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Plumbers to unveil London statue to commemorate apprentices

A statue of an apprentice plumber will be unveiled by the Duke of Gloucester and the Lord Mayor of London on the newly refurbished concourse at Cannon St Station next Thursday.

The Worshipful Company of Plumbers raised £100,000 to commission and erect the seven-foot high bronze statue to celebrate 400 years since it was granted a royal charter by King James I.

The statue will also highlight the importance of Apprenticeships and celebrate the contribution professional traders have made to the City of London.

At a fundraising dinner held last year at the House of Lords, former president of the Chartered Institute of Plumbers and Heating Engineers Ben Bradshaw said: “A good Apprenticeship is an essential part of training and I think it is a great idea to have a statue honouring apprenticeships in such a busy public place.”

The statue was created by sculptor Martin Jennings, who also sculpted the statue of Sir John Betjeman at St Pancras Station and has cast bronzes of Phillip Larkin, Ronnie Barker and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

The Cannon Street site was chosen because the Worshipful Company had its livery hall there until 1863 when it was compulsorily purchased to make way for the expansion of the station.

The company was first established in the fourteenth century to regulate plumbing.
These days the company is a charitable trust which provides bursaries to plumbing trainees, supports a small number of plumbers volunteering oversees and makes donations to local schools and voluntary groups.

Master of the company, Chris Sneath, told Plumbing and Heating Monthly magazine that the future was not in bronze but in living persons.
“We will be expanding our programme to provide support for those setting out in the craft as well as those whose training is at higher levels,” said Sneath.

“We believe that it is very important to support those on whose shoulders the future of plumbing depends.”
Air Commodore Paul Nash, clerk of the company, said the organisation currently supported plumbing trainees doing NVQ 2 and NVQ 3 level courses, but hoped to be able to support those doing more advanced training in future.

“Any trainee facing financial hardship can visit our website at, go to the section called ‘support for training’ and download the application forms,” he said.

The unveiling ceremony will take place on at Cannon Street Station at 11.00 am on Thursday October 6, 2011.

Rachel Salmon

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