I intend in my Diary this year to give a flavour of the various events and activities in which I am involved during my year as the Master Framework Knitter. To give a more complete picture am also going to include posts by my consort, Duncan King which will provide a flavour of his activities.
I hope you will enjoy reading about our activities.
Friday 30th November - Dinner with the Curriers'
Friday evening was an early dinner with the Court of Curriers' at the Tallow Chandlers' Hall. Interestingly the Curriers' Court is made up of the Master, Wardens and Past Masters only. There were only 24 of us for dinner, 20 from the Curriers' and four guests. The meal and wine were lovely as was the conversation and company. There was a short speech from the Master Jeremy Kean and a reply by guest Chris Bilsland.
Wednesday 28th November - Lunch at the Old Bailey
Sheriff Liz Green was the perfect host with a glass of bubbles before lunch in her apartment at the Old Bailey. This gave time for myself and the other guests to get to know each other. They were the Chief Commoner John Scott and Wayne Lee from CIBC along with Alderman Prem Goyal. We then moved to the larger reception area to meet the judges and finally to the dining room for lunch. I was seated by His Honour Judge Anthony Bate who had a connection with Honley, West Yorkshire through his son. On my other side was Mr Recorder Oliver Sells who I watched in action in Court 4 after lunch. It was an amazing experience to lunch with such distinguished guests and to sit in on a number of courts afterwards.
Wednesday 21st November - Festival of St Cecilia at St Paul's Cathedral
This celebration of music is organised annually by Help Musicians UK and rotates between St Paul's, Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. The choirs from each establishment join together to perform some lovely anthems, and the hymns that we could join in with were well-known. The sermon was given by The Reverend Richard Coles who might be known to people from his time in the 80's pop band The Communards and his short lived dance career on Strictly Come Dancing. Jane Asher, actor and cake maker, read a beautiful poem and there was a moving testimonial from Anna Paola who has had a varied musical career.
In the afternoon Duncan was the guest of the new Lady Mayoress Lindy Estlin at the Guildhall Club whereas I was at Mansion House listening to the new Lord Mayor Alderman Peter Estlin map out his plans for his year in office.
Friday 16th November - Student interviews at Huddersfield
The dream team of Past Masters Anthony Turner and George Turner and myself met up at Huddersfield University campus to interview three students for a bursary award. The interviews were held in the Sparks Jones building which was originally built in 1865 for Benjamin Lockwood and used for woollen spinning. You can still smell the raw wool - a very appropriate setting. Two of the students had been on the Shima training course earlier in this year. Their enthusiasm about the course was obvious and their knowledge much improved. Our only disappointment was that the Shima machine at Huddersfield is not working at the moment. We hope it will be up and running soon with help from Emily and Chelsea.
Monday 12th November - The Lord Mayor's Banquet
This was my final duty as a member of the Lord Mayor's and Sheriffs' Committee (LMSC). We escorted the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs from the porch to the Old Library for the reception before dinner. Then I went back to the porch to wait for the Archbishop of Canterbury to show him and his wife to the reception. Four of us from the committee formed an escort through the Old Library to the dias where the Lord mayor and Sheriffs greeted the visitors. Once the Prime Minister and Philip May were received, dinner was called and the majority of the 700 guests made their way to the main hall. There was a fanfare to announce the Lord Mayor and principal guests and we clapped them in. After dinner there were speeches by the Lord Mayor, The Prime Minister, The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chancellor.
Saturday 10th November - The Lord Mayor's Parade
What a day! The sun shone and the crowds came out to see the floats. The day started with breakfast at Guildhall and an opportunity to watch the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs take to their carriages in Guildhall yard. We were able to watch some of the early floats go by before getting into our carriage ready to join the procession. It was wonderful to see the crowds and to catch sight of Framework Knitters amongst them as well as as other Livery friends. We had to exit the carriage at the Royal Courts of Justice and take our places in the Court Room before the Lord Mayor came in to swear his allegiance. Then back into the carriage for the return journey to Mansion House along the Embankment. We got back just before the rain arrived. In the carriage for the Framework Knitters were the Master, Upper Warden Ian Grundy, Past Master Sally Murray and our gallant Clerk Shaun Mackaness.
Friday 9th November - Lunch with Lord Mayor-Elect
As a member of the Lord Mayor's and Sheriffs' Committee (LMSC) I was invited to lunch with the Lord Mayor-Elect, along with other members of the LMSC, Sheriffs and Aldermen. It was a relatively small number for lunch (only 80) in the Egyptian Room. Afterwards it was quick walk to Guildhall to take up my duties in the Lord Mayor-Elect's deputation. We assembled outside the Aldermen's Court to see Alderman Peter Estlin voted in as Lord Mayor. Then we escorted him from the Courtroom to the main hall for the Silent Ceremony. I had my robes on with chain of office and had an official City of London wand to carry. During the ceremony the LMSC are honoured to file up and shake the new Lord Mayor's hand.
There was a short break after the Silent Ceremony before the Ceremony of the Presentation of Addresses to the new Lord Mayor and Sheriffs. The Framework Knitters presented Sheriff Liz Green with a visitors book for her to use at the Old Bailey. The leatherbound book has both Liz's coat of arms and the coat of arms for the FWK on the front. As Master I handed over the book and said a few words and was flanked by Past Masters Stephen Woolfe and Linda Smith, Upper Warden Ian Grundy and our gallant Clerk Shaun Mackeness. Liz also received gifts from the City Livery Club, Walbook Ward Club and the Farmers' Company.
