It is a huge honour to have been installed as Master of the Framework Knitters Company for the 2021-2 year and I hope you will enjoy reading about the various events and activities in which I am involved.

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Julian Ellis



12th January - Needlemakers Company luncheon

I was delighted to be invited to attend a luncheon of the Needlemakers Company along with Shaun. The Framework Knitters are number 64 in the order of precedence in the livery and the Needlemakers number 65. We are the only two companies to have been given a charter during the Commonwealth period, and thus have lots in common. I was delighted to be presented with a beautiful needle case containing a wide range of needles. Having specialised in embroidery for technical applications for some 25 years, I have a wide range of needles in my attic at home, but none as splendid as this.

10th January 2022 - Feltmakers Plough Monday dinner

The Feltmakers held their Plough Monday dinner, on the day after the first Sunday after Epiphany, as is the custom. As always, with every livery event I have been to, I found the company most interesting, and conversation flowed. Fitting in eating can sometimes be a slight problem!


?7th December - Weavers Company Charter Dinner

Shaun and I attended the Weavers Company Charter Dinner, held at Vintners Hall. I was made very welcome and by chance, the person delegated to greet me was the son of an old friend, long since passed. As one might expect from the hall we dined well and supped much in the way of liquid libations.

3rd December - Livery virtual supper

I held a virtual supper for Liverymen, Freemen and friends via Zoom. Peter Green did all the technology bit, which I still had problems with it at my end, but nobody seemed to worry too much.

After a short welcome, The Rev Phil White said Grace, and then we settled down to eat. Instead of watching each other feast on screen, there was entertainment in the form of classic comedy sketches, mainly audio only, interspersed with music, most of it being variations on Christmas carols by Rick Wakeman. Then followed a quiz. Many were flummoxed by the music questions of themes from television shows, most of which were from days gone by. David Sanderson preceded his toast to the Company with a most interesting talk about his journey through the Cashmere industry over many years. We then split up for a stirrup cup into virtual rooms.

I hope that we will be able to repeat with events aimed at people who cannot come to all our dinners for various reasons, often being distance and/or cost. There were 26 screens in use, with probably about 40+ participants. If we have regular events, hopefully these numbers will increase

1st December - Annual dinner of Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry

I attended the annual dinner of the Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry, along with a number of other liverymen and guests. It was held at the Cavalry and Guards Club in Piccadilly. I sat alongside the past Honorary Colonel Bertie Boyle and the new Honorary Colonel, Charles Richard’s CVO. I learned from the latter a little about the work of an equerry to Her Majesty The Queen, a post he has held for the last 22 years. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening of good food, good surroundings and good conversation - what more can you want? It is tough being Master!

29th November - Interviews of bursary applicants

For the first time this year, I was involved in interviewing students for bursaries, this time alongside Peter Corah and Jill Journeaux at De Montfort University. It was very stimulating to see the work of three of the top students on the courses. They will have to wait until after the next Court meeting to learn the outcome.

25th November - Funeral of Brian Howkins

Nettie and I attended the funeral of Cottage Homes resident, Brian Howkins. He will be missed by many.

24th November - Lord Mayor's briefing

Shaun and I attended a briefing by the new Lord Mayor, Liveryman Framework Knitter, Vincent Keaveny at Mansion House. We heard his plans for the year and also from the Chairmen of the Livery Committee and the Pan Livery Group.

23rd November - Framework Knitters Museum, Ruddington

Attended the reopening event of the Framework Knitters Museum in Ruddington in a dual role as Chairman of Trustees and Master Framework Knitter, fully robed. I had some competition in apparel because a significant guest was the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire in his full kit, including a sword. It was also attended by local county councillor, past Master Needlemaker, Framework Knitter Master-in-Waiting, Tony Jarvis and funders of the museum redevelopment, amongst many others. The museum looked excellent in its new livery, and was commented on very positively by many.

14th November - Remembrance Sunday

Diana and I, together with Shaun and Mary, attended the City’s service at St Paul’s Cathedral. It was attended by the Lord Mayor, of course, and also Prince Michael of Kent. As moving as all Remembrance Day services are. Gowned, many of those attending the service, especially those of the Livery Companies, processed to the Royal Exchange by Mansion House where wreathes were laid by the Lord Mayor and many others, including one on behalf of the Livery Companies.

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Afterwards, we adjourned to the Guildhall for lunch and then made our ways home after a pretty tiring weekend.

13th November - Lord Mayor’s Show

We were fortunate to have a float in the procession, particularly because of the Lord Mayor’s position with us as a Liveryman. The float, I hadn’t realised before, was purpose built by Rob some years ago rather than being a converted milk float. Rob also drove it for the day. It will be its last outing because the batteries will not survive to another show we attend. We don’t take part each year as the expense is too high, and we would rather spend the money in charitable giving.

