Coronavirus update - November 2020
As I am sure you already know, it was not possible to hold our usual Installation Court in April. As a consequence the Court has agreed that I will serve a further year as Master until April 2021. Although I am remaining in office as Master, Julian Ellis has now been installed virtually as Upper Warden for the current year, with Elizabeth Fox as Under Warden. Subject to formal confirmation by the Court nearer to the time, Julian will be installed as Master in April 2021 with last year’s Upper Warden, Tony Jarvis taking over as Master in April 2022 and this year’s Under Warden, Elizabeth Fox following him as Master from April 2023.
What an unprecedented period in our history the last seven months have been. It is a challenging time for us all although I would like to take this opportunity to express thanks, not only to the NHS, but to all key workers who have kept us supplied with essential goods and services so making our lives more bearable.
The biggest challenge for our Company has been adapting to the new world of virtual Court Meetings and amending our Ordinances to accommodate future administrative practice. The Company having put in place an amended set of Ordinances, I have now chaired four virtual Court Meetings via Zoom and am starting to feel like an 'old hand'! I would like to put on record my sincere thanks to all Court Members who have been hugely supportive and hardworking to facilitate these changes.
Given the Government ban on large group activities followed by a second 'lockdown', ideas for virtual events have been abundant and I look forward to reviewing the ideas submitted by our members in response to a survey circulated by our Clerk. Members and guests have already enjoyed a number of 'virtual' events: a 'virtual' quiz, a 'virtual' tutored wine-tasting, followed by a very successful 'virtual' black-tie dinner in October, replacing our Annual Banquet. These are to be followed by a 'virtual' tour of the City of London towards the end of November (details on the Events page). Julia and I look forward to seeing as many Liverymen and their families at these events. In the meantime, please stay safe and Julia and I send our very best wishes to all Liverymen and their families at this time.
In my diary I set out to give you an idea of what my consort, Julia and I experience during my period in office as Master. It is our privilege to represent our wonderful Company at events and activities in the City of London and beyond - as well as at 'virtual' events in these difficult times. I will continue to post details of future events on a regular basis.
During this period I have also found time to learn to knit, under the excellent guidance of my sister-in-law, PM Sheila Turner and at a family gathering at our house before the latest 'lockdown' we took this photo of the extended family with their knitting….
27th November - Company Virtual Walk - Restoration London
Around 50 Liverymen and guests got together for an informative and humorous walk around Samuel Pepys’ London under the guidance of Blue Badge Guide, Simon Whitehouse. Starting and finishing in 17th century taverns, we learnt about what an interesting man Pepys was and the kind of life that Londoners of the time endured. We also learnt of his birthplace just off Fleet Street, his friends, his links with the Clothworkers’ Company, how the Plague and Great Fire of London affected the area and finally we finished the tour by visiting Pepys’ own church (also where he is buried) St Olav’s which is near the Tower of London. We also had time to chat before and after the walk - a good social from the comfort of our own homes!
25th November - Lord Mayor’s Annual Address to the Livery
As with other annual events during the current pandemic, this Address by the Lord Mayor was held via a webinar. It was also historic because as mentioned previously the Lord Mayor, William Russell, is doing a second term in office. After an introduction by Victoria Russell, Chairman of The City Livery Committee, the Lord Mayor spoke on such topics as: How the City Corporation is managing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic - a pan-livery approach involving The Corporation, National Government and the Greater London Council to manage the recovery; and the effect on business and trade and to prioritise and manage help to the financial sector to take up the challenge of climate change, making London a “Global Green Financial Centre”. He indicated that business is still wanting to have London as an international trading hub and emphasised how London will re-invent itself for the future. The Lord Mayor also pledged to champion innovation and support culture.
Alderman Sir Charles Bowman also spoke about his role as Chairman of the Pan Livery Group and explained his hopes and aspirations for the group. He thanked Livery Companies for responding so well to the recent survey - explaining its purpose and results.
After a final address by John Barradell, The Town Clerk, we finished with Q&A from all three participants on stage in Mansion House as can be seen from the photo below.
19th November - Worshipful Company of Coachmakers - In Conversation with Sheriff Christopher Hayward CC
After a short introduction from the Master, Sarah Jane Adams-Diffey, our compere for the evening Liveryman Richard Heycocks took over. Richard relayed questions to Sheriff Chris relating to The City of London Corporation; its role within the City and such topics as Brexit, COVID-19 and current social, financial and cultural issues. As Deputy Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, the Sheriff was well placed to debate these topics. He spoke with authority, eloquence and enthusiasm. If I may say Chris was a brilliant speaker and hugely interesting and informative. The office of Sheriff and his role within the City of London Corporation is clearly in safe hands!
18th November - Festival of St Cecilia - Help Musicians UK
This year's Annual Service, as has become the new normal, was screened on the Help Musicians UK website. It was a shorter service than usual based on the traditional elements of the event. It included performances by Natalya Romaniw performing Cacilie by Richard Strauss; the Choir of Westminster Cathedral performing Sicut cervus and Sitivit anima mea by Palestrina; and the Choir of Gloucester Cathedral performing 'Let All the World in Every Corner Sing' by Ralph Vaughan Williams. There were also contributions by John Rutter CBE, Harry Christophers CBE and Graham Sheffield CBE and, pianist and recipient of funding from Help Musicians UK, Isata Kanneh-Mason. It was lovely to hear some “live” singing and learn a bit about the work of the organisation which is very much needed during the current lockdown when musicians cannot work.
18th November - Celebrating Diwali 2020 Webinar
Later in the afternoon I joined this webinar organised by the City Events Team in association with the Hindu Council UK. After a welcome by the Lord Mayor; Catherine McGuinness, Chair of Policy and Resources Committee and Her Excellency Gaitri Issa Kumar, the High Commissioner for India, we were shown a short film which included traditional prayers and the lighting of Diya at the Shree Ram Mandir Temple in London and a short dance performance by Ragasudha Vinjamuri. There was then a live panel discussion on the importance of Diwali and how celebrations are being observed during this period of lockdown and the impact that the pandemic has had on the community this year.
10th November - City of London Police Passing Out Parade and Youth Police Cadet Q&A
After a brief introduction by Detective Inspector Kate Macleod, three newly qualified officers were included in a Q&A session informing us of their aspirations and desires in choosing a career in the City Police.
A video of the Passing Out parade followed - this took place on 30th October at the Wellington Barracks. The Band of the Grenadier Guards led 22 successful Cadets in a march around the parade grounds of the barracks. I am pleased to report that all of the cadets coped very well with standing still and to attention - none literally passed out as the ceremonial name might suggest!
The Lord Mayor, in his ceremonial robes, and the Commissioner of Police were then called upon to inspect the assembled Class of 2020. It was clear to see that it was a very proud moment for the Cadets and their families. The ceremony continued with a march pass to the rousing tune of “Old Comrades”.
After the presentation of a number of awards to officers for their courage and excellence in service, the Lord Mayor and Commissioner gave short speeches to conclude the event.
9th November - Treloar’s College Virtual Student Concert
Usually in the Autumn the Lord Mayor hosts a fundraising Gala Dinner at Mansion House for Treloar’s School and College. This year however this event couldn’t take place but instead we were invited to a special Concert broadcast via a link on the Treloar’s website. The Lord Mayor welcomed everyone to the Virtual Event and pledged his support to Treloar’s. We saw a video about the School and College which featured students and staff talking about life on campus and what is on offer to the students to help them prepare for life beyond Treloars, such as sport, music, social and life skills. Supporter Alistair Stewart interviewed a student about what life was like when she returned to Treloar’s after the first lockdown due to COVID 19 and we were also shown the “Chill Out Zone’ which is a multi-functional space for students to use. The Concert itself saw students use “Clarions” to participate in the orchestral performance which is an interactive piece of equipment that is suitable for all students to use whatever their disability and they were accompanied on piano by the Director of Music, Jocelyn Watkins - it was very moving and humbling to see and hear the performance. Funds raised from the event are going to the Treloar’s IMPact fund which is a mobility project offering grants to students to upgrade their wheelchairs so the chairs meet their requirements.
5th November - Worshipful Company of Horners - Ralph Anderson Lecture
This annual lecture was like many others this year held via Zoom. After a few words of welcome from the Master, Martin Muirhead, Liveryman Malcolm Wilkinson, Chairman of the Polymer Committee, introduced the guest speaker, Dr Marcus Gover, who is CEO of WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme). WRAP is an independent charity working with governments, businesses and citizens to improve the way natural resources are used and specialising in the sustainability of food, plastics and clothing.
An interesting and thought provoking subject which was followed by a Q&A and then continuing debate and chat with fellow Masters in a “break out” room to end the evening.
3rd November - Worshipful Company of Educators’ Social Event - “London from the top of a Bus”
Julia and I joined the Worshipful Company of Educators for an interesting trip around London from the comfort of our own home. There were over 60 screens joining the event including representatives from 27 Livery Companies, so a good turn out! Professor Martin Collins, a Liveryman and Court Assistant, was our tour guide and we followed sections of four different bus routes in the City of London and City of Westminster. Various different buildings, sculptures and statues of historical interest were pointed out and their significance explained. Of particular note were the pediment sculptures on Mansion House and the Royal Exchange and the Twinings shop in Strand which is the oldest tea shop in London. A great innovative way to spend an hour and learn more about our capital city.
30th October - Blanket Presentation to Action Homeless at Cottage Homes
Past Master Liz Green had arranged to present some of the blankets from the “Knit for Community” initiative to Action Homeless, Leicester today. We met at the Cottage Homes and two residents, Mavis and May, joined us together with Assistant Jonathan Pears. As you can see from the photo below, the blankets looked stunning and are a testament to all our volunteer knitters and those who crochet the squares into the finished article! A huge thanks go to all who have contributed.
James Riviere from Action Homeless, Leicester, received 20 blankets to distribute to those in need. More blankets are being distributed to the other charities supported by the initiative and the auction of some 20 blankets goes live next month - keep your eye out for further information and get your bids ready!
28th October - Worshipful Company of Plumbers’ Autumn Lecture
The lecture was hosted by Richard Soper who is Chairman of the Company’s Technical and Education Committee. The speakers were Julie Spinks, MD of The Water Regulations Advisory Scheme, and Yvonne Orgill, MD of Unified Water Label. Their commentary and oratory was perfect to discuss the title of the lecture “Use less water or waste less water?”
Given 3 billion litres of water lost each day in leakage (24% from supply pipes of customers and the rest from network pipes), it was clear from the debate that there needs to be a generational change in public thinking and behaviour of customers. This will involve education and political will to tighten the regulation of network companies. The lecture concluded with a lively Q&A session.
A most interesting and thought provoking subject. One of the slides contained a quote, which for me sums up the importance of the debate:
“Water is life, without it we die. From us all”
26th October - Worshipful Company of Actuaries’ Livery Lecture
This annual lecture, usually held at Staple Inn Hall, was this year held in the form of a webinar. After a short introduction by the Master, Fiona Morrison, we were introduced to the guest speaker, Chris Hopson, who is Chief Executive of NHS Providers. This is the organisation that represents 217 hospital, ambulance, mental health and community trusts. The lecture’s title was “What lessons should we learn, as a nation, from COVID 19?” As one would expect given the topical nature of the title, the lecture was very well attended with Masters attending from over 60 Livery Companies.
Chris was a brilliant orator and his subject matter hugely interesting, thought-provoking and informative. A recording of the lecture is currently available here on the Worshipful Company of Actuaries’ website and I would strongly recommend that you log on and listen to the talk - yes it really was that good! There was a Q&A session to finish which due to the bombardment of questions from attendees was extended by 20 minutes!
23rd October - Our Virtual Dinner
I was delighted that there were 78 Liverymen and guests for our first Virtual Dinner. Our Clerk Shaun, Upper Warden Julian Ellis and Steward Simon Burrows had organised an excellent, convivial evening. A three course meal was supplied by Jimmy Garcia Catering and there was musical entertainment from Shaun as well as a humorous look at “Life Under Lockdown” - but not as we know it - by Upper Warden Julian Ellis. There was plenty of time to chat in our “break out” rooms over dinner and after the formal part of the evening had concluded.
21st October - Worshipful Company of Woolmen Zoom Civic Dinner
Our Clerk Shaun and I, together with our consorts Mary and Julia, were delighted to be invited to join the Woolmen for their Civic Dinner which was held via Zoom as is often the case during the current pandemic. During the reception time, we saw introductory videos about the role wool plays in society and featured a short piece by HRH The Prince of Wales. Guest of Honour was the Lord Mayor, Alderman William Russell, and he was accompanied by the the Lady Mayoress and Sheriff Chris Hayward and his wife Alex. After a brief introduction by the Master, Alderman Sir David Wootton, the Lord Mayor presented medals to some of this year’s Award Winners and then spoke about life under lockdown and his vision for his second term as Lord Mayor.
We were then put into “break out” rooms where Julia and I were able to chat to the Master of the Merchant Taylors’ Company of York and his wife and two Liverymen from the Worshipful Company of Woolmen and their Consorts over dinner. During the evening there were a couple of musical interludes with entertainment from young musicians from Trinity School, Croydon, including a performance of Jazz Numbers by their Big Band and there were the usual Toasts and Sung Grace.
At the end of the evening there was time for a Stirrup Cup and more informal chat in different “break out” rooms. An excellent evening as is usual with the Worshipful Company of Woolmen!
13th October - Worshipful Company of Turners’ Masters & Clerks Reception - Wizardry in Wood
Julia and I joined the Civic Team, other Masters, Clerks and Consorts plus Liverymen from the Worshipful Company of Turners for an interesting and informative evening about the “Art and Mysterie” of the Turners’ craft. After a welcome from the Master, Melissa Scott, we were treated to the first performance of the Turners’ Fanfare - composed and played by Thomas Pickering of the Guildhall School - which was specially commissioned for the current Lord Mayor.
The Lord Mayor responded with his thanks and also mentioned amongst other things the fact the the Wizardry in Wood Exhibition has been rescheduled for October 2021.
We then heard from three previous winners of Bursary Awards given by the Worshipful Company of Turners’ - all at different stages of their careers at present - from across the United Kingdom. They told us about their involvement in the industry, how they had been affected by the pandemic and what they hope the future holds for them. Finally we had an interesting talk from Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Turners, Sarah Fabergé, who gave us a brief history of her famous family, the work and commissions they have produced; she told us about her father becoming a wood turner himself and that he later joined the Company and how Fabergé is looking and moving forward in the 21st century.
12th October - Royal College of Art - Vice Chancellor’s Talk - Peter Gabriel
This was the first talk of the new term hosted by the Vice Chancellor, Dr Paul Thompson, and Head of Fashion, Zowie Broach.
A musician and human rights advocate, Peter Gabriel has long been interested in innovative technology, especially in digital media, audio, music, visual language and more recently healthcare. After a brief introduction by Dr Thompson, Zowie Broach hosted the chat with Peter Gabriel and he answered some student questions which ranged from sound and architecture, the world of nature and digital advances to technical design initiatives for advances in medicine. It was an enlightening hour and as someone who enjoyed the music from the group “Genesis” it was interesting to learn how Peter Gabriel has been involved to help today’s students at RCA and his input into finding solutions to global conflicts and issues such as the current pandemic and climate warming.
5th October - City of London “Faith in the City” webinar
During the month of October, an exhibition titled “Faith in the City of London” will be on show in Paternoster Square and features photographs taken by Niki Gorick depicting the day to day workings of places of faith in the Square Mile.
To mark the launch of this exhibition the City Corporation hosted a webinar to discuss the experience of different faiths during COVID-19 and their thoughts on faith as we enter the next phase of the pandemic. The panellists were: The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London; Shaykh Yunus Dudhwala, Head of Chaplaincy, Barts Health NHS Trusts, Rabbi Shalom Morris, Bevis Marks Synagogue, and Mandip Singh, Gurdwara Aid and Simran in the City Project.