Wednesday 7th November - Bursary Award interviews
I met up with Humphrey Barratt and Peter Corah to interview four students at the Royal College of Art for our Bursary Award Scheme. All of the students were of very high quality and had a good knowledge of knit. There are 19 colleges to visit in total and over 50 students to interview so no decision made on the day. That will be for the Committee once all the interviews have taken place.
Tuesday 6th November - Glovers' Installation
The Glovers' Company install their new Master at a church service at St Margaret Lothbury. It was wonderful to be able to watch the new Master Rodney Jagelman take his oath and be robed by the retiring Master, made all the more special as Rodney's wife Susan is a Framework Knitter. After the service we walked to Drapers Hall for lunch where I was sat next to the new Renter Warden Roger De Courcey. Those of a certain age will remember Roger on the TV circuit as a ventriloquist with his stuffed partner, Nookie Bear!
Monday 5th November - Service of Remembrance
It was a cool but dry and sunny morning for the City's Service of Remembrance in St Paul's Churchyard. The Masters were lined up in order of seniority by a very efficient Sergeant-Major. The band played and the Mayoral party including the Sheriffs arrived. After hymns and prayers the Masters each planted a cross with a poppy on it. It was a very moving tribute.
In the evening there was a service of thanksgiving for the Lord Mayor Charles Bowman at St Stephen's, Walbrook as his year in office comes to an end. This was one of the churches I visited on the Inter-Livery church walk so it seemed familiar but was also very different to have the church full and in good voice.
Friday 2nd November - Martin Madden's funeral
Friday 2nd November saw another sad event this week when I attended the funeral of Court Assistant Martin Madden. This was held at St Mary's Catholic Church in South Wigston and then at Great Glen Crematorium. Martin joined the Framework Knitters in 2013 and was instrumental in helping to appoint the new Cottage Homes Administrator. In 2017 he joined the Court and was awarded the David Bryar's trophy for his contribution to the Company. He represented the FWK at the inter-livery golf competition and proved time and time again to be an asset to the Cottage Homes Committee. He will be sadly missed by many people.
Thursday 1st November - Lady Mayoress's 'At Home'
I was back in London again on Thursday 1st November with Duncan for an 'At Home' with the Lady Mayoress Samantha Bowman at Mansion House. There were 450 guests for drinks and canapes in the Egyptian Room. It was a mixture of liverymen and others who have supported Samantha during her year in office. A photo slide show detailed some of the events that Samantha has been involved with and she has certainly had a busy year. She made a short speech thanking the various organisations and wishing her successor Lindy Estlin all the best.
Tuesday 30th October - Lighting Up Ceremony at Guildhall
On Tuesday 30th October I was at Guildhall for the Lighting Up Ceremony. This was part of my role on the Lord Mayor's and Sheriffs' Committee (LMSC). We met in the Aldermen's Court room in Guildhall and were issued with City of London wands. We then had a walk through of our duties and processions for the Silent Ceremony and Presentation of Gifts that both take place next Friday. Then, as a Committee, we went to see the Chief Commoner in his Parlour. It is a ritual that the Chairman of the LMSC asks permission of the Chief Commoner to hold the Lord Mayor's Banquet at Guildhall. There is some banter referencing past Banquets and arrangements that did not go to plan. in 1827 a chandelier fell from the ceiling, slightly injuring the Chancellor and damaging the dress of the Lady Mayoress. Since then the Lighting Up Dinner has been held to check such things do not recur. The dinner was held in the crypt and speeches made by the Chairman, the Lord Mayor-Elect, and then the two Sheriffs, Vincent Keaveny and and our Past Master Liz Green spoke together about the incoming Lord Mayor.
Monday 29th October - Hilda Wakefield's funeral
Duncan and I attended Hilda Wakefield's funeral at Great Glen Crematorium. Hilda was 95 years' old when she passed away and had lived at the Cottage Homes for nearly 30 years. The photos on the funeral sheet showed that she had always has the lovely smile and sunny nature that I remember. Hilda's son Richard spoke about his Mum and her love of dancing. Other residents from the Cottage Homes were also there to pay their respects and there was sandwiches and tea back at Corah Hall afterwards.
Friday 19th and Saturday 20th October - Banquet weekend
Our annual Livery Banquet was held in the evening of Friday, 19th October at the Mansion House in the City, which is the home of the Lord Mayor of the City of London. Unfortunately he was unable to join us but we had his representative Sir David Wootton (Lord Mayor 2011/12) and both Sheriffs, Vincent Keaveney and and our own Past Master Liz Green. In total 202 people sat down for dinner of smoked mackerel pate, beef and then blueberry mousse. We were joined by seven Bursary Award winners who were presented with their parchments by Sir David. The music was provided by the Yeomanry band and included the post horn gallop which works so well in the balcony of the Egyptian room.