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As I currently have mobility problems I was able to sit next to the driver for the whole journey through the very crowded streets. Forty of us, including air and sea cadets and yeomanry, had a great time. Jonathan Pears provided us with masks to wear of the Lord Mayor’s face. They were worn as we approached Mansion House and provided much amusement and laughter from the grandstand. Jonathan works so hard to make the day a great success, we are indebted to him.

12th November - Presentation of Addresses

After the Silent Ceremony we robed and moved to the Art Gallery. The new Lord Mayor processed in, accompanied by the Sheriffs, the Swordbearer and Common Cryer, amongst others. The Remembrancer announced each party presenting a gift to the Lord Mayor or one of the Sheriffs. There is a limit to the gifts presented, for obvious reasons, but since the new Lord Mayor, Vincent Keaveny, is a Liveryman of our Company, we presented him and the Lady Mayor with scarves, stockings and socks.

A number of us met for dinner in the evening as we were staying overnight, and had a most convivial time.

12th November - Silent Ceremony Guildhall

I had not attended the ceremony in the Great Hall before, which is the handing-over from one Lord Mayor to the next. There are no speeches and apart from the new Lord Mayor’s promise to serve well, the whole event is held in silence. Fortunately the Master-in-Waiting and I and my two Wardens were in a front row and could see much of what was going on, but our consorts at the back were less fortunate.

Not as spectacular as Common Hall, but an interesting event which can be attended by non-liverymen, unlike Common Hall.

9th November - Framework Knitters Museum AGM

I attended in my capacity as Chairman of Trustees, but after the conclusion of the short meeting (I like to get AGMs over in as short a time as possible) Jim Grevatte, the Museum Manager, updated the attendees about some of the work going on at the museum, and then I spoke about the work of our livery company and the livery as a whole.

8th November - Service of Thanksgiving for the Lord Mayor of the City of London

The evening service was held at St Stephen Wallbrook, next to Mansion House, the Lord Mayor’s parish church, where he is also a Churchwarden. The service was taken by The Revd Stephen Baxter and the address given by The Revd James Power, Chaplain to the Lord Mayor. The singing, by the choir was simply lovely, and they sang a psalm, the Magnificat and an anthem. There was a reception afterwards in the church.

8th November - Garden of Remembrance Service at St Paul’s Cathedral

Shaun and I attended this moving event, conducted by the Dean of St Paul’s. The Band of the Grenadier Guards were in attendance, along with the Standards of the Royal British Legion, and others. The Lord Mayor gave the address and prayers led by the Dean and Cadets from the City of London Academy CCF. After the Exhortation and Two Minute Silence, I was honoured to plant a cross on behalf of the Framework Knitters.

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The service has a very high representation of Livery Companies, probably the highest of the year.

6th November - Air Cadets Dinner

Diana and I were invited to the Dinner of the East and South Midlands Wing of the Air Cadets by Wing Commander Carl Wilson. I attended not only in my capacity as Master but also as Affiliation Liaison Officer with the Air Cadets. Also attending as Guest of Honour was the previous Wing Commander, Andy Pass, who had not only been promoted to Group Captain, but honoured with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, all within a week. There was much teasing of Andy by his successor Wing Commander.

The evening was a very relaxed event, with many awards being given to staff of the Cadets, who are almost all volunteers. They are much to be admired in the amount and quality of the work they do. Diana and I enjoyed the evening, held in Loughborough.

2nd November - Worshipful Company of Glovers Installation

Unfortunately, due to transport disruption, I was too late to attend the installation ceremony and service in St Margaret Lothbury. Shaun told me that is was a lovely event. However, I was in time to attend the Installation Lunch at Drapers’ Hall. Daphne Cave, the new Master, and her colleagues gave us a very warm welcome in the beautiful surroundings of the hall, in my mind the finest of all the livery halls. I was delighted to be presented with a pair of lovely silk lined leather gloves by First Upper Warden Clive Grimley. On cold days I will be reminded of a splendid event.

27th October - Worshipful Company of Woolmen Civic Dinner

Shaun and I were invited to the dinner, held at Clothworkers’ Hall. It was a splendid evening dining on fillet of beef and other fine foods. The Upper Warden presented Academic Achievement awards and the Response to the Civic toast, proposed by Master Sir David Wootton, was responded to by Alderman Sir Andrew Parmley. The speech made much of the difference between Lancastrians(Sir Andrew was raised in Lancashire) and Yorkshiremen (Sir David is very much a White Rose Man from Bradford). However, after dinner, Sir David quietly told me that Sir Andrew had actually been born in Yorkshire! The Toast to the Guests was proposed by Under Warden and responded to by the Master of the Guild of Young Freemen. The Master Woolman responded.