It would appear all faiths have adopted well to the current circumstances, supporting their communities with virtual meetings and by telephone. They spoke of the sadness of having to officiate at many more funerals than normal. It was both humbling and interesting to learn that the overwhelming common denominator was how all the faith communities have become much closer and pulled together during the pandemic.
2nd - 5th October Goldsmith’s Fair 2020
Every year, since 1982, the Goldsmith’s Fair takes place to showcase the work of talented jewellers and silversmiths working in the UK. This year, for obvious reasons, a physical event could not be held so it went digital. I registered interest in the event and also signed up to view/listen to a couple of lectures that were being held between 24th September and 6th October. The work of the exhibitors was extraordinary and the talent on display was inspiring. You were able to look through the biographies of the exhibitors, who number more than 130, and also see some examples of their work. There is also the opportunity to buy items or commission a special piece, if you feel inclined. The site also enables you to do a virtual tour of Goldsmiths’ Hall as well as view the exhibition which is entitled “The Brooch Unpinned”. The two lectures we listened to were “GemX - The International Exhibition of Modern Jewellery 1890-1961” and “Dangerous Jewellery - How female empowerment changed design”. Both were excellent and the lecturers/participants imparted their knowledge with enthusiasm along with showing us the pieces they were telling us about either with photos or the items themselves!
1st October - Worshipful Company of Horners’ Virtual Banquet
Upper Warden Julian Ellis and I, accompanied by our Consorts, Diana and Julia, were delighted to be invited to join the Worshipful Company of Horners’ for their Annual Banquet usually held at Mansion House. Also Alderman Vincent Keaveny and his wife, Amanda, were present for the event. This year like most other things, it took place virtually, and Julia and I ordered some Italian food from a local restaurant to dine on and chose a bottle of lovely red wine to complement the food and dressed up for the occasion in full Evening Dress!
The Master, Martin Muirhead, welcomed everyone to the event, including the Civic Team and Masters from 49 Livery Companies. According to the screen there were over 110 participants so there was a good turn out from the Worshipful Company of Horners’ too. The Lord Mayor, Alderman William Russell, then said a few words including setting out his vision for his second year in office, following his election at Common Hall earlier in the week. The usual gifts were exchanged between the Master and the Lord Mayor and the Lord Mayor also presented the certificate to the winner of this year’s Design Innovation Award, Kristen Tapping, a student at Southbank University who had designed a bicycle wheel that would clean air as it turned.
We then moved to “break out” rooms for some free-flowing conversation over dinner - we were in a room with Masters from Goldsmiths, Gardeners, Glaziers, Gold & Silver Wyre Drawers, Guild of Freemen and the Master-Elect of the Chartered Accountants. We also had a brief visit from the Master Horner, who popped into various rooms during the evening.
Everyone then re-joined the main room for the Toasts and Speeches conducted by the Master and Upper Warden of the Worshipful Company of Horners with a reply by Sheriff & Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli. Finally there was a short musical interlude of the Post Horn Gallop by the London Banqueting Ensemble and during this we saw a video which showed the Horners’ taking part in the Lord Mayor’s Show in 2019. The Master then concluded the evening by inviting guests to stay on zoom and join different “break out rooms” for further chat.
A lovely evening which we thoroughly enjoyed and the event worked extremely well and gave Julian and I a few tips for our own virtual dinner later in October.
29th September - Election of the Lord Mayor at Guildhall
My first trip up to London during my second year as Master was for Common Hall. I left home promptly in the morning for the train journey up to the City unsure of how things would pan out, however I need not have worried. The trains to get me from Leicester to Guildhall were not busy so social distancing was easy to conform to:
On arrival at Guildhall (within my allotted time slot), I registered my attendance and then was shown to my seat in the Great Hall.
Each chair was at least two metres away from the next, for one representative from each Livery Company - a world away from when there were a thousand or so Livery members squeezing into the Hall for the Election last year! I am pleased to report that Alderman William Russell was voted in for a second term and our very own Alderman Vincent Keaveny will follow him as Lord Mayor next year.
As always a special event in the City’s Calendar but this year in unique circumstances!
23rd September - Honourable Company of Air Pilots’ -Tymms Lecture -- via Zoom
After a welcome by the Master, the Guest Speaker, Dr Michael Fopp, was introduced. He is a Past Master Air Pilot, former Curator of The Battle of Britain Museum and the son of an Australian RAF Battle of Britain Hurricane pilot - therefore very well qualified to speak on “The Battle of Britain - Is it still important?” The presentation was quite exceptional displaying his encyclopedic knowledge of the subject. He gave us a insight into how Europe had mollified Germany right from the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 to the declaration of war on 3rd September 1939; how with the resignation of Neville Chamberlain, Churchill then stepped into the breach bringing great men together such as Dowding, Park and Watson-Watt laying the foundation stones for the battle. He emphasised how The Battle of Britain was not just fought by “the few” but also ordinary people like the police, fire watch, land girls and yes, even milkmen, to name but a few.
Combined with the historical facts of the Battle, Dr Fopp introduced scenarios of what might have happened had Hitler won the day - perhaps world domination and nuclear supremacy?
It was truly a brilliant lecture so please don’t take my word for it but view it for yourself here - it’s not to be missed.
With thanks to the Master and the Honourable Company of Air Pilots for allowing me to share this video with you.
14th September - Worshipful Company of Educators - Master’s Seminar - via Zoom
The Seminar was hosted by the Master, Richard Evans, who introduced the Guest Speaker, Professor Paul Palmer.
Professor Palmer is the Associate Dean of the Cass Business School at City University of London. He is Director for Charity Effectiveness and a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London. He spoke about the University’s initiative giving support to schools in disadvantaged communities within London. Students, as part of the curriculum, learn how to be an effective mentor or coach by going into the schools or working with first year students at risk of dropping out of university. The programme has been operating since 2016 and Professor Palmer and his team have been researching the results.
Within the Q&A session before closing, the benefits of mentoring was a definite theme - it certainly endorses our mentoring of our Bursary Awardees!I found it an interesting and informative webinar.
12th September - Virtual Court Meeting
This was our third Court meeting held via Zoom. Sad to report, but I am becoming an old hand at this ...
12th September - Company Virtual Wine Tasting Event with Averys
In the evening following the virtual Court meeting, around 37 Liverymen and guests gathered together from their own homes for an informative and fun evening with Frank and Louise from Averys Wine Merchants. Some had prepared meals whilst others opted for cheese to accompany the four different wines we tasted - two white and two red.
Frank and Louise explained about the country and regions each wine came from as well as what to look for in the colour and taste of each wine. Between wines, there was an informal quiz on wines for us to try and answer. Well done to PM Sheila Turner and her guests who came out top on this part of the quiz!
11th September - Framework Knitters' Golf Day
17 Liverymen and guests enjoyed a fabulous afternoon of golf at Leicestershire Golf Club, organised once again by Liveryman Adrian Keene and his wife, Marion. We enjoyed lunch on the terrace before setting off for our rounds of golf with some more successful on the course than others! This year winners were: Liverymen 1st - Past Master Hugh Stevenson; 2nd - Tony Jarvis; Guests - 1st - my guest Andy Mackay; 2nd - Mary Jarvis.
My thanks go to Adrian and Marion for their hard work in organising such an enjoyable afternoon for us!
10th September - Funeral service of Past Master Jonathan Dean
The day began on a sad note as I watched virtually the funeral service of Past Master Jonathan Dean.
10th September - Visit to Cottage Homes - Knit for Community
Along with Past Masters Liz Green and Sheila Turner, I visited the Cottage Homes to take some photos for the website, newsletter and future publicity of some of the enormous number of blankets that have been made up from squares donated to our “Knit for Community” initiative. Three of the residents, who have knitted blankets/squares joined us to see the end products and for a chat.
10th September - Apollo 19 Past Masters Association
I attended a virtual Committee Meeting of Apollo 19 Past Masters Association.
9th September - City of London Emergency Services Day
As usual from The City of London Events Team, this was a very well presented webinar. Initially we witnessed a video taken at the Flag Ceremony in Guildhall Yard on Monday. There were representatives from all The City of London Emergency Services, both full time and voluntary. Besides the usual fire, police and ambulance/NHS there were representatives from St John’s Ambulance, the Special Constabulary and the RNLI.
After a Two Minute Silence and prayers to remember all those who had died in service, words of appreciation were spoken by Alderman Sir Andrew Parmley (on behalf of the Lord Mayor) and Ian Dyson (Commissioner of The City of London Police).
We were then transported live to the Mansion House where the Lord Mayor, William Russell, introduced a number of speakers representing other Emergency Services. These included Dominic Ellis, Assistant Commissioner of The London Fire Service and Gary Emmerson, Chief Executive Officer of The London Ambulance Service - he spoke of the incredible 3 million 999 calls they receive each year! Also Mark Wright from The Special Constabulary; Hannah Bailey-Reardon, a volunteer firefighter and finally, but no means least, Stephen Wheatley from Tower RNLI Station - it reminded me of our visit there last year.
It was a wonderful opportunity for all attendees to witness close hand, the immense dedication and commitment of all our Emergency Services personnel. In the words of Sir Andrew Parmley - it was a day to express the Nation’s thanks and appreciation and “The City of London salutes you”.
3rd September - City Giving Day Breakfast Webinar The Lord Mayor’s Appeal - City Giving Day - 22nd September
The webinar was hosted by the Lord Mayor and introduced by Caroline Wright, who is the Chief Executive of “The Lord Mayor’s Appeal”. The attendees were shown a video of the day last year, which included our very own Past Master Liz Green and Lord Mayor Elect Alderman Vincent Keaveny when they were Sheriffs.
The Lord Mayor, William Russell, then gave us insight into the four charities that benefit from the appeal - namely Place2be, On Side, Samaritans and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards - and encouraged companies to register their support for the day thereby reaching his target of 692 (relevant as he is the 692nd Lord Mayor of London). Following the introduction we heard speakers from Place2be (Ellie Whiteside) and Goodbox (Oli Coles - the creator of the City Giving Day website).
The attendees were then transferred in groups of 6 to Chat Rooms to promote more discussion. It was interesting to hear about how other participants were going to contribute on the day.
Jan Foster, the Project Manager, then told us about the four organised events for the day - a virtual City Walk, a zoom Quiz Evening, the Tour de City and a Treasure Hunt (Annika Rice style!).
Finally we heard from Alanah Bushwell from Lloyds Banking Group as to how they are supporting the day with a Charity Fayre.
All in all a most informative event!
5th August - Worshipful Company of Water Conservators’ Webinar
This Webinar was presented by their Master Elect, Rob Casey, and titled “Victorian London’s Health Crisis”.
It was a fascinating presentation centred around the 1831 Cholera Epidemic in Victorian London. It was interesting to learn about certain parallels with the current COVID 19 pandemic in that about 80% of London’s population who contracted cholera in 1831 had very few symptoms (like COVID in the UK at present). An interesting statistic is that of the 2 million or so people infected with cholera there were 45,000 recorded deaths.
With a clinical knowledge, Rob explored how a number of factors at the time contributed to a change in scientific thinking from a belief of air transmission to that of bacteria in water pollution. It took three more epidemics and the involvement of great engineers such as Thomas Telford to persuade Parliament to enact legislation to enforce ways of cleaning up the water supply. The Metropolis Water Act of 1862 was the first of many to facilitate this.
Truly, a most interesting presentation.
31st July - Funeral Service for Dave Croft (Cottage Homes Resident)
I went to the Service at Gilroes Crematorium for the funeral of Dave Croft who I worked with over a number of years on the Residents’ Entertainment Committee. Over his many years at the Homes he made a huge contribution to life at the Homes and supported his fellow residents immensely and will be sorely missed.
Due to COVID restrictions only 20 members of his family were allowed in the Chapel however his great support of Leicester City Football Club was reflected in many of his friends listening to the Service outside decked in their beloved blue and white LCFC shirts! The service was a wonderful tribute to Dave’s life and I understand the family may well be organising a Service of Thanksgiving after the COVID 19 restrictions have eased.
28th July - Lord Mayor’s Virtual Address to the Judiciary at Mansion House
As Master I was invited to witness the Lord Mayor’s Virtual Address to the Judiciary. The Lord Mayor spoke from the Egyptian Room at the Mansion House and was in company with the Rt Hon The Lord Burnett of Maldon, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and the Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice who both responded with their own addresses. Like many events this year, it was a first, replacing the Lord Mayor’s Judges' Dinner at which the Address would normally have been given. Topics covered included the City Corporation’s proposed new 18 court complex and police facility in Fleet Street and the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress’s passionate interest in legal service charities such as “Clinks” and “Bounce Back”.
Tributes were paid to the NHS and all key workers who have put themselves at risk during the COVID pandemic together with all Court Staff, Judges and the legal profession who have kept the wheels of justice turning. It was very interesting to learn how the whole legal system is being refreshed with expansion of technology over the next period and the flexibility in some courts for advocates to make submissions remotely.
The Lord Chancellor summed up the immense challenge by saying what was needed is “a smarter system for a different future”. Technology will clearly be accelerated in all sectors as a legacy of the COVID 19 crisis!
It was a great privilege to be invited to the Address which I found of particular interest given my former career within the legal service sector.
16th July - Worshipful Company of Glovers’ Mistress’s Zoom Tea Party
I attended my first virtual Tea Party hosted by Mistress Cheryl de Courcey along with the Lady Mayoress, the Sheriffs’ Consorts, 10 other Livery Companies Consorts plus Consorts of Liverymen from the Worshipful Company of Glovers, including Framework Knitters Liveryman Susan Jagelman. Speaker was Dr Michael Redwood, a Liverymen in the Worshipful Company of Glovers. After a welcome by the Mistress, Dr Redwood showed us photos of various pairs of gloves of historical significance such as those found in Tutankhamun’s tomb that were on display in the recent exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery which we went to last year; Coronation gloves for Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II and some of those worn by the Clergy, judiciary and the Crown and Court over the years. He also explained how the style and decoration of gloves had changed during the centuries. After an interesting talk and Q&A session, the Mistress led us in a “SHOW & TELL” where she and guests showed gloves that had some meaning to the owner and explained their significance - we saw a variety of gloves some new, some old and it was lovely to hear the stories behind them. In concluding, the Mistress encouraged us to visit the Museum in Bath when we are allowed out again and thanked everyone for joining her for the afternoon.
16th July - Worshipful Company of Drapers’ - Virtual Concert by pianist Ke Ma
After a brief introduction by Sir Nicholas Jackson, who is a Liveryman of the Drapers’ Company and oversees their concert programme, we were treated to Ke Ma performing works by Debussy and Chopin in the marvellous setting of Drapers’ Hall. Ke Ma is obviously a very talented musician who played with heartfelt emotion and without music! At the end of the performance, the Master Draper, Tim Orchard, expressed thanks to those who organised the Concert and of course to Ke Ma for a wonderful concert.
Ke Ma is currently carrying out her doctoral study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama having previously studied at the Royal Academy of Music. She has been an accomplished pianist for many years and won a number of prizes including the Prince’s Award from the Worshipful Company of Musicians'.
14th July - Royal College of Art 2020’s Fine Art Collection - Preview Tour via Zoom
Julia and I logged on to join many others worldwide for the above event and were welcomed to it by the Vice Chancellor, Dr Paul Thompson. The Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities, Professor Ken Neil, presented the tour and informed us that this year there were over 850 graduates from the School which is one of four within the College. He made it very clear that as a result of the pandemic many students had to find new ways of working and overcoming different obstacles in order to put their portfolios together. Students come from all over the world to study at the college and between presentations three celebrated former students spoke very warmly of their time at the RCA - they were David Hockney, Tracey Emin and the assistant curator at the V&A Museum, London.
There were four sections to the tour - Ceramics & Glass, Jewellery & Metal, Painting and Printing - and we were told to be aware of four re-occuring themes in the student’s work including how COVID19 affected students in different ways including what it meant, how contemporary courage is necessary and how their art went on a different direction due to COVID. We were guided through each presentation section by a member of staff who gave us an insight into the background of some of the students and how their piece of work came into fruition.