On Saturday morning 30 of us gathered for a tour of St Paul's Cathedral. I've been to many services in St Paul's but never taken the time to look around properly. The guide was very knowledgeable. He showed us Painters Corner in the crypt where Sir Fredrick Leighton is buried - whose house we visited back in April. After a super lunch at Cafe Rouge we went back to St Paul's and climbed 550 steps up through the Whispering Gallery, round the Stone Gallery and finally enjoyed fabulous views of the City from the Golden Gallery. It was well worth the effort.
Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th October - Making it in Textiles conference
Last week I attended the Making it in Textiles conference held over two days at the Midland Hotel in Bradford. The conference was organised by The Campaign for Wool, The Clothworkers' Company, The Drapers' Company and the Weavers' Company and this was the fifth year that the conference has been run. It's for final year textile degree students to help forge stronger links between educational institutions and the UK manufacturing industry. There was a total of 94 students and 24 tutors representing 23 universities and colleges. Most of the students have a strong background in weave. Tuesday consisted of a number of seminars and a networking dinner. On Wednesday morning coaches went off to different mills in the area. I was taken to Abraham Moon & Sons, a vibrant and busy mill who card raw wool, dye and spin it and then weave it into cloth for customers such as Burberry, M&S and Boden. The second stop was Laxtons Specialist Yarns to watch wool being spun into hand knitting yarns. A great opportunity for the students to network with industry and for me to learn more.
Wednesday 10th October - Quit Rents Ceremony
Upper Warden, Ian Grundy and I joined other guests of Sheriff Liz Green at the Quit Rents Ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday 10th October. The ceremony dates back to 1211 and involves the City paying rent to the Crown for two pieces of land. One of the token rents is two knives - one blunt and one sharp - for land in Shropshire (no one is exactly certain where that land is!)
The other rent is 6 horseshoes and 61 nails for a forge in Middlesex. This is also the time that the two new Sheriffs are presented with their royal warrants and the parchments were very impressive.
Wednesday 3rd October - Musician's Evensong at St Paul's Cathedral
Masters, Wardens and Clerks arrived early and got robed up in the crypt at St Paul's ready to process in for the service. We joined in the hymns with enthusiasm and listened to the wonderful music from St Paul's choir and The Royal College of Music String Orchestra. Afterwards there was a reception back in the crypt. As I am now half way through my year there were many familiar faces and also a few new ones as masters change over. I was able to say a quick hello to Marilyn Wedgwood, the Mistress Engineer who we look forward to welcoming into the Framework knitters in January.
Wednesday 3rd October - Lord Mayor Sheriff Committee
I was honoured to be asked by Sheriff Liz Green to be part of this committee. We were welcomed by the Lord Mayor elect and the two Sheriffs and asked by Peter Estlin to do just two things - do as we're told and have fun! Hopefully we can all comply. They then retired and it was left to the officers to brief us on aspects of the Lord Mayor's Show and the Banquet. There is an awful lot of hard work done by these people to make the parade of 141 floats run so smoothly. There was a chance to get to know the members of the Committee at lunch afterwards.
Tuesday 2nd October - The Accidental Philanthropist at Leicester Cathedral
This was an evening of wine, song and music at the cathedral hosted by the Dean David Monteith and with the bishop Martyn Snow in attendance. There was singing by the choir and passages read to explain the other areas of the cathedral. There was handout at the end to explain the plans for the new Leicester Cathedral Revealed project. Other framework knitters present were Under Warden Tony Jarvis, Past Master Stephen Woolfe and his wife Helen and liverymen Jan Leaf and Martin Traynor as well as Clerk Shaun Mackaness and his wife Mary.
Monday 1st October - Election of the Lord Mayor at Guildhall
Masters gathered in full robes to process into the Guildhall for the election of the 691th Lord Mayor. Sheriff Liz Green was part of the procession in her stunning red gown.
While the voting was being checked we were spoken to by Angela Roach, Assistant Town Clerk who explained the role of the Town Clerk and recounted some tales from some of the more colourful characters who have held the post in the past. After the ceremony we had lunch at Stationers Hall.
Sunday 30th September - Sheep Drive at London Bridge
Duncan and I along with Upper Warden Ian Grundy and his wife Julia were greeted at London Bridge by Master Woolman Andrew Dawson and helpers from the Young Freeman's Guild. Earlier in the day Alan Titshmarsh was the celebrity herding the sheep and the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs were in attendance too. The event was very well organised and we enjoyed being in charge of 8 sheep for a short walk over the bridge.
Sunday 30th September - Visit to Old Bailey
Sheriff Liz Green invited us to see her new living quarters at the Old Bailey. It did not take long to look around the small but perfectly formed apartment. She also showed us the Judges' dining room where she will entertain the judges to lunch most days. In the dining room she pointed out her coat of arms next to Vincent's and a portrait of the Queen.
Friday 28th September - Admission of Sheriffs and Sheriffs' Breakfast
Many Framework Knitters made the journey to the Guildhall on Friday to see Liz Green take up office as Sheriff. Six of us were lucky enough to process in before Liz and make a guard of honour for her. It was myself, Upper Warden Ian Grundy, Under Warden Tony Jarvis, Clerk Shaun Mackaness, Immediate Past Master Peter White and Past Master Sara Richards. After a rehearsal and walk through we were ready for the real thing. The procession started with many smart uniforms and gown. Once the Lord Mayor had walked past it was our turn to lead in Vincent and Liz and their Chaplains. After the ceremony we had lunch in the Old library where Sir Nicholas Hilliard thanked the retiring Sheriffs and Paul Drechsler Hon CBE welcomed the new Sheriffs. Then both Vincent and Liz spoke about their hopes for the year ahead and thanked their supporters.
