Royal Charter Presentation 14th April 2010

Thursday 14th April at Merchant Taylors’ Hall - 30 Threadneedle Street, City of London.

Our VIP Guests hosted my The Master assemble after the Reception. Our principle guest HRH The Duke of Gloucester, Alderman Sir David Howard as Lord Mayor Locum Tenens, Alderman Neil Redcliffe, Mr Sheriff Richard Sermon MBE, Mr Piers Gough OBE, Canon David Parrott and their respective ladies.


Presentation by HRH The Duke of Gloucester and Blessing of our Royal Charter followed by the launch of The Charter Legacy Award.

The company acknowledges and thanks Deutsche Post Bank for Sponsorship of the new Charter Legacy Award

The Master Welcomes HRH The Duke of Gloucester

On a glittering evening held in the magnificent Merchant Taylors` Hall The Company received its Royal Charter from HRH The Duke of Gloucester with these words "I present, on behalf of Her Majesty, this Royal Charter, granting rights and privileges to your Company"  To which The Master on behalf of The Company responded "I thank you and receive it with great pleasure"

There followed a blessing of this Royal Charter and on The Company from The Company Chaplain Canon David Parrott

The evening commenced with a Royal Reception at which His Royal Highness was introduced to over sixty guests hosted by The Past Masters and Court Assistants. 


See here His Royal Highness with The Master and to right Past Master Martin Wade who proposed the progress of seeking a Royal Charter during his year of office greets His Royal Highness (with PM David Hattersley MBE looking on).

Also see The Master of The Worshipful Company of Masons Richard Woodman Bailey with Ruth Reed President of RIBA together with her guest Mr Paul Salmon MD of Byrne Bros all three were guests of The Company.

A selection of the hall filled to celebrate The Charter Presentation.

Our Company Guests were welcomed, in much style and in a way only she can, by Senior Court Assistant Victoria Russell. Her speech is reproduced here for your enjoyment and to detail all our special guests:

Master, Wardens, Your Royal Highness, Lord Mayor locum tenens, My Lord, Alderman, Sheriff, Mr Piers Gough, visiting Masters, distinguished guests and my fellow Constructors.

It is said that making a speech is like having a baby: fun to conceive but absolutely hell to deliver.

In this instance, I was aiming for a quick, smooth and utterly painless delivery, assisted by alcohol, with the minimum of swearing and very little crying. But as I have to name check no fewer than 35 Company guests, this speech is perhaps more like running a marathon: unforgiving in terms of preparation and a challenge to complete in anything approaching a respectable time.

We have a positively sparkling selection of personal and professional guests here this evening, all of whom it is a great delight to welcome. The ladies, of course, both out shine and out sparkle the men – but hey, no surprises there!

Our Company guests come from the Royal Household, the City, the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the RIBA and the RICS, in addition to our principal speaker, Piers Gough.

Let me begin by welcoming those from the City.

Representing the Lord Mayor is Alderman Sir David Howard, a stockbroker who himself was Lord Mayor from 2000 to 2001. He is a Past Master Gardener, a Liveryman of the Lightmongers and on the Court of the Hackney Carriage Drivers Company, which became a livery company through his sponsorship. He is here with his wife, Lady Val.

The second in our brace of Aldermen is Neil Redcliffe, who has a connection with construction in that during the 1980s and early 1990s he ran his own property development, property investment and building businesses. He then honed his entrepreneurial skills by getting an MBA and setting up a commercial foreign exchange business in the City. Neil belongs to the Basketmakers and the World Traders and is here with his wife, Emma.

Mr Sheriff Richard Sermon MBE is accompanied by his wife Rosemary. Richard’s particular expertise is in the fields of corporate governance, reputation management, and the promotion of inward investment and international trade. He is Past Master of the Wheelwrights and Chartered Secretaries Companies.

The second in our brace of former Lord Mayors is Sir Gavyn Arthur, who was the first practising barrister to become Lord Mayor and served in that role from 2002 to 2003. He is now a judge.

We are also delighted to welcome Canon David Parrott, who is the incumbent at St Lawrence Jewry and Honorary Chaplain to the Constructors, together with his wife Sue. One of David’s jobs as our Chaplain is to devise a series of bespoke Graces, each at some point ideally rhyming with the word Constructors.

And as ever, it is a great pleasure to see Billy King-Harman, the City Marshall.

We also have a glamorous gang – to use a technical construction term – of visiting Masters.

The Master Draper is Major General Adrian Lyons CBE. The Drapers are the third oldest livery company and somewhat precociously obtained their first Royal Charter in 1364.

