Modern Livery Companies' Spring Dinner, Brewers' Hall

Monday 13th March 2017

Every six months one of the Modern Livery Companies (those founded since the Master Mariners in 1926) organises a dinner for the group. This time it was the turn of the IT Professionals and, although they have a Hall, it would be too small for this, so we found ourselves at Brewers' Hall - another first for me. The Brewers can trace their antecedents back to 1292, but it was Henry VI in 1438 who granted them a charter. The hall is the third, built in 1960, it replaces the 1403 hall lost in the Great Fire, and the Carolinian Hall lost in the Blitz - a familiar story. Arriving by motorbike, I was right on time and was delighted to see a fine display of ales and cooperage as we went to the neo-Georgian salon upstairs. Meeting Chris Histed, Master of the IT Pro's, there were plenty of Masters to catch up with. Ralph attended of course as this is an opportunity for him to meet other prime/senion/upper wardens with whom he'll be Master later this year. I would have been happy with beer, but we had nice chilled prosecco. Gavelled in to dine in the next room, it proved quite an intimate room, but more than adequate for our purposes. Seated next to Flavian (Master Mariner) and Dr. Tony Smart, Senior Warden Furniture Makers' with whom I share an interest in canal boating. We had a very pleasant dinner as one might expect, dining off asparagus, braised beef and cheesecake. We then had a Loving Cup - uniquely this one was filled with ale and, had I been prepared for that, might have taken a deeper draught!. After the Loyal Toasts, Sir Peter Gershon, an IT Pro man and Chair of Tate & Lyle spoke to us, reminiscing about his first computer, which filled a room about the size of the one we were dining in.. All done we had a stirrup cup - including ale at last, and I met Sir Peter - it turned out he'd sold off the sugar aspect of T&L as one of his first acts as Chairman! Flavian then invited Ben (Furniture) and self back to his ship for a nightcap and cigar on deck - perfect. A clement evening it was a great way to round off. Leaving about 12.30, I was mortified to find I had a puncture so didn't make home until 3am! best laid plans..