Wednesday 26th September - Consorts' event - Lady Mayoress Lunch
_Post by Duncan King - Along with 14 other guests, I was honoured to be invited to a private lunch at Mansion House by the Lady Mayoress. Whilst the party was relatively small it comprised of distinguished guests including past and future Lady Mayoresses and past Non-Aldermanic Sheriff. Following champagne and canapés in the Drawing Room, lunch was served with full silver service in the dining room of the private quarters and as I’m sure you can imagine was absolutely delicious. During the visit the Lady Mayoress walked us through a number of other private rooms and we finished in the Plate room which is home to one of the largest and finest gold and silver plate collections in the world. Many items in the Plate room have been given as gifts or acquired by the Mayoralty and City of London Corporation. Despite being priceless the collection is in regular use for ceremonial occasions, as ornament and table decoration throughout the house. All in all a wonderful experience and great privilege for me.
Wednesday 26th September - City of London Church Walk
Duncan and I joined 40 or so other Masters and Consorts for the annual City of London Church Walk kindly organised by the Plumbers & Constructors. We started in the crypt at St Paul's with bacon rolls and coffee. Then it was off to the first church - St Vedast. I have often hurried past the churches in the City on the way to an event and never taken the time to look inside. Not only did we get a chance to look inside 11 churches, we also learnt a little about each one from our very knowledgeable guide Karen. Lunch was served at St Lawrence Jewry and eaten in the pews! First after lunch was St Stephen Walbrook - a trial run for Wren with its dome that was then copied and improved for St Paul's. The alter at St Stephen is a large granite circular stone by the sculptor Sir Henry Moore and affectionately nicknamed 'The Camembert'. St Stephen's is also the place where the Samaritans was founded and has the original telephone on display. Five further churches followed and the afternoon finished with tea and cake at All Hallows by the Tower.
Monday 24th September - Treloar's Gala Dinner at Mansion House
This is an event that the Framework Knitters have supported over a number of years by taking a table at the dinner and joining in with the raffle and auction. The evening started with a musical performance from some of the students of a shortened version of Beauty and The Beast. It was very good. There were iPads on the table for the silent auction - some stunning prizes. The live auction was just as interesting and saw Sheriff Elect Liz Green make a winning bid for a tour of the ITN news studio - perhaps to watch coverage of the Lord Mayor's Show in November! The aim of the evening was to raise £80,000 for a new mini bus for the school and that was achieved.
Monday 24th September - Chain presentation for Vincent Keaveny
Shaun, Duncan and I joined a large group of guests at the Apothecaries' Hall to see Sheriff Elect Vincent Keaveny being presented with his Chain of office. As with Liz, Vincent's chain has been designed to reflect different aspects of his life and his childhood growing up in Northern Ireland. Past Lord Mayor Sir David Wooten gave the speech about Vincent and his early flair for public speaking and organising people. Vincent and his wife Amanda both spoke in reply to thank everyone who voted for them. The photo below shows me with Duncan and Shaun - note both Duncan and Shaun wearing the new livery tie.
Friday 21st September - Sheriff's Ball at Guildhall
The theme of the Ball was Sheriffs in Wonderland and the Guildhall main hall was transformed with lights and decorations into a spectacular backdrop for the Ball. There must have been near to 500 people at the event - some in fancy dress, some with fancy top hats and some with just bunny ears. There was live music and a DJ so lots of dancing between the courses with a raffle and games to raise money for the Lord Mayor's charities. Duncan and I were on a table with Masters from the Curriers' and Turners but we spotted other Framework Knitters letting their hair down and boogieing the night away.
Wednesday 19th September - Presentation of Shrieval Chain of Office to Liz Green
There was a large turnout at Stationers' Hall for the presentation of the Shrieval Chain of Office and Badge to Sheriff Elect, Past Master Liz Green, and to see the Shrieval Chain that she has had designed and made for her to wear during her year in office. The chain was on display along with Peter Green's badge and postcards explaining the design which features a Leicester fox, a Hertfordshire stag and various Livery emblems on a plain knit stitch background. It is a stunning piece. Sir Andrew Parmley (Lord Mayor 16/17) gave a speech revealing some interesting facts about Liz and wishing her well for her year. Liz responded and Peter too gave a short speech expressing thanks to everyone who helped with the campaign and those who voted for Liz. After the speeches a small group stayed for lunch at Stationers' Hall. Sir Andrew Parmley joined us along with the other Sheriff Elect Vincent Keaveny and Grant Macdonald the silversmith who helped create the chain. It was a very enjoyable lunch of salmon mousse, roast beef and chocolate parfait.
Friday 7th September to Sunday 9th September - Leicester Weekend
What a weekend. A busy three days started with brave golfers tackling the course at Leicestershire Golf Club. After a lovely meal at the Club prizes were awarded to Tony Jarvis as the overall winner and Julia White as best places guest.
On Saturday morning Duncan and I attended the Ceremony of the Socks at the Framework Knitting Museum. This is the peppercorn rent that the museum pays to the Wigston Council to use the buildings year on year.