I should warn you that the Master Draper keeps a blog at , let’s have a look in the morning to see what he has to say about us.

We welcome also the Master Painter-Stainer, General Sir Roger Wheeler GCB CBE, former Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the Army, and his wife, Lady Felicity, and the Master Mason, Richard Woodman-Bailey, with his wife, Jenny.

We therefore now have two Generals, a Sheriff and a Canon, so should be fine in the event of things turning messy later.

It is always useful to have a plumber on tap. Tonight we welcome the Master Plumber, Christopher Sneath, and his wife Liz. I must however emphasise that there are no drips in the Constructors.

Another useful person to have readily on call, although I hope we won’t need his services this evening, is a doctor. Dr Robert Bethel is Master Apothecary, and is accompanied by Patricia James.

The Master Glass Seller, Martin Scarth, who is actually a chartered civil engineer and chartered builder, is here with his wife, Elizabeth, and the Master Builders Merchant, Gary Hopkins, is accompanied by his wife, Beverley.

The Master Chartered Architect, who is also a chartered town planner, is Edward King, here with his wife, Valerie. He completes our octet of visiting Masters.

From the House of Lords, we welcome Lord Gilbert, who became a Labour Peer in 1997 after 27 years as an MP, for Dudley and Dudley East. He had a variety of different jobs in the Labour Governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan and as Minister for Transport introduced the Bill to make the wearing of seatbelts compulsory.

From the House of Commons, we welcome Dr Terese Coffey, Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal. After receiving a PhD in Chemistry at UCL, Terese became a chartered management accountant, working most recently as finance director for Mars Drinks UK. Terese is on the Select Committee for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport and, like the Master Draper, is an active blogger, as well as a Tweeter.

We welcome also Peter Goodacre, Past President of the RICS, and his wife Christina, and Ruth Reed, President of the RIBA, accompanied by Paul Salmon. Ruth is a partner in Green Planning Solutions, providing architectural and landscape consultancy advice.

Our two principal guests tonight are also both architects.

His Royal Highness Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester read architecture at Cambridge and subsequently went into practice as an architect in London. A number of the public duties which he undertakes are related to architecture and conservation and he is President of several architectural preservation societies. He is Patron of numerous charities, including several connected with the construction industry. He became a corporate member of the RIBA

in 1972 and is Patron of the Scottish Society of Architect Artists.

He generously shares the title Duke of Gloucester with a steam train running on the East Lancashire Railway in addition to a very large number of pubs around the world, stretching from Toronto to Bondi Beach.

Your Royal Highness, your presentation earlier this evening of the Royal Charter to our Master, and your attendance at our Banquet tonight, are landmark events in the history of this Company. We are honoured and delighted to welcome you, together with your ADC Captain Mark Grayson.

We have actually met once before, in 1981. We have in fact danced together, at a ball for the Princes Trust. But time is short, and the story is long, so I will leave it there.

Piers Gough CBE established the architectural practice CZWG in 1975. He is widely recognised as an innovative and flamboyant architect and has designed a number of acclaimed buildings and masterplans, making his name initially with his work in the redevelopment of the Docklands and subsequently with regeneration and new build projects around the UK, ranging from the masterplan for the Gorbals in Glasgow to Janet Street Porter’s eye catching house in Clerkenwell, the new galleries at the National Portrait Gallery, the Westbourne Grove public loos and flower kiosk, and the iconic and memorably titled ‘Bling Bling’ building in Liverpool.

Piers was appointed a CBE for services to architecture in 1998 and was elected a Royal Academician in 2002. He designed the Royal Academy’s exhibition on Sir John Soane and the Hayward Gallery’s exhibition on Sir Edwin Lutyens. He has lectured extensively throughout the world and has been a visiting professor at both the Macintosh School in Glasgow and the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology.

Piers, it is a pleasure to welcome you, together with Micheleene Peter, to our Banquet.

Those of you who have listened so far will have noticed that we have a rather large number of architects amongst our official guests this evening. As most of the architects I know dress purely in black and white, this is perhaps the only place for them to blend in.

I have devoted a lot of thought to the perfect collective noun for architects. Architects of course do have a certain reputation. As Frank Lloyd Wright himself admitted, “early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose the former and have seen no reason to change”.

The more pedestrian collective nouns for architects include “a sketch”, “a column”, “a confusion” and “a fear”. Colleagues at work suggest that “a barbarism”, “a gargoyle”, “a blot” or, dare I say, “a carbuncle” or even “a vanity” might be more appropriate. All I can say is that I think those are far too harsh.

