I hope through my diary to give you an idea of what Julia and I experience during this year when it is our privilege to represent our wonderful Company at events and activities in the City of London and beyond. I have included number of posts by my consort, Julia which will provide a flavour of her activities.
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.