The governing body of the Company is the Court of Assistants, comprising the Master, three Wardens and not less than ten Assistants. Through the provisions of the Charter the Master’s power is enshrined in the power of veto. The Wardens, in order of seniority, are the Senior Warden, the Renter Warden (responsible for the Company’s finances) and the Junior Warden. The Assistants are made up of two groups. Those senior members who have served in the office of Master, who are referred to as Past Masters and the more recently elected Assistants who are required, by custom, to serve a minimum of three years as Assistant before being eligible to be promoted to Warden and Master. The Master and Wardens are elected on a show of hands by the Court of Assistants annually and normally serve in each office for one year. In recent times election is usually by seniority of appointment to the Court. It is customary but not obligatory for the newly appointed Master to nominate his immediate predecessor as Deputy Master.
Election to the Court is for life although, in practice, if an assistant feels he/she can no longer serve a useful function on the Court by virtue of age, infirmity or any other reason they may seek the Court’s permission to retire. This will normally be granted.
There are currently 29 members of the Court. Their names are listed in The Livery List. In addition to the Master, the Deputy Master and the three Wardens, there are 14 Past Masters and 10 Court Assistants currently serving on the Court. The Court usually sits four times a year, but additional meetings might be called by the Master and the Wardens from time to time.
Much of the detailed work of the Company is delegated by the Court to various Committees and Advisory Panels invariably chaired by a member of the Court and often the Master or a Past Master. Their names may be found in the current Livery List
The Finance & Related Purposes Committee
The main committee is the Finance and Related Purposes Committee which is open to all members of the Court. It deals with all Company matters which are not the sole responsibility of the specialist panels. It sits four times a year before each Quarter Court and at such other times as may be necessary for the proper conduct of its affairs. It is chaired by the Master, and the three Wardens are ex officio members. Additional permanent members of the Committee are A L James (Court Assistant), J E Hills (Court Assistant), M S Gatto (Livery Representative) and The Clerk (ex officio). Where possible, financial, legal and investment skills will be represented on this committee. There will also be at least one representative of the Livery. Meetings are held quarterly in January, March, June and September. All meetings are usually held at the Clockmakers’ Company Office in Carpenters’ Hall.
The Charity Advisory Panel
The Charity Panel advises the Court on the raising and expenditure of charitable funds held in the Clockmakers’ Charity. There are three main charitable areas in the Clockmakers’ Charity namely Education (to provide bursaries, scholarships and apprenticeships in horology and the measurement of time), the Collection (to fund acquisitions, exhibit restoration, etc., for the Clockmakers’ Museum) and General (to fund donations to a range of City charities). The Panel aims to build up its capital investments and to use only the income from these in order to provide longevity and stability for the Company’s charitable activities. The current members of the Panel are R M J Stewart (The Renter Warden) (Chairman), The Master (ex officio), C.J. Hurrion (Past Master), R.A. Bourne (Court Assistant), Sir Keith Stuart Kt. (Court Assistant), R H Stenning (Court Assistant) and Robert Peppiatt (Livery Representative). Meetings are held quarterly in January, March, June and September and are ususally held in the Clockmakers’ Office at Carpenters’ Hall.
The Investment Panel
In order to assist the F&RPC in connection with the Company’s investments an Investment Panel, consisting of a small group of experts together with selected members of the Court under a permanent Chairman, is appointed and authorised to make day to day adjustments to the Company’s portfolio. This panel may make other recommendations on financial matters to the F&RPC if it considers it appropriate. It is currently chaired by Court Assistant R A Bourne, and the members of the Panel are K E Angliss (Treasurer National Benevolent Society), C J Hurrion (Past Master), A L James (Court Assistant), J Williams (Livery Representative), Sir Keith Stuart (Court Assistant), R A Baber (Livery Representative), The Master (ex officio), The Renter Warden (ex officio) and The Clerk (ex officio). Meetings are held quarterly in January, March, June and September. All meetings are usually held at the fund manager’s offices.