After the stirrup cup it was suggested that we retire to The Ned, a five star hotel alongside the Bank of England. The bouncers were very reluctant to allow some twenty white tied liverymen in, but eventually were persuaded to refer to upper authority, so we entered the bar and continued good conversation there!

23rd October - Social Visit to the Postal Museum

Our visit started with a ride on the old train that ran from Mount Pleasant sorting office to the major London train stations, before being discontinued almost 20 years ago due to decreased demand and new methods of mail delivery. We then moved across the road to the main museum site, where we are able to learn about the development of the postal system over the centuries, the introduction of telegraphy and then the telephone, originally run by the Post Office. Most interesting and an excellent choice from our Social Committee. It was well attended by some 21 liverymen and their guests.

We later adjourned to a local hostelry where we chatted over lunch together.

22nd October - Our Annual Banquet

This year I had decided to hold the banquet at Haberdashers Hall. It is a while since we met there, in a magnificent modern hall. The main hall itself has a splendid modern ceiling of wood. Many of the wall hangings were made almost entirely of buttons, something that one would not necessarily spot unless close inspection is made. One provided a great background for formal photographs.

My Chaplain, the Reverend Phil White, started formal proceedings with a brilliant Grace, in his own inimitable style, and then our Beadle, Jamie Wallace, took charge of making the evening run smoothly, with his own quiet style. That is, quiet except when making announcements!

The meal, including venison in the main course was perfectly cooked and as a choice seemed to meet universal approval. The tuna starter and chocolate eclairs rounded of a splendid meal, beautifully presented.

Music was provided by the Band of the Royal Yeomanry (Inns of Court and City of London). Their choice of music for the entertainment section of the evening included a selection of music from the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, a novel and delightful idea for a brass ensemble.

Our Guest of Honour was Sir David Wootton, who has graced us with his presence on a number of occasions previously. I realised beforehand that there is a limit to the number of pairs of socks embellished with our Coat of Arms that any man wants or needs. I was therefore able to give him a pair of long stockings to go with his britches, and although, unfortunately unable to be present because of ill health, Lady Wootton with a frame knitted shawl.

Peter Corah proposed the toast to the Guests, and I, of course, responded to Sir David’s toast to the Company.

Shaun and Mary put in their usual teamwork to prepare for the evening, and I thanked them and all the others who made the evening such a success, most heartily.

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19th October - Presentation Dinner

Several of us, my two Wardens, Liz Green and our Gallant Clerk, attended the Presentation Dinner at Vintners Hall. The idea is to present the incoming Lord Mayor with gifts specially related to him. We were due to give him a scarf embellished with his Coat of Arms. The actual presentation had been due to take place the previous night, but had understandably been cancelled because of the murder of MP Sir David Amess. I trust that out gifts have actually reached our Liveryman Vincent Keaveny, however.

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It was evening with a difference, because there were many distinguished guests who were not from livery companies, so conversation at the reception was unusually wide ranging. For example, I sat next to the Yeoman Usher, a job title new to me. He told me something about his work as the assistant to Black Rod, working mainly in the House of Lords. Other guests around me were also very interesting dinner companions, and I enjoyed their good company.

7th October - Horners Company banquet

Diana and I attended a splendid banquet of the Horners Company in Mansion House as a guest of the Master, Martin Muirhead. It was their first ‘live’ event for many months, and was attended by, perhaps, 250 people. All the attending livery masters and their consorts were seated on the same spur of tables, so we were very comfortable with each other, because our paths had often crossed at earlier events in recent months, albeit usually briefly. The Horners' annual awards were presented by Sir Andrew Parmley, and the main speaker was Prof Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England and a Cordwainer. You may have seen him on television throughout the pandemic, often alongside the Prime Minister at briefings. Excellent speeches, and a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

6th October - Annual Musicians' Service

Diana and I attended the annual Musicians’ Service at St Paul’s Cathedral, along with a number of our liverymen. Upper Warden Liz Fox, Gallant Clerk Shaun and I robed in the crypt before the service and processed in. There were over 60 livery companies represented in the procession, and the chaos as we tried to arrange ourselves in order of precedence was actually quite fun. The service was evensong according to the a version developed by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (a good Nottinghamshire lad who was executed just before fellow Notts lad William Lee invented the Knitting Frame). The choir and organ were magnificent, although sitting under the great dome some of the detail gets lost in the 12 second reverberation time. We could have done with a third hymn, since the two we did sing were sung with full voice by the congregation of liverymen and clerks around me. There was no sermon, but a long list of those members of the Musicians Livery Company who had died since the last service in 2019 was followed by Elgar’s Elegy for Strings, played by the Royal College of Music String Orchestra. Sadly, that was their only contribution, as it was lovely.

