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.
Thursday 4th April - Big Curry Lunch
This is held at the Guildhall annually and raises funds for the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. As well as 13 Framework Knitters attending the event we had a stall selling donated knitwear and socks. Many thanks to Liverymen Jonathan Pears, Janie Martin and Susan Shield for staffing the stall and doing a fine job as market traders for the day! All the stock had been donated to us so 100% of the proceeds went to the charities and we took over £2000 in the afternoon. The highlight had to be the opportunity to present the main guest HRH Prince Harry with some gifts for his new arrival. We had a presentation box with booties, mittens, a bonnets and shawl for the baby, all knitted in pure white cashmere wool. There was also a pair of lounge socks for the Duchess and a couple of pairs of socks for the Duke himself. He chatted with us at the stall for a few minutes before moving on. A huge thank you to Jonathan Pears who sourced the gifts from Johnstone's of Elgin.
Monday 1st April - Feltmakers' Livery Dinner at Apothecaries' Hall
Apothecaries' Hall is always a beautiful setting for a dinner and Clerk, Shaun Mackaness and I were made to feel very welcome at the Feltmakers' dinner. There has always been a close connection between the Framework Knitters and the Feltmakers and it was lovely to see David Bentata there. I was seated by the Master Feltmaker Mr William Gammell and we chatted about many subjects from skiing to livery charity work. The speaker was Mr David Simpson who started Pet Plan insurance.
Friday 29th March - United Guilds Service at St Paul’s
This is a chance for all Livery Companies to come together to give thanks and celebrate the Livery movement. It is a very colourful event with Livery gowns at every turn. I was asked to pose for a photo by two/three tourists who were keen to learn more about the reason for the gathering. Not all Livery companies get to process – it is the Great 12 Livery Companies and a further 12 companies in rotation. There were some rousing hymns, beautiful anthems by the choir and a thoughtful sermon by the Bishop of London. Afterwards 15 Framework Knitters joined many other Livery Companies for a reception and lunch at Stationers' Hall. There was the usual role call and a delicious lunch.
Friday 29th March - LNR Cadet Mess Dinner
Duncan and I were guests of Major Ian Flamson at the Mess Dinner at The Charnwood Arms, Coalville. The dinner was a mixture of adult volunteers and newly graduated cadets in a private room - the Forest Suite. After dinner presentations were made to senior officers of the Mess and volunteers moving on to new roles. There was a rolling screen of photos showing everything the cadets get up to and it covers all sorts of training exercises and team building experiences. We left after the speeches as the floor was being cleared for dancing and late night for those with enough stamina - not us!
Thursday 28th March - Lord Mayor's Banquet for Masters, Prime Wardens, Upper Bailiff and Consorts
Duncan and I were delighted to accept the invitation from the Lord Mayor Peter Estlin to dine at the Mansion House with him and his wife, the Sheriffs and the other Masters and Consorts from the Livery Companies. The Egyptian Room at Mansion House looked splendid as usual and was the food was wonderful. The Master Mercer and the Master Grocer both spoke about the importance of the Livery movement in the modern world. The Lord Mayor responded with his vision of the digital future and a chance to shine a spotlight on the three S’s – standards, skills and social responsibility – to shape tomorrow’s City today, and to demonstrate the value that the Livery brings to the United Kingdom.
Wednesday 13th March - Strictly Trial and Error
Duncan and I joined Upper Warden Ian Grundy and his wife Julia along with our Clerk Shaun Mackaness and his wife Mary for an evening of entertainment at the Old Bailey. It was organised by the Sheriffs' and Recorder's Fund and Pan Intercultural Arts. The evening started with a reception in the Great Hall and then we moved into Court 1. There we told tales of trails that the Court had witnessed over the years, through songs, poems and short acts. This year the stories featured women within the criminal justice system including the struggles of women lawyers during their first one hundred years. It was very entertaining and informative and hopefully raised a lot of money for a worthy cause.
Friday 8th March - Leicester Races
Duncan and I were part of a group of Framework Knitters who accepted an invitation from the Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry to join them for an afternoon of racing at Leicester Racecourse. We were treated to a delicious buffet before the first race ?at 1.50pm?. There were only three runners and we decided to back the outsider - he fell at the second fence! As it was a lovely sunny day we enjoyed watching the horses in the parade ring and picking a winner from looks rather than just by name. Major Luke Smith kindly asked me to present the trophy to the winners of the fourth race 'The Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry Handicap Steeple Chase’. The winning horse was Waikiki Waves, owned by Heart of the South Racing and ridden by Niall Houliham. A lovely sociable day out.
