be made available on the Lady Masters Association website – and the paper will also be circulated to all those who have made contributions, all livery and guild clerks, Guildhall Library, and anyone and anywhere else considered appropriate.

Erica’s paper “Women in the Livery and High Civic Office in the City” can be downloaded here.

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