The service was followed by a reception in the crypt.

1st October - Framework Knitters' Museum, Ruddington

I visited the Framework Knitters’ Museum in Ruddington to see the progress that has been made in the Museum development project since the builders handed the site over. It is beginning to look splendid with new displays, new interpretation and new reception, garden, shop and cafeteria. We are all looking forward to the soft opening on 20th October, with an official opening a couple of weeks later.

29th September - Common Hall

Michaelmas, the day for the election of the next Lord Mayor.

Shaun and I met for breakfast before walking to the Guildhall to prepare. Performing one of the many duties of the Clerk, he helped me robe and attach my chain of office. All the Masters then had to be organised in reverse order of precedence - we are number 64 of 110 (assembling us in order is not an easy task) before the Masters processed into the hall at the beginning of the ceremony. After being warned that if we were not liverymen we must leave the hall on pain of imprisonment, the Lord Mayor processed in with his retinue. The important members carried nosegays, reminding us of the days of the great unwashed. The election proceeded with its usual ceremonial. The Livery were presented with five candidates, two were rejected and told that they should present for candidature later, and we offered two candidates for the Aldermen to consider. As planned, Vincent Keaveny, Citizen and Framework Knitter, was duly elected Lord Mayor of the City of London for the ensuing year.

Any Liveryman who has not attended this Common Hall, or the one to elect the two Sheriffs on Midsummer Day, I would strongly advise to do so. It is a wonderful event full of history and tradition. The first time I went, I bored everybody rigid afterwards about what I had experienced.

Framework Knitters attending Common Hall then adjourned to Butcher’s Hall for lunch.

27th September - meeting of Textile Livery companies

Shaun and I joined a meeting of the Textile Livery companies. We started our meeting at the current Museum of London with an explanation of their plans, then discussed forthcoming work of the group, particularly the Textile Sustainability Conference to be held on 12th May 2022 in Drapers Hall. We then all walked to Smithfield to see the site of the new Museum of London due to open in 2024. The whole site is staggering in its sheer size and ambition. Currently it uses more scaffolding than any other project in London, as the buildings are being redeveloped, refurbished and ready for the museum to eventually move in. I was most impressed, and looking forward to seeing the project develop further.

Afterwards, Shaun and I went to Haberdasher’s Hall to discuss details of the forthcoming banquet there.

26th September - London sheep drive

Diana and I attended the annual sheep drive, this year across Southwark Bridge, and I was able to exercise my right to herd animals across a city bridge without paying a toll. Had I been going to sell them, the absence of a toll would have increased my profits, a significant benefit to Freemen of the City.

I was fully robed and wore my bonnet, with my Master’s badge on a ribbon. My photo was taken countless times: there was a large crowd enjoying the spectacle and also the stalls at both ends of the bridge. The weather was dry and mild, and that all contributed to a most enjoyable day.

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25th September - Celebration of the life of Trevor Bowmer

Along with several other liverymen, I attended the celebration of the life of Trevor Bowmer, Court Assistant and Secretary of our Education Committee, who died earlier this year.

I was honoured that Trevor’s wife, Marie, asked me to explain to the packed room in Matlock Bath about the livery and Trevor’s involvement. I was, of course, able to give my own memories of and tribute to such a lovely man.

21st September - Big Curry Lunch reception at Mansion House

There was a reception held at Mansion House to celebrate the fund raising for the armed forces charities organised by The Livery in the form of The Big Curry Lunch. Despite only virtual events being held over the last year the Big Curry Lunch raised £218,000.

Our Clerk, Shaun, and I attended, along with a mix of people involved in the events. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester graced the reception with their presence, and there were many senior military figures present too, including the Chief of the Defence Staff. There were not as many representatives of other livery member companies present as I expected, but our own Liz Green, a member of the organising committee for the Big Curry Lunch was there too. It was a good opportunity to meet people from outside the Livery and often explain to them what the Livery Movement was all about.

10th to 12th September - Leicester Weekend

10th September

Sadly I was not well enough to award the prizes at the Golf Competition. Tony Jarvis won again. A highlight of the day was that Baroness Byford won the Byford Cup after trying for ten years. Congratulations!

11th September

In the morning, I attended the Ceremony of the Socks at Wigston Framework Knitters’ Museum. I had not visited before, as they normally only open on Sunday afternoons. It is so very different from the Ruddington museum and worth a visit.