Wednesday 6th March - Master Mariners' Court Luncheon
The Master Mariners' Court Luncheon was aboard HQS Wellington. The event began with drinks on the deck before heading downstairs to the Court room for lunch. I was sat by John Freestone who gave a speech at my Installation Dinner last April, and his wife Jenny is a Framework Knitter. After the meal there were presentations to their affiliated armed forces and trainees.
Tuesday 5th March - Inter-Livery Pancake Race and Clothworkers' Dinner
Shrove Tuesday means just one thing - Inter-Livery pancake racing at Guildhall. It was a lovely day, such a contrast to the rain in 2018. The Framework Knitters were represented by my consort Duncan King (running in my place due to an injured ankle), Liverymen Simon Burrows and Beth Parry and Master Elect Ian Grundy wearing the fancy dress costume. All did well in their heats with Duncan and Ian going forward to their respective finals and winning them! In the final race of the day - the Victor Ludorum - Duncan came first, with Ian a respectable third. A great effort by the team.
That evening our Clerk, Shaun Mackaness and I went to the Clothworkers' Masters' and Clerks' Dinner at Clothworkers' Hall. There were very many Masters present. Even this far through my year I'm meeting Masters for the first time and learning about their companies and their interests and charities. The Master Clothworker has an autistic son and his speaker Dr Virginia Bovell also has an autistic child. Her speech focused on the joys and the issues around having a special needs member in the family.
Thursday 28th February - Vintners' Livery Dinner
Duncan and I, along with our Clerk, Shaun Mackaness and his wife Mary, were guests of the Vintners' at their Livery Dinner at Vintners' Hall. The current Master Sir Andrew Parmley is very well known in the Livery world as a past Lord Mayor and member of over 10 livery companies. He kept it in the family by having his wife Lady Wendy Parmley as his guest speaker. Lady Parmley is the Master of the Information Technologists and based her speech on the ancient liveries working alongside the new companies for a common purpose.
Tuesday 26th February - 'Woven in Time' reception
On Tuesday 26th February I went to Australia House in London for a reception to celebrate the short film, Woven in Time. This documentary traced the history of merino wool manufacturing in Yorkshire. It was the speaker from our January Dinner, Ross Barr, who asked me to go along with him. I was delighted that Assistant Liz Fox and Liveryman Adam Mansell were also there along with Masters and Liverymen from the Woolmen, Drapers, Weavers and Clothworkers' companies. The introduction to the film was given by His Excellency the Hon George Brandis QC, High Commissioner for Australia. The film was fascinating, especially as it featured a mill that I had visited last October when on the 'Making it in Textiles' conference in Bradford.
Thursday 14th February - Huddersfield University
I was invited to Huddersfield University to the knitting department to present the Company Award certificate to Award winner, Liam Seacombe and to see the Shima knitting machine in action. Tutor Jade had laid on a tea party with cakes and biscuits for both visitors and students to enjoy. It was good to catch up with Liam and learn about his final year project. Also present were Emily and Chelsea who were sponsored by the Framework Knitters to attend the Shima training course. Finally I was shown Huddersfield's Shima machine in full working order. The machine had been unused for a few months but with help from Graham, from Shima and the students, the machine is back - running off samples for all the knitting students.
Wednesday 23rd January - funeral of Val and Kes Harratt
I attended the funeral of Val and Kes Harratt from the Cottage Homes. They died within 10 days of each other and will be much missed by their family and the other Cottage Homes residents.
Saturday 19th January - Social visit to London Transport Museum
The Social Committee organised a self-guided tour of the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. It is set out over three floors with the earliest exhibits on the top floor working down to modern day on the ground floor. It was all very interesting and the two hours allocated to look round flew by. David Bentley was especially keen to try the underground train drivers' simulator - fun for all ages! Lunch afterwards was taken in a small private room at the Crusting Pipe and was delicious.
Friday 18th January - Winter Court and Dinner
It was a busy Court Meeting on Friday afternoon when we welcomed three new members into the Freedom of the Company and two ladies as full Liverymen. I was able to take wine with new Liveryman, Katherine Thompson and new Freeman, Leslie Stevens at the dinner that evening. Also at the dinner we welcomed two of our bursary award winners Beth Ranson and Jessye Boulton who were presented with their certificates. From the Leicestershire & Derbyshire Yeomany we welcomed Trooper Luke Hayworth who was presented with the Master's award for his commitment to the Squadron. The musical entertainment was provided by Marici Saxes and the speaker was a young knitwear designer called Ross Barr-Hoyland who successfully launched his own brand of high-end knitwear with the help of the Prince's Trust. A thoroughly enjoyable evening in a splendid setting.