We were reminded that the students’ work is available to purchase, with commission on any work purchased would be put towards student support and scholarship funds at RCA or one could commission a student for a specific piece by contacting the College. The work in all forms was outstanding and I’m sure we will hear of some of the 2020 Graduates in future when they have made a name for themselves in the Art World.
6th July - Lord Mayor’s Livery Coffee Morning
As the name suggests this was a very relaxed event - inviting conversation on a variety of topics including how COVID-19 has affected livery operations, finances and charitable activities. Both our Clerk, Shaun, and myself were participants together with the Master/ Upper Bailiff/Prime Warden and/or the Clerk from the following Livery Companies: Blacksmiths, Broderers, Clothworkers, Dyers, Haberdashers, Merchant Taylors, Musicians, Needlemakers, Weavers and Woolmen.
The Lord Mayor facilitated the discussion very well with the majority of attendees taking part in some way or another and I should add this included myself! It was both interesting and informative and I look forward to the next get together in whatever form it takes.
26th June - Court Meeting
26th June - Company Quiz
It has not been possible to hold our usual dinners following Court meetings in London and so, following the afternoon's 'virtual' Court meeting via Zoom, this was a fun evening and an opportunity to catch up with members and their families in relaxed surroundings whilst participating in an excellent quiz organised by PM Liz Green and her husband Peter - my thanks to them both for the time and effort put into researching the questions and putting the quiz together.
24th June - Armed Forces Day - Flag Raising at Guildhall
Again this event was introduced by the Lord Mayor in his capacity as President of The City of London Reserve Forces and Cadets. He commented that he was the first Lord Mayor since 1860 to be staying in office for a second successive year. After a video of the Flag Raising Ceremony at Guildhall, Major General Simon Brooks Ward (the Armed Forces most senior reservist) introduced senior representatives from the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (F.A.N.Y.); Royal Navy Reserve; NHS Liaison Office for the Nightingale Hospital and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. Rather than give you a summary of the event, it can be viewed here on YouTube The Lord Mayor of London joins ceremony at Guildhall to raise Armed Forces Day Flag - June 2020. The video is well worth a look!
9th June - Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects Annual Lecture
The lecture was introduced by the Lord Mayor, The Right Honourable Alderman William Russell and hosted by the Master, Valerie Owen Le Vaillant OBE. The guest speaker Darren Comber is CEO of a City firm of architects and the title of his lecture was “How COVID-19 will impact behavioural change within the commercial property market”. It was a fascinating insight into how future building design will radically change to accommodate possible contagion. Ideas included provision for storage facility for employees’ bicycles, fresh-air air conditioning units, open air spaces, one way up/down separation stairs and the conversion of roads into pedestrian thoroughfares and for use by local businesses. Everything ran to time and it was a very interesting 50 minutes or so.
8th June - Apollo 19 PMA Committee Meeting
5th June - Court Meeting
28th April - Apollo 19 Past Masters Association Committee Meeting
17th April - Court Meeting
12th March - University of London - Annual Meeting of the Court
The Annual Meeting of the Court, which took place at the CASS Business School in Aldersgate, is the principal way in which the University connects with its stakeholders - these include the Rector, the Rt Hon. The Lord Mayor, Alderman William Russell, Council and Senate members, representatives from each of the City Livery Companies and other collaborative institutions and partnerships.
The speeches were very well-chosen, giving everyone an insight into the future strategies in relation to property acquisition, student teaching and finance. Also we were privileged to hear from Miss Cheriece Hylton, a former student and world class athlete, on her experiences at the university - some entertaining and others studious.
After the formalities of the meeting, we all adjourned to an adjacent room for a drinks reception. It was a most interesting and informative meeting and I learnt much about the Coronavirus and the imminent social and economic impact it would have.
Post the above meeting, the cancellation of City events became rampant due to the Coronavirus resulting in a complete closure of all City of London Corporation functions and meetings. To name a few my diary would have included the following: Worshipful Company of Firefighters’ Dinner, the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, the United Guilds Service at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch and the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers’ Dinner.
I would urge everyone to take heed of the Government advice and please do stay safe and healthy!
Julia Grundy writes:
10th March - The Chartered Accountants’ Company Consort’s Lunch
Following the previous evening's Fitting Out Dinner, I went to Chartered Accountants’ Hall for a delicious meal with the Late Lord Mayor, Sir Charles Bowman, and his wife as principal guests. The Consort, Colin Lindsay, had done a light hearted quiz as an icebreaker and our table had fun trying to answer the questions during the lunch. We heard about the work of the Samaritans from Colin, who has been a listening Samaritan in the Northampton area for 25 years and also why Sir Charles had chosen this charity as part of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Afterwards, the Clerk showed us parts of the Grade II listed Hall with great pride.
9th March - City Livery Yacht Club Fitting Out Dinner, Drapers’ Hall
Around 100 CLYC members and their guests enjoyed a lovely convivial evening at Drapers’ Hall for the Fitting Out Dinner which celebrates the start of the sailing season for many. The beautiful hall was a fantastic setting for the event, the highlight of which was a programme of music performed by four very talented young opera singers from the Jette Park Young Artists Programme under the supervision of the Artistic Director of the Programme, David Gowland, who accompanied them on the piano. The Programme is designed to support the artistic development of young people and they are employed as salaried members of the Royal Opera for two years and are immersed in the life of the Royal Opera House and are given the opportunity to perform smaller roles and also understudy principal roles in main stage productions.
Julia Grundy writes:
Prior to joining Ian at the Fitting out Dinner, I went to the Hurlingham Club for an interesting demonstration of turning. The demonstration was given by Les Thorne, himself a Liveryman of the Turners’ Company, and whilst making a wooden candlestick he gave us an insight into how wood is turned into different objects and answered various relevant questions. There was some of his work available to buy afterwards - Ian loves all things wood, so I purchased an apple for him as a memento! We also enjoyed a delicious buffet tea which gave us a chance to mingle with old friends and meet new Consorts.
4th March - Committee Meeting for Big Curry Lunch
There was a good turn out of Committee Members, including Past Master Liz Green, for the last meeting before the lunch itself on 2nd April and we were updated on the current situation with regards to ticket sales, sponsorship etc.
Honourable Company of Master Mariners’ Court Lunch for Masters and Clerks
After the meeting in Mansion House, I and our Clerk, Shaun, joined other Masters and Clerks for lunch aboard HQS Wellington. It started with a drinks reception on the quarter deck and we then took our seats in the Hall downstairs. I felt very privileged to be seated at the head of the central sprig opposite the Master and his guests. There was excellent banter amongst good company and then following the speeches, we went through to the Ward Room where we “spliced the mainbrace” - The Master Mariners’ name for a stirrup cup. A truly excellent and thoroughly enjoyable lunch!
Worshipful Company of Constructors Mistress’s Tour & Tea at Middle Temple
Worshipful Company of Shipwrights’ Consorts’ Nautical Cheese and Wine Evening
Julia Grundy writes:
Whilst Ian was enjoying lunch on board HQS Wellington, I enjoyed an afternoon across the road at Temple Church and Middle Temple courtesy of an invitation from the Mistress of the Worshipful Company of Constructors. We were shown around both buildings by Ian Mayes QC, starting in the beautiful Church - the circular part of which dates back to the 12th Century. It was a crucial building in the signing of the Magna Carta and effigies of William Marshall I and his relatives still lie in the church. We then went across to Middle Temple and saw the main principal rooms including the Hall, the Prince’s Room and Parliament Chamber where we enjoyed afternoon tea. There were two interesting historic globes on display on the balcony of the Library - one showing the galaxy and star constellations from earth’s central view and the other dating back to the 16th century showing the world as it was thought to be at that time - with Australia one of a few countries not included.
Later on I went to Lloyd's of London following an invitation from the Consort of the Shipwrights’ Company to a Nautical Cheese and Wine evening on the 11th floor of this famous building. We were given a brief history of Lloyd's by the Shipwrights' Honorary Historian, Sean Gay and were able to see the fabulous Adams Room - a bit of history in a very modern building. We sampled six or seven wines - a mixture of sparkling, white, red and a Madeira from a variety of countries along with some cheese and biscuits. Giles, from the Independent Vintner, gave us an insight into each wine and I was very impressed with the English sparkling wine and the Greek white wine!
3rd March - Launch of Commemorative Garden at Guildhall Yard for Big Curry Lunch
The start of a busy day in London saw me attend the Opening of the Commemorative Garden at Guildhall Yard by the Lord Mayor. Each year the Worshipful Company of Gardeners produce a fantastic garden and this year’s was no exception.
Worshipful Company of Basketmakers’s Basketry Showcase
I then hotfooted it across to the Dutch Church in Austin Friars with several other Masters and Consorts to see some skilled craftsmen show off their basketry skills.
Worshipful Company of Clothworkers’ Masters & Clerks Dinner
After a brief respite in events and a change of clothes, I was delighted to be invited to Clothworkers’ Hall for an excellent evening, along with our Clerk, Shaun. It was particularly special to be a guest at Clothworkers’ as I begin my final few weeks as Master having had the Installation Dinner there last April - and not have to worry about the organisation and speeches! I enjoyed good company at Top Table and there was also musical entertainment before three interesting and informative speeches. As usual the evening ended with a convivial stirrup cup!
28th February - Visit to Treloar’s College, Alton
Along with a good number of Masters and Consorts, Julia and I visited Treloar’s School and College along with the Lord Mayor and the Mayoral team. After coffee and refreshments, we were welcomed to the college by the Chief Executive, Simon Birch, and Martin Ingram, Treloar’s Principal who gave us a brief insight into the School and College and what it strives to achieve for its students, plus the funding issues. Treloar’s School and College has students from the age of 2 -25 with varying physical and/or mental disabilities and some students board whilst others come daily or weekly. We were then split into small groups and taken to see two different aspects of life at Treloar’s and had two members of staff who could answer questions on different aspects of life at the School. We first went to the Print Department which not only serves the College but also does external work whilst training students. We met two former students who were now employed by the Treloar’s Print Department and it was inspiring to hear their stories. We then moved to a Life Tutor Group which was for the older students in the college and over the course of a couple of years was aimed at helping students move to live and work in society and they were working on a project to do with Fairtrade. After lunch we heard from Alistair Mackintosh, Chair of the Trustees and the Lord Mayor. We were then very fortunate to see some of the students performing snippets of their production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” which they were practicing for a full production next week - again a very inspirational show by the students and their support staff and included a couple of solo numbers and a fantastic finale with all the students and support staff.
25th February - Pancake Races at Guildhall
Excellent organisation from the Worshipful Company of Poulters made for an extremely fun morning of Pancake Racing in aid of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.
Our team of Upper Warden Tony Jarvis, Assistant Claire Bethel, Liveryman Gary Dixon and myself took part and were in the fifth heat of each category. Gary was in the Novelty Race dressed up as Mrs William Lee, who was the power behind the throne of William Lee who invented the framework knitting machine in 1589. Everyone put up a spirited performance but alas no winners this time around. After the conclusion of the racing, participants and supporters alike had lunch in the Crypts of the Guildhall which included, of course, pancakes for dessert!
21st February - Worshipful Company of Gardeners’ Banquet
A visit to the Mansion House is always special and Julia and I were delighted to accept an invitation from the Worshipful Company of Gardeners to their Banquet. We were met on arrival at Mansion House by Past Master Bill Fraser and his wife Penny who were our hosts for the reception and introduced us to some of his fellow Liverymen. I was asked to process into the Egyptian Hall with the Master and other principal guests which included fellow Masters and the Mayoral team. Sir David Wootton was the Lord Mayor’s Representative on this occasion and was accompanied by both Sheriffs and Mrs Alex Hayward. This banquet used to be their Ladies Event and so each lady present was given a gift of a glass dish made by the Master, Heather Barrett-Mold, which Julia very much appreciated. As usual we had a delicious meal, accompanied by fine wines and were entertained by a talented harpist. Instead of the Loving Cup ceremony taking place, a safety precaution due to the Coronavirus, the Clerk said a few words about military associations with the ceremony. There were also three excellent speeches and a stirrup cup before we made our way home. I must also say how splendid both the reception rooms and the Egyptian Hall looked with some fantastic floral displays and table decorations with beautiful orchids to the fore.
18th February - Worshipful Company of Upholders’ Church Service & Dinner
Our Clerk, Shaun, and I were delighted to be invited to the Worshipful Company of Upholders’ Annual Choral Evensong held at St Michael’s, Cornhill. It was a lovely service and the church choir was a delight to listen to and coupled with an excellent choice of hymns, both Shaun and I were able to give good use to our vocal chords! From the Church, the congregation walked the mile or so to Armourers' Hall for a sumptuous “Cook & Butler” dinner under candle light - like with our Banquet and recent dinner at Trinity House, all the courses were served to perfection and delicious.
I was privileged to be seated at the Top Table next to the Guest Speaker, the Bishop of Southwark, The Right Revd Christopher Chessun who is also a Needlemaker. Of note was the EMPTY Loving Cup - the Master announced that this unique event was precautionary due to the current situation with the Coronavirus. After initial amazement, no-one complained but it was certainly a different experience to pretend to drink from an empty cup! There were three interesting speeches after we had been entertained by an excellent recital by Elliot Gresty on the clarinet The evening concluded with an informal speech from the Master before we retired to the Armoury for a very pleasant and social stirrup cup. A very enjoyable evening to be invited to.
17th February - PMA Apollo 19 Lunch
A busy day began with the first informal lunch of my Past Master’s Association which was held at Ironmongers’ Hall. There were about 36 Masters and Consorts there and it was good to catch up with old friends as well as enjoying a delicious meal.
Membership Committee Meeting
Lunch was followed early in the evening by an interesting meeting of the Membership Committee, chaired by Assistant Liz Fox, where amongst other things discussed was how to promote our Company within the City to gain new members plus how to encourage Bursary winners etc to join.
Lord Mayor’s Show Reception at Mansion House
After our Committee Meeting I was able to dash to Mansion House to join a reception to thank everyone involved in the 2019 Lord Mayor’s Show. Under Warden Julian Ellis and Assistant Jonathan Pears were there representing the Company and we managed to get a photo along with Alderman Vincent Keaveny.
11th February - Social Committee Meeting at Guildhall
The meeting reviewed recent Social Events and I passed on my thanks to the Committee for all their efforts during my year as Master. Lots of good ideas for events were discussed as was the content and look of future editions of the Newsletter.
10th February - Magical Mystery Tour of Apothecaries’ Hall
In the evening, Julia and I joined 10 or so other Liverymen and guests at Apothecaries’ Hall for a Magical Mystery Tour of the Hall conducted by Clerk, Nick Royle, and his dog Monty. We started outside the hall where Nick explained about the position of the hall, what else used to be on the site, what the buildings are used for now and we were then shown various different parts of the Hall including the magnificent wine cellar, the parlour room, court room and Livery Hall itself. Nick told us about the Society of Apothecaries and its history and how it has moved to be relevant in today’s world including examining students for various diplomas. We were also shown the Society’s Charters and some of the wonderful historical jars that are on display throughout the building.
10th February - Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipemakers & Tobacco Blenders' Mistress’s Tea at The Clink, HMP Brixton
Julia and I were delighted to go along with around 70 other Tobacco Pipemakers & Tobacco Blenders members, guests and Consorts to the Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipemakers & Tobacco Blenders Mistress’s Tea at The Clink in HMP Brixton which actually took place at lunchtime. After going through the usual security checks for a prison and being given our passes, we went through to the restaurant, which was formerly the governor’s house, situated on the edge of the prison complex, to be warmly welcomed by the Master & Mistress. We then heard a few words from Simon, head of the restaurant, about how the restaurant usually works and that all the meals are cooked and served by the prisoners in training who are working towards gaining their City & Guilds NVQs in Food & Beverage Service, Professional Cookery and Food Hygiene. After sampling the food, we were then told a bit about the prison service and in particular women in prisons by guest speaker, Mr Geoff Hughes, who has held various senior posts within the prison service. To ensure we all listened carefully and were aware of our surroundings there was a short quiz for us to complete as “table teams” and the members of the winning team were each given a cookery book published by the restaurant. An excellent enlightening afternoon and a restaurant I look forward to revisiting at some time in the future.