A pair of socks, made at the museum, was presented to the Mayor of Wigston as rent. They were beautifully framed, and the Lady Mayor delighted with them.

I chaired the Court Meeting in Corah Hall in the afternoon. I was congratulated on the shortness of the meeting, but in reality this was because it was only some seven weeks since the previous one that had been put back by a month.

In the evening a reception was held in Leicester Cathedral, followed by dinner in St Martin’s Rooms next door. The Lord Lieutenant and I were conducted into the Great Hall by my Sword Bearer, Cadet Flight Sergeant Sheena Chouhan from Birstall 1947 Squadron Air Cadets. This was a complete innovation, as nobody knew of a Master having a sword bearer before. This year’s Master likes to be a little bit different!

The entertainment was a magician who baffled everybody. The food was plentiful, and I believe everybody enjoyed themselves.

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12th September

The Annual Church service was held at Saint Peter’s Oadby and conducted by my chaplain, the Reverend Phil White. The preacher was Jon Tearne, curate. Sadly not very well attended by other than Court Members, but there were several absences due to ill health. We had a very good organist on a good organ - I love organ music.

The Barbecue at the Cottage Homes was cooked for us by Underwarden Matthew Ellis and his brother-in-law Assistant Peter Corah. The weather was nice and dry and many of the residents came and joined us for lunch and good conversation. Many people helped set up the event, with Nettie, our Homes Administrator working particularly hard. I thank all who were involved in arranging a splendid event.

I went home and slept for 13 hours!

7th September - Worshipful Company of Fletchers' 650th Anniversary church service

The Clerk and I attended the 650th Anniversary church service of the Worshipful Company of Fletchers, followed by a reception. There were, by coincidence, 65 livery companies represented. The talk of their next 650 years was rather staggering. Let’s hope that they are still going strong then! We will never know.

6th September - Jailed and Bailed

I was summoned to the Old Bailey, where I was promptly put in front of the Sheriffs and charged with causing distress to a fellow Liveryman by convincing him that there would be no wine at my dinners this year, and also boasting about the hoax at the Summer Dinner. Since I showed no remorse, I was duly sent to The Tower of London to consider my crimes.

Then, with 26 other felons, I was transported to The Tower in an old Routemaster bus. We were there to be fed on bread and water until we could raise at least £1,000 bail in aid of the British Red Cross. Fortunately I had managed £1,850 with the help of fellow liverymen and friends. The bread and water turned out to be a buffet lunch, I’m pleased to say.

My Consort, in association with other consorts of felons, went to lunch to be soothed from their worries, and were spoken to gently by a representative of the Red Cross. They met us outside The Tower to celebrate our release.

The day raised £45,810.

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24th August - Brigantes Breakfast

Diana and I, Shaun and Mary Mackaness and several other Framework Knitters, went to Leyburn in Yorkshire for a Brigantes Breakfast. The Brigantes is a group set up for liverymen who live in the north of England, the originals being a Celtic northern tribe before the time of the Roman Conquest.

The meeting, attended by around some 250 people was held at the premises of Tennants Auctioneers, who began the proceedings with a lecture “A view from the Rostrum.” One of the little gems of information was about a Chinese vase brought in by a couple living in a modest £125,000 house that sold for £2.3 million. You never know what gems you might have tucked away.

The lecture was followed by a reception and lunch. My lunch companions were very interesting, and Diana, further down the table thought that the debate near her might turn into another War of the Roses! It was altogether a most enjoyable day, and invigorating to meet in lively and friendly fellowship.

10th August - Funeral of Robert Clayton

Nettie and I attended the funeral of Robert Clayton. Robert and Pat only came to the Cottage Homes recently, but his passing was not unexpected. Robert wanted Pat to be settled into her new home before he died. From the lovely tributes paid and the many present, he was clearly a man well loved by many. Sadly he was not with us long enough for us to get to know him properly. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pat and her family.

26th July - Apothecaries Dinner

I attended a dinner for masters and clerks as a guest of the Apothecaries. Also attending were Immediate Past Master Ian Grundy and Gallant Clerk Shaun Mackaness.

There were 100 in attendance and past masters were included because a previous event had not been held during of the lockdown period. One of the many people I spoke to before and during the dinner was the Immediate Past Master Stationer, Stephen Platten. We quickly discovered that we had a mutual friend. Stephen had lost contact with him and I was readily able to do the honours. I also later discovered that Stephen and I were born in the same academic year in the same London borough, although we did go to different schools. One of those coincidences that the Livery is full of.