At lunchtime, before the Court meeting at Corah Hall we were joined by CO Andy Pass and three others from the South and East Midlands ATC to sign our affiliation with them. This was in recognition of 100 years since the formation of the RAF in 1918 and, as a Livery Company, we particularly celebrate the fantastic Voluntary work that goes on with in ATC. A pledge was made by the Lord Mayor to increase the number of Livery Affiliations with the RAF from 78 to 100. This was achieved by this signing, our Company's affiliation being the 100th!
In the evening members of the Livery, residents from the Cottage Homes, Officers from the Army Cadet Force and guests enjoyed dinner at Leicestershire County Cricket Club ground. After a delicious meal we were entertained by the Pipe and Drum Band from the ACF. The young people delighted the diners with rousing tunes and a fantastic drumming display in the dark with UV drumsticks.
On Sunday there was a church service at St Peter's Church, Oadby with the sermon given by the Revd. Gilliam Gamble. After the service there was a buffet lunch at Corah Hall with entertainment from the Melton Brass Band.
Saturday 1st September 2018 - Drumhead Service
Duncan and I went to a Drumhead Service held at the Royal Chelsea Hospital to commemorate the actions of the London Divisions during the final Hundred Days Offensive of the First World War. It was a very warm day for this outdoor service in the Figure Court of the Royal Hospital. Music came from the Royal Yeomany band, The Pipes and Drums of the London Scottish and the North London Military Wives Choir. After the service there was a community event across the road at Burton court. We watched a local gym club vaulting display, scouts competing in a trek cart race and ATC Continuity drill. There were stalls promoting forces volunteer groups and others selling food and drink.
Tuesday 24th July - Distillers' Spirits Tasting
Duncan and I along with Upper Warden Ian Grundy and his wife Julia went to the Spirits Tasting hosted by the Distillers, held at Vintners Hall. Laid out on the tables were 190 bottles of various spirits that have all won awards in the International Wine and Spirits Competition. We were each given a glass and allowed to try anything that took our fancy. It was difficult to know where to start. Along with other Liverymen there were judges present to help identify why a bottle had won the award. My favourite was a Bilberry vodka from Finland - very smooth and fruity.
Sunday 22nd July - Inter-Liver Go-Karting
This was the first year that the Framework Knitters entered a team in the City Livery GO Kart competition held at Daytona Sandown Park racetrack. Our team comprised of Past Master George Turner, Assistant Peter Corah, Consort Duncan King and Alex Price, son of Liverymen Martin and Ros Price. After registration and a safety briefing the team were allowed 10 minutes each in the cart as a warm up and to familarise themselves with the track. Alex posted a very fast lap and this meant the Framework Knitters started in pole position of the track for the main endurance race of 2 hours. It was team tactics as to when to make the driver changes. The Framework Knitters started well but were eventually beaten into second place by the Coopers - a valiant result on our first try and many thanks to the Glovers Comapny for organising such a super event. Special congratulations who Alex who won the trophy for the fastest lap in the race.
Thursday 19th July - Dedication service for Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor
Shaun Mackaness and I attended the Annual Service of Dedication for the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor at the crypt in St Paul's. During the service a new painting was dedicated to the order. The painting depicts St Martin of Tours cutting his cloak in half to share it with a beggar. St Martin is the Patron Saint of the order and his act of generosity is the main principle of the order of Knights Bachelor in looking after those worse off in society. After the service there was a reception at the Apothecaries' Hall.
Monday 9th July - Master's Tea Party for the Oadby Residents
I was delighted that 22 residents came by coach from the Cottage Homes at Oadby to Barnsdale Lodge by Rutland Water. They were joined by 14 Liveryman and partners for a traditional afternoon tea in the conservatory. The staff were kept busy filling up the tea pots as it was a warm day and there was the usual debate about jam or cream first on the scones - either way they tasted delicious.
Friday 6th July - Lightmongers Summer Banquet
This time it was Duncan and I who attended the Lightmongers' Summer Banquet at the Mansion House on a sultry Friday evening. The Lightmongers' Master is a personal friend of Past Master Graham Smith so Graham and his wife Sharon were there too. The splendor of the Mansion House never fails to impress. We dined on smoked salmon, beef fillet and apricot cheesecake. After the ceremony of the Loving Cup we were entertained by the speakers Sheriff Tim Hales, Lord Holmes of Richmond and Master Lightmonger Barbara Harding. Lord Holmes was very inspirational in telling his journey as a blind teenager trying to improve his swimming time in the 100m freestyle. The prospect of shaving 6 seconds off his personal best was broken down into 1/500th second improvement every training session. He did it and won 6 gold medals at the paralympics in Barcelona in 1992.
Wednesday 4th July - Needlemakers' Court Dinner
Clerk Shaun Mackaness and I were guests of the Needlemakers at their Court Dinner at Stationers' Hall. There was a hurried discussion as to whether the reception could be held in the courtyard as rain had been in the area and more forecast. Luckily this did not materialise and we enjoyed pre-dinner drinks in the leafy surroundings. Dinner was potted shrimps followed by roast quail and then poached peaches. There were presentations to students and to their affiliated army regiment. My present for the evening was a wonderful set of sewing needles.
