Our Court and Company Officers
The role of the Court
The Court is the governing body of the Livery Company. It is made up of the Master, four Wardens, the Officers of the Company and at least 12 Assistants.
Our Master and Wardens are appointed annually at an Election Court. They are then installed at an Installation Court held each June. The Master and the Wardens lead the Court and the General Purposes Committee.
Past Masters play a significant role in the life of the Livery Company, supporting the Court and attending its meetings.
Who we are
Left to right: Ralph Edmondson, Roger Brookes, Andrew Golding, Adam Bennett and Jerry Merton
Master: Ralph Edmondson - Appointed Master in June 2017. He joined the Livery Company in 2006 and has served on the Court since 2012. He is Chairman of the General Purposes Committee.
Senior Warden: Roger Brookes - Appointed in June 2017. He joined the Livery Company in 1991 and has served on the Court since 2000.
Renter Warden: Andrew Golding - Appointed in June 2017. He joined the Livery Company in 2007 and has served on the Court since 2011.
Third Warden: Adam Bennett - Appointed in June 2017. He joined the Livery Company in 2011 and has served on the Court since 2013.
Fourth Warden: Jerry Merton - Appointed in June 2017. He joined the Livery Company in 1990 and has served on the Court since 1999.
Left to right: Sandra Stocker, Ian Venters, Mark Anderson, Jacqueline Burrows and Canon David Parrott
Clerk: Sandra Stocker
Assistant Clerk & Treasurer: Ian Venters
Beadle: Mark Anderson
Honorary Archivist: Jacqueline Burrows
Honorary Chaplain: Canon David Parrott
2017 - 2018 Ralph A V Edmondson
2016 - 2017 Charles N Miller
2015 - 2016 Christopher G H Allen
2014 - 2015 N Mark Gower-Smith
2013 - 2014 John P Nokes
2012 - 2013 Michael C T Prideaux
2011 - 2012 Fiona J Adler
2010 - 2011 Julian Keevil
2009 - 2010 John A G Alexander
2008 - 2009 Nigel M S Rich CBE
2007 - 2008 George E C Lankester
2006 - 2007 Richard Tranter
2005 - 2006 Richard P de C Yeo
2004 - 2005 David Glynn-Jones
2003 - 2004 F Michael Bramwell
2002 - 2003 Michael M Walter
2001 - 2002 J Alec G Murray
2000 - 2001 Ian M Panto
1999 - 2000 The Hon Michael H Richards
1998 - 1999 Simon G Orlik
1997 - 1998 Richard F H Vanderpump
1996 - 1997 Roger L H Merton MBE
1995 - 1996 Stephen L Preedy
1994 - 1995 Philip J Redman
1993 - 1994 G Anthony Alton
1992 - 1993 George H Challis CBE
1991 - 1992 Dr Isidore Redstone MB BS
1990 - 1991 J Anthony Ostick
1989 - 1990 John W Solomon
1988 - 1989 Derek P C Harris
1987 - 1988 Richard Dunhill
1986 - 1987 Louis A Chapuis
1985 - 1986 George E S Widdowson
1984 - 1985 H E Peter Spearing TD
1983 - 1984 Derek D Merton TD
1982 - 1983 John J Adler MBE JP
1981 - 1982 F Ronald Ostick
1980 - 1981 G Rolf Christophersen DFC
1979 - 1980 Henry M Curwen MBE
1978 - 1979 George H Ross Goobey
1977 - 1978 Kenneth R Haward
1976 - 1977 Richard S Hargreaves MC
1975 - 1976 Frank B Hooper
1974 - 1975 Walter A H Kahn MBE AE
1973 - 1974 H Luing Preedy OBE JP
1972 - 1973 Peter H Mack
1971 - 1972 Frank Spellacy BEM
1970 - 1971 Charles A Rich MBE TD
1969 - 1970 William M Wilson
1968 - 1969 Edmond C Hardcastle
1967 - 1968 A Torrance Law DSO TD
1966 - 1967 Roy H Bridgman-Evans MC
1965 - 1966 Alan L Adler
1964 - 1965 The Hon A B Money-Coutts OBE
1963 - 1964 W A Williamson-Barling
1962 - 1963 Frank Warwick
1961 - 1962 Robert J Freeman OBE VRD
1960 - 1961 Francis W Grant MBE TD
1959 - 1960 Edward A Davis
1958 - 1959 John C Singleton
1957 - 1958 Roy Siemssen
1956 - 1957 Kenneth C H Westcott
1955 - 1956 Alfred H Dunhill MC
1954 - 1955 Alan L Adler
1573: Sir Frances Drake brings the first recorded cargo of tobacco to England from the New World.
1601: East India Company forms and exotic imports including tobacco pour into the country.
1604: King James publishes the pamphlet, Counterblaste to Tobacco. He imposes heavy taxes on the product.
1613: More than 7,000 ‘tobagies’ sell tobacco, owing to its popularity. Domestic cultivation and smuggling increase in order to avoid high taxes.
The First Company: 1619-1643
1619: King James I bans tobacco growing in England. He orders that all tobacco must come into the country through London and that pipes are to be made solely by a group of pipe makers based in Westminster, to whom he grants a Royal Charter.
1634: King Charles I re-incorporates the Company under the name of the Tobacco-pipe Makers of London and Westminster and England and Wales. This becomes a City of London Company, often meeting in the Painter-Stainers’ Livery Hall.
1642: Tradespeople are affected by civil war.
1643: The Company fails to pay annual rent due to the King and forfeits its Charter as a result.
The Second Company: 1663-1868
1660: With the restoration of Charles II, the company is re-established and reorganised by the City of London.