The dinner was very enjoyable with excellent food and tremendous good company. I made the mistake of going home on the late train with the result that I didn’t get to bed till 2 o’clock in the morning. Never again!

24th July - Social visit to Handel's House and Jimi Hendrix's flat

Just seven of us attended the social event visiting George Frederick Handel’s house in Mayfair and also the adjacent flat of Jimi Hendrix. The guides were superb. The first told us much about Handel, his friends, his performers and a lot of other details. The second guide showed us how a harpsichord worked and the third, in Jimi’s flat, many interesting facts about how he lived during his time in London. Lunch followed in a nearby pub and, being a small group, we had a really good discussion about the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything.

23rd July - Court Meeting and Summer Dinner

In the afternoon I chaired my first Court meeting as Master. We admitted three new Freemen and then two of them were later admitted as Liverymen, and a third new Liveryman, already a Freeman. Their details will be in the next newsletter. The court considered a proposal to set up a wine committee and this was done with the new committee charged with exploring a range of issues to see whether this would be practical for our particular company. Also during the meeting, Assistant Simon Burrows was presented with the David Byers Award by Immediate Past Master Ian Grundy, in recognition for his work on the archive at Corah Hall, and for his help and assistance with various IT matters.

Afterwards, the Summer Dinner was held at Innholders Hall, with 60 diners. We were entertained by the Knox String Quartet from the Guildhall School of Music with a wide range of compositions. The food, from three-star Michelin chef Herbert Berger, was absolutely excellent and many commented to me on it very positively indeed. My favourite course was the desert, which Herbert had told me about when we discussed the menu for the evening, but, of course he would not divulge the recipe, just the ingredients, but it was pineapple marinaded in herbs and spices: a winner of many awards and absolutely special. Susan Jagelman proposed the toast to the guests, and Jim Grevatte, the manager and the curator of the Framework Knitters’ Museum in Ruddington gave a most interesting talk about the ongoing development work at the museum. He told the assembled company that more people had set foot on the moon than were currently skilled framework knitters. It has recently been put on the Red List of endangered crafts. The museum, which is the only place in the world where anybody can learn to use a frame is trying to address that issue and preserve our heritage.

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The evening was a great success: the food was absolutely superb, the musicians struck just the right note, and the new freedom for my guests made for an altogether lovely evening.

19th July - Lord Mayor's Covid 19 Livery Award

I was privileged to be invited, on a very hot day, to accompany Liz Green and her son Edward to Mansion House to witness Liz being given a prestigious Covid 19 Livery Award by the Lord Mayor for her role in organising the Knitting for the Community project.

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13th July - Talk to the 2021/2022 Masters Group

Along with the Upper Warden of the Spectacle Makers Company I gave a short talk to the 2021/2022 Masters Group. Ian Davies gave a most interesting talk about eyes spectacles and other sight problems. I preceded him with a short talk about framework knitting and the Luddites.

6th July - meeting with Treasurer and Clerk

Matthew, Under Warden and Treasurer, Clerk Shaun and I met in person to discuss various administrative matters informally. It is always helpful too, to run some of my weird ideas before somebody before further discussion - or abandonment!

5th July - Cottage Homes Management Committee

I attended the monthly meeting of the Cottage Homes Management Committee held virtually. It was good to hear that the new seating around the centre lawn space has now arrived and is in place, ready for more socialising. Karl continues to work hard looking after the site, and doing a wide range of little jobs for the residents. He is a real treasure.

30th June - a busy week ...

A busy week with discussions by email and telephone with our Clerk, Shaun, but no other activities.

The disruptions caused by a virus you may have heard of upset earlier arrangements, so we needed to fix a new venue for the Banquet on 22nd October. It is now settled to be held at Haberdashers Hall, which is a lovely modern hall in Smithfield. We will be discussing the menu with the caterers much nearer the time.

Sadly, many who had originally been coming to the rearranged court meeting and dinner at Innholders Hall had already planned to be away on the new date of July 23rd. The limit on the number of guests that can be invited has now been lifted.

24th June Midsummer’s Day - Elections at Guildhall

This is the day when the Sheriffs, Ale Connors and Bridge Masters are elected. There was only one representative of each livery company invited and the seating in the Guildhall was spread out. The ceremony was not as usual, and livery masters did not process in. There were no contested elections either, so all was done on a show of hands. Still a great event, though.

This was preceded by a breakfast for some of us and a lunch in the Guildhall organised by the Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants. It was absolutely great to meet interesting people and do normal things again, even if socially distanced during meals. Made me feel really alive again.