Monday 25th June - Shrieval Election, Guildhall
Monday was the big day - the end of all Liz's campaigning in her bid to become Non-Aldermanic Sheriff for the City of London. We were there at Guildhall Yard early and Liz's team were very visible in yellow jackets with yellow umbrellas. It was lovely to see so many Framework Knitter Liveryman had made the journey from Leicester and other far flung places to attend the election. It was encouraging to see so many people arriving and taking the yellow rosettes with Liz's name on - in fact she had 500 printed and ran out!
The ceremony is one of the oldest elections on record and was full of tradition. All four candidates were allowed to address the audience and all gave a good account of their credentials and thoughts on the job. Then the Lord Mayor retired and the vote by show of coloured cards was taken. It was exciting to see the number of yellow cards being held high as the counting took place. There was then a nervous wait as the numbers were collated and discussed with the candidates. The result was read out and Liz had won by 2:1! Celebrations could really start when the result was accepted by the other candidates and no ballot called for. Afterwards many FWK and other supporters of Liz had lunch at the Insurers Hall and there was a huge cheer when Liz was finally able to join us. We look forward to supporting her throughout her Sherivial year.
Saturday 23rd June - Social visit to Lambeth Palace Garden
Following last night's dinner, for Saturday morning the Social Committee arranged a trip to Lambeth Palace Garden Museum, next door to Lambeth Palace on the Thames near the Houses of Parliament. This was an abandoned church before it was restored and now celebrates British gardens and gardening. There were various exhibitions to explore and a small garden to sit and relax by. Upstairs there was a collection of paintings depicting British gardens. One showed a garden in Holmfirth and my consort Duncan knew of both the painter Trevor Stubley and the owner of the house and garden. We concluded the visit with lunch at a nearby hotel.
Friday 22nd June - Summer Dinner at the HAC
Last Friday was the Summer Dinner held at the Honourable Artillery Club. It was a beautifully warm summer day and the evening started with a reception on the lawn. We then moved indoors to the Long Room for dinner of smoked mackerel, chicken supreme and chocolate mouse. During the meal I took wine with the new Liveryman Mrs Lindy Richards. Then we were entertained by our Gallant Clerk Shaun singing accompanied by the HAC orchestra band. We all joined in the chorus of the 'When the Guards are on Parade.' The band continued with the entertainment playing many familiar songs. The highlight had to be the stunning performance by the xylophone player who used two and then four sticks to pick out his tune. The guest speaker was Carol Isherwood OBE who told of the struggles to set up the Women's Rugby Football Union but also the fun in being part of a new sport.
Wednesday 20th June - Broderers' Election Dinner
Last Wednesday Shaun and I were guests of the Broderers at their Election Dinner held at Mercers' Hall. After the champagne reception we dined on salmon, beef and banana fritter. The unexpected fourth course was a small Croque Monsieur. Also unexpected was the Master singing to us The Master's Song consisting of 5 verses. We encouraged him by joining in the chorus heartily each time. The guest speaker was the newsreader Mr Alastair Stewart OBE.
Thursday 14th June - Master Tylers and Bricklayers Lunch
Travelling from Holmfirth to London for Livery events was always going to a challenge and it proved just that on Thursday when I was a guest of the Master Tylers & Bricklayers at their Masters & Clerks Livery Lunch. I left home at 8.30am for Wakefield Station where I found the train I was due to travel on was cancelled. I boarded the next train only to be held before Doncaster due to a plastic bag caught on the overhead lines. The result was I arrived into London 90 mins later than planned and arrived at Armourers' Hall in a bit of a fluster. I missed the starter completely but was able to join in the main course of pork tenderloin and the berries pudding. More importantly I was there to see the presentation of the best tile competition that had been held amongst the Tylers and Bricklayers the week before. Independent judges decided that the most unique tile was the one designed and painted by the Master himself Jeff Fuller - how appropriate!
Wednesday 13th June - Old Bailey
On Wednesday evening Shaun Mackaness and I were guests of Alderman and Sheriff Tim Hailes and His Honour Judge Nicholas Hillard QC at the Old Bailey in aid of the Red Cross. It was a small gathering of only 50 people and we were treated to a tour of the Old Bailey and its famous criminal courts. Shaun and I sat in the dock to get a unique view of the historic Court 1. Court 2 is more modern and we were asked not to touch any paperwork to do with an ongoing terrorism case. Then there was a splendid dinner in the Judges' Dining Room and speeches given about the Red Cross and the valuable work it does in the UK.
Friday 8th June to Sunday 10th June - Ironbridge Livery weekend
Duncan and I went to Telford for the annual Livery Ironbridge weekend where over 80 masters gathered to socialise and learn about the Ironbridge Trust. The Trust owns and runs many museums in the gorge and manages many other historic sites nearby. The weekend started with a dinner in the engine room at Coalbrookdale Museum. Then on Saturday we were whisked around four of the museums - Coalbrookdale Musuem of Iron, the Jackfield Tile Musuem, the Coalport China Museum and Blists Hill Victorian Town. There was much to see as well as time on the coach between museums to chat to other masters and make new friends. On Saturday evening the President of the Trust hosted a lovely ball at Enginuity - an interactive museum. The Lord Mayor and both Sheriffs were all in attendance and could be found showing off their dance moves at the end of the evening. A very special weekend with great company.