I am a construction lawyer. I make my living from dispute resolution. I therefore give thanks for architects every day.

I now ask my fellow members of the Constructors Company to rise and drink with me a toast to “Our Guests”.

Then followed the address from Alderman Sir David Howard as Lord Mayor Locum Tenens, representing The Lord Mayor.  Sir David had been particularly supportive of our Royal Charter application and helped steer a safe path through The City Committees. 

Piers Gough CBE was The Masters` guest to propose the toast to The Company "May it flourish root and branch for ever".  Piers speculated on the future of design and the built environment wise words most thoughtful and well received.

The Master concluded the evening with her kind words to all, Guests and the work done both on the process over several years in obtaining The Charter and of course to The Clerk for organising and superb event.  The Hall and fare with excellent wines, the Royal Reception and the attention to the smallest detail was very much appreciated by all.


Wardens, Masters, Your Royal Highness, Lord Mayor Locum Tenens, My Lords, Aldermen, Sheriff, Distinguished Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen

On occasions of this kind, there are 2 speeches I can make, one is short and one is long. The short one is “thank you” and the other is “thank you very much”. Now that I have acquainted you with the content of both speeches, I see no reason for making either!! However, it is certainly a great pleasure to welcome you here tonight to Merchant Taylor’s Hall to what would normally be our Ladies Banquet.

The Merchant Taylors' Company, or to give it the full name by which it is described in the Royal Charter of 1503, the Gild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John Baptist in the City of London, is one of the Twelve Great City Livery Companies surviving from Medieval times.

The Guild was originally a religious and social fraternity founded before the beginning of the 14th century by an association of citizens who were Tailors and Linen Armourers. The Linen Armourers, an allied craft to the Tailors, made the padded tunics or gambesons worn under suits of armour. By virtue of various Royal Charters commencing with that of Edward III in 1327, the functions of the Gild were extended and by about the end of the 15th century it controlled the trade. By the end of the 17th century its connection with the tailoring trade had virtually ceased and it became what it is today - an Association of philanthropic and social character, devoting its energies to educational and charitable activities.

Having decided that in order to commemorate the achievement of obtaining our Royal Charter, it is therefore appropriate that tonight we gather to celebrate this milestone in our History.
I am delighted to see so many distinguished guests here with us tonight.

First, may I take a few moments to say a few words for those who do not know, how this achievement came about and to mention a few key individuals who made it all possible.
The Court had considered over several years whether the Company should seek a Royal Charter, but it was not until the Court Session in February 2008 that the then Master (Martin Wade) brought to the Court’s attention that our Ordinance
s required the Company to make application for a Royal Charter “when the time was right”.

He then having duly decided that “the time was right” proceeded to take the matter to the Court and in May 2008, the outgoing Clerk Tim Nicholson, agreed to take the project on, once he had retired from his post.

An extensive list of “non objectors” was drawn up, that is, individuals and organisations whose support would be sought and who would, if asked by Privy Council Staff, give it as their opinion that this Worshipful Company was worthy in every way to petition Her Majesty the Queen, for the Grant of a Charter.

The former Clerk, fully supported by the then Master Roger Adcock, consulted with a very wide range of people, businesses and organisations in the Construction industry, confirming and consolidating support.

In particular the Company has to thank Sir David Howard (Lord Mayor in 2000) for his detailed review of the Petition Documents and taking the Company’s application through the Court of Aldermen. In addition, Keith Lawrey, Clerk of the Guild of Educators and head of the organisations and bodies section of the Foundation for Science and Technology, gave a great deal of time and invaluable assistance in the creation of the necessary documents and steering them through the appropriate channels at the Privy Council.

The petition was formally and finally submitted to the Privy Council in May 2009, was well received and was scheduled for initial consideration in December 2009, under the guidance of the then Master Dr. Christine Rigden.

On 10 February 2010 we learned that Royal Consent had been granted.

Although sounding straightforward, the project took a great deal of time and required painstaking and detailed work, drawing on the advice and support of a very wide range of people and organisations. A successful outcome could never be assumed, and of course would not have been achieved if the Company was found wanting when measured against the strict criteria laid down by the Privy Council. However, the Constructors’ charitable and educational work, and the strong support and approval of the Construction industry, married to careful staff work, did deliver the desired outcome.