Magical Mystery Tour of Apothecaries’ Hall
In the evening, Julia and I joined 10 or so other Liverymen and guests at Apothecaries’ Hall for a Magical Mystery Tour of the Hall conducted by Clerk, Nick Royle, and his dog Monty. We started outside the hall where Nick explained about the position of the hall, what else used to be on the site, what the buildings are used for now and we were then shown various different parts of the Hall including the magnificent wine cellar, the parlour room, court room and Livery Hall itself. Nick told us about the Society of Apothecaries and its history and how it has moved to be relevant in today’s world including examining students for various diplomas. We were also shown the Society’s Charters and some of the wonderful historical jars that are on display throughout the building.
3rd February - Thomas Cromwell Lecture, Drapers’ Hall
Drapers’ Hall was the venue for a very interesting lecture entitled “Looking Afresh at Thomas Cromwell” by Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch FBA. Professor MacCulloch delivered his lecture seamlessly and with great enthusiasm. The two hundred or so attendees were treated to a compendium of interesting historical facts tracing the life and influence of Thomas Cromwell during the Reformation Period between 1520 and his death by execution in 1540.
Of course it was particularly pertinent that the Palace - which is Drapers’ Hall - was built by Cromwell for his own occupation. Then by order of Henry VIII the building was purchased by the Drapers’ Company in 1543.
A fascinating account depicting medieval life which was followed by a Q&A concluding with an opportunity to purchase his book, which he signed.
24th January - De Montfort University Graduation Ceremony
I was delighted to accept the invitation to take part in the academic procession at the start of the Ceremony - fully robed including the Tudor hat - which was accompanied by marshals carrying the University’s staves. After taking our seats around the Ceremony Stage, the Interim Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andy Collop, welcomed the assembled graduates, families, friends and guests before presenting the Academic Awards and Diplomas. I should comment that during the introduction, there was a musical interlude and we were entertained most harmoniously by the De Montfort University Gospel Choir.
After the Ceremony and procession out of the venue, I met up with the Head of Textiles, Design & Fashion, Carolyn Hardaker. Following a most convivial meeting with a number of her team, we proceeded to a drinks reception at Trinity House Hospital before being called in for lunch in The Old Chapel - this was hosted by the Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr Simon Oldroyd.
It was a privilege to be a part of the occasion and particularly so given the success of two De Montfort University students in gaining Framework Knitters' Bursary Awards in 2019, namely Elizabeth Walecki (Bursary) and Hannah Strike (Award). Congratulations to them both!
21st January - Worshipful Company of Farmers’ Annual Banquet
Julia and I were delighted to be invited by Baroness Byford to the Worshipful Company of Farmers’ Banquet which took place at Clothworkers’ Hall. It was lovely to enjoy the evening without the worries of being the host as it was my first visit back there since my Installation Dinner last April! Past Master Liz Green was also there accompanied by her husband, Peter. We had a fantastic evening with good food, wine, music and company. The Guest of Honour and speaker was HRH The Princess Royal who proposed the toast to the Worshipful Company of Farmers in response to an excellent speech by the Master, David Bolton. One of the highlights for me though was the singing by everyone of “The Farmer’s Boy” whilst the Loving Cup ceremony was taking place.
18th January - Social Visit to St Katharine Docks and HMS President
A group of Liverymen and guests gathered on Saturday morning in cold but dry weather to have a guided tour of St Katharine Docks by Christopher West who has written a book on the Docks. Chris was full of knowledge which he imparted with enthusiasm and we were told a bit about the history of the area as we walked around the various dock areas and also some of the boats currently moored there including the Royal Barge “Gloriana”.
We then went to visit HMS President and Commander James Nisbet told us about the role of HMS President together with information on the Navy and the Sea-Cadets which is his area of responsibility within the Navy. We were then shown the magnificent Ward Room which is the Mess for Officers and enjoyed the views from the pontoon including Tower Bridge.
Finally we walked to Smith’s of Wapping to relax and chat over a delicious lunch before all going our separate ways home.
17th January - Court Meeting and Winter Dinner at Trinity House
After an interesting and busy Court Meeting in the afternoon, I was delighted that over 100 people gathered in the evening for our Winter Dinner, which is the final Framework Knitters’ Dinner of my year as Master. The Cook & Butler provided a delicious meal accompanied by some fine wine and we were entertained by a fantastic brass quintet, Elysium Brass, which included some audience participation in two well known nautical numbers! Guest Speaker was Admiral Sir Trevor Soar and Immediate Past Master Sheila Turner said a few words - both gave excellent speeches. I was delighted to make three presentations during the evening: the Master’s Award to Assistant Jonathan Pears, a Bursary Award to Maddy Oakley and the Leicestershire & Derbyshire Yeomanry Affiliation Awards to Corporal Matthew Mensak and Corporal Susan Joyce. A great evening which I hope everyone enjoyed!
16th January - Reception at Innholders’ Hall
Underwarden Julian Ellis, our Clerk Shaun and I were invited by the Chef Director, Herbert Berger to Innholders’ Hall for a Reception which included tasting his wonderful food as both canapés and in small bowls.
9th January - City of London - Culture, Creativity & The Cultural Mile, Gresham Lecture
Later in the day I attended this annual Lord Mayor’s event, organised by Gresham College, in the Old Library at Guildhall. It was chaired by the Provost of the College, Sir Richard Evans FBA and facilitated by the Lord Mayor. A very interesting debate took place on the value of culture and encouraging creativity and art within the Square Mile. There was a panel of leading experts from the Guildhall School of Music, the Museum of London, The Barbican and Gresham College. The Q&A session highlighted the social and economic in put of culture in the City with an emphasis on the connectivity between trade, innovation and culture.
In conclusion all the panelists conceded that not withstanding the many projects being encouraged by the City of London Corporation such as the redevelopment of part of the Barbican within the “Culture Mile” Initiative, there is much more to be done. Genuinely I found the whole debate hugely interesting!
9th January - Tasting and PMA Committee Meeting
I was at Guildhall for a tasting to choose the menu for our dinner at Trinity House next week and then I attended a Committee Meeting for Apollo 19, our Past Masters’ Group.
15th December - Tour of Durham Castle
We joined a group of Brigantes members and guests for a tour of the Norman Castle, home to University College, which was led by First Warden of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers, Alex Nelson. Alex is Chair of the College Advisory Board and gave us an insight into the history of the Castle and how it became a place of education in the 1830s. We were shown several historic parts of the Castle including the Great Hall, the Black Staircase, the Tunstall Gallery and Chapel, the Norman Gallery and Chapel and the North Terrace. The Castle was formerly home to successive Prince-Bishops - hence the numerous Coats of Arms on the walls of the Courtyard - who were appointed by the King of England and it evolved as a palatial residence.
14th December - Brigantes Supper & Carol Service, Durham
Julia and I were joined by a good number of Framework Knitters for the Brigantes Christmas Supper at Hatfield College, Durham University and Carol Service in the magnificent Norman Cathedral. We enjoyed a drinks reception in the bar area before moving through to the Dining Hall for our supper. After a couple of welcome speeches, we enjoyed a delicious two-course meal and then Past Master Plumber Nick Gale gave an excellent speech, somehow incorporating all those Livery Companies represented at the dinner. We then walked the short distance to the Cathedral for a lovely service which included some carols for us all to join in with together with performances by the Reg Vardy Band and Cathedral Choir.
12th December - Carol Service and Lunch at Stationers’ Hall
A good number of Framework Knitters joined Julia and I and other Livery Companies at St Martin within Ludgate Church for a Carol Service organised by the Worshipful Company of Stationers. The service comprised the usual combination of readings and well-known carols we could all join in with. Alderman and Framework Knitters Liveryman Vincent Keaveny and I both read a Lesson. We then went through the side door of the Church and made our way to Stationers’ Hall for a delicious lunch at the end of which I gave the Vote of Thanks to the Worshipful Company of Stationers on behalf of the guests. It was a lovely way to start the Christmas Festivities.
9th December - City Livery Yacht Club AGM & Laying Up Dinner
The AGM and Laying-Up Dinner were held at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge. The walls of the Club were adorned with beautiful seascape paintings and many half-hull model boats so I felt very much at home. After a short meeting we retired to a bar area for pre-dinner drinks. We then enjoyed a delicious meal in a private room before a final chat over a stirrup cup.
7th December - Cottage Homes Residents Christmas Lunch, Corah Hall
Corah Hall looked very festive for our Annual Residents’ Christmas Lunch. I along with members of the Cottage Homes Management Committee, other Liverymen and Partners joined 20 residents, Tracey and Karl for a delicious meal provided by Emerson & West which included a salmon starter, traditional turkey and all the trimmings followed by a choice of desserts. The residents very generously presented me with a bottle of champagne for Julia and I to share and a pair of Dragon Class boat cufflinks - very much appreciated as I crewed in a Dragon named Cluaran in the 1980s. Notwithstanding the absence of hymn sheets, the residents were in good voice for the carol We wish you a Merry Christmas!
4th December - Leicestershire & Derbyshire Yeomanry Officers’ Dinner Club
I was invited to the Leicestershire & Derbyshire Yeomanry’s Annual Dinner at the Cavalry & Guards Club by Col. Bertie Boyle DL, who, of course, is also a Liveryman. In addition to the many Officers present, there was a good attendance from the Company including our Under Warden and several Past Masters. A wonderfully convivial evening was enjoyed by all.
3rd December - Worshipful Company of Weavers’ Charter Dinner
Our Clerk, Shaun, and I were delighted to be invited to Vintners’ Hall by the Worshipful Company of Weavers for their Charter DInner. I have to say a very special occasion with all the usual elements of a livery dinner, including trumpeters from the Band of the Royal Yeomanry, and having the honour of the attendance of the Lord Mayor and two Sheriffs.
The Weavers’ Company is the oldest of the City Livery Companies and it was therefore interesting to learn that the Upper Bailiff is hoping to arrange for the Company’s charter to be on permanent display in the Museum of London.
After some excellent speeches and truly magnificent entertainment from two singers from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, we all retired for a very social stirrup cup.
29th November - Helen Meek’s Leaving Drinks
Our Clerk Shaun Mackaness, Past Masters John Strange, David Miller, Liz Green and Sheila Turner and other members of the Cottage Homes Committee joined Julia and I and some of the residents for drinks in Corah Hall which Helen had arranged to mark her last day as the Administrator. The residents were also putting up the Christmas decorations in the Hall with the help of Karl. Christine Kilbourne thanked Helen for her work and friendship and presented her with a gift from the residents and then I thanked Helen for her contribution over the past four years and presented her with a couple of gifts from the Company including our famous socks!
28th November - Mercers’ Company Concert and Supper
Julia and I spent a lovely evening enjoying a wonderful concert by two opera singers, Ian Storey (tenor) and Ros Evans (Soprano), who were accompanied on the piano by Sian Davies following an invitation from the Mercers’ Company. On arrival at their beautiful hall, we enjoyed a chance to mingle with other Masters and Consorts during a drinks reception and we then moved upstairs for the concert itself. The concert was made up of three performances by each singer and they took questions between the pieces. The evening ended with an informal supper which was delicious as usual at Mercers’.
28th November - Consorts' Luncheon at Apothecaries Hall
Julia Grundy writes:
There was a mixture of Masters, current and past Consorts and guests at an interesting luncheon and talk held at the wonderful Apothecaries Hall and hosted by Mistress of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries. Guest speaker was Kathryn Harkup who spoke about Agatha Christie and her use of poisons in her novels. Agatha Christie had studied at Apothecaries Hall and taken her exams (twice as she failed the first time!) in the room where the luncheon was held. The Mistress welcomed us to the hall and she and the Master gave us a brief history of the hall and what the Society does today to aid those in medical studies. During the meal there was a quiz for each table to complete about poisons which was great fun and tested our factual and fiction knowledge.
27th November - Worshipful Company of Solicitors Livery Dinner
Our Clerk, Shaun Mackaness, and I were delighted to be invited to Fishmongers’ Hall for a Livery Dinner held by the Worshipful Company of Solicitors. The last time I was with the Master, John Wooton, was when sharing the Dias at Common Hall when he proposed the motion of thanks to the late Sheriffs and I seconded it. It was particularly pleasing therefore to be seated next to Alderman Vincent Keaveny at dinner. Merit presentations were given to two trainee solicitors and a citation and award presented to the best cadet in their affiliated arm cadet regiment. As always a most enjoyable evening with good food and wine and entertainment by opera singer Milly Forrest accompanied by pianist Ella O’Neill.
26th November - Christmas Market, Guildhall
Julia and I spent a lovely day in Guildhall at their Bi-annual Christmas Market in support of the Red Cross. As Julia had booked tickets via City Consorts, we had the use of a VIP room in the Basinghall Suite where we could have coffee and pastries on arrival and use of the Cloakroom all day. We enjoyed time chatting to other Consorts over a glass of champagne before going shopping. There were plenty of Livery Companies running their own stalls as well as companies and individuals selling their wares including our own Nick Turner selling socks!
21st November - Past Masters’ Association Apollo 19 Inaugural Dinner
Julia and I went to the first event of our Apollo 19 Past Masters’ Association which was a fabulous evening at Ironmongers’ Hall. Our President, the Late Lord Mayor, Alderman Peter Estlin, joined us together with his wife Lindy and the Vice-Presidents, Alderman Vincent Keavney and PM Liz Green and their Consorts, Amanda and Peter. We all enjoyed good food and wine but above all the chance to catch up with friends and meet some Masters’ and Consorts’ who we hadn’t previously had the chance to get to know.
20th November - Worshipful Company of Shipwrights - Masters and Clerks’ Dinner
Shaun and I were delighted to be invited to Ironmongers Hall for the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights’ Masters’ & Clerks’ Dinner. We were greeted at the entrance to the Hall by a Piper from The Black Watch 3rd Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Scotland. He also entertained us during the meal as did a very accomplished operatic group. With speeches from the Prime Warden, Master of the HC of Master Mariners and the Shipwrights’ Historian, I felt very much at home with so many maritime and nautical references. The stirrup cup to end the evening was some excellent whisky brought down to London by the Prime Warden. An excellent evening comprising of all those Livery elements of charity, fun, friendship and fellowship.
20th November - Big Curry Lunch Launch Reception, Honourable Artillery Club
Shaun, Julia and I enjoyed a convivial reception at the Honourable Artillery Club where the Lord Mayor and Sir Michael Hockney gave brief speeches about the history and necessity of the Lunch to raise funds for the ABF and also how the event needs to secure funding as well as corporate and city involvement to ensure another successful lunch in 2020.
20th November - Lord Mayor’s Address to Masters and Clerks
Shaun and I went to the Mansion House for a reception hosted by the Lord Mayor who enlightened all those present with his thoughts, hopes and aspirations for the year ahead.
Julia Grundy writes:
Whilst Ian was at the Mansion House, I and other Consorts enjoyed an Afternoon Champagne Tea at Guildhall where as well as getting to know new Consorts and catch up with old friends we had the chance to meet the new Lady Mayoress and the two Shrieval Consorts. Lady Mayoress Hilary Russell echoed her husband’s aims for the year ahead and also gave us an insight into her own interests which include bee keeping and two hives have been installed at Mansion House!
20th November - Festival of St Cecilia - Westminster Abbey
Several members of the Livery, our Clerk, Shaun Julia and I attended this annual service in celebration of St Cecilia and in aid of Help Musicians, organised by the Worshipful Company of Musicians, which this year was held at Westminster Abbey. Shaun and I processed in with other Masters and Clerks and took our seats in the Lantern Transept. The service comprised of some beautiful singing by the choirs of Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and St Paul’s Cathedral, two readings, a thought-provoking sermon by the Bishop of London, the Rt Reverend & the Rt Hon Dame Sally Mullally, a solo performance on the violin by the talented Jennifer Pike and a testimony to the work of Help Musicians by Amanda Lee who is a Regional Visitor for the charity and has worked both in the UK and internationally.
