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 J R Cope (Past Master), R M J Stewart (Junior Warden), R C Harris (Court Assistant), R P Baber (Livery Representative), A L James (Court Assistant), J E Hills (Court Assistant) and The Clerk (ex officio). Where possible, financial, legal and investment skills will all be represented on this committee. There will also be at least one representative of the Livery.
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 Richard 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), B L Hurst (Court Assistant), Sir Keith Stuart (Court Assistant), The Master (ex officio), The Renter Warden (ex officio) and The Clerk (ex officio).
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).
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 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 of British Horology. The Panel comprises members of the Livery concerned professionally with horology under the chairmanship of a Horologist member of the Court. It engages in encouraging the further development of design, innovation and craftsmanship in horology by means of competitions, funding of apprenticeships and organising exhibitions. The current members of the Panel are R C Harris FBHI (Court Assistant) (Chairman), P W T Whyte (Renter Warden), N B Newman MBE FBHI (Livery Representative), M R Gibbons (Livery Representative), J E Hills (Court Assistant), A C H Crisford (Past Master), J J Koullapis (Livery Representative), The Master (ex officio) and The Clerk (in attendance). Past Master Sir George White Bt will attend from time to time on Museum matters, as Keeper of the Museum.
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), S.H.W. Frodsham (Livery Representative), N.B. Israel (Livery Representative).
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 Junior Warden) (Chairman), The Master (ex officio), C.J. Hurrion (Past Master), D.J. Poole FBHI (Past Master), Cdr. P.J. Linstead-Smith OBE RN (Past Master), R.A. Bourne (Court Assistant), Sir Keith Stuart Kt. (Court Assistant) and Judith Pleasance (Livery Representative).
The Tompion and Harrison Medals Advisory Panel
This is responsible for recommending to the Court suitable candidates, regardless of nationality, who have made outstanding achievements in the field of horology, to receive the Tompion Gold Medal which was initiated in 1953 and named after one of our most illustrious Past Masters. The Committee itself is also illustrious consisting of eminent members of the Company. It is chaired by Honorary Liveryman Professor Sir Arnold Wolfendale PhD FRS, and will invariably include at least one Fellow of the Royal Society and two eminent members from outside the Company. The Secretary of the Committee is usually, by custom, a Past Master.
The Panel also recommends to the Court suitable candidates for The Harrison Medal, named after the illustrious John Harrison, commemorating outstanding achievements in propagating knowledge of the history of clockmaking and its appreciation . This medal to be awarded at the discretion of the Court from time to time.
The Clerk attends all Court and Committee meetings and many of the Panel meetings. It is desirable that he attends all Panel meetings to keep in touch with all activities of the Company, but in practice it is not always possible due to his other numerous commitments.