Ironbridge 10-12 June

Saturday 11th June 2016

Fri/Sat 10/11 June

Hardly had I got my installation chain of office off than the Mistress and I were packing our car for the now-famous Masters Weekend in Ironbridge. This is really supposed to be a last hurrah for all the Masters serving out their year, but so many Liveries have their dates at variant times of the year, it no longer matters and I was one of at least four installed in the previous week. Having settled in at the New Inn, Telford, our first social was a black tie dinner at the main museum in Ironbridge. It was as hot as it was fun but we enjoyed the welcoming speeches etc, and ate and drank well (as one does in Livery!). This year there was a near-record turn out of about 100 Masters, all accompanied by their relevant Consorts and were joined later by the Lord Mayor and his two Sherriffs. Back at the hotel (via coach), many of us cemented our friendships over a cooling pint or two. The main business began the next morning. The Livery sets a fine example of time keeping and, to a Master (and Mistress) we were on our coaches by 09.15 for an express tour of some of this World Heritage Site's ten locations. We kicked off at the Jackfield. tile factory - superb, and I managed, finally, to find one of a pipe in use..; Then a flying visit to the amazing Iron Bridge - where it rained, heavily, but we didn't rust. Next was the Old Furnace where Darby invented his new processes for smelting and so unwittingly kicked off the Industrial Revolution; (then a lunch break, v. good salads and wine - and just time for a cigar with Ben Burbidge, the Master Furniture Maker and then off to Blists Hill, a working Victorian Town - I converted £10.00 into 2/- and 8d and went off to spend spend spend.. I bought two snuff hankies, a newspaper from 1895, some cards and half a pint of mild before trotting off back to the coach which next deposited us at the Coalport porcelain factory. Most interesting, a fine reference collection is maintained there but I must say finding an ice cream was also a treat. Back on the bus, we were back at the hotel for couple of hours much needed R&R and then back into black tie for the Presidents Summer Ball in the museum.. a champagne reception followed by a good "livery" dinner and speeches was followed by some dancing (well, of a sort!) before we rendevoused back at the hotel for a cold pint or two as a nightcap - and another cigar, naturally...