Afterwards a number of Framework Knitters went to the Cinnamon Club for an excellent lunch - my thanks to Shaun and Mary Mackaness for organising this.
19th November - Ladies Lunch at Painters’ Hall
Julia had organised a Ladies Lunch at Painters' Hall and I went along to help welcome 48 ladies to London for a typically friendly Framework Knitters Event. The Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers, Chris Twyman, had kindly agreed to do two tours to explain the history of the Hall and give details of some of the paintings on display throughout the building. He also showed the ladies some of the valuable silverware that the Company has. Following the end of the first tour, I left for lunch at the Little Ship Club, whilst Julia and the other ladies chatted before enjoying, what I am told, was a delicious lunch with lots of lively chat. I got back to the hall to meet Julia in time to say goodbye to some of the ladies.
13th November - Committee Meeting for Big Curry Lunch 2020
The second committee meeting held at Mansion House, chaired by Sir Michael Hockney, was the first one that I was able to attend about the organisation of the ABF Big Curry Lunch which is now an annual event held at Guildhall. Last year’s event raised £250,000 and the Committee hope that the Lunch to be held on 2nd April 2020 will raise a similar figure. Money raised goes to support all members of HM’s Armed Forces and Veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Like last year, the Framework Knitters will be running a stall at the event and it would be great to have a larger team of sellers on the day or please come along and support the ABF at the lunch itself. We hope to have enough interest in the Lunch that we can again take advantage of a Champagne Reception before the meal. Further details will be announced in the New Year but please put the date in your diaries!
10th November - Service of Remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral
For the second year the members of the Livery Companies joined in with a Service of Remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral together with the Mayoral party. The Masters and Clerks all sat together for the service and we then processed down to the Royal Exchange where along with other civic dignitaries, including the Lord Mayor, members of the Armed Forces, the Master Fruiterer and Master Cook laid wreaths in an act of remembrance. There was then a march past by the Honourable Artillery Company and Old Comrades which we watched from below the Mansion House balcony. Afterwards a number of us went back to Guildhall for a delicious lunch provided by the Cook & Butler where it was good to chat to fellow Masters and Consorts in a relaxed atmosphere after a hectic week in London!
9th November - Lord Mayor’s Show
We were delighted to congregate on Aldersgate Street by our float in dry sunny conditions and Assistant Jonathan Pears handed out tabards to all those walking. We were joined by members of our Affiliations the Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry and RAF Air Cadets and two Bursary Award winners. Liverymen Graham & Sharon Smith were dressed up as William Lee and his wife and were on the back of the float with the framework knitting machine brought down from the Ruddington Museum.
We had a tremendous day out among the crowds lining the streets, who cheered us on and we even recognised a few faces encouraging us onwards. We stopped for a lunch break on the Embankment and Julia and I paid a quick visit to HQS Wellington to say hello to other Masters on board and enjoy a glass of champagne! For the second half of the walk, ie the return procession, we were not so lucky with the weather as it started to rain. Julia and I peeled off from the Parade at the second time of passing Mansion House as I had been asked to form part of the Guard of Honour for the new Lord Mayor at the end of the show - it did mean we could enjoy seeing the other floats and participants pass by before the Parade reached its conclusion with the arrival of the Aldermen, Sheriffs and Lord Mayor. The Masters stood under Mansion House balcony to welcome the Lord Mayor and then the Pikemen & Musketeers offered him their support and best wishes for the year. We enjoyed a very welcome warm meal in the Egyptian Room before walking back to the hotel to dry my gown and hat out ready for the Service of Remembrance.
8th November - Silent Ceremony at Guildhall
Julia and I attended the Silent Ceremony in Guildhall which is where the new Lord Mayor, Alderman William Russell, was sworn in. Apart from a short declaration by the new Lord Mayor, the ceremony is completely silent but full of pageantry witnessed by many of the City of London’s dignitaries. The event is always a popular one and the Hall was filled to capacity.
8th November - Framework Knitters' meal at Cote Brasserie
Some of us in London prior to the Lord Mayor’s Show gathered for an evening of good food and camaraderie at a restaurant near St Paul’s.
7th November - Worshipful Company of Horners' Ralph Anderson Lecture
This year’s lecture was held at the Royal Society of Medicine and given by Professor Dame Julia Higgins DBE FRS FReng. On arrival, we enjoyed a drinks reception and then we moved to the Lecture theatre where the Master of the Worshipful Company of Horners welcomed everyone to the 22nd Annual Lecture and gave us a bit of a background to the origins of the annual event. 45 Livery companies were represented and other guests came from the industry and education. Dame Julia spoke to us on the subject of "Seeing is believing: why polymers bounce, stretch and stick” and after an interesting talk there was a short Q&A session. We were treated to a delicious buffet supper which gave a chance to mingle and chat to other guests and fellow Masters.
6th November - City Livery Club Installation Dinner at Butchers’ Hall
Julia and I attended the Installation Dinner of the President of the City Livery Club, Adele Thorpe, whom we had got to know quite well over the last couple of years through our activities in the City. It was a lovely occasion at Butchers’ Hall and we were both privileged to be sat on top table for the dinner. There was musical entertainment by some students from Mountview Academy who performed a number of songs from different musicals and three excellent speeches.
6th November - Past Masters Association Committee Meeting
I attended the second Committee Meeting of our Past Masters Association, Apollo 19, this afternoon at Watermen’s Hall where we finalised arrangements for our first event, with our Consorts, which is to be a black tie dinner at Ironmongers’ Hall later in November.
5th November - Lord Mayor’s Grand Finale at Guildhall
Julia and I were joined by other Masters, Immediate Past Masters and Consorts on a table for a spectacular evening in The Grand Hall which was hosted by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress as their last big fund-raising event in their year in office. The Pikemen & Musketeers formed a guard of honour as we walked into Guildhall and we had a drinks reception in the Old Library, which gave us a chance to mingle and look at the Auction and Silent Auction items. We then went down to the Great Hall for the main dinner and entertainment, which was based around the Musical We will Rock You. The Lord Mayor welcomed everyone, about 400 in total, to the evening and urged them to dig deep during the Auction to raise money for his three Charities. Before the meal and between courses, we were entertained by a group of West End stars and some young people from Future Youth Zone put together to perform some of the famous Queen songs and we were encouraged to join in. The Lord Mayor himself took to the stage to join in the performance of We are the Champions. Auctioneer for the night was Jeffrey Archer and he did a sterling job. A great evening which raised a substantial amount for the charities.
5th November - Worshipful Company of Glovers Installation Service and Luncheon
Our Clerk, Shaun, and I were delighted to be invited to the WC of Glovers Installation Service at St Margaret Lothbury where Master Glover, Rodney Jagelman, handed over the reins, so to speak, and his robe to Mr Roger de Courcey. Some of you might remember him from his ventriloquist act with Nookie Bear. After a lovely service, we moved on to Drapers Hall for lunch. Myself and three other visiting Masters processed in to the Hall and I was sat next to Renter Warden Richard Morris and Third Under Warden Clive Grimley who were excellent company throughout. The Renter Warden gave a very thoughtful speech acknowledging many innovative ideas implemented during Rodney’s year in office. Clearly he and Susan had a very busy year and I was particularly impressed with a lovely poem that we were all asked to recite, it reads:
Jagelman, Jagelman gave a great year,
Full of much mirth and incredible cheer,
He wined us and dined us both near and afar,
With Sue by his side to act as his star.
Two other excellent speeches followed by Immediate Past Master Rodney and the new Master and I was presented with a pair of gloves which I look forward to using in the coming winter months!
4th November - Service of Thanksgiving, St Stephen Walbrook
In the evening, Shaun, Julia and I went to a Service of Thanksgiving and reception for the Lord Mayor, Alderman Peter Estlin at St Stephen Walbrook - a hidden gem of a church in the City, situated directly behind the Mansion House. There was some beautiful singing by the St Stephen Voices choir and a wonderful sermon by The Revd Preb James Crossley, Chaplain to the Lord Mayor, who commended both the. Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress on their work in the City over the past year. Afterwards there was time to mingle with other Masters, Consorts and Ward Club members during a drinks reception before leaving for home.
4th November - Garden of Remembrance Service, St Paul’s Cathedral
Julia and I met other Masters, Consorts and Dignitaries in the crypts of St Paul’s for breakfast and were joined by our Clerk Shaun mid-morning. We were welcomed by the National President of the Royal British Legion, Lieutenant General James Bashall, before assembling in the garden area for the short service during which each Livery Company, along with the Civic Team and representatives of other organisations, planted a Cross as an act of Remembrance. Members of the Band of the Welsh Guards were in attendance and provided some sterling music.
26th October - Social Visit to the RNLI Tower Lifeboat Station
A group of 18 Liverymen and guests met on the Embankment on Saturday morning at 11am for a very interesting visit to the RNLI station, despite wanting to also hear also how England got on in the rugby semi-final. We were welcomed to the Station by Gill, a Visitor Manager, who gave us a briefing about the RNLI, the station itself and the different reasons the RNLI is so important on the River Thames. There was the opportunity to ask Gill questions during the briefing and two of her colleagues, paid helmsman Chris and volunteer Giles also contributed to the session. After some short videos recording a number of rescues, Giles donned his waterproofs and lifejacket before boarding the E Class boat moored alongside the pier. He gave us a very interesting commentary on its operational equipment and again answered a number of pertinent questions and we then had a tour of the whole station. Afterwards we walked up to The Wellington Tavern on The Strand for lunch and social chat.
My thanks to Diana de Froment and the Social Committee for organising an excellent event - very appropriate, of course, given my nautical interest!
25th October - Annual Banquet at the Old Library, Guildhall
I was delighted to host our Annual Banquet in the Old Library, Guildhall this year. We started off with the reception in the Print Room and Art Gallery before moving through to the Old Library for a delicious meal, provided by The Cook & Butler, which was accompanied by some fine wines. The Pikemen and Muskeeters formed a carpet guard throughout the reception and music during the evening was provided by a woodwind quintet, which included a friend of my daughter’s from her school days.
The principal guests for the evening were the Lord Mayor, Alderman Peter Estlin, and the Lady Mayoress, Lindy, and we were also delighted to welcome the two Sheriffs to complete the Civic Team. Alderman Emma Edhem joined us for the evening along with seven visiting Masters and their Consorts. We had two trumpeters to sound a fanfare to call everyone to dinner and they also performed the Post Horn Gallop during the evening, which was enjoyed by everyone. As usual at the Banquet, Past Master George Turner introduced this year’s Bursary winners and they were presented to the Lord Mayor who gave them their certificates. Assistant Janie Martin then introduced the guests and the Lord Mayor and Past Master Liz Green gave a speech in tandem and the evening ended with a stirrup cup back in the Print Room.
With the work of Assistant Jonathan Pears and Steward Simon Burrows, we were able to have the Master’s Chair at the Old Library together with some historical documents and items, including our two Charters, in London. It was lovely to see so many Liverymen and their guests at the Banquet and I do hope you enjoyed the occasion if you were able to attend.
24th October - Julia Grundy - lunch at Innholders' Hall
Julia Grundy writes:
I was invited to a lunch organised by the Mistress of the Worshipful Company of Gold & Silver Wyre Drawers which she held at Innholders Hall, which is the only Hall I believe that has a chef with a Michelin star! We enjoyed a drinks reception and had the opportunity to view some of the work done by students from the Royal School of Needlework, which is supported by the Gold & Silver Wyre Drawers Company. After a delicious meal in the main Hall, the CEO of the Royal School of Needlework, Dr Susan Kay-Williams, told us little bit about the school, its connections with the Gold & Silver Wyre Drawers Company and the use of gold and silver wyre in needlework. She also offered us the opportunity to visit and try out the art of needlework in the future.
23rd October - The Wellington Trust Dinner
Julia and I were invited to attend this dinner on board HQS Wellington by the Master of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, Captain Jim Barclay and his wife, Elizabeth. The dinner was held to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Friends of the Wellington and its Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, was also there. The evening started with a drinks reception on the Quarter Deck where Her Royal Highness was introduced to all attending the event. It was also an opportunity to view the evening skyline of London from the river which is always a joy. We then went downstairs to the hall to enjoy the meal before the Chairman introduced The Princess Royal who spoke about the Friends of the Wellington and the fund-raising needed to maintain the ship both now and in the future. The photo shows the six of us who were guests of Jim and Elizabeth by the portrait of the Guest of Honour just outside the hall. The evening concluded with the usual stirrup cup and a chance to chat to other guests.
Julia Grundy writes:
I was delighted to be invited by the Deputy Mistress of the Tallow Chandlers to a lunch at their Hall to which all Consorts were invited. The Lady Mayoress was present as were the Consorts of the two Sheriffs. We had a delicious lunch and it was a wonderful opportunity to meet some new Consorts as well as catch up with old friends in convivial surroundings. Tallow Chandlers is one of the oldest halls still used and it was not greatly damaged during the Blitz. We were invited to go upstairs to view the beautiful Court Room before having coffee in the Parlour Room.
22nd October - Education Committee Meeting
This was held at Corah Hall and a very good meeting was held discussing amongst other things our visits to different Universities in the coming months to interview potential Bursary Award recipients.
21st October - Worshipful Company of Woolmen Civic Dinner
Our Clerk, Shaun, and I were invited by the Worshipful Company of Woolmen to their Civic Dinner which was held at Merchant Taylors' Hall. We were greeted with a champagne reception before going through into the Livery Hall for the formal proceedings. The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress were the principal guests and the meal, wine and speeches were all excellent. Unusually, the choir and organist asked everyone to join in with the singing of William Blake’s “Jerusalem” - it was good to exercise the vocal chords. The Master and Lord Mayor then presented certificates to eight bursary award winners - one of whom was a knitter from Huddersfield University. I was in very good company at the table being seated next to Past Master Woolmen Richard Proctor who is also a Framework Knitter. The dinner concluded at 10.30pm allowing just enough time for me to catch the 11.08 train home!
16th October - Worshipful Company of Art Scholars' Mithras Lecture
Before the lecture, a number of us went to the London Mithreaeum for a short tour. This site was once home to an ancient Temple of Mithras and Roman London’s commercial centre. It now showcases the ancient temple, a selection of remarkable Roman artefacts and a series of contemporary art commissions and is one of the UK’s most significant archaeological sites.
After the tour, a short drinks reception preceded an interesting lecture, this year given by Dr Simon Thurley CBE FSA who has a distinguished career as a historian, curator, writer and broadcaster and was Chief Executive of English Heritage until 2015 and director of the Museum of London from 1997 to 2002. He spoke about the history and influence of the Mercantile Palaces within London. This included Sir Thomas Gresham’s house in Bishopsgate and Crosby Hall which is now a private residence.
15th October - Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipemakers & Tobacco Blenders' Banquet
Julia and I were delighted to be invited to the Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipemakers & Tobacco Blenders' 400th Anniversary Banquet which was held at Mercers’ Hall. Visiting Masters, joined the Master and other honoured Guests in processing into the Hall after a champagne drinks reception. We were treated to a delicious meal before the Smoking Cap Ceremony, when the Master is presented with the traditional Smoking Cap by the Clerk, he puts it on and bows to the assembled company - it formerly signified that smoking was then permitted. The Master then took a pinch of snuff from a small box in a wonderful ram’s horn mull and passed it on for Liverymen and guests to share. After three excellent speeches, there was musical entertainment by Skyline Brass before we enjoyed a stirrup cup to end the evening.
8th/9th October - Making it in Textiles Conference, Bradford
This Annual Conference, held for the 6th year, is jointly organised and funded by the Campaign for Wool, The Clothworkers’ Company, The Drapers’ Company and The Weavers’ Company. It’s a free two-day conference for final year textile students and aims to forge stronger links between educational institutions and the UK textile manufacturing industry and in particular to get students to think about employment outside of the design sector. This year it was attended by over 160 delegates - mainly comprised of textile students and their tutors together with representatives from the stakeholder organisations, local weaving mills and guests.