Thursday 31st May - Buckingham Palace Garden Party
Duncan and I were joined by my son Andrew for the Buckingham Palace Garden Party. The day started at The Goring where Ingrid, Consort to the Master Currier had arranged for us to have lunch. Ingrid was there with the Master Maurice and had also invited the Master Turner and his Mistress to join us. There were plenty of other Livery Masters on neighbouring tables. We dined well and then joined the queue to enter Buckingham Palace through the Hyde Park garden entrance. It was wonderful to wander through the very well kept gardens towards the large lawn and the back of Buckingham Palace. We could just about see the Queen when she emerged from the Palace and had a good view of Prince William in his morning dress and top hat as he walked more slowly down the lines of guests stopping to talk to a lucky few.
We enjoyed the tea including the cucumber and mint sandwiches and listened to the bands playing. Finally the National Anthem sounded the end of the tea party and we departed through the front gates with the magnificent frontage of Buckingham Palace behind us.
Friday 25 May - Brigantes Lunch
On Friday we went to The Royal Armouries at Leeds for the Liverymen of the North Brigantes Breakfast. We arrived at the Armouries by water taxi from the train station. There was a talk in the morning by Dr Karen Watts, Curator Emeritus who detailed how armour changed through the centuries. The flexibility of a full suit of armour was demonstrated when her librarian came on stage fully kitted out and proceeded to do push ups, a forward roll and various jumps!
There were over 360 Liveryman and guests for lunch and we were welcomed by Dame Ingrid Roscoe, Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire. Other speeches were made by Sheriff Neil Redcliffe, General The Lord Dannatt, Chairman of The Royal Armouries and Adrian Waddington before we were entertained by the vocal group Figaro who invited us all to join in singing Deliah. There were Liveryman from 81 different Companies, 25 current Livery Masters and over 50 Past Masters.
Wednesday 23 May - Pewter Live
Duncan and I joined our Clerk, Shaun Mackaness for the Pewter Live event held at Pewterers' Hall. There was an opportunity to see exciting designs and innovative use of pewter by students across the country. Downstairs were stalls of items for sale by talented artists who use pewter in their products. Liz Green was also there and I met the new Master Woolman, Andrew Dawson who hails from Huddersfield.
Later in the day was the reception for the Big Curry Lunch to announce the results of the event held in April. Susan Shield and Jonathan Pears were present at Carpenters' Hall as they helped on the FWK stall. The Lord Mayor Charles Bowman gave a short speech to report that the lunch raised £180,000 this year and that the total for the 11 years of the lunch is now over £1.9 million. The Framework Knitters' stall raised over £1,300 and helped raise the profile of our Company with Princess Eugenie buying a pair of socks for her fiance. The money raised goes to three National Service Charities, ABF The Soldiers' Charity, The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.
Saturday 19 May - Frezenberg Dinner
On Saturday evening Duncan and I were guests of Major Julian Harris, Commanding Officer of the E (LDY) Squadron of the Royal Yeomanry for the annual Frezenberg Dinner held at the Army Reserve Centre in Wigston, Leicester. Drinks were taken in the Officers' Mess before dinner in the sports hall which was transformed into an elegant dinning area with the regimental regalia on display. Before grace a few words were spoken about the Frezenberg battle, and the names of fallen soldiers were read out. The dinner was soup, coq au vin and Eton Mess to with cheese to finish. After dinner and the toasts, Major Harris made a short speech and presentation to the retiring Commanding Officer. A wonderful evening and we look forward to welcoming Major Harris at a Framework Knitters dinner in the near future.
Tuesday 15 May - Sons of Clergy
On Tuesday it was the 364th Festival of Sons and Friends of the Clergy at St Paul's Cathedral. This is an important date for livery companies and Masters are invited to process into the service in gowns with decorations. Stewards of the Festival also process in with wooden staffs so both Liz Green and I were involved. The sermon was given by the newly appointed Bishop of London The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Dame Sally Mullally and there were testominals from recipients of grants from the rganisation. Choirs from Colchester and Gloucester cathedrals joined the St Paul's choir for some beautiful singing. After the service we walked to the Merchant Taylor's Hall for a reception in their lovely courtyard and then dinner. We had a fish starter followed by lamb. The main speaker was Timmy Mallett who spoke movingly and with humour about his family life as his father trained to be a vicar. He has recently completed the Camino de Santiago in Spain on his bike.
Friday 11 May to Sunday 13 May - Master's Weekend
For my Master's weekend away I took 40 Liverymen and friends to Pickering, North Yorkshire. We filled the hotel The White Swan completely and dined on Friday evening at a local bistro called Willowgate. The choices were asparagus or aracini then chicken or sea bass. The staff coped really well with a packed restaurant and ever increasing noise levels. Everyone had to be up bright and eraly on Saturday to catch the 9.25am steam train to Whitby. We were glad to have reserved seats as the train was full. In Whitby it had to be fish and chips at the Magpie Cafe before a few hours of free time to wander around the town, visit the Captain Cook museum or climb the 199 steps up to the landmark Abbey. Unfortunately the tide was in so paddling on the beach was not an option. It was a coach journey over the moors back to Pickering before a champagne reception and dinner at The White Swan. Sunday morning was a bit more leisurely before a visit to Castle Howard. The curator Dr Chris Ridgway gave us a talk on the Woman of Castle Howard. He mentioned a portrait by Lord Fredric Leighton and we all know who he was! There followed an opportunity to look around the house and gardens before the group dispersed and headed home.
