Water Forget-me-not

The Water Conservators own a Thames Traditional Cutter called Water Forget-me-not. It is the 17th cutter build by Mark Edwards who is an English traditional boat builder based at Richmond Bridge in Richmond, London, England. Twelve other Cutters are owned by Livery Companies. Mark has also constructed several significant reproductions of vintage boats and built the Royal barge Gloriana, the lead ship in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in June 2012.

Water Forget-me-not was first launched at a gathering of Company Members and their partners at Richmond Boat House on 14th October 2000. The Commissioning of the Cutter was only possible due to the generosity of a number of companies who contributed to the costs. They were Anglian Water, Aquabio, Colflex, Northumbrian Water, Pennon, Severn Trent Water, Thames Water and Yorkshire Water.

In addition to participating in City of London and Livery events it provides education and sporting opportunities for traditional Thames rowers. It is currently based in Charlton and crewed by a team organised through the London Port Health Authority. It is looked after by Retained Waterman Stuart Smith, an experienced Waterman and a City of London employee with the London Port Health Authority based at Charlton. Phillipa Mesters is the rowing Cox. Past Master David Jones is Hon. Barge master.

In the past year it has been used in the following events:

Tudor Pull

This is an annual ceremonial event for Thames Watermen’s Cutters which is organised by the Thames Traditional Rowing Association. Cutters escort the Thames Royal Shallop ‘Jubilant’ rowed by members of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen, from Hampton Court Palace to the Tower of London to deliver a ‘Stela’ to the Governor of the Tower for safekeeping.

Admiral of the Port Challenge

The challenge of the race was introduced years ago by a Lord Mayor to mark his position of Admiral of the Port of London. The route goes from HQS Wellington to Westminster Boating Base and is contested by traditional Thames Watermen’s Cutters supported or crewed by Livery companies. The cutters are rowed by four oars, and rigged with ceremonial canopies and flags.

Port of London Challenge

The Thames Traditional Rowing Association race from HQS Wellington, Kings Reach to Imperial Wharf, a distance of 4.6 statute miles, competing with other livery companies and rowing clubs. We won our class.

Doggett’s Coat & Badge Wager Coronation Pageant

The Doggett’s is a race for single sculls on the Thames from London Bridge to Chelsea. This year, to celebrate the King’s Coronation, there was a flotilla of 12 cutters and gigs operated by livery companies and clubs, each carrying a royal cipher to represent the 12 monarchs from George I to Charles III. They travelled in procession to Westminster before the race, followed by several support and spectator ships. When the Doggett’s competitors approached, the crews saluted Doggett’s by tossing their oars and calling three cheers.

Celebration of Time – a Strontium Clock on board

The Water Conservators and our cutter Water Forget-me-not were invited to join other cutters to accompany the Royal shallop ‘Jubilant’ to carry a Strontium ion optical atomic clock from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) at Teddington to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.

Great River Race – Greenwich to Richmond

28 Bridges, 21.6 miles, 300 crews from across the world including rowing clubs, pubs, schools, boating societies and the armed services, thousands of spectators – London’s River Marathon. Water Forget-me-not joined other Livery Companies and their cutters to compete with hundreds of other fixed seat craft. The race is organised by the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames. It is based on the Watermen tradition and each crew carries at least one passenger and cox, along with a 3’ x 2’ flag.