1663: The company is granted a Royal Charter of Incorporation but is still without a Grant of Livery at this stage. It remains solely concerned with tobacco-pipes.
1690: A Charter for regulating tobacconists and tobacco cutters is granted to the Grocers’ Livery Company.
1800s: By the 1800s there are no more than 200 ‘citizen’ pipe makers in London, many of whom are poor and lacking education. Around half of these pipe-makers were Freemen of our Company. As a result, the Company’s income - derived from membership fees (‘quarterage’) and apprenticeships - is very low.
1856: Act of Common Council allows non-freemen to trade in the City of London, effectively cutting off the Company's income.
1868: The Company closes.
The Third Company: 1954-Present Day
1954: Key members of the Briar Pipe and Tobacco Trades meet to revive the old Company. The name is changed to the Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders, accounting for the wider tobacco trade.
1956: New Grant of Arms is designed by the College of Arms, retaining the old Company’s motto, ‘Producat Terra’ (‘Out of the Earth’).
1959: Members launch an appeal to raise money for charity. A benevolent fund is set up, with a focus on further education.
1960: A Plea for Livery is presented to, and duly accepted by, the Court of Aldermen.
1990s: The Company raises more than £40,000 to purchase the entire contents of the defunct Broseley Pipe Works at Ironbridge, Shropshire.
1995: The fully-restored factory opens as a museum and artefacts are displayed.
We are extremely proud of our heritage and continue to observe many of our Company’s long-standing traditions. Our smoking cap and snuff traditions are specific to our Company, while the passing of the Loving Cup is a tradition followed by all Livery Companies.
The Smoking Cap
A relatively modern tradition, the smoking cap ceremony was first introduced by Past Master Walter Kahn, shortly after our Company was re-established in 1954. The smoking cap is used by the Master at all our official lunches and dinners.
The smoking cap ceremony originally signified the moment when guests were allowed to smoke. Until 2007 the livery offered fine cigars, cigarettes, tobacco and hand-made clay pipes to members and their guests seated around the tables. Nowadays only snuff is taken at the table and electronic cigarettes if they are permitted by the venue. [Read more].
The Taking of Snuff
Following the smoking cap ceremony, snuff may be taken at the table. For those who wish to take it, a souvenir tin of snuff is offered at each place setting at our Livery dinners. There are a number of descriptions of how to take snuff, but the genteel method can be described in 11 separate steps.
Snuff is created from a carefully-selected blend of the finest tobacco leaves which are subsequently milled, ground and sieved to become a finely-textured powder. Stored in wooden drums for varying amounts of time, the powder is then flavoured using the finest essential oils, such as attar of roses, lavender and violet, patchouli, sandalwood and cinnamon. Snuff recipes are closely-guarded secrets, often passed down through generations, and often known only to one or two members of the snuff maker’s company. After flavouring, the snuff is left to mature before being packed and sold. [Read more]
The Loving Cup Ceremony
The passing of the loving cup, traditional to all Liveries, is a splendid feature of our Company’s dinners.
Filled with spiced wine, historically known as ‘sack’, the Master and Wardens drink from it in turn, before the cup is then passed down the table to all guests. [Read more]
Our Company is proud of its treasures, each of which play a significant part in our traditional ceremonies, and at our lunches and dinners.
Ballot Box: our Edwardian stained oak and mahogany ballot box is used at Court meetings to vote for new candidates wanting to join the Livery, and on other sensitive matters.
Ceremonial Mace: emblematic of the authority invested in the Master, Wardens and Assistants. [Read more]
Loving Cup: A two-handled silver-gilt cup and cover, made in London in 1841 and presented to the Livery in 1955 by Past Master Alan Adler (father of Past Master John Adler and grandfather of Past Master Fiona Adler) for use as a loving cup.
Salzman Collection of 18th Century Blue and White Tobacco Jars: a collection of tobacco jars with brass covers, donated in 1963 by Elia Salzman, founder of the Elia Salzman Tobacco Co Ltd of London. Jars like these were originally filled by tobacconists with particular blends of tobacco. Some of the collection is kept in the dining room of the Guildhall.
Silver Cups: A large silver tyg (three-handled mug) made by William Hutton of London in 1886, and a later silver cup and cover, both presented to the Livery by Past Master Edmond Hardcastle in 1969.
Smoking Cap and Stand: smoking caps were popular as informal gentleman’s wear from the late 1840s through to the 1880s. The caps were usually made of velvet or felt and often quilted inside. Some had tassels attached for added flair. Gentlemen originally wore them for warmth and to reduce the smell of smoke in their hair. [Read more]
Snuff Mulls: our Livery owns three silver-mounted ram’s horn snuff mulls, which are used at our formal dinners. They were presented by Past Master Nigel Rich, Past Master Richard Tranter and Past Master Charles Miller respectively. [Read more] Our most magnificent ram's head mull (nick-named Cedric) was presented by Singleton & Cole and is kept in the Guildhall.
Tobacco Paraphernalia and Prints: our own collection of tobacco paraphernalia, including antique prints of tobacco pipe making, are on long-term loan to the Broseley Pipe Works Museum near Ironbridge in Staffordshire.
Over the 400-year history of our Company, we have received two Grants of Arms, both of which were prepared by the College of Arms in the City of London.
The first Grant of Arms was made in the 17th century to the Tobacco-pipe Makers of London and Westminster and England and Wales.
This has now been superseded by the second Grant of Arms, made in 1956 to the Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders.
Common to both coats of arms is our Company motto, Producat Terra (Out of the Earth).