Wednesday 9th January - Court Luncheon with the Needlemakers'
There was a short talk by the Clerk of the Pewterers' about the Hall and some of the exhibits before lunch in the Court room. The speaker was Professor Derek Alderson, President of the Royal College of Surgeons who talked about the surgeon of the future and how there needs to be a team effort to get to the correct outcome for the patient.
Monday 7th January - Plough Monday Dinner with the Feltmakers'
Clerk Shaun Mackaness and I were invited to Armourers' Hall to the Feltmakers' Master's Plough Monday Dinner when the Feltmakers' welcomed the two new Sheriffs. After a lovely dinner the new Sheriffs, Vincent Keaveney and our Past Master Liz Green spoke in turn about the first few months of their shrieval year, the pitfalls of living at the Old Bailey and varied events they have attended.
Saturday 5th January - Lord Mayor's Children's Party
I was delighted to be able to take my two grandchildren to the party at the Mansion House. Ava was dressed as Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and Lila was Cinderella. Luckily adults were not expected to go in fancy dress! The afternoon started with Ava and Lila being greeted by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress and the Sheriffs. Then on to the shows - Mad Science and The Spirit of the Wild. Quick break for tea before the finale in the Egyptian Room where 1,500 balloons were dropped onto the 250 children. I lost both Ava and Lila for a few minutes before they emerged with seven balloons between them. A lovely fun afternoon.
Saturday 15th December - Residents' Christmas Lunch
The Residents' Christmas Lunch was held at Corah Hall on the Cottage Homes site in Oadby. The Hall had been decorated earlier in the week by the Residents, and then Karl and Helen laid the tables with candles and crackers to finish off the effect. Residents and Liverymen enjoyed a drink before being served a fantastic Christmas lunch by the staff from Emerson & West. After presentations from the Master to Karl and Shaun, the residents kindly gave me a lovely picture/photo frame, some wine and a Christmas bouquet of flowers. The afternoon was rounded off with a good sing-song.
Thursday 13th December-Inter-Livery Christmas Carol Service and Lunch
There was a good turnout from the Framework Knitters for the Inter-Livery Christmas Carol Service and Lunch. The Service of Lessons and Carols took place at the Guild Church of St Martin-within-Ludgate with the lunch afterwards at Stationers' Hall. I was delighted to read the first lesson with Sheriff Liz Green reading the fourth. Interspersed between the lessons were familiar and well-known carols we could all join in with. The Master Stationer welcomed us all to lunch and told us a little of the history of the Guild Church and I gave the vote of thanks from the guests at the end of the meal.
Sunday 9th December - Re-badging ceremony for LNR Army Cadet Force
Assistant Peter Corah and I represented the Company at the re-badging ceremony for the Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland Army Cadet Force (LNR ACF) held at the Army Reserve Centre, Loughborough. There was a brief presentation about the history of F Squadron by the CO Mayor Alex Calver and an opportunity to look around the centre. The LNR ACF were re-badging to The Royal Yeomany and The Royal Logistics Corp. There were representatives from both of these organisations there to show off their latest equipment, guns and vehicles. The cadet pipe and drum band that featured at our September dinner also played.
Saturday 8th December - Brigantes
Chester Cathedral was the setting for the dinner and carol concert for the Brigantes. The weather was awful but the setting and company more than made up for the rain. We had drinks and canapés in the Cloisters before sitting down to dinner in the Refectory. PM Plumber Nick Gale gave an entertaining speech that managed to mention every Livery company present. The response was given by our own Liz Green who described her hectic schedule covering the first couple of months as Sheriff. We then all moved into the Cathedral for the concert of hymns, anthems and readings.
Wednesday 5th December - Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry Officers' Dinner Club
The Cavalry and Guards Club was the venue for the Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry Officers' Dinner Club. Colonel Bertie Boyle along with other officers were our hosts and it was a jovial evening of food and wine, finished off with the Cavalry & Guards Club signature dish of cheese souffle and mustard sauce. A great way to strengthen ties with our affiliated Yeomanry Company.
Tuesday 4th December - Victoria & Albert Museum
I was invited to join a tour - Behind the Scenes at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London with expert Keira Miller. Keira is a textile conservator and was sponsored through her degree by the Woolmen, for whom she organised this tour. We were able to visit various studios specialising in the conservation of paper, books, paintings, sculpture, ceramics and of course, textiles. Most studios were concentrating on an upcoming Dior collection and we saw Dior dresses and the accompanying design sketches. It was very interesting to listen to how painstaking the work can be.
After a quick change at the V&A the Master Woolman Andrew Dawson and I made our way to Vintners' Hall for the Weavers' Dinner. The guest speaker was Dr Helen Stephenson CBE who is CEO of the Charity Commission and gave an interesting talk about charities especially livery companies.
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 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.