Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Saturday, July 10, 2010

By Act Of Parliament In 1555

Here Tim continues on another interesting subject that was an event that came before the 2010 Parliamentary Boat Race. Tim writes:

The 2010 Parliamentary Boat Race was preceded by a row past by The Company of Watermen and Lightermen. Four Doggett’s Coat and Badge winners rowed the Master and his Senior and Junior Wardens and the Clerk to the Company up to Parliament’s own landing stage. They were steered by the Bargemaster, also a Doggett’s winner.

To quote the Watermen’s website: “The Company of Watermen and Lightermen was established by Act of Parliament in 1555 to control the Watermen on the River Thames responsible for the movement of goods and passengers. Indeed it remains the only ancient City Guild to he formed and controlled by Act of Parliament. Today the Watermen and Lightermen still work on the River Thames, the former being concerned with passenger transport and the latter with the carriage of goods. The young Freemen of the Company are eligible to participate in the Doggett's Coat and Badge Race, which has been held annually since 1715. This gruelling boat race is held each July and goes along the river from London Bridge to Chelsea. The winner has the honour of wearing the scarlet coat, breeches and silver arm badge that are based on the original costume of an eighteenth century Watermen.”

The Doggett’s watermen are (left to right), Nicholas Dwan (winner in 2002), Robert Dwan (2004), Nick Beasley, Bargemaster (2001), Colin Briggs (1967), and Terry Enever (2008).

Colin Briggs is related to the Doggett’s winners of 1921 and 1772. The Dwans have the most living Doggett’s winners in one family. The father of Nicholas and Robert, Ken, won in 1971. Their uncle, John, won in 1979. A cousin will race in 2011. Ken Dwan was Britain’s best single sculler in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He represented the country at the European Championships in 1969 (4th place) and 1971 (9th place), at the World Championships in 1970 (9th place), and at the Olympic Games in 1968 (aged 19; 6th place) and 1972 (9th place). He won the Tideway Scullers Head in 1969-1971, and 1973 and the Wingfield Sculls in 1968-1972, and 1975.

Currently, the Master and his Wardens are (left to right): Paul Ludwig (Junior Warden), David Gordon (Master), Duncan Clegg (Senior Warden and Master Elect)

Paul Ludwig is also the Queen’s Bargemaster, that is, he commands the Royal Watermen still retained by the Queen. More information about the Queen’s Bargemaster and the Royal Watermen can be found at the official website of the British Monarchy

Yet another interesting entry from Tim – my grateful thanks to him!

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