Yesterday, at Common Hall, the assembled Liverymen of the various Livery Companies of the City of London elected two new Bridgemasters. One of them is member of the Engineers’ Livery and Clerk of the Rochester Bridge Trust, Sue Threader. The first female Bridgemaster in the over 700 year history of the role!

The picture shows Master Engineer, Dolores Byrne, congratulating Sue Threader.

The role of Bridgemaster dates back to c.1200 and was confirmed by Charter in 1319.

The Bridgemaster’s collected and accounted for the rents and revenues associated with the Bridge for which they received salaries, fees and licences together with a residence. The Bridge at that time was a working thoroughfare with houses and shops lining both sides.

The role of the Livery in the appointment of this position comes from the Election act 1724 and takes place at Common Hall.

The responsibilities of the Bridgemasters ceased for all practical purposes in 1855 with remaining functions transferring to City Corporation Officers.  The duties of the roles were confirmed in 1916 when it was resolved formally that the positions should in future be of an honorary character with two main responsibilities.

To attend meetings when required of the Bridge House Estates Committee and to attend the Comptroller’s Office to sign licenses to assign and demise Bridge House Property when required.

The salary for this was settled at £25 per annum.