22nd June - Lord Mayor’s service of Reflection and Hope

The annual United Guilds Service at St Paul’s Cathedral was cancelled some time ago. Instead there was a Lord Mayor’s service of Reflection and Hope. We were welcomed by the Dean, and the preacher was the Bishop of London. Representatives of the Catholic Church, and the Moslem and Jewish faiths also took part.

Many livery masters processed from Apothecarys Hall to the cathedral beforehand. Sadly the planned lunch I was to attend was cancelled, so I went to a museum instead!

15th June - Fletchers Company Lecture on Poll Tax Riots

Attended a most interesting virtual lecture from the Fletchers Company. It was about recent research into the Poll Tax riots (remember Watt Tyler?) and delivered by the research leaders themselves from a consortium of universities funded by the AHRC.

10th June - Inter-livery croquet

I participated in the Inter-livery croquet competition at the Sussex Croquet Club organised by The Glovers. I was partnered by friend Alan who lives not far away, who I hoped was a better croquet player than me (he was). The weather was glorious, and sun cream essential. The battle was hard fought. The winners were the Leather Sellers, who looked as it they play croquet more than occasionally. All we know is that the strongest team were the Makers of Playing Cards, who held up the rest of the table. That means we were not last. We did win one game out of five. Enormous fun, great social event and wonderful lunch laid on.

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8th June - Virtual meeting with Vincent Keaveny

I attended a virtual meeting where Liveryman Vincent Keaveny described his plans for his year as Lord Mayor (subject to election, of course). We will be participating in the Lord Mayor’s Show on 13th November. If you have never seen it,it is the world’s longest unrehearsed procession with some 7,000 participants, with large crowds lining the streets of the city. Watch out for news nearer the time.

7th June - Cottage Homes Management Committee

I attended the monthly meeting of the Cottage Homes Management Committee.

3rd June - RHS lecture by Prof Alistair Griffiths

I attended an online lecture by Prof Alistair Griffiths, Director of Science & Collections, Royal Horticultural Society about how gardens, gardening and growing plants can help towards improving the wellbeing of people. His ambition is to build a more resilient gardening community who enjoy their gardens and who take positive action to benefit their gardening handprint on the planet and to maximise the health of our nation. Fascinating stuff.

25th May - Textile Livery Group and Melton Mowbray Air Training Corps

In the afternoon I attended a meeting of the Textile Livery Group. The plans for a conference on the subject of Textiles and Sustainability are developing steadily ready for the event in May 2022. Further discussion was about the fashion and textile resource website, which is expected to be an extensive resource for teachers, pre-16s, post-16s, parents and career advisors. The project is led by UK Fashion and Textiles, whose CEO is Liveryman Adam Mansell. Adam also reported that the pent-up demand for textiles and clothing is now showing up in order books, although there are considerable problems related to the changes brought about by Brexit.

In the evening, accompanied by Past Master George Turner, I visited RAF 1279 Squadron (Melton Mowbray) of the Air Training Corps. We had an opportunity to visit their facilities and chat to some of the cadets and staff, before attending a ceremony led by Wing Commander Andy Pass, awarding achievement certificates to many of the cadets, and commendations to some of the staff and, particularly one to the whole squadron from “high up in the MoD”. The final award of the evening was presenting the Framework Knitters Master’s Award to the Squadron Officer Commanding, Flight Lieutenant Daniel McGlynn. Daniel has worked tirelessly for some 16 years and achieved much to bring the squadron to a high standard through sheer hard work and commitment. He has also organised projects across the wing, notably during the pandemic. It took a long time to read out the full citation, he has done so much. He certainly is highly deserving of our Annual Award.

24th May - Virtual tour of Capel Manor College gardens

My Consort and I went on a virtual tour of Capel Manor College gardens with the Launderers. We were both keen to see what they were like since neither of us had visited for very many years since we lived in the area – Enfield in North London. There have been considerable changes in the last 40 years!

_**21st May - Visit to Innholders Hall

The Clerk and I visited Innholders Hall to meet Herbert Berger, the Chef, to discuss the menu for the forthcoming Summer Dinner. His suggestions were very exciting and I am really looking forward to the event. Sadly I couldn’t wheedle out of him the recipe for his multi-prize winning dessert, although he did tell me the ingredients.

12th May - No Going Back Project and Barts900

In the morning I had a meeting with two representatives of the No Going Back project. This is a project working with prisoners due to be released in the near future to prepare them for work and provide housing and support on release. This is, of course, to minimise their chances of reoffending. The project is funded by a good number of livery companies led by the Mercers. The project is now ready to expand into other parts of the country from its initial pilot working with a London prison. As many will know, I have had a long experience working with prisons and prisoners and the discussion was to explore how our Liverymen might help with providing employment opportunities and / or mentoring.