I therefore wish to pay a special tribute to all those in the Company I have made special mention of and to all our supporters, both here tonight and those unable to attend..............THANK YOU

The achievement of receiving a Royal Charter is an aspiration of all Modern Livery Companies. The importance of a Royal Charter by it’s definition implies an achievement of Excellence. We are delighted therefore to have been granted a Royal Charter and even more so to have it personally presented to us by His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester. THANK YOU your Royal Highness, it is indeed an honour.

It is appropriate to discuss Excellence, as it is Excellence which will be a principal driving force in delivering the UK economy out of recession.

As the Constructors, we have a broad membership of Construction professionals from Surveyors, Engineers, Architects, Contractors to name but a few, and it will be our expertise within these defined disciplines that will be the foundation of the Construction Industry’s future. We must therefore as an industry strive for excellence through Education.

It was decided that, in order to build on this achievement, it would be appropriate to create a Charter Legacy. This will take the form of an Award, which we are launching tonight and will be our Premier Award to be called “The Worshipful Company of Constructor’s Royal Charter Award for Excellence in Construction”. This award is only part of the Constructors’ Charter Legacy Project which sets out to celebrate, in an on-going way, the award of our first Royal Charter on 8th February 2010. The Award is to be given in honour and recognition of excellence in Construction and recipients of the award are to be nominated by members of the Company. It was deemed important to recognise the broad church of the Constructors’ Company and that Excellence in Construction can be very widely defined. In recognition of the fact that our members are drawn from all the professions operating in the Construction industry, the Royal Charter Award is similarly broadly targeted. The Award could relate to excellence:

1. Of an individual over a lifetime’s work.
2. Of an individual structure or project.
3. In training or education.
4. In law or other professions that support the Construction industry.

Thus the Award could be made to an individual, a project, or a firm and it is envisaged that the Award will be made on a bi- annual basis, with the proviso that it will only be awarded if true Excellence is there to be recognised.

Nominations for the award will be short-listed by a panel of members of the Company, and the final selection will be made by the Assessment Panel under the Chairmanship of Sir Michael Latham, together with the current Master and other eminent members of the Construction professions from outside our Company. It is expected that the recipient of the first Worshipful Company of Constructors Royal Charter Award for Excellence, will be announced at the end of November 2011, with the presentation of the Award being made at our Livery & Awards Dinner on 15th February 2012 at Vintners’ Hall. In addition to the above, there will also be an award to a young person for achievement in Construction. This will be called the Master’s Young Achievers Award.

Our view was that, the main Royal Charter Award was marking past achievement, and that it would be important for a modern Livery Company to reward achievement and potential in the younger members of the Construction industry. The intention therefore will be for the recipient to receive a financial reward to, for example, carry out a specific study of a major Construction project in the UK or overseas. This award will occur each alternate year to the Royal Charter Award and I am also aware that this type of Youth award is close to your Royal Highness’s heart!

Thank you to Court Assistant Victoria Russell, for the eloquent toast to the guests....not an easy task and interesting to see that the relationship between Architects and Lawyers is still a healthy one! It is good to see so many Masters here tonight - I racked my brain to work out what one call’s a gathering of so many Masters, and I was reminded of the Master Plaisterer’s definition...a MAGNIFICENCE!!! THANK YOU Victoria.

Thank you also to my Guest speaker, Piers Gough, for the stimulating and much needed words on Education, and in support of Architects and Architecture. The loyalty of our sponsoring partnerships is of great importance to us. Through your generous support, it assists the Company and the Charitable Trust greatly to reinforce our numerous Scholarships and Charitable aims.

With the launch of the two new Awards today, we have now increased the total of our Scholarships and Awards programme from 9 to 11! This occasion provides me as Master to publicly acknowledge and congratulate you for your continued benevolence and even more especially through these more turbulent financial times. I would like to thank Wilkins Kennedy, Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, and Deutsche Postbank for their support. Again, we could not do it without you........................THANK YOU

Finally, a personal thank you to the Team, without whose help this evening would not have been such a success.......The Past Masters, Wardens and Court Assistants.....and last but definitely not least, the Clerk!!................THANK YOU

Before you leave, I took a leaf out of my Middle Warden’s last speech and decided to look up the 14th April and see what famous events we can share on this momentous day for us........I found the following.....................
In 1912 the Titanic struck an Iceberg
In 1935 was “Black Sunday” the start of the American Dust Bowl years
In 1865 President Lincoln was Assinated
And on a more positive note, it is the birthdate of Sir John Gielgud, Julie Christie and Julian Lloyd Webber!! We are in good company

I could not miss an opportunity of one final word, and seeing that there are 4 Architects on the Top Table........and this is tantamount to a lawyer telling a lawyer joke, but here it is...