Wednesday 9 May - St Barts View Day
I attended the St Barts View Day in London with our Clerk, Shaun Mackaness. The event began with Evensong at St Bartholomew the Great Church. This wonderful church is hidden by Smithfield market and is nearly 900 years old. It has been the backdrop in many films including Four Weddings and a Funeral. The service was enhanced by beautiful singing by the choir and a thoughtful sermon by the rector, the Revd Marcus Walker. After the service the Masters and Clerks processed (of a fashion) to the Great Hall at St Barts hospital. It was the first time I had been to the Hall as I missed the dinner a few years ago when PM Linda Smith had her dinner and dancing in this magnificent venue. There was an opportunity to meet many other Masters and then speeches by the Chairman of the Barts Charity and the Chairman of Barts NHS Trust about the ongoing projects. They vary from groundbreaking cancer treatment to simpler things like a more comfortable waiting area for dementia patients. Shrieval candidate Liz Green was also there making introductions.
Wednesday 25 April - Shipwrights' Installation Dinner
Duncan and I went to the Shipwrights' Installation Dinner at Goldsmiths Hall along with our Clerk, Shaun Mackaness and Mary Mackaness. We were hosted and looked after very well. The new Prime Warden has a Renter Warden and three other Wardens to help with this role. There were 240 people in total at the dinner - a full house for Goldsmiths. Shipwrights have over 800 members so 240 is a small dinner for them! They also have a committee for buying and laying down of wine - an easy committee to fill probably. I was given a quick lesson on the wines served as the Warden on my right is the Chair of the Wine Committee. The main speaker was Mr James Badenoch QC who is the brother-in-law of the new Prime Warden Mr Anthony Alasto and he had some funny tales to tell of Anthony via the family connection. I was approached by a lady guest who works for Pringle and we hope to catch up on knitting matters via email over the next few days. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Monday 23 April - Reception by Liz Green at Carpenters Hall
Duncan and I attended a reception given by Past Master Liz Green at Carpenters Hall. Liz is standing for election as Non-Aldermanic Sheriff for the year. The election is due to be determined on a show of hands at Guildhall on 25 June - Liz currently has over 700 registered supporters but the result will depend on numbers turning out on the day.
Before joining me at Liz's reception, Duncan attended a Consorts' event at the Hurlingham Club, which he has described in his post below. I think he enjoyed the afternoon ...
Monday 23 April - Consort's event at the Hurlingham Club
Post by Duncan King - On Monday 23 April the Mistress Turner, Mrs Jo Neill of the Worshipful Company of Turners hosted a garden party and woodturning demonstration at the magnificent Hurlingham Club in Fulham. The day was attended by approximately 50 Livery Company Consorts and comprised a short presentation about the Company of Turners, followed by a Masterclass demonstration in the art of lathe turning by Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Turners and professional turner Mr Les Thorne. There then followed afternoon cream tea in one of the club’s garden rooms. Fortunately the weather was kind on the day so we were able to eat outside and enjoy the splendid gardens. In his demonstration Les produced a classic style tulip head candle stick holder by turning a stem and base from solid blanks of European oak. The finished product required him to marry the two pieces of oak together by creating an invisible joint, a task which he executed with great precision and ease. On completion the candlestick holder was raffled and the proceeds together with a portion of the ticket price were donated to refurbishing the bells of St Pauls - a very worthy cause. In summary it was a fabulous experience and a privilege to have been invited.
Saturday 14 April - Social visit to Leighton House
Following my installation on the previous day, about 20 of us enjoyed a trip to Leighton House, Kensington. This really was a hidden gem as I must confess to knowing nothing of Lord Fredrick Leighton beforehand. He was a prolific and famous artist in his day, feted by other celebrities including Queen Victoria. He built himself a magnificent house, actually more of a studio and retreat. He was never married or had a family so only ever needed one bedroom. Our guide Hilde joked that, as the council bought his house on his death, it is now the most expensive one-bedroom council house in London! The house contains many famous works of art and has an impressively large garden. After the tour we retired to a local pub for a drink and tapas. Many thanks to the Social Committee for finding another historical and educational but fun place to visit.
Friday 13 April - Installation Dinner, Goldsmiths' Hall
My Installation Dinner was held at Goldsmiths Hall. I chose this impressive Hall as my brother had his installation there in 2012 and my father before him in 2000. It did not disappoint with many priceless gold artifacts glittering in the candlelight. Music was provided by the string quartet from the Guildhall School of Music and we had potted shrimp, fillet steak and a very deconstructed but delicious Eton Mess for pudding. Captain John Freestone was the guest speaker and he talked about having the responsibility of piloting the Queen's barge down the Thames on her diamond jubilee. Luckily he missed all the bridges and delivered Her Majesty safely. When it was my turn to speak there were a few butterflies but as I stood up and looking around at family and friends I realised what an honour it is to be Master of such a friendly and welcoming Livery. The stirrup cup at the end of the evening was especially enjoyable and a chance to mingle with guests and family alike.