The Conference session on Tuesday afternoon was excellently facilitated by Sheila-Mary Carruthers, a partner of Carruthers Associates. We were treated to a number of speakers, ranging from technical information about the weaving process to encouraging stories and information from local business leaders encouraging the opportunities and benefits associated with all aspects of a career in textiles. Truly the opportunities are immense ranging from cloth weaving mills to high tech Formula 1 cars!
After the Q&A sessions, there was a drinks reception and dinner at The Midland Hotel - the photo shows Jane Mather, from the Worshipful Company of Drapers, me, and two of the Shima placement awardees.
After a prompt breakfast on Wednesday we were split into groups to visit two local weaving mills - I went to two family owned companies: A.W. Hainsworth and Alfred Brown. Our tour guides were most welcoming and interesting and gave us an insight into how the family businesses were started and how things have changed in production techniques over the years. Hainsworth provide a lot of technical textiles such as aviation seating covers whereas Alfred Brown provide woven cloth for tailoring.
The final afternoon session was aimed at determining the students thoughts and aspirations on a future career in textiles. Ideas were plentiful and good debate flowed.
A well-run Conference from which I learnt a lot and benefitted immensely.
3rd October - Worshipful Company of Horners’ Banquet at Mansion House
Our Clerk, Shaun, Julia and I were delighted to be invited by the Worshipful Company of Horners to their Annual Banquet at the Mansion House. We were hosted for drinks by Alison Gill, Past Master Horner, before moving through to the Egyptian Room for a lavish Banquet. The Civic Party were in attendance with the Lord Mayor proposing the toast to the Worshipful Company of Horners and guest speaker was our own Past Master Liz Green, who replied on behalf of the guests. The London Banquet Ensemble provided the background music during the evening, which included a fun rendition of the Post Horn Gallop.
3rd October - Tasting at Guildhall
Our Clerk, Shaun, and his wife, Mary, joined Julia and I for a tasting session at Guildhall where we decided on what the menu will be for our Banquet, so we hope you will be pleased with our choices!
2nd October - Worshipful Company of Musicians' Evensong and Reception
In the evening Julia and I joined other Masters, Consorts, Clerks and Liverymen for the Worshipful Company of Musicians' Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral. The Masters, Wardens and Clerks processed in, all fully gowned, and we took our seats under the dome of the Cathedral. This is a lovely service with some beautiful singing by the choir. Afterwards we went down to the crypts for a Reception and the chance to catch up with friends.
2nd October - Masters and Clerks Breakfast followed by Common Hall
Our Clerk, Shaun, and I met for breakfast with other Masters and Clerks at Guildhall, courtesy of The Cook & Butler, prior to Common Hall. I had to leave at 9am to go to a rehearsal prior to robing and lining up with other Masters to process to St Lawrence Jewry for a short church service. After the service, we processed back to Guildhall and into the Great Hall for the Election of the Lord Mayor. As I had the honour of seconding the Vote of Thanks to the Retiring Sheriffs, given by Master Solicitor, John Wotton, I took my place on the dais for the event. Whilst the Aldermanic party were in the Print Room, the Assistant Town Clerk gave us an insight into the work of City of London Corporation. Alderman William Russell was elected as Lord Mayor for 2019-20. After this was declared to Common Hall, it was time for the Vote of Thanks to the Lord Mayor by Master International Banker Mark Sismey-Durrant, seconded by the Chief Commoner, followed by the one to the Retiring Sheriffs. The Lord Mayor and Retiring Sheriffs all replied and in particular I enjoyed Vincent and Liz’s tandem performance.
Afterwards, the Framework Knitters contingent joined other Liverymen at Stationers' Hall for a convivial lunch and we were seated on a table with the Woolmen.
30th September - Worshipful Company of Glaziers’ Autumn Livery Dinner
Glaziers’ Hall is a real jewel in the Livery crown of Halls. Magnificent views over the River Thames, the hall is uniquely situated on the South Bank and claims entitlement to The City of London by being attached to the foundations of London Bridge. The main hall was adorned by three splendid crystal glass chandeliers which spread a fabulous light through out the room. Having been “Jailed & Bailed” with the Master, it was a great opportunity to catch up amongst friends, Liverymen and fellow guests. The speaker was the Revd Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark Cathedral, who entertained us with a number of stories and the odd joke or two. In conversation with him after the dinner, it was interesting to learn that Andrew was brought up in Wigston and went to school with a number of mutual friends - Livery fellowship can make the world a small place!
29th September - Worshipful Company of Woolmen - Sheep Drive
Despite the conditions, the annual Sheep Drive across London Bridge was a great experience raising money for the Lord Mayor’s charities. I was in one of the last groups to take part and honoured to be escorted to the flock of sheep, located about halfway across the bridge, by the Master of the Guild of Young Freemen. The weather meant that I had to look after my hat carefully after nearly losing it in the howling gales! I was delighted my daughter Natalie and her boyfriend, Mike, came to watch proceedings and she was my photographer for the day. They also did a fine job in trying to keep me dry with their umbrellas. Earlier the event was opened by the Rt Hon. Michael Portillo with the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs also participating.
27th September - Admission of Sheriffs & Sheriffs’ Breakfast
I went to the ceremony at Guildhall for the Admission of the Sheriffs, witnessing Past Master Liz Green and Alderman Vincent Keaveny having their Chains removed and then presenting Chains of Office to the newly sworn-in Sheriffs - Alderman Michael Mainelli and Chris Hayward.
After the ceremony we followed the Lord Mayor’s procession to a reception in the Livery Hall and then moved through to the Old Library for the Sheriffs' Breakfast. Central to the speeches was the retiring Sheriffs’ theme of “Community, Service & Fellowship”. Clearly they have had a hugely successful year and have left a lasting legacy. As a Company we can be very proud of, not only, Liz and Vincent, but also their Consorts Peter and Amanda, who have all contributed so very well to last year’s Shrieval team.
24th September -
Worshipful Company of Actuaries Ruby Anniversary Lecture and Supper
This year’s lecture at Staple Inn Hall, Holborn was given by Sarah Winckless, MBE, who is an Olympic medalist in rowing and was Chef de Mission of Team England at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. She gave us a fascinating insight into her belief that high team performance can be achieved through a variety of methods whilst fostering both learning and innovation. She stressed the importance of always challenging your self-belief. She mentors many blue chip companies to promote business excellence. A truly most inspiring and interesting lady who spoke with enthusiasm and passion. The supper afterwards was delicious and to celebrate the 40th anniversary year, the evening concluded with a Castarede Bas Armagnac 1979 - which was appreciated by all present!
Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants Luncheon
Julia and I were delighted to be invited by the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants to their Court, Consorts’ & Guests’ Luncheon at Tallow Chandlers Hall. We had a champagne drinks reception before moving through to the Hall for a delicious lunch. The guest speaker was The Reverend Canon Roger Hall who is the Company’s Chaplain and also a chaplain to the Queen and the Chaplain to HM Tower of London. He spoke about his recent three months break from duty which included travels in Ethiopia and also in France and Belgium on a bike. It was also the occasion when the current Consort to the Master, Fabian, was thanked for his commitment to the Company over the past 12 months and he then handed his badge over to his successor, Nicholas Woolf.
20th September - Sheriffs’ Ball at Guildhall
The Company was well-represented at the Sheriffs’ Ball this year - the last big event of the Sheriffs' year in office. The Pikemen and Musketeers formed a carpet guard both outside and inside Guildhall and our own Beadle, Jamie, was on duty keeping the evening flowing.
The evening started with a champagne reception in the Old Library before we moved through to the Grand Hall for a fantastic evening of food, wine and entertainment whilst raising funds for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. There was plenty of dancing by all those there to an excellent band and it was amusing to see the Sheriffs and their Consorts up on stage with the musicians on a couple of occasions leading the dancing and singing some well known tunes!
17th September - Treloar’s Gala Dinner at Mansion House
Julia and I attended the Annual Gala Dinner in aid of Treloar’s, which has a school and college in Hampshire and provides education, care and independence training to physically disabled people between the ages of 2 and 25 and also supports their families. After a champagne reception, we moved through to the magnificent Egyptian Room for the main event. We saw a music video recording by one of the 2019 Treloar School Leavers and a very interesting session with two current students who shared some of their thoughts about Treloar’s benefits to them with the Chief Executive, Jessica Taplin. We then tucked into an excellent dinner accompanied by some fine wines! Guest of Honour was Alderman Sir Andrew Parmley and his wife, Wendy, as the Lord Mayor was away on business. Money raised this year was going towards the creation of an Outdoor Learning Centre for students and the local community.
17th September - Presentation of Shrieval Chain of Office and Badge
Julia and I went to Carpenters’ Hall for a drinks reception and the presentation of the Shrieval Chain to Sheriff-Elect Chris Hayward and a brooch to his Consort, Alexandra. Sir Michael Bear, Chris’s Campaign Chairman, said a few words of introduction about Chris and Alex before the presentations took place. Chris and Alex then addressed their audience and both explained how they had come to a decision about the designs of the Chain and Brooch - with the help of Grant McDonald. We had the opportunity to examine both items in more detail before leaving.
16th September - Worshipful Company of Farmers' Lunch
Clerk, Shaun Mackaness and I were invited to the Worshipful Company of Farmers' Masters and Clerks Lunch at their hall. We enjoyed a champagne drinks reception before going down the spiral staircase to the dining room for a exceptional meal. Guest speaker was Jonathan Gill who spoke passionately about the future of farming and in particular the thought process of hands free robotic controlled production methods.
12th September - Annual Livery Halls Walk
Assistant Matthew Ellis and I joined other Masters, Wardens, Clerks and Liverymen for the 15th Annual Livery Halls walk organised by the WC of Environmental Cleaners. In all we visited 39 halls within the City of London. We began our quest from HQS Wellington, after breakfast on board, and visited 19 halls before lunch at Armourers' Hall. We enjoyed a lovely lunch and were all glad to take off our robes and rest our weary feet for a while! We then moved on to visit the remaining halls, ending our tour at the Glaziers’ Hall on the south side of London Bridge and we then went across the road to Southwark Cathedral for refreshments in the courtyard there. At each hall we assembled for a team photograph and during the day had guided tours of several halls including Information Technologists, Leathersellers, Drapers and Girdlers.
The photo below shows Matthew and me together with Master Glover, Rodney Jagelman and Master Girdler, Julian James in the garden of Girdlers Hall.
An interesting but rather tiring day in good company which was enjoyed by all!
Julia Grundy writes:
Whilst Ian was participating in the Livery Halls Walk, I was invited by the Mistress Glass Seller, Alison, to her “Bubbles & Afternoon Tea” event at the fabulous Oriental Club in the West End. The Club is a hidden gem with fabulous rooms, artwork, decor and outside space. We were shown upstairs for a champagne reception and a chance to catch up with others Consorts and then moved through to enjoy our tea. Afterwards Rhona Levene gave us an excellent and informative talk focussed around one particular woman, Emily Young. Emily is a British sculptor and her family has links with politics, literature and art. Rhona is a qualified London Guide and does walks in the City and Westminster.
11th September - WC of International Bankers Reception
Julia and I were invited by the Master International Banker, Mark, and his wife, Helen, to a drinks reception at Furniture Maker’s Hall to mark the end of their year in office. We had a lovely evening in great company.
10th September - Worshipful Company of Fuellers - Annual EZRA Lecture
A large number of Liverymen gathered at the offices of CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP for the lecture this year given by Tony Hayward, Chairman of Glencore (a mineral mining company) and former CEO of BP. His subject matter was “The Future of Energy” and he gave some worrying statistics given factors of probable population growth and conversion to the use of electric cars. He estimated consumption of energy will increase by 40% by 2050. More interestingly he believes that the current design of the National Grid would be unable to cope with the increased demand put upon it! An interesting conundrum for the various stakeholders to resolve! After a very full Q&A session, we were all treated to a delicious buffet supper at which the debate and conversation continued.
Friday 6th September to Sunday 8th September - Leicester Weekend
8th September - Annual Church Service and Lunch at Corah Hall
Court members, liverymen and guests, along with some of the residents of the Cottage Homes and the Mayor of Oadby and Wigston, Councillor Lynda Eaton, attended the Annual Service at St Peter’s Church, Oadby. This year it was conducted by my Chaplain, the Very Reverend Dr Derek Hole, with the sermon given by the Archdeacon of Loughborough, The Venerable Claire Wood and the blessing by the Team Vicar of St Peter’s, Reverend Liz Wilson.
Afterwards we all went to the Corah Hall on the Cottage Homes site and enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch, courtesy of St Martin’s House, and resident Christine Kilbourne provided some lovely tasty home-made desserts to accompany the strawberries and cream. It gave us a chance to catch up and chat in an informal setting and also many Liverymen took the opportunity to view the Archive Room at the back of the hall which had some interesting photographs on display.
7th September - Ceremony of the Socks
I went to the Framework Knitters Museum in Wigston in the morning for the Ceremony of thSocks, which is an annual event when a pair of frame knitted socks are presented to the Mayor of Oadby and Wigston as payment of the peppercorn rent by the Museum to the Council for use of the buildings. Amongst others there were the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, the High Sheriff of Leicester, the Mayor of Oadby & Wigston, Framework Knitters' Liverymen and Friends of the Museum
Before the Court meeting took place after lunch, a photograph of the residents outside Corah Hall was taken as well as one of Court Members.
I also unveiled the new Honours Board with the name of our latest Sheriff, PM Liz Green, added to it.
Following the afternoon's Court meeting, in the evening we held our Dinner at St Martin’s House in Leicester. A number of residents from the Cottage Homes joined us for the occasion. Drinks were served in the Cathedral and we had a chance to look around the magnificent building and also the tomb of Richard III. We then moved into the Grand Hall for a superb meal, before members of the Cathedral Choir entertained us with three songs. The Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Mr Mike Kapur OBE, was our guest speaker for the evening and he told us a bit about his role both within the City and County.
6th September - Framework Knitters Golf Day
I and 23 other Liverymen and guests enjoyed a lovely afternoon at Leicestershire Golf Club despite the mixed weather conditions. I was in the first group - teeing off with Liveryman Don Gleave and Marion Keene, both of whom were excellent company and our LGC Ladies Captain, Marion, played some excellent golf whilst Don and I enjoyed the more social game! This year, for the first time, one of the Cottage Homes residents, David Evans, joined us for the afternoon and dinner.
In the evening, the golfers were joined by other Liverymen and guests at a dinner held at the Golf Club. As usual we were treated to a delicious meal and it was then my privilege to award the trophies and prizes. This year’s winners were:
Liverymen: 1st Peter White & 2nd Adrian Keene
Guests: 1st Janey Heaney & 2nd David Evans
Plus four other prizes for best front nine, best back nine and best at par 3 holes were awarded to Michael Piper, Beverley Osborne, Hugh Stevenson and Julia White.
22nd August - Visit to Shima Seiki Office
To compliment his mentoring of our Student Bursary Awardee, John Sanders, Liveryman Humphrey Barrett had arranged a visit to the Shima Seiki Office in Castle Donnington and invited me along too. Under Warden Julian Ellis and Court Assistants Peter Corah and Janie Martin joined us as well. We were treated to a fascinating demonstration of the APEX 3 with virtual reality 3D design technology. The programme allows the user to simulate the whole design and manufacturing process of a garment. When complete, the finished product’s technical information can be downloaded to a knitting machine.
After being shown a variety of knitted samples, Graham Davies, Shima’s Sales Manager, gave us a demonstration of the breathtaking technology of the Shima machines. Amazingly after downloading the technical data to a four-needle bed machine, it can then produce a whole garment in as little as 30 minutes. During this demonstration we were introduced to two of our Bursary Award winners - Cara Fowles and Chelsea Bodell. They had just returned from Japan which was part of the prize for coming 1st and 2nd in the Shima Seiki Student Competition held earlier in the year. Congratulations to them both.