An Architect is said to be a man who knows a very little about a great deal and keeps knowing less and less about more and more, until he knows practically nothing about everything, whereas, on the other hand, an Engineer is a man who knows a great deal about very little, and who goes along knowing more and more about less and less, until finally he knows practically everything about nothing. A Contractor starts out knowing practically everything about everything, but ends up by knowing nothing about anything, due to his association with Architects and Engineers. bom bom!

On that note, I trust that you all had a wonderful evening and would ask that you join me for a stirrup cup. THANK YOU

The Clerk, Kim Tyrrell, in pensive mood during the evening but he need not be for he had a Triumph on his hands. The superb "The Thames Fanfare Brass" performed wonderful music and a fantastic "Post Horn Gallop" all for the enjoyment of everyone.

The Loving Cup, using our beautiful silver collection generously given by many past Masters and Liverymen, was, as usual, used for this ancient tradition of City Livery Companies. See here amongst others Court Assistant Henry Lamb with one of our Loving Cups. We particularly thank our Former Clerk, Honorary Freeman Tim Nicholson, (On right) who took on the very important duties of administration steering our application through its various stages. Thank you Tim for all you have done.

The Master with our new Clerk Kim Tyrrell who had his first Major Function to organise - The Royal Charter Night! Wow well done Kim.

7th May 2010 The Charter Document arrives

The Master Dr Christine Rigden glowing over the arrival of our Royal Charter

Following granting of our Royal Charter by HM The Queen the sealed charter arrived for us all to see. Above The Master reads the words over and Court Assistant Henry Lamb together with Court Assistant Michael Parrett also check out this wonderful document on show at Vinters` Hall for a Court Meeting.

11th February 2010

The Company is granted a Royal Charter of Incorporation

“At the Privy Council meeting held at Buckingham Palace on 10th February Her Majesty approved an Order for the application of the Great Seal to (our) Company's Charter.” This is our Royal Charter that we submitted our humble petition to Her Majesty for, and have worked for two years towards. This is great news for the Company and an historic milestone in our development and progress as a Livery Company of the City of London. More about this to come when we have it.

Inspired by Past Master Martin Wade FRICS, FCIOB who as Master in 2007/08 gave the company the challenge of completing the circle from formation of a Company without Livery to a Company holding a Royal Charter of Incorporation.

This vision and foresight has now indeed come full circle.

With grateful thanks to The Clerk for his attention to detail in our preparation to Her Majesty.

Publication Date: Friday, 20 November 2009

Notice Code: 1106

Privy Council Office

Notice is given that a Petition has been presented to Her Majesty in Council by The Worshipful Company of Constructors praying for the grant of a Charter of Incorporation. Her Majesty has referred the Petition to a Committee of the Privy Council. All Petitions for or against such a grant should be delivered to the Privy Council Office, 2 Carlton Gardens, London SW1Y 5AA, on or before 12th January 2010.

The Worshipful Company of Constructors was first formed as a Company without Livery in 1976 with the title of The Company of Builders, and it received Grant of Livery with its present title from the Court of Aldermen in 1990. The Company now proposes to petition Her Majesty the Queen, through the Privy Council, for the Grant of a Royal Charter.

The Constructors’ Court believes that we are ready for this important step in the development of our Company. Our membership is growing, and the great majority are chartered professionals within construction. We manage an active scholarship programme and support our industry in a number of ways, from provision of prizes for trade and study achievement, to presentations and lectures on relevant topics, and apprenticeships for aspiring young people. In these we work closely with many of the chartered bodies in our industry. Through the fellowship of our meetings and functions’ we facilitate a useful exchange of ideas and views between like minded professionals.

It is not our intention that members of the Company will be granted the status of a chartered practitioner as a consequence of this petition; the qualifications of the professional bodies within construction is, in our view, the best route to the achievement of that status. 



The Rt Hon Lord Mandelson (Lord President)
The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP
The Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP
The Rt Hon Angela E Smith MP

Privy Counsellors An Order recording that The Right Honourable Sir Declan Morgan was sworn a Member of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council. An Order recording that The Right Honourable Sir James Lawrence Munby made affirmation as a Member of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council. An Order appointing Sir Christopher John Pitchford as a Member of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council. 

Charter Four Orders granting Charters of Incorporation to:—1. The Institute of Internal Auditors - UK and Ireland;2. The Worshipful Company of Constructors;3. The Worshipful Company of Launderers;4. The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.