Thursday 16th January 2014
This was held at Armourers Hall this year and a very jolly occasion it was! At the previous Court Meeting, Rupert Wilson was admitted to the Freedom of the Company and Mark Domitrak and Flora Okereke were gowned in the Livery. Armourers was packed and looked stunning by candlelight all reflected off the surrounding suits of Armour and weapons. Once again, our caterers did us proud and we were able to entertain Masters and Clerks from the Pewterers, Plaisterers and GAPAN. The guest speaker was Alistair Bassett-Cross, the Senior Warden of the Poulters who spoke on the Honourable Artillery Company where he is a Captain of the Pikemen. We finished with entertainment by students of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with some very amusing pieces from Tom Lehrer.
Tuesday 14th January 2014
The Clerk and I attended a very large Masters and Clerk’s Dinner as guests of the Plaisterers. The Hall is by far the largest in the City and, apparently, it was a stipulation of Corporation planning consent that it had to be bigger than Mansion House- and it certainly is! There were well over 350 of us and there was still plenty of room! It was a very jolly event and the Plaisterers Clerk gave a most excellent speech. I learnt that one could call them Plaisterers or Plasterers, they seemed happy with either - certainly the plasterwork was amazing.
Wednesday 11th December 2013
Our annual carol service was held at St. Lawrence Jewry together with the Bowyers. It was excellently presided over by our Chaplain, Canon David Parrott. Once again we had the benefit of the Sevenoaks School Choir, who sang some lovely Britten pieces and were accompanied by the most exquisite Harpist. I am happy to report an excellent turnout bolstered by passers-by, and for once we outnumbered the Bowyers! It was a very happy event.
Tuesday 10th December 2013
A very pleasant lunch as a guest of the Painters for their Annual Thornton Lunch. I was sat next to the Clerk to the Dyers, who is very good company.
Tuesday 26th November 2013
Regrettably I missed the first half of the launch, due to the vagaries of GW trains ( I spent eight hours on the train that day!). Fiona has a very impressive campaign team and at every function I attend, I hear support for her. She will only be successful, however, if we all turnout to vote at Common Hall on June 24th.
Wednesday 20th November 2013
This is a splendid Choral event organised by the Musicians’ Company. The venue this year was Westminster Abbey and the choirs were those of St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. There was a particular dedication to Benjamin Britten. It being his Centenary year and a wreath was laid at his tomb in the Abbey The singing was magnificent, not only from the choir, but also my neighbour in the pew who put the rest of us to shame. I would recommend this event , and tickets are available each year from the Clerk.
Saturday 9th November 2013
As in each recent year, we marched with other Modern Companies in parade at the Lord Mayor’s Show. I was joined by the Senior and Renter Wardens on an extremely wet day. Fortunately we were wearing the reserve gowns! We had an excellent alfresco lunch provided by the Cook & Butler off the back of their float and despite the weather, there was an extremely large turn-out by the general public. Our star-turn was Renter Warden Arthur Richards’ rousing of the crowd, particularly after the wine at lunch-break.
Monday 4th November 2013
I attended a short but dignified outdoor service in the Garden of Remembrance in the grounds of St. Pauls. Virtually all the Livery Companies were represented and I, along with other Masters, planted a cross with a poppy. It was extremely moving.
Thursday 24th October 2013
The Clerk and I were entertained extremely well at Skinners Hall by the Fan Makers. It was a very relaxed evening with their Chaplain opening the proceedings with not only grace but an impromptu speech regarding a recent visit he had made to the V&A for a Japanese Fan exhibition, in which many of the contents on display had decoration of an erotic nature, and he could have sworn the Master was posing! The Master denied this in a most excellent noteless speech.
Monday 16th September 2013
My first Court meeting since Installation. It was held on HQS Wellington, the ‘Hall’ of the Master Mariners. Lots of topics and new entrants. After some debate the budget for the Jubilee event was agreed. The task is now to stick to it! We enjoyed an excellent dinner afterward on a balmy evening on the Quarterdeck. We finished off most of the wine from the Installation Lunch and I had the pleasure of being the first Master for seven years to be able to say after the loyal toast; “ Ladies and Gentlemen, you may smoke”! and we could without leaving our seats.
