The Master

Master 2020 – 2021

Jonathan Muirhead was born in 1951 and educated at Glenalmond College, Perth, after which he attended the National Leathersellers’ College, London, where he gained a Diploma in Leather Technology. Jonathan was admitted to the Livery by Redemption in 2001, served as Steward in 2004-2005, Third Warden in 2017-2018 and was elected to the Court in 2019.

Jonathan is a seventh-generation leather manufacturer. His family’s business has been producing leather in Glasgow and the surrounding area since 1758. At the end of June 2019 he retired from Scottish Leather Group Limited, where he had been Chairman since 2003 and has since been appointed Honorary President. Most of his career was spent with the Group’s largest subsidiary, Bridge of Weir Leather Company, the world’s oldest independent supplier of leather to the automotive industry and a five times winner of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Jonathan is a Past President of both UK Leather Federation and COTANCE (The Confederation of National Associations of Tanners and Dressers of the European Community). He is both a Fellow of the Society of Leather Technologist and Chemists and the Royal Society of Arts. He was awarded an honorary BSc degree from the University of Northampton in 2014, and an OBE for services to the leather industry in 2016. He is also a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Renfrewshire.

Jonathan is married to Fiona and they divide their time between homes in Glasgow and West Sussex. They have two sons (continuing the family tradition – both are leather manufacturers), three daughters and three grandchildren. His interests include golf, skiing, curling, walking, jazz, cars, wine and rugby union.


The Second Warden

Second Warden

Gavin Bacon was born in 1957 and educated at Tonbridge School, after which he attended Bristol University, where he gained a degree in Law. He served as Fourth Warden in 2007-8 and was elected to the Court in December 2010.

Gavin is the first in nine generations not to have joined the family’s leather business, which started in York and moved to Bermondsey in the early 1800s. He qualified as a solicitor in 1982 with Simmons and Simmons, where he stayed for 28 years and worked in London, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong and Shanghai. He then joined Farrer & Co in 2010 before retiring in 2016. After a gap year Gavin took an MA in History at University College London, and then started studying for a PhD.

Gavin is married to Joanna, an architect, and they divide their time between London and Dorset. Their children are Thomas, 24, who is training to be an architect, and Eliza, 22, who has just returned from Kathmandu where she worked for Unicef.

The Third Warden

Third Warden

Born in Kent in 1968, Gregory lives in London.  He was educated at Colfe’s School where he was School Captain, followed by New College, Oxford (MA in Jurisprudence). Playing rugby for the College First XV Gregory became President of the Oxford University Law Society and Treasurer of the Oxford Union.

Gregory worked at the European Commission as a stagiaire before being called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 1991 (subsequently being elected a Bencher in 2019). He became a tenant of what is now Francis Taylor Building, Temple in 1993, taking silk in 2011. Gregory took an LLM at UCL in 1997 and save for a stint as JP Warner Scholar at the European Court of Justice, he has practiced at the Bar specialising in Parliamentary, administrative, EU, planning and environmental law.  Called also to the Bars of Northern Ireland and Ireland, Gregory was appointed in 2015 by the Irish government to chair the review of An Bord Pleanála. He is also the Deputy Chancellor of several dioceses.

Gregory was elected a Common Councillor for the City ward of Farringdon Without in 2012, then in 2016 as its Alderman, following which he was made a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Butchers (Smithfield Meat Market is in his ward). Gregory is also a member of the Court of the Honourable the Irish Society.

Married in Johannesburg to Rosali, a solicitor and partner in Simmons & Simmons specialising in financial services, they have two daughters.  Gregory enjoys scuba diving to advanced and rescue diver level and supports London Irish Rugby Club and Spurs.

The Fourth Warden

Fourth Warden

Biz Womersley (nee Whitmore) was born in 1965, the seventh generation of a family of sole leather tanners based in Bermondsey and Edenbridge in Kent. The family originated in Bridgnorth, Shropshire representing that Borough in Parliament for 200 years as well as being active in the City as liverymen of the Haberdashers Company, with a Lord Mayor in 1632. The decline in the use of leather for soles and the demand for heavy boots necessitated the closure of family tanneries in 1971.

Biz made history in 2004 becoming the first woman to go on the Livery since the 16th Century.  She follows in the footsteps of her father, Roger Searle Whitmore, who was Master 1999 – 2000, but sadly passed away in 2009.

Educated at Benenden School.  Biz has spent most of her working life involved in property, working in Estate Agency for Cluttons in Mayfair and then Calander Wright in Pimlico.  Biz has run her own building and property management company for the last 25 years. As well as the family property portfolio that was built up after the Tannery in Edenbridge closed.

She is a keen sportswoman enjoying tennis, golf, skiing, and riding. As well as sport her interests include travel, food and wine.  She also loves the theatre and ballet.

She lives in Kent with her husband Pete and two children Ellie and William