Our History

OUR FOUNDING

The Founder Master, Alderman Sir Peter Gadsden, a former Lord Mayor of London, and several eminent engineers formed The Company of Engineers on 29th June 1983, with the main objective of:

“of affording the means of professional and social intercourse and mutual information between its members, those who practise engineering and those who benefit therefrom, so as to promote the development and advancement of the science, art and practice of engineering in the City of London and elsewhere”

A petition to the Rt.Hon. The Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen of the City of London for the granting of Letters Patent for the creation of a Livery Company of the City of London to be called “The Worshipful Company of Engineers” was submitted on 5th July 1983. The Grant of Livery as the 94th Livery Company was approved by the Court of Aldermen on the 13th September 1983, and Letters Patent were presented to the Founder Master on 1st November 1983 at the Mansion House. Sixteen of the Initial Court of nineteen were present together with a majority of the Court of Aldermen and many City Officers including the City Engineer, Leonard Groome, father of Richard Groome who was Master in 2017-18.

On the founding of the Company, it was limited to a maximum of 300 in the Livery. The Court of Aldermen agreed amendments subsequently including raising the maximum number in the Livery to 350. Furthermore while all Members of the Livery must be Fellows of a Professional Engineering Institution or Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Chartered Engineers who are Members of their Institutions may also be admitted to the Freedom.

In 2003 the Court directed that the Company should seek a Royal Charter and discussions began with the Clerk to the Privy Council to produce a draft Petition, Charter and Ordinances. Detailed Regulations were also developed for internal use. After due consultations and with advice from the Charity Commission, arrangements were agreed for H.M. The Queen to approve the grant of a Royal Charter of Incorporation on 11th February 2004. The Charter was presented to the Master, Sir David Davies, by HRH The Duke of Kent at Merchant Taylors’ Hall on Tuesday 27th April 2004. The Company then began its next phase as a separate legal public entity with a new form of corporate governance but sustaining essentially its traditional objects but with the added potential to increase its influence in the field of the profession of engineering.

For more information on the history of the Worshipful Company of Engineers, see “A Well Engineered Company, the story of The Worshipful Company of Engineers 1983 – 2008

OUR COAT OF ARMS

Our coat of arms has four components: Shield, Supporters, Crest, and Base.

SHIELD

The Shield is divided into three horizontal sections. The upper third shows the sun (representing energy) and it has sixteen rays; one for each of the sixteen institutions that went to form the Council of Engineering Institutions and whose members of the Fellow class are eligible to become Freemen of the Company. The middle third shows a representation of Tower Bridge indicating the close ties between engineering and the City of London. The lower third shows a rack and pinion representing the engineering and manufacturing skills of the Freemen of the Company.

SUPPORTERS

The Supporters are a winged Pegasus and a Wyvern. The winged Pegasus (representing horse power and flight) wears the Badge of the Company and holds a measuring stick to represent some of the disciplines in which engineers are engaged. The Wyvern indicates not only the link between engineers and the City of London but more particularly, as a tribute to the Founder Master who had the same Wyvern in his coat of Arms. The Wyvern is wearing the Badge of the Lord Mayor of London as the Founder Master was a Past Lord Mayor, and is holding a shovel representing other engineering disciplines.

CREST

The Crest above the Helmet incorporates a representation of Smeaton’s Lighthouse indicating the desire of the Freemen of the Company to bring light and guidance and show that they place safety above all. The Lighthouse is supported by two lions as a British symbol to indicate strength and firmness of purpose.

BASE

The Base is a representation of the Iron Bridge (built in 1779 and still in existence) – the first bridge in the world constructed of cast iron. It can be taken also to represent strength and endurance. Below it is a representation of water which represents a challenge for engineers to harness its potential and master its fluctuation.

THE COMPANY SWORD

In the early days of the Company we were very keen to build up a store of treasures including a traditional mace, similar to those used by other companies. However, design of a mace by committee did not work. The problem was solved by Sir Ronald Ellis, one of the Founders of the Company, a director of Wilkinson Sword and a former Head of Defence Sales who suggested that we should have a ceremonial sword. The sword was presented by the Chairman of Wilkinson Sword at a dinner in the Tower of London in September 1984.

The decoration on the sword itself comprises a pommel showing a circlet of sixteen flames. These represent the 16 institutions from which Fellows and Chartered Engineers were eligible to become Liverymen and the circlet surrounds the Iron Bridge. The full Company Coat of Arms is shown on the rain guard or chappe in the centre of the cross guard. The full Coat of Arms is repeated, with the name of the Company, in the fuller in the centre of the blade.

Decoration on the scabbard includes the sun and flames from the coat of arms on the gilt locket at the top and motifs of engineering skills on the blue leather scabbard itself. From the locket these are Tower Bridge, a rack and pinion and a shovel and pick showing historical skills. More modern skills of engineering in the era of 1983 follow showing a satellite, Concorde, an oil rig and finishing with Smeaton’s lighthouse from the coat of arms and a gilded point. The gold and blue are, of course, the Company colours.

In 1990, when he was Master, Alderman Sir Francis McWilliams so liked the sword that he thought it should be better displayed and presented a stand so that it could be set in front of the Master at all dinners and other events. The names of the first 24 Masters of the Company are engraved on silver panels on the base.