Friday 13th September 2013
The Clerk and I met with the Lord Mayor at his request to discuss the Company’s Charitable activities. Fortunately, we had lots to report, well done the Benevolent Fund! The Lord Mayor was going through a process of meeting with all Masters to establish the level of Charitable activity as he believes strongly that the Livery movement will come under attack if it cannot demonstrate a role beyond wining and dining. We concurred. Very good coffee and biscuits.
Wednesday 11th September 2013
11th and 12th September. Regrettably I missed both of these events with a bout of ‘man flu’.
Monday 9th September 2013
A full meeting of the Committee Theme has been set. Watch this space or rather the web-site! Responsibilities have been allocated with Roger Brookes responsible for the event, supported by Charles Miller, Fiona Adler responsible for the guest list and Arthur Richards for budgeting and co-ordination; I am Lord High everything else! Looking good so far!
Wednesday 24th July 2013
Oh! the problems of being a countrified Master. My train (and subsequent trains) were cancelled and I had to send my apologies, which is a great shame as the Bowyers are such good company.
Thursday 18th July 2013
A very pleasant and relaxing evening with the Insurers Company at Tallow Chandlers Hall. Again blessed with the weather with the evening sun shining while we had drinks in the courtyard. An excellent dinner, as always at Tallow Chandlers, in the company of the Insurers' Court and Aldermen Sir Paul Judge and Fiona Woolf. I had jolly good company surrounding me with a Past Master Insurer to my left, the Master Tallow Chandler opposite together with Murray Craig, the Clerk to the Chamberlain's Court. They all kept me well entertained.
Monday 1st July 2013
A most interesting service conducted by our Company's Honorary Chaplain, Canon David Parrott. This service commemorates the rededication of the church on 15 July 1957 following its reconstruction after the WWII bombing. It was attended by the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs as well as the Masters and members of the Livery Companies attached to the church. David, as usual, gave an excellent sermon based around the two lessons from Tobit 4 and Matthew 6 linking the generation of wealth and giving - very aposite! Tobit is pretty obscure, so we can assume that David really knows his testaments both Old and New. We are lucky to have him as Chaplain and to have access to such a beautiful church.
Wednesday 26th June 2013
A morning start driving to Tandridge Park Golf Club in Surrey where Past Master Derek Harris had organised the Annual Company Golf Day. Again we were fortunate with the weather and the course and club house were looking particularly pretty. I had declined to play as I had not played for a couple of years (a subsequent round at the Berkshire confirmed this was a wise decision!). On arrival, I was well entertained by Derek's wife, Sheila, and Assistant Nick Hallings Pott used the opportunity to interview me for the next publication of the Livery newsletter. After all the golfers came in, we had a traditional golf club lunch finished off with the famous "Tandridge Pudding" - an enormous suet duff with bags of fruit - a real and unusual treat! Lunch was preceded by prize-giving. The prizes consisted of extremely generous wine and food hampers, kindly sponsored by JTI. The overall winner (and winner of another hamper) was Past Master Ian Panto and it transpired that all the entries managed to take home a prize through various ingenious criteria designed by Derek. It was a most enjoyable day out. Well done Derek!
Monday 24th June 2013
Sadly, I could not make this event owing to a clash with the wedding of my god-daughter in Italy. I am grateful to the Senior Warden, Mark Gower-Smith, standing in for me and subsequently representing the Company at the following luncheon at Painters Hall.
Thursday 20th June 2013
A magnificent evening in the magnificent setting of Skinners Hall. Like us, the Company is a modern one, being two below us in the order of precedence. Opposite the Mistress and I at the dinner were the Company's Honorary Solicitor and his wife, an unusual post that I had not come across before. They were good company and were most interesting on the development of the Company. The principal guest was Lord Oxburgh who was able to sober us all up with a fascinating speech on how we are all going to run out of power by 2016!
