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.
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.