Worshipful Company of Shipwrights
|"Within The Ark
Safe For Ever"
|Date of formation:||1782|
|Company association:||Shipbuilding, maritime industries|
|Order of precedence:||59th|
|Master of company:||The Prince of Wales|
|Motto:||"Within The Ark
Safe For Ever"
The Shipwrights' Company, unlike other livery companies, has not received a royal charter because maritime trade by definition was never confined within the boundaries of the Square Mile; instead a corporate body of London shipwrights grew over time, their first recorded reference being in the twelfth century; thus the company's status is considered as being incorporated "by prescription". By contrast a royal charter was issued in 1612 to the "Master, Wardens, and Commonalty of the Art or Mystery of Shipwrights of Redriff in the County of Surrey": i.e. Rotherhithe. This led to a dispute about jurisdiction between the two companies, which was resolved in 1684 when the Rotherhithe "charter" was cancelled.
The Shipwrights' Company received confirmation of its City of London livery status in 1782. Ever since Queen Victoria's reign the company continues to enjoy a special connection with the Royal Family, several of whom are liverymen today; Prince Charles was installed on 10 May 2011 as prime warden and served for 2011-12 before succeeding his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, as permanent master shipwright on 16 February 2012.
Although the Shipwrights' Company is no longer a trade association solely representing the shipbuilding industry, its links with maritime, shipping and global trade remain strong. Whilst sons and daughters of members can join as freemen of the company, only those with a professional maritime background (military or commercial) may become liverymen. The company supports maritime research, numerous charities, as well as the work of the Lord Mayor of London, the City of London Corporation and the Sheriffs of the City of London. The company is also involved in charitable educational activities, which includes the support of the London Nautical School and George Green's School in London.
The current clerk to the Shipwrights' Company is Lt Col Andrew Milne RM, whose role combines that of executive officer as well as supporting the prime warden: Simon Robinson. Its honorary chaplain is the Revd Canon Bill Christianson.
Its motto is "Within The Ark Safe For Ever".