A most interesting visit and particularly pleasing to hear of the success of our Bursary Award students. The Education Committee can be immensely proud!
29th July - Lunch with the Judges at the Old Bailey - post by Julia Grundy
I was lucky enough to be invited by Sheriff Liz to have lunch with her and three other guests plus some of the Judges that were on duty at the Old Bailey and Alderman Gregory Jones QC, who was the Lord Mayor’s representative. Other guests were Ian Spring (Master Boyer), Richard Cross and Professor Dinesh Bhugra. We met for pre-lunch drinks in Liz’s private quarters before joining the Judges for drinks. We then had a lovely lunch in the Judges’ Dining Room before we were offered the chance to sit in on a Court to witness proceedings.
25th July - Brigantes Lecture and Breakfast, Manchester
This year’s Lecture and Breakfast were held in Manchester. We arrived promptly at the Museum of Manchester for a lecture by Esme Ward, the Museum’s Director on Heritage Futures asking us to query the links between the past and future and we then had time to look around the Museum and in particular saw some Egyptian artefacts and live reptiles. Afterwards we moved next door to the Grade II listed Whitworth Hall for the breakfast itself. The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor was principal guest but amongst others present were Sheriffs Vincent Keaveny and Liz Green and Liz's consort Peter, Masters of about 28 Livery companies, and others from the Cities of London and Manchester such as the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, the President of Manchester University and the Bishop of Bolton. After the meal we were entertained by four singers who performed songs from the Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love and Les Miserables. We heard several excellent speeches before and after the meal and Alderman Dr Sir Andrew Parmley played the organ both before the breakfast and for the loyal toasts. Once the event had finished several Framework Knitters members and our learned Clerk and his wife continued good fellowship at a local hostelry!
22nd July - Masters and Consorts Event at Old Bailey
Sheriffs Vincent and Liz had invited Masters and consorts for a tour of the Old Bailey and dinner. As Julia and I had been on previous tours, we opted to miss that bit and join for drinks in the Lower Grand Hall. As so many people wanted to be part of the evening, we were very fortunate to dine in the Grand Hall - a real treat. We enjoyed splendid food and wine in good company.
19th July - Guild of Young Freemen Installation Banquet
We went to Apothecaries’ Hall for for the Installation Banquet this evening. We enjoyed a champagne reception before moving through to the main Hall for a delicious meal, accompanied by some good wines. Guest of Honour was the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress together with a number of Aldermen and Lady Parmley. Lady Parmley was invited as Master of the Information Technologists, the Company of which the newly installed Master of the Guild of Young Freemen is a Freeman, and Alderman Tim Hailes was introduced as the new President of the Guild, succeeding the Lord Mayor. After the meal, two roving trumpeters performed the Post Horn Gallop with great enthusiasm and then there were excellent speeches by the Lord Mayor and Master of the Guild. Following on from the speeches, we were entertained by a group of three playing the African drums who asked for audience participation and also invited the Lord Mayor and Upper Warden of the Guild of Young Freemen to have a go at playing the drums.
18th July - Worshipful Company of Scriveners Company Court Supper
In the evening, Julia and I were delighted to be invited by the Worshipful Company of Scriveners to their Company Court Supper held at Tallow Chandlers' Hall. We enjoyed welcome drinks in the courtyard before going into the Hall for a delicious meal. The Master and Mistress had invited a number of other Masters and consorts they had met during their year in office and it was a delightful way to spend time together. I noticed that one of the stained glass windows in the hall featured panes of various Livery Companies motifs, including one of our Company. On returning home I looked it up and apparently it depicts the 19 Companies which did not have a hall within the City and which used Tallow Chandlers' Hall.
18th July - Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor Annual Service of Dedication
The Service was held in St Faith’s Chapel in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral and was led by the the Bishop of London, the Right Reverend Sarah Mullay. There were representatives there from various walks of life including the City, Clergy and Military. The occasion was steeped in history and tradition with some beautiful singing by the Choir. Three new Knights took their vows during the service at the altar of the Chapel of the Imperial Society.
After the Service, we went to the Apothecaries’ Hall for a reception during which the 12th Knight Principal retired from office and the Right Hon. Sir Gary Hickinbottom, current Master of the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators, was formally announced as the successor, subject to confirmation from the Queen.
16th July - Swan Upping with the Worshipful Company of Dyers
We were delighted to be asked to join the Worshipful Company of Dyers for their annual day on the Thames for swan upping. We joined them for a light breakfast at the Little Ship Club before a coach took us to Windsor. On arrival at the Oakley Court Hotel, we saw two very young cygnets, who were being shown to school children in the garden - these cygnets were orphans so being hand-reared for a while. We then boarded our boat for the trip up the Thames - after the loyal toast we began our journey. We enjoyed champagne and canapés on deck in glorious sunshine before the Renter Warden and one of the Swan Masters told us a bit about swan upping and the links between the Royal Household, Worshipful Company of Vintners and Worshipful Company of Dyers, and the importance of keeping abreast of the numbers of swans on the river. We stopped at Boulters Lock for a delicious meal in a room overlooking the river before the return journey to Oakley Court and the coach trip back to London. A fantastic and memorable day!
15th July - Barbecue at Saddler's Hall
Julia and I enjoyed a lovely evening at Saddlers Hall for those Masters and Consorts in office between 2019-21. We had a drinks reception in the beautiful courtyard before moving into the Hall itself for our meal. It was a most convivial evening and a great chance to network!
11th July - Consorts’ Visit to Chelsea Physic Garden - post by Julia Grundy
Julia writes: Mistress Apothecary, Dr Eve Rossor, hosted an informative and delightful afternoon at the Chelsea Physic Garden for Consorts. On arrival we were split into two groups and taken around the garden and given an insight into how plants and trees are an integral part of the cycle of life. We were shown plants to avoid as they are poisonous, those that are used for herbal reasons and unusual trees to find in the UK such as a fruiting olive tree and northernmost grapefruit tree. Afterwards we enjoyed a lovely tea in the cafe before making our way home.
10th July - Installation Dinner - Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks
Following the Annual Church Walk earlier in the day, I was invited to attend the Installation Dinner at the stunning Drapers’ Hall this evening, which was preceded by Evensong at St Margaret Lothbury. As a guest of the Master, I was privileged to be seated at the top table between himself and his wife, Becky. The guest speaker was Col Geoffrey Godbold OBE, City Common Cryer and Serjeant at Arms, who was lyrical with amusing anecdotes. The evening was both interesting and entertaining given the many toast traditions which I believe are unique to the Parish Clerks.
10th July - Annual City of London Church Walk
We joined about 30 others for this annual event hosted by the Worshipful Companies of Plumbers and Constructors which started with tea or coffee and a bacon roll in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral. Master Plumber, Dame Fiona Woolfe, sent us on our way with two excellent guides in Tony and Mike to impart their knowledge on 11 churches in the City together with other snippets of information relevant to our walk such as the numerous gardens looked after by the Open Spaces and City Gardens Committee and the spectacular City skyline, viewed from the roof garden on One New Change. We had a lovely lunch at St Lawrence Jewry, sitting in the pews, whilst a pianist entertained us half way through the day, before finishing near the Tower of London at All Hallows Church for a cup of tea and cake. A couple of favourites of mine were the St Mary Abchurch, St Stephen Walbrook and the ruined church and garden of St Dunstan in the East.
9th July - Masters and Consorts' Tour and Luncheon at House of Lords
Julia and I were delighted to be able to invite 74 Masters, Consorts and Clerks to the Palace of Westminster for an event that was hosted by Baroness Byford DBE DL. We were extremely fortunate in that Baroness Byford had organised three tours of the Palace, before hosting us on the terrace of the Cholmondley Room in the House of Lords for a drinks reception. We then moved indoors for a delicious lunch after which most guests went through to the House of Lords Chamber to listen to Questions and debate. We were also honoured that Lord McColl, Sheriff Liz Green and her consort Peter were able to attend together with a number of Framework Knitters Liverymen as table hosts at the luncheon. I was delighted to present Sheriff Liz with cheques totalling almost £3,000 (including gift aAid) as donations from the event to the Sheriffs’ & Recorder’s Fund.
8th July - Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund AGM
I went to the Old Bailey this evening for the Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund AGM which was held in Court 1. The speakers were the Rt Rev’d Dr. Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington (Bishop responsible for prisons) and Father Jonathan Aitken. Both Sheriffs were in attendance, together with the Recorder, and afterwards drinks and nibbles, prepared by the charity Clink, were served in the Judges Dining room.
5th July - The Girdlers’ Company Court Ladies Dinner
Julia and I, along with Clerk Shaun and Mary Mackaness, were honoured to be invited to The Girdlers’ Company Court Ladies Dinner on a beautiful evening in London. The Girdlers’ Hall is not available for other Companies to use so it was a delight to see the hall and its rooms, including a magnificent carpet hung in the main hall. After a disrupted train journey down and a quick change into our formal attire, we joined the drinks reception in the award-winning garden before going into the Hall for a delicious meal accompanied by some fine wines. Amongst the guests assembled were the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, the two Sheriffs and their Consorts, The Swordbearer and several other Masters and Clerks. The speeches were short but excellent and the Master of the Girdlers Company then invited everyone to join him in a stirrup cup in the reception room. After a lovely evening, we were invited up to the private flat of the Master and Mistress to enjoy a glass of champagne with other guests - a fitting end to a wonderful evening.
1st July - 'Jailed and Bailed'
I was asked to attend the Old Bailey at 11am, along with other Masters and dignitaries from the City. We were escorted to Court 3 by the Sheriffs, Vincent and Liz, who then proceeded to announce our despicable and heinous crimes before sending us to the Tower with ball and chain in hand. The photo below shows the Master Glazier and I awaiting transportation to the Tower of London. We “felons” were sent from the Old Bailey in a vintage London double decker bus and on arrival at the Tower were transferred into the custody of the Beefeaters. They escorted us through the booing crowds into the HQ of the Royal Regiment of Fusilers where we were fed and watered. After submitting proof that we had raised our Bail, we were all pleased to be released and allowed to make our way home. The day was a huge success and over £40,000 was raised for the British Red Cross whilst we enjoyed fun and fellowship.
Whilst I was being “jailed” at the Tower, Julia and a group of other Consorts, who were in Court to hear our crimes, were hosted for a drinks reception and lunch by the Mistress of the Worshipful Company of Accountants at their hall.
29th June - Social outing to Cutty Sark
Following the previous evening's dinner, a group of us met at Tower Pier to board the MBNA Thames Clipper to Greenwich for a tour of the Cutty Sark. Our guide, Sandi, took us from the bottom of the ship to the top deck, explaining with enthusiasm the history of the Cutty Sark and how its use changed over the years due to geographical and technical advancements such as the opening of the Suez Canal and the emergence of steam ships, changed ownership and eventually becoming a museum and tourist attraction in the mid 1950s. After the tour we walked the short distance along the tow path to the Trafalgar Tavern where we enjoyed a tasty lunch, albeit the kitchen was very slow in getting our food out to us.
28th June - Summer Dinner at Barber-Surgeons’ Hall
Our dinner was held in the splendid Barber-Surgeons' Hall in Monkwell Square and, as we were lucky and the sun shone, we were able to enjoy the reception in the fabulous garden by the London Wall. We then moved into the Livery Hall for a delicious meal before we were entertained by two pianists - Becky Thompson and Philip Mountford. Our guest speaker was Sir Laurence Howard who spoke about his time as Lord Lieutenant of Rutland. On conclusion of the speeches, we with moved into the Reception Room for a stirrup cup and we were joined at the very end by the Master and Mistress Barber, which was a lovely way to finish the evening.
27th June - Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders
I was invited to the 400th Anniversary of the Royal Charter celebrations of the Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders which began with a Choral Evensong at Temple Church. We then moved to Middle Temple Hall for a convivial reception. The hall is magnificent and many of the Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders’s precious artefacts were on display. There were many paintings around the Hall but the one that both the Master Needlemaker and I were drawn to was the one of Charles II, who granted the Royal Charters for both our Companies - we couldn’t resist recording the moment as shown below.
24th June - Election of Sheriffs
A number of Framework Knitters along with many other Liverymen gathered at Guildhall for the Election of the Sheriffs to serve the City and Corporation of London for 2019-20. The Aldermanic Sheriff, Michael Manelli, was duly elected and after Liverymen raised either blue or red cards, Chris Hayward (blue) was elected as Non-Aldermanic Sheriff by a large majority.
Afterwards we gathered at Stationers' Hall, with about 15 or so Livery Companies, enjoying a reception drink in the garden before having a delicious lunch in the Livery Hall. During roll-call of Livery Companies before the meal started, the Framework Knitters were heard to shout out “CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, KNIT, KNIT KNIT” as I had asked them to do!
19th June - Master’s Tea at Normanton Park Hotel
I was delighted that 24 residents, plus Helen Meek and Karl and Elaine Whatsize from the Cottage Homes were able to join members of the Cottage Homes Committee and their wives, with Pamela and Julian Rose also joining us, to enjoy a relaxing afternoon at Normanton Park Hotel. We took over the conservatory which gave us fabulous views across Rutland Water and indulged in sandwiches, scones and delicious cakes along with the traditional cup of tea! Before the rain came, some took a walk down to the water’s edge whilst others just took in the views. After some leftover cakes and sandwiches were boxed up for those residents unable to come over, everyone made their way back home.
18th June - Visit to DMU Art and Design Degree Show
Past Master David Miller and I went to the Art and Design Degree Show at Leicester's De Montfort University and were hosted by the Head of Textiles, Design and Fashion, Caroline Hardacre. I was very impressed by the diversity in design and range of materials used - anything from a recycled MoD sleeping bag and ground sheet to laser-cut leather mesh. These materials combined with complex knitting design work contributed to a fascinating morning’s viewing. The morning was a wonderful learning exercise and I do thank David and Caroline for their commentary and boundless expert knowledge.
15th June - Inter-Livery Croquet, Southwick
Liveryman Beth, Julia and I went to the Sussex County Croquet Club to join about 11 other Companies for a day of competitive and fun croquet. There was an inter-livery competition and a separate one for the Worshipful Company of Glovers - our hosts for the day. Beth and I played well and enjoyed our time on the lawns - eventually winning two out of five matches. We were also treated to an excellent lunch in the Clubhouse and the afternoon finished with tea and delicious home-made cakes before Prizegiving took place.
13th June Tylers and Bricklayers Luncheon - Masters and Clerks
Clerk, Shaun Mackaness and I were invited to join the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers Court and Livery Luncheon at Brewers’ Hall. We were treated to a champagne reception before moving through to the Livery Hall for an excellent meal.
Whilst I was being entertained by the Tylers and Bricklayers, Julia had lunch at the Old Bailey with Sheriffs’ Consorts Peter Green and Amanda Keaveny. After a champagne reception and lunch, she was lucky enough to sit in on one of the Courts to witness proceedings for a short time.
13th June - Reception at the RAF Museum, Hendon
Julia and I, together with representatives from about 33 other Livery Companies, were invited to the first of what is hoped to be an annual event at the RAF Museum hosted by No 601 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force. We were given the opportunity to look around Hangar 1 and meet members of the Squadron. Also there were RAF veterans and relatives from those lost in service. The evening ended with the Sunset Ceremony - despite having to be indoors at the last minute, the Band and Guard performed with exceptional precision in a relatively small area.
12th June - Horners Golf Tournament
The team: Past Masters Michael Turnbull and George Turner, Liveryman Humphrey Barrett and myself.
We arrived to grey skies but more importantly no rain! Michael set us a goal of at least 5 points a hole to be in with a chance of a prize. On one hole we did score a commendable 7 points! Alas we lacked the consistency required but still managed a team score of 68 points with everybody contributing. In the end the WC of Butchers came out on top. The day finished with a delicious meal after drinks at the 19th hole
Although unsuccessful on the golf course, we were delighted that Michael won the raffle prize of a round of golf at Ashridge for four. It was a fun day out in good company!