Soon after the sword was presented it became traditional for it to be carried by the Beadle at the front of the Master’s procession into dinners. This also became the tradition when the Lord Mayor was present and is the only sword borne before the Lord Mayor except the City Sword.

THE ARCHIVIST

The Archivist, and Assistant Archivists are honorary positions that support the work of the muniments committee. The principal role is to ensure that the Company’s records are preserved and submitted for storage at Guildhall.

The current Company Archivist is Lieutenant General Andrew Figgures CB CBE FREng.

ASSISTANTS EMERITUS

Assistants Emeritus are not members of the Court and are not required to attend Court or Committee business meetings but may receive Court and Committee papers if they specifically ask to do so. Assistants Emeritus who feel strongly about a matter on a Court Agenda may attend the appropriate meeting and speak on the matter but shall not vote.

Assistants Emeritus status is available to all Assistants who have served as such for fourteen years or more and to Past Masters who have served their five years on Court after completing their Master’s term.

LIST OF OFFICIALS

MASTERS – SINCE FOUNDING IN 1983

1983/1985 – Alderman Sir Peter Gadsden GBE AC FREng (Founder Master)
1985/1986 – Sir Denis Rooke OM CBE FRS FREng
1986/1987 – Sir William Barlow FREng
1987/1988 – Mr R B Dunn FREng
1988/1989 – Rear Admiral P G Hammersley CB OBE
1989/1990 – Mr G A Lee FREng
1990/1991 – Alderman Sir Francis McWilliams GBE FREng
1991/1992 – Mr T J C Crocker
1992/1993 – Mr J V Bartlett CBE FREng
1993/1994 – Mr G Clerehugh OBE FREng
1994/1995 – Rear Admiral J S Grove CB OBE
1995/1996 – Mr L F Turner OBE
1996/1997 – Sir Frederick Crawford DL FREng
1997/1998 – Dr J C Smith CBE FREng FRSE
1998/1999 – Dr D S Mitchell CBE
1999/2000 – Mr R H Rooley FREng
2000/2001 – Dr L J Weaver CBE
2001/2002 – Mr A G Jackson
2002/2003 – Mr R J R Cousins
2003/2004 – Sir David Davies CBE FRS FREng
2004/2005 – Major General E G Willmott CB OBE
2005/2006 – Dr R Hawley CBE FREng FRSE
2006/2007 – Commander B D Gibson MBE RN
2007/2008 – Rear Admiral D K Bawtree CB DL
2008/2009 – Mr A D Roche FREng
2009/2010 – Mr F C Price OBE FREng
2010/2011 – Mr J H Robinson FREng
2011/2012 – Mr J K Banyard OBE FREng
2012/2013 – Mr D N Scahill
2013/2014 – Air Vice-Marshal G Skinner CBE
2014/2015 – Mr J Baxter CBE FREng FRSE
2015/2016 – Air Vice Marshal P J O’Reilly CB
2016/2017 – I A Pollock-Hulf OBE
2017/2018 – Eur Ing R L Groome
2018/2019 – Professor D M Johnson FREng
2019/2020 – Commodore B P S Brooks RN
2020/2021 – Professor  G G T Masterton OBE DL FREng FRSE
2021/2022 – Dr P Blair-Fish 
2022-present – A Canning 

 

 

CLERKS

1983-1986 – Mr Michael Leonard CVO FREng (Founder Clerk)
1986-2002 – Commander Bryan Gibson MBE RN
2003-2009 – Air Vice-Marshal Graham Skinner CBE 
2010-2016 – Wing Commander A G Willenbruch
2016-2017 – Ms Caroline Gillett
2018present – Colonel David Swann CBE

 

ASSISTANT CLERKS

1983-1998 – Mr Raymond Cousins (Founder Assistant Clerk)
2007-2015 – Mr Stephen Grundy
2020–present – Mrs Sandra Watts

 

HONORARY CHAPLAINS

1983-1997 – Reverend Hugh Rom (Founder Chaplain)
1998-2011 – Reverend Michael West FREng
2011–present – Reverend Peter Hartley

 

COURT ASSISTANTS EMERITUS

  • Sir Francis McWilliams GBE FREng (Past Master)
  • Mr. G Clerehugh OBE FREng (Past Master)
  • Mr. L F Turner OBE (Past Master)
  • Sir Frederick Crawford DL FREng (Past Master)
  • Mr. R H Rooley FREng (Past Master)
  • Mr. A G Jackson (Past Master)
  • Mr. R J R Cousins (Past Master)
  • Sir David Davies CBE FRS FREng (Past Master)
  • Major General E G Willmott CB OBE (Past Master)
  • Dr. R Hawley CBE FREng FRSE (Past Master)
  • Rear Admiral D K Bawtree CB DL (Past Master)
  • Mr A D Roche (Past Master)
  • Mr F C Price OBE FREng (Past Master)
  • Mr J H Robinson CBE FREng (Past Master)
  • Mr J K Banyard OBE FREng (Past Master)
  • Mr D N Scahill (Past Master)
  • Air Vice Marshal G Skinner CBE (Past Master)
  • Mr J Baxter CBE FREng FRSE (Past Master)
  • Air Vice Marshal P J O’Reilly CB (Past Master)
  • Mr A Best FREng
  • HRH The Duke of Kent KG GCMG GCVO (Hon. Liveryman)
  • Mr M R Vincent