The chief officer of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers is the Prime Warden. He or she is supported by an Upper and Under Warden. Until 1998 the Company had only a Prime Warden and a Junior Warden. It was then felt that with the growing demands being placed on the Prime Warden it would be preferable to have two Wardens supporting them and also to give the Prime Warden an extra year in which to learn and understand their role
The Wardens are elected at the July Court meeting each year and they are installed on Installation Day each October. The Installation Day commences with a service of thanksgiving and blessing at our Guild Church of St. Margaret Pattens in Eastcheap. The Company then moves to a Livery Hall for lunch and the installation of the Wardens for the forthcoming year.
The Basketmakers’ Company is one of only 7 Livery Companies in the City of London to have a Prime Warden. The others are the Blacksmiths’, Dyers’, Fishmongers’, Goldsmiths’ Shipwrights’ and Saddlers' Companies. All the other City Livery Companies have a Master with the single exception of the Weavers’ Company who have an Upper Bailiff. The Basketmakers’ Company appear to have had an Upper Warden as their main officer from their foundation right up to 1846 when it was decided to change the title to Prime Warden. No reason is given for this change.
2022 - 2023
Judy Tayler-Smith - Prime Warden 2022-2023
Judy was born, grew up and still lives in the City of London with her husband Simon. Her education was at the University of London and the Institute of Archaeology UCL, where she studied History, Archaeology and Egyptology. She also studied at the WSET School, where she obtained advanced qualifications in Wines, Spirits and Other Beverages. Being a City-born child, Judy established her involvement with the Civic City in 1986, when she became an Officer of the City of London Corporation.
From 1986 - 2002 she worked for the Corporations’ Libraries and Archives Department, both at the City Business Library and at the Guildhall Library. She received the Freedom of the City of London in 1996 from her employers. She has also been Archivist for the Worshipful Company of Upholders (2009 – 2017) and Archivist for the City Livery Club (2010 -2015).
Judy is a well-known face throughout the City, having chaired/sat on numerous committees and governing bodies over the past 36 years; including six successful Shrieval campaign committees.
Although currently Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers, this is Judy’s fourth time on the Livery Masters ‘circuit’. The other three occasions were as Master of the Worshipful Company of Upholders (2017- 18); President of the City Livery Club (2012-13) and Foreman of the Guildable Manor of Southwark (2018- 19), an ancient Guild/Court Leet under the jurisdiction of the City of London and Old Bailey.
Other City roles have been Master of Cripplegate Ward Club (2013-14); President of Farringdon Ward Club (2015 - 16) and the first lady Master of the Tanners Company of Bermondsey (2016-17).
Currently she is a Council Member & the Charity Funding Coordinator for the Royal Society of St. George Westminster Branch. She is on the Committee of ‘Women in the Livery’ and is a member of five Past Masters Associations. She is a life member of the Guild of Freemen and a member Royal Society of St. George City of London Branch.
Judy is also a regular visitor to Scotland. She is a Burgess (Freeman) of Glasgow and currently in her third year as Trades Master for the Incorporation of Wrights, one of Glasgow’s ancient Guilds. She has been a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland since 2002, a life member of the Burns Club of London and a member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
Aside from Archives, Judy’s other career has been in wine. She is a Dame Grand Commandeur, Chancellor and Master of Arms for the UK and Ireland for a French chivalric Champagne order, the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or; and Dame Officier of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne. In 2000 she founded the City Livery Wine Circle which is still going strong; she was their Chairman (2006-08) and Hon. Secretary (2002-2011). She has also been Chairman of the International Wine and Food Society, London Branch (2008-10).
Judy’s main interests include the City of London, Scotland, collecting antiquities, jewellery, science fiction/fantasy films and books, classical music/opera, fine dining, wine and champagne.
Lady Lauriston - Upper Warden 2022-2023
Award-winning writer Dorothy Newlands of Lauriston was voted Britain’s Technology Journalist of the Year and has written - as Dorothy Walker - for most of the national newspapers. She runs a bid-writing practice working with infrastructure companies. Her early career was in financial systems in the City, in business development and marketing.
Dorothy is a Trustee of the Basketmakers Charitable Trust. She is a Director of the Guild of Freemen of the City of London and chairs the Guild’s Membership Committee. She has served as Deacon of the Incorporation of Wrights, heading the Glasgow-based charity, and as a Trustee of the Trades House of Glasgow. She is a Council Member of the Scottish Castles Association.
Dorothy holds a degree in archaeology from the UCL Institute of Archaeology, and she and her husband, William, have restored their medieval Lauriston Castle in Aberdeenshire, once a royal fortress.
Julian Adams - Under Warden 2022-2023
Julian has spent his entire working life in the City of London. He was an Executive Director of the Bank of England where he was responsible for the supervision of the insurance market in the UK. In 2015 he stepped down from the Bank to join Prudential PLC’s Global Executive Committee to take on responsibility for regulation and Government Affairs across the group. Following its demerger from the Prudential, Julian joined M&G PLC to perform the same role. He stepped down from his executive roles in April this year. Julian has been a Trustee of the Charitable Trust since 2013.