MMIW#13 Virtual meeting 12 Jul:  Nick Bush and World Heart Beat
Summer Celebration 21 Jul:  Museum of the Home — Hoxton
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The Mistress continues to meander through History ....

Ann Chapman travels down the river monitoring the regulation of its activities, with the Watermen and Lightermen... 

My year as Mistress is flying past and it’s time for another insight into my year.  The livery really is about the pleasures of eating, drinking and companionship - I continue to consume an assortment of meals with accompanying wines in support of the Company.  But there are other benefits to the role.

You may recall that in my last blog, I mentioned the fascinating visit to the Royal School of Needlework, courtesy of the Mistress Needlemaker.  In similar vein, courtesy of the Mistress Fanmaker, last month I visited another of London’s hidden gems - the Fan Museum in Greenwich.  Housed in a pair of lovingly restored grade II* listed Georgian townhouses, this museum is tiny, quirky and fascinating.

They display what is only a small part of their collection in both permanent and changing exhibitions, and also undertake conservation work and hold fan-making classes.  There is also a shop with lots of attractive items for yourself or which would make lovely gifts and they do a very good afternoon tea in the mural decorated orangery.

Earlier this month, a large gathering of consorts went on a river boat trip organised by the Mistress of the Watermen and Lightermen.  

We were provided with some history of the company and the river by one of the Doggett’s Coat and Badge winners, resplendent in his livery.  The Company of Watermen and Lightermen was established through an Act of Parliament regulating activities of those working on the river, rather than by grant of a Royal Charter, so it does not have a ‘number’. 

My only regret was that as, inevitably, this featured a very pleasant buffet lunch, and as the weather was a trifle breezy, we spent much of the trip ‘below decks’ rather than outside fully appreciating the magnificent views of the river between Westminster and the Pool of London.

As someone who does not habitually wear a hat, I am pleased that there have been a couple of ‘hat’ occasions – the United Guilds service at St Paul’s and, just yesterday a Buckingham Palace garden party.  I can definitely say a hat makes you feel more dressed-up but I am not sure I’m yet won over.







Ann Chapman,  Mistress