7th - 9th June - Ironbridge Weekend
On the first afternoon, we were taken to Coalbrookdale for a discussion, instigated by the Lord Mayor, on the future of Livery Companies. The two hour conference was a mixture of presentations by Nick Turner who acted as facilitator and discussions in small groups before putting ideas/comments out to all in a plenary session. This was followed by drinks and dinner at the Museum.
Saturday we were shown four of the Iron Gorge Museum’s sites by an excellent guide. Despite the rain, it was an informative day out and gave us an insight into the Industrial Revolution and life at that time. The tile factory at Jackfield was very interesting and John Scott has donated to the Museum thousands of tiles of all description that he has saved from being scrapped and below is a picture of one of his favourite tiles, which also caught my eye - I wonder why!
We also saw the Bridge, which has recently undergone extensive restoration works and also been repainted, visited the Coalport China Museum and we strolled through the Victorian Town of Blists Hill. In the evening, we enjoyed a fabulous meal and good wine before dancing the night away at the President’s Summer Ball.
Sunday, after sorting out the names for the Past Master and Past Consorts groups, we went back to Coalbrookdale for a look around the Darby Houses and the Costume Project. A great weekend - meeting so many new people and of course, some old friends!
6th June - Reception for Shrieval Candidate, Chris Hayward
I attended a reception at Carpenters’ Hall in support of Shrieval Candidate Chris Hayward - there were a couple of speeches from Chris and his team and a chance to mingle over drinks with others from the Livery Companies and the City of London Corporation.
6th June - Broderers’ Election Dinner
In the evening I went to the Election Dinner for the Master Broderer, Mr Michael Stevens, which was held at Mercers' Hall. This was my first dinner as a Top Table guest. The principal speaker was Sir Stephen Males, who entertained us with stories from his career as a High Court Judge. This was complimented with two singers from the Royal School of Music who performed beautifully to a piano accompaniment. The Master then concluded the evening by singing verses of “The Master’s Song” and Broderers and guests joined in with the chorus - great fun!
4th June - Concert and Dinner at Mercers' Hall
Julia and I were treated to a wonderful evening for Masters & Consorts hosted by the Master and Wardens of the Worshipful Company of Mercers. We started the evening with a champagne reception before The Endellion String Quartet and the guest celloist, Guy Johnston, combined to create musical perfection, performing some stunning pieces which impressed all there. Yes, I was impressed! We were then treated to a lovely meal with good food and wine. The event was very well attended and it was good to get to know a few more faces before the Ironbridge Weekend, which began on the following Friday.
3rd June - Party Ingredients sampling and Mansion House Scholarship Scheme reception
In company with Julia, our Clerk Shaun and his wife Mary, we attended the office of Party Ingredients to sample the food and wine options for our June Dinner at Barber Surgeons Hall. I very much hope that all those attending will approve of our choices.
In the evening I attended a Reception at Old Bailey which was organised on behalf of the Mansion House Scholarship Scheme. The Lord Mayor, Peter Estlin, presented a scholarship to a student from Kuwait and all the scholars were lucky enough to be taken on a tour of Old Bailey by the two Sheriffs.
31st May - Lunch with Lady Mayoress - post by Julia Grundy
Julia writes: I was lucky enough to be invited to a private lunch at the Mansion House with the Lady Mayoress, Lindy Estlin. There were 14 guests including Peter Green, Consort to Sheriff Liz, former Lady Mayoress Lady Mountevans and other Consorts, some coming to the end of their year and others just starting out. We enjoyed drinks in the private drawing room upstairs before the Lady Mayoress showed us parts of their private accommodation, including a wonderful four-poster bed and a huge shoe cupboard. We then went through to the dining room to enjoy a superb meal - I was honoured to be sat next to the Lady Mayoress and it was lovely to chat to her and get to know her a bit better. After lunch, before leaving, Lindy explained about some of the paintings that were on walls of the staircase and also the busts of some of the previous Lord Mayors in the reception hall of the Mansion House. We were allowed into the Plate Room where numerous valuable items are kept including the original Mace and Sword and gilt, silver and gold items of all description that have been given to previous Lord Mayors and the City of London Corporation - some of which are used at ceremonial occasions in the Mansion House.
29th May - Royal Yeeomanry Visitors’ Day
After an early start, Assistant Peter Corah and I arrived on Salisbury Plain for the Visitors Day hosted by the Royal Yeomanry. About 235 Reservists were on exercise and approximately 40 senior officers and administration personnel were there supervising the week’s training. In June it will be the 75th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings and a contingent of soldiers from the exercise will be travelling to Bayeaux in France for the commemorations. We were given a very interesting and detailed briefing by the Commanding Officer, Lt Col MacEvilly, after which we were transported to the field camp and allowed to speak to and mingle with participating soldiers. After witnessing the presentation of training merit awards, we had time to chat with the many visiting senior officers - amongst them our fellow FWK and Honorary Col Bertie Boyle. It was an honour and privilege to attend.
28th May - Mary Rose Talk and Exhibition
Assistant Peter Corah and I attended a very interesting talk and exhibition at Guildhall on the Mary Rose hosted by the Ward of Cordwainer Club. Dr. David Starkey, a trustee and Tudor historian informed us that the ship’s uniquely preserved artefacts gave historians an insight into daily life during the Tudor period. The photo shows us holding a perfectly preserved section of rope and wood from the Mary Rose which is more than 475 years old.
28th May - Prisoners Education Trust seminar
Then in the evening we attended a Seminar at Fishmongers' Hall hosted by the Worshipful Company of Educators and the Prisoners’ Education Trust. A fascinating subject which provoked a multitude of questions to the panel of speakers and invited guests. In attendance was Sheriff Liz Green, her Consort Peter together with Past Master Paul Bethel and Assistant Claire Bethel.
22nd May - Pewter Live
Shaun, Julia and I attended the Livery Reception for the Pewter Live 2019 exhibition at Pewterers' Hall.
We were welcomed by the Master Pewterer who told us a bit about the exhibition and that the pieces upstairs in the Court Room were part of a design competition for students as well as an open section. He also invited us to look at the stalls in the room on the ground floor that were selling all kinds of pewter objects from plates and dishes to jewellery and we did end up buying a couple of pieces ourselves. It was interesting to talk to the stall holders who all showed great skill, flair and imagination in producing their goods.
21st May - Clergy Support Trust Festival Service and Dinner
Julia and I attended the 365th Festival of the Clergy Support Trust (formerly Sons of the Clergy) at St Paul’s Cathedral. After processing in with other Masters, other dignitaries from the Church and City of London followed suit. The service was wonderful with some beautiful singing by three choirs from the Cathedrals of St Paul’s, Coventry and Canterbury, moving testimonials to the work of the Trust from two beneficiaries and a thought provoking sermon by the Dean of Gloucester, Stephen Lake, whose family had also benefited from the Trust. Afterwards we went to Merchant Taylors' Hall for the Festival Dinner where we mingled in the garden area for the pre-dinner drinks before going through to the Livery Hall for the dinner itself. We had an excellent meal with good wines and the main guest speaker was news reporter and Strictly Come Dancing contestant John Sergeant, who spoke about his family connections with the Charity and then took some questions. Sheriff Liz Green was also at the event representing the Lord Mayor.
20th May - Lord Mayor’s Show Briefing
In company with Assistant Jonathan Pears, I attended the Lord Mayor’s Show 2019 Briefing at Guildhall which was hosted by The Pageant Master, Dominic Reid, and Chief Administrator, Helen Field. In addition presentations were given on health and safety, programme content and the Lord Mayor’s Show website. The meeting generated a number of interesting thoughts relevant to our entry in the Parade in November.
16th May - Big Curry Lunch 'Result' Reception
Jonathan Pears and I went to the Lord Mayor’s Reception Big Curry Lunch “Result” at Leathersellers’ Hall this evening. Sheriff Liz Green hosted the event and was delighted to announce that £246,500 had been raised at the Lunch in April and after further support, cajoled by a few Masters, those at the reception made donations and took the total to £250,000.
15th May - Buckingham Palace Garden Party
Today, we put our glad rags on for our trip to London to attend the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. We decided to have lunch before hand at the Goring Hotel, a short stroll from the Grosvenor Place entrance to the grounds. There were several other Masters at the hotel and we walked the short distance with the Upper Bailiff of the Weavers Company and his Consort. We had a lovely afternoon, bumping into a few people and enjoying the afternoon tea and listening to the two bands playing. HRH Prince Charles was hosting the afternoon with HRH Duchess of Cornwall and we had a good view of them as they left the Royal Tent after having had tea and strolled back towards the Palace itself. Having come in through the rear entrance to the garden area, we decided to leave through the Grand Entrance and emerged onto the paths to the front of Buckingham Palace to begin our journey home.
13th May - Gala Dinner, Vintners Hall
The Gala Dinner at Vintners Hall for the Reflections of the 689th Lord Mayor Sir Andrew Parmley was both convivial and entertaining. I was privileged to be on the Top Table, enjoying great conversation with Lady Parmley (the Master Information Technologist), and a Minister from the Chinese Embassy. We were entertained by a very energetic Chinese Dragon dance group and also Imaan and Jamaal Kashim from the Royal College of Music, who played the violin and harp respectively, quite beautifully.
Sir David Wootton gave a short introduction thanking Chris Seow for organising the event. Sir Andrew Parmley reflected on his Mayoral year with an eloquence and style, mixing interest, entertainment and humour quite brilliantly. The evening was rounded off with award presentations for "The Stained Glass Roundel" Competition (sponsored by the Glaziers Company) and a cheque to the benefitting Charity - London Symphony Orchestra Discovery (mentoring young talented musicians).
12th May - Frezenberg Memorial Service
Julia and I together with Liveryman Janie Martin, her husband Robert, and Col Bertie Boyle were at the Frezenberg Memorial Service held at Newtown Linford, followed by the laying of wreaths at the memorial in Bradgate Park. The Cadets Band were there playing on a beautiful sunny day and they joined us for lunch afterwards at Welbeck College.
9th-11th May - Master's Break
Our Master’s Break in Bristol, and 46 Liverymen and guests descended on The Bristol Hotel, situated by the harbour for a couple of nights to enjoy some of what this fantastic city has to offer. The first evening we walked to a local wine merchant, Avery’s, established over 200 years making it the second oldest wine merchant in the UK. We were greeted with some fine champagne, before enjoying a three course meal provided by local caterers and paired with wine by Frank, our host for the evening.
On Friday morning our first visit was to Bristol Cathedral and we then went by coach to the Avon Gorge Hotel for lunch. From the terrace of the hotel there were views of the impressive Clifton Suspension Bridge. We then went a short distance to the Merchant’s Hall and were given a tour of the Livery Hall by butler Gary. In the evening after a short tour of the harbour by water taxi we arrived at the SS Great Britain for the main event of the weekend, a black tie dinner in the First Class Dining Lounge. Before the meal, we were able to enjoy drinks on the weather deck and then a reincarnated Mr Brunel imparted a brief potted history of the ship and how it had been returned to Bristol. After the meal, we were shown around the ship.
Saturday morning saw a visit to the Lord Mayor’s Chapel, a hidden gem in Bristol which is well- worth visiting and then we were taken on a two-hour walk of the city, seeing some bits that an ordinary tourist would have missed - the chewing gum street art, the echos of Orchard Street and the Cash on the Nail plinths outside the Corn Exchange. Luke, our guide, imparted history, quirks and knowledge about all sorts including Banksy and Blackbeard with enthusiasm and humour. Then finally before leaving Bristol, we enjoyed an Afternoon Tea in the Riverside Grille at the hotel - a beautiful conservatory room overlooking the harbour.
All in all a great couple of days in a beautiful and historic city with good weather and, best of all, great company.
8th May - Barts View Day
Clerk, Shaun Mackaness and I attended the 469th ‘Barts View Day’ - this historic event began with Evensong at the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great, followed by a procession of Masters to the Great Hall. Both Sheriffs were present, together with their consorts, and processed in in front of us. After speeches including one by Sheriff Alderman Vincent Keavney, we were all invited to view the Trust’s work first hand with a tour and exhibition. It was good to meet some Masters who will be at Ironbridge in June and truly fascinating to learn of the work of The Barts Charity.
During this time, Julia went along to a Buffet Supper at Guildhall arranged by the Livery Picture Book Committee to meet other Mistresses and Consorts for a pre-Ironbridge Weekend get together.
1st May - City Livery Club Aero Section Luncheon
I was a guest of Capt Arthur Creighton, our speaker at the Installation Dinner, at the City Livery Club Aero Section Luncheon held at the RAF Club - my second visit in a week! After a delicious meal, there was an excellent talk given by Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier. As Head of the RAF, it was a fascinating insight into his thoughts - describing strategy Past, Present and Future. It was also good to see our Steward, Simon Burrows, in attendance.
29th April - Mistress Engineer's Lunch
Julia and I, along with Immediate Past Master Sheila Turner, went to the Mistress Engineer’s (Liveryman Marilyn Wedgewood-Johnson) Lunch at the RAF Club. We were taken on a short tour of the Club before enjoying a drinks reception in the Churchill Room. We then went upstairs to the Sovereign’s Room where Carmel McConnell MBE from Magic Breakfast spoke to us with a great deal of enthusiasm and passion about the charity she set up to enable children all over the country enjoy breakfast before starting lessons at school. We then had a delicious lunch followed by a short Q&A session with Carmel to end the afternoon.
24th April - Annual Cobham Lecture
Past Master Linda Smith and I attended the Annual Cobham Lecture at the RAF Club, which was hosted by The Honourable Company of Air Pilots. The guest speaker was Wing Commander Rob Caine MBE MA RAF who is the Officer Commanding at RAF Valley on Anglesey. Hs spoke about his role, having responsibility for training all RAF and RN pilots. A truly fascinating and interesting insight into training procedures - quite literally only the best of the best will graduate!!
23rd April - Royal Society of St George
Julia and I attended the 125th Anniversary Banquet of the Royal Society of St George (City of London Branch) at the Guildhall. Guests included The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor and Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and our own Past Master, Sheriff Liz Green and her Consort, Peter. After enjoying a champagne reception in the Old Library, we moved through to the Grand Hall to enjoy a delicious four course meal - between the starter and main course, the beef was paraded in and presented to the guests. We were treated to some fine music during the evening performed by The London Banqueting En-semble, buglers walking around the hall performing the Post Horn Gallop and then Mezzo Soprano Claire Barnett-Jones led the singing of 4 patriotic songs amid much flag-waving. Finally there were a couple of speeches including a very entertaining one from John Benjamin, who is a jewellery expert with the Antiques Road Show.
16th April - Consorts' Lunch - Post by Julia Grundy
I was delighted to attend my first Consorts' Lunch on HQS Wellington. About 50 of us met for coffee before being split into groups for a guided tour of the ship and a very interesting insight into the history of the Wellington and we even sneaked a peek at the Master & Mistress Master Mariners' accommodation for the year! We were then able to mingle over a glass of champagne, enjoying the spectacular views of London, before going down to the Court Room for a delicious lunch.
Saturday 13th April - Tour of the Old Bailey
The first social event of my year saw 55 Liverymen and guests enjoy a tour of the Old Bailey and then a delicious lunch in the Judges Dining Room hosted by Paster Master Sheriff Liz Green and her husband Peter.
We split into 2 groups were shown around the Old Bailey including the marvellous Grand Hall, Court No 1 and the cells amongst other bits of this historic building and Peter and Liz gave us an insight into its operation and some of the cases that had been and were to be heard.
Friday 12th April - Installation Dinner
A great start to my year as Master was the Installation Dinner held at Clothworkers Hall. The Light Cavalry were on splendid display as a Carpet Guard and talented harpist Soraya Vermeulen provided musical background during the reception and meal. We enjoyed an excellent meal and some fine wine before guest speaker, Captain Arthur Creighton, entertained us with stories about his experiences as an airline pilot over many years. To conclude the evening we moved back through to the reception area and enjoyed mingling with guests and family over a stirrup cup.