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The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers

News & Recent Events

January Livery Dinner

The first Livery Dinner of 2016 was held at the end of January and had a distinctive Naval theme.  Admiral Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE was our guest speaker.  Sir Trevor was Commander in Chief Fleet, Commander Allied Maritime Command Northwood and Vice Admiral of the United Kingdom before his retirement from the Royal Navy in 2012.  We were also joined by some of the crew of HMS Richmond, our Naval affiliated ship, who provided a Naval Guard as guests went in for dinner.  Also the Prime Warden presented The 2015 Basketmakers’ Award to Leading Seaman Daniel Nelson.

Prime Warden’s Weekend in Amsterdam

38 Members of the Company enjoyed a wonderful weekend in Amsterdam in April with the Prime Warden and Mistress Basketmaker.  On the Friday Members visited Keukenhof to view the beautiful bulb fields and then travelled on to the small harbour town of Volendam, where a lovely lunch was enjoyed at the famous Smoke House.  In the evening  a sumptuous dinner was served in historic surroundings at the De Silveren Spiegel restaurant.  On Saturday Members visited the famous Rijks Museum followed by a private tour of The Rembrandt House Museum.  That evening everyone enjoyed a dinner boat cruise around the canals allowing everyone to see many of the sights of the City.  The weekend was rounded off on Sunday with a morning concert at Amsterdam’s famous concert hall, the Royal Concertgebouw, followed by lunch, then Members returned home having all enjoyed a weekend together in this wonderful City.

Consorts Basketmaking Days -  March and July

Two Consorts Basketmaking days have been held this year in March and July, for the Consorts of other Livery Companies.  These days continue to be extremely popular filling up within days of them being advertised.  In March Consorts were taught by Yeoman Member John Page, supported by Trade Advisor Mary Butcher, in making  bowls out of rush. In July, Yeoman Member, John Galloway led the day, again supported by Trade Advisor, Mary Butcher, in weaving a cane ball.  All the Consorts thoroughly enjoyed their days and some were keen to do more basketmaking

Winners of the Basketry of the Year Award 2016

Pictured below are the winners of this year’s Basketry of the Year Award.  Continuing the success of last year’s competition the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers decided to split the annual competition  in to International as well as UK based, with one Internation prize and three UK prizes.  The main objective of the competition is to assemble images of basketry to be retained in the archive of the Basketmakers’ Association, as a record of basketry and related items made today.  The other objective is to promote British Basketmaking.  Entries are restricted to Yeoman Members of the Basketmakers’ Company and Members of the Basketmakers’ Association.  The quality of the entries this year were so rich in their diversity and their technical accomplishment, that the judges of the competition who are members of the Company’s Trade Committee had a very difficult task in selecting the prize winners.  The four winning baskets will be auctioned at a future event.  The monies obtained will be for the benefit of the Company’s Charity, who financed the event.

        First Prize Winner

Basketmaker:  David Brown

Name of Basket:  Welsh Split Hazel Shopper

Materials:  Hazel

Second Prize

Basketmaker: John Cowan

Name of Basket: Quarter Cran Herring Basket

White Willow, Oak, Hazel & Rattan

Third  Prize

Basketmaker:  Janice Brooklyn

Materials:  Dyed Cane & Driftwood

International Prize

Basketmaker:  Monica Guilera Subirana

Name of Basket: Blue Nansa

Materials: Stripped White Willow & Blue String

Summer Dinner - HQS Wellington

 On Thursday 9th June nearly 100 Members of the Company boarded HQS Wellington on the Thames for our Summer Dinner.  We were blessed with a perfect summer evening.  The evening was particularly special as the Portsmouth Military Wives Choir entertained guests on the quarter deck during the drinks reception.  The choir gave a wonderful performance and it was the perfect setting with boats going by on the Thames and the summer sun setting.  Following the musical reception, guests went below deck to dine.  It was a very memorable event in the Basketmakers calendar.

April Livery Dinner - 13th April

Members enjoyed another lovely evening at Skinners’ Hall in April when the Company were honoured to welcome The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster as the guest speaker.  We were also joined by Members of No 5 Squadron, our RAF Affiliation and Corporal Robert Birch was awarded with the Company’s Proficiency Award for 2015.

Croquet Day - 14th May

Members and their families enjoyed a fun  day at Sussex County Croquet Club in Hove in May.  The Club were wonderful hosts and not only gave all those taking part tuition but also provided a wonderful buffet lunch as well.  Teams competed against each other throughout the day and at the end of the afternoon over tea and cake prizes were awarded.  The Mistress Basketmaker and her partner took the winning prize,  It was very much a day for all the family with the youngest participant being only 6 years old.  All those taking part thought it was definitely a day to be repeated.

Annual Banquet at Mansion House - 15th September

Over 260 guests attended the Company’s 447th Annual Banquet at Mansion House in September.   As guest arrived they were entertained on the stairs by female acapella group Tune Four before moving through for the reception where the winning baskets in the Basketry of the Year competition were displayed.  Alderman Sir Alan Yarrow, accompanied by Lady Yarrow, welcomed the Company on behalf of the Lord Mayor and we were very lucky to have the now newly elected Lord Mayor, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley as our guest speaker, one of his last speaking engagements before being elected.  Thames Brass provided their usual wonderful sound during dinner, this time moving to the floor of the Egyptian Hall for the Post horn gallop.  It was a wonderful evening very much enjoyed by those who attended.

Riverboat Trip on the Thames - 29th July

The Prime Warden hosted Members of the Company and their families on a riverboat trip on the Thames in July.  Guests boarded the Bray Royale at Windsor and took a picturesque trip up the Thames on a rather cloudy but mostly dry Friday afternoon.  Guests enjoyed picnics whilst travelling and it was wonderful to see the children and grandchildren of Members enjoying a Livery event - hopefully potential Members of the Basketmakers for the future!

July Trade Dinner - Skinners’ Hall - 20th July

Over 140 guests attended the July Livery Dinner at Skinners Hall, traditionally our annual Trade Dinner.  Once again it was a very warm July evening for this occasion and guests enjoyed their drinks during the reception on the roof terrace.  Our Yeoman Members displayed and sold their work in the Entrance Hall.  Sadly our guest speaker, Charles Hanson, had to cancel at the last minute due to family illness but we were extremely grateful to Nicholas Somers, currently Master of the Turners, who very kindly stepped in to the breach.  Nicholas enjoyed a fifty year career as an auctioneer and valuer and now runs his own consultancy specialising in preparing independent forensic reports for Court in case relating to antiques and the decorative arts. He has frequently appeared as an expert witness in Crown, County and High Courts.  All the visiting Masters were given the gift of a basket and Nicholas Somers received an a little extra gift of champagne for his hamper.  This was Prime Warden, Richard Boucher-Giles, last Livery dinner at Skinners’ Hall before handing over to Peter Allen in October and he thanked Members for all their support during his year.