In the evening I attended the launch of Barts900, an appeal for £15 million to celebrate their 900th anniversary in 2023. They plan to develop a breast Cancer Centre and clinical research area for drug trials, as well as conserve their historic Great Hall. The appeal, with the Prince of Wales as its patron is very ambitious with its aims but they are clearly very determined to raise the money. The appeal was followed by a service from the church of Saint Bartholomew the Great. Most of the singing was from an unaccompanied choir, which was absolutely beautiful. As befits a hospital, the reading by the Lord Mayor and following sermon was based on the parable of the Good Samaritan.

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Barts have produced a long video which will enable you to view the service and also explains the Barts' history and work and the Barts900 appeal. Click here to view the video.

11th May - virtual service in St Paul's for Clergy Support Trust

After a busy day dealing with a whole range of livery matters, it was wonderful to join a virtual service based in Saint Pauls Cathedral and gain some peace. There were contributions from the choirs of Liverpool and Southwark Cathedrals; the preacher was the Rt Rev Paul Butler. The service was held to promote and celebrate the charity formerly known as the Sons of the Clergy now called the Clergy Support Trust.

5th May - Virtual visit to Treloars

In the afternoon, I joined with a number of other Livery Masters on a virtual visit to Treloars School and College, which is for disabled children and young people from the age of 2 to 25. Treloars has been supported for many years by the Livery. The establishment has adopted leading methods to meet the complex needs of the students. They are provided with education leading to employability, confidence and life skills. The visit included the sixth form giving us an inspiring snippet of a performance yet to be held of “What the Dickens”, their own version of Oliver Twist. We saw a taste of some of Lionel Bart’s songs from his musical Oliver. We also visited Treloar Print, the printing company staffed by students which is available to all for commercial work. They also told us about their appeal for funds for the refurbishment of their theatre hall.

In the early evening, my consort Diana and I went to a virtual lecture arranged by the City Consorts Committee on the subject of the Quirks and Histories of the Liveries, given by the Clerk to the Bakers Company, Lance Whitehouse. Although I had heard some of the quirks before, some were completely new, all adding to my knowledge of some of the strange histories and activities in the City. A fascinating talk.

29th April 2021 - Lecture on Walker Kirtland Hancock

This evening I attended a virtual lecture organised by the Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars given by one of their Liverymen, Anne Haley, who spoke from Gloucester, Massachusetts about the sculptor and medal designer, Walker Kirtland Hancock, who also lived in Gloucester. Apart from being a very distinguished artist, Hancock was one of the Monuments Men, who were tasked towards the end of the Second World War by General Eisenhower, to save structures, objects or documents of cultural, artistic or historic value which had been looted and hidden by the Nazis. Their work was famously featured in a film The Monuments Men. I was interested to learn that several countries still have task forces to carry out the same objectives in war torn countries.

27th April 2021 - Meet the Sheriffs

After several days replying to many emails and letters of congratulations on my appointment as Master, in the evening I attended a virtual ‘Meet the Sheriffs’ event, where the candidates for Sheriff spoke about themselves to new Masters and prospective Masters. The elections to Sheriff will be taking place on Midsummer Day as usual, but not in the form that Common Hall usually takes. The details are yet to be determined.

24th April 2021 - Installation

Certainly a novel start to my year as Master. For the first time in our 364 year history a hand-over ceremony was held not only virtually, but in advance of the Court Meeting. A ceremony, where the new Master and Wardens made their declarations, was held at the Framework Knitters’ Museum at Ruddington, near Nottingham and videoed. The video was shown at the Court Meeting a few days later, and the declarations made again in front of the virtual Court Meeting. I then became Master.

It was rather strange to find that whereas my predecessor, Ian Grundy, has been called Master throughout the meeting, suddenly I was called Master! These things take a little getting used to.

The Installation Dinner was held the following day, on Saturday 24th April, also virtually. Having been set up very capably by our Gallant Clerk, Shaun, who had determined table allocations, he had then handed over responsibilities for the Zoom management of the event to Peter and Liz Green, as Shaun was by now recovering from surgery. The event ran very smoothly. Jonathan Pears gave an excellent speech as preparation for the toast to the guests, bringing in each of the Companies who were represented by their Masters or Clerks on a timeline. That began with the Horners, since early knitting needles were made from horn, and slowly progressed to the parachute fabric, made by Heathcote Fabrics, that was used for the Mars lander a few weeks ago. The Master Horner, Martin Muirhead responded with a splendid speech on behalf of the guests, and I responded to his toast afterwards.

My table was joined by my family and some of my closest friends, which was simply wonderful, and by all accounts, all the almost 100 people attending enjoyed the evening.