The Horological Industries Advisory Panel
In 1981, the 350th anniversary of the Company’s foundation, the Court formed a Horological Industries Committee, now an advisory Panel, known as the HIAP. Its purpose is to contribute to the development and encouragement of British Horology – especially its design, innovation and craftsmanship – by means of competitions and exhibitions and the associated publicity. The Panel, all Court members or Liverymen of the Company, represents a wide range of professional clock and watch making skills. The current members are M R Gibbons (Livery Representative and Chairman), R C Harris FBHI (Junior Warden), P W T Whyte Hon FBHI (Senior Warden), A C H Crisford (Past Master), J Migdal (Court Assistant), J J Koullapis (Livery Representative), J W H Buxton (Livery Representative), N B Newman MBE FBHI (Livery Representative), The Master (ex officio) and The Clerk (in attendance). Past Master Sir George White Bt (Keeper of the Museum) attends when required to advise on Museum matters. Meetings are held quarterly in January, March, June and September. All meetings are usually held at the Clockmakers’ Company Office in Carpenters’ Hall.
The Awards Panel
This is responsible for recommending to the Court suitable candidates for special awards – primarily the Tompion Gold Medal, the Harrison Medal and the Derek Pratt Prize. The Tompion Gold Medal, initiated in 1953, is awarded for outstanding achievements in the field of horology. It is named after one of our most illustrious Past Masters. The Harrison Medal, named after the illustrious John Harrison, commemorates outstanding achievements in propagating knowledge of the history of clockmaking and its appreciation. The Committee is chaired by Past Master Andrew Crisford, and includes members of the Court and other eminent members of the Company. The Master is an ex officio member. Nominations for any of these three awards are welcome, and can be made either direct to the Chairman of the Awards Panel or via the Clerk.
The Selection Advisory Panel
A Selection Panel chaired by a senior Past Master is appointed to assist the Court in all matters pertaining to the admission to the Freedom, election to the Livery, appointment of Stewards, membership of Committees and Panels, and election to the Court. The Panel may also advise on policy regarding the strength and composition of the Livery and of the Court and the numbers of Freemen who may be admitted to the Company. They also recommend changes to the fines and quarterage when necessary. This panel usually meets four times a year. The current members of the Panel are H C Newman FBHI (Past Master & Chairman), Cdr P J Linstead-Smith OBE RN (Past Master), Mrs D M Uff (Past Master), The Master and all three of the Wardens (ex officio), and The Clerk (in attendance). Meetings are held quarterly in January, March, June and September. All meetings are usually held at the Clockmakers’ Company Office in Carpenters’ Hall.
The Social Events Panel
The Social Events Panel organises events for the company’s membership which are not normally part of the company’s social calendar. The events may be one-off or occur regularly and are designed to appeal to all members. The Panel is chaired by Liveryman Simon Frodsham and the members are currently Past Master Professor Paul Jarrett, Court Assistant Richard Stenning, Liveryman Robert Sales and Freeman Kate Lacey.
The Merchandising Advisory Panel
The Merchandising Panel was set up in 2010 to review and extend the range of products available from the Company’s on-line shop. By so doing the Panel aims to increase the profitability of the shop and thus the financial contribution it makes to the Clockmakers’ Charity. The current members of the Panel are M.G.S.Frampton (Past Master) (Chairman), The Master (ex officio), C.L.Clarke (Past Master), Dr. C.R. Lattimore OBE, JP (Past Master), H.C. Newman FBHI (Past Master), R.H. Stenning (Court Assistant), A Berkley (Livery Representative), N.B. Israel (Livery Representative).. There is also a pool of volunteer helpers who run the Merchandise Stall on Admission Court Days. Meetings are held quarterly in January, March, June and September and are ususally held in the Clockmakers’ Office at Carpenters’ Hall.
The Clockmakers’ Museum and Educational Trust
In 1979 the Company set up The Museum and Educational Trust as a means of financing its Library and Collection in the most efficient way possible. The purpose of the fund is to maintain, present and increase the world famous collections of clocks, watches, manuscripts, books and pictures. In 1989 the fund was substantially increased by a bequest from the late Reginald Beloe, a Past Master of the Company.
The Clerk attends all Court Meetings and Committee/Panel meetings subject to other commitments.