Wednesday 19th June 2013
Lunch in the Long Room at Lords is always a treat, but especially when the principal guest is footballing legend, Sir Geoff Hurst. I was there to present the Retailer of the Year Trophy for the best display in specialist tobacconists. There were many high quality displays to choose from and the choice was tricky, but I was well guided by Past Master Roger Merton, who, together with Mike Adams and Peter Jenkinson, organised an excellent event with a record turnout with over 200 attending and over £8,000 raised for the Livery Company's Benevolent Fund (Welfare Fund). Sir Geoff gave a fascinating speech with many football anecdotes and, of course, the story of "that goal". He was very good company and very generous with autographs - I have one! An excellent event - long may it last!
Tuesday 18th June 2013
My first official engagement with another Livery Company, and what an excellent occasion it was! Very good food and wine (a particularly good Chasse-Spleen 2000) and, most importantly, good company. The principal guest was Mr Paul Nicholls, Chairman of Jeffries Hoare Govett. It is a medium-size lovely Hall with most interesting pewter chandeliers and other ornate as well as simple pewter pieces. The members around me seemed quite expert on the subject of pewter which seems a highly underrated metal these days. One of the pleasures of being Master is meeting people with so many eclectic interests.
Monday 10th June 2013
In 2012 (a memorable year of Diamond Jubilees), Assistant Jacqueline Burrows raised the point that May 2014 would be the 60th Anniversay of the formation of the modern Comoany. At the October 2012 GPC, it was agreed that a committee should be formed to recommend ways in which this notable occasion should be celebrated. This committee now comprises The Master, Past Master Fiona Adler, Second Warden Arthur Richards, Fourth Warden Charles Miller, Assistant Jacqueline Burrows, Assistant Roger Brookes and Liveryman Nicky Donnelly.The first meeting of the committee was held at the Master's residence (together with a convivial lunch!) on June 10th to agree aims, concepts and organisation. The Master reported back to the July GPC and a broad plan and responsibilities were agreed. Detailed plans will be progressed for discussion at a committee meeting to be held on September 9th with a subsequent detailed recommendation to be put to the Court at the Autumn Court meeting on September 16th.
Friday 7th June 2013
This is a traditional invitation hosted by the Ironbridge Trust for all new Livery Masters to attend a gathering to see the work of the Trust and to have the opportunity to meet other new Masters. There are two dinners on the Friday and Saturday nights held in the Ironbridge Museum. It is extremely well organised and a fascinating insight into th early days of the Industrial Revolution. There is also an excellent optional visit to the RAF Museum at RAF Cosford, which is essentially a museum of the "Cold War". During the weekend, the Past Masters Assiociation for the year is formed; this year, the title is "The Great Thirteen".
Thursday 6th June 2013
Unfortunately, my wife and I had to pull out of this special event, owing to the Mistress spraining her ankle the night before. I do not think we were missed among the 8,000 guests but it was a shame to miss the affair which has grown considerably over the years. I believe in 1986, when my father was Master Poulter, the guests numbered some 500, and by 2007, when I was Master Poulter, the numbers had risen to 5,000; quite a rate of inflation!
Wednesday 5th June 2013
Installation is always a time of mixed emotions for the outgoing and incoming Masters with the outgoing Master sad at standing down but relieved he's dodged all the bullets and nothing embarrasing has happened and the incoming Master full of anticipation mixed with a bit of trepidation and suddenly realising all the things he doesn't know. Fortunately, Michael Prideaux had had an extremely successful year with a record intake of new Freemen and Liverymen and excellent events supported by memorable food and wine. As incoming Master, I was most pleased for a stunning June day on board HQS Wellington, the Hall of The Worshipful Company of Master Mariners. We had an excellent luncheon provided by Mark Grove of The Cook and the Butler and a fascinating principle guest in General Sir Mike Jackson who spoke on the unwritten contract between the Nation and the Armed Forces.