Installation Court & Exit: Skinners' Hall
Wednesday 7th June 2017
The cycle of the Livery Movement stops for no man and so, 108 blog entries later, I find I am writing my last one. Arriving at 2.30pm in good time for a 3.00pm run though with the Wardens, the Clerks and Beadle had been hard at it for some time, setting up the splendid dining room for the evenings dinner. Skinners' is a fine old hall, located between Dyers' and Tallow Chandlers' on Dowgate Hill, it dates from 1670 having been rebuilt, as the others were, after the Great Fire. It has a charming Court room with an enormously heavy Master's chair. We ran through our procedures under the Clerk's keen eye and had plenty of time to enjoy a cup of tea when it arrived, and one last end-of-year shot of me with the chaps before I head for the back benches. We had a good turnout as one would hope and, before we began the meeting proper, Past Master Fiona Adler presented the Court with a beautiful carved knightshead table pipe in memory of her father, John. It's a lovely object and we hope to incorporate it into future meetings, or even at banquets as it really deserves to be seen - I will upload a snap as soon as I can find one. With that done, the rest of the meeting ran smoothly and to time. I ended my year by presenting the Company with a third ram's horn snuff mull which ensures that we now have enough for each branch at our dinners. With Court proper finished, I exited with the Wardens and there was a short pause to adjust gowns and badges for the installation procedure and for any guests to join us around the edge of the room. For this, just myself and three Wardens process, and I asked the Court if it was their wish that I install Ralph, the Senior Warden (who was waiting outside with no gown or badge) as their new Master – happily assent was given by Rolf Christophersen, and the Beadle escorted Ralph in and the Clerk administered his oath. Whilst this was going on, I quietly left the Master's chair and, with the aid of the Assistant Clerk, removed my gown and badge, with which I then adorned Ralph. He then escorted me to a side seat and assumed the Master's Chair. Now installed he then installed his Wardens – our new 4th is Jerry Merton who brings a famous family name back on the succession – he will be the 3rd Merton Master when his turn comes in four years’ time. With this procedure done, we went on to enjoy Ralph's first reception and dinner – but that is not my story to tell and my blog ends with me on the side table – I will only add that the new Master was kind enough to present me with my Past Master's badge at dinner.
On a final note, I wish to record mine, and Camilla’s, thanks to the Livery for being so supportive and helpful over the past year – we’ve been hugely privileged and are very grateful. I know Ralph and Maureen will be a terrific Master and Mistress and am looking forward to their year enormously – and wish them every success with it all!