Common Hall - Election of Sheriffs and other Officers
Monday 25th June 2018
The fateful day arrives for Liverymen of the City of London to attend Common Hall in Guildhall to vote for the coming year's Sheriffs and other Officers. Voting is required for two Sheriffs; an Aldermanic Sheriff and a Non-Aldermanic Sheriff. In the case of the former, it is Vincent Keaveny that has been nominated by the Court of Aldermen. Unusually, this year, there are three candidates for the latter...a contested election!
Each of the three candidates for Non-Aldermanic Sheriff are excellent. Richard Fleck (Past Master Tallow Chandler), Liz Green (Past Master Framework Knitter) and Gwen Rhys (Past Master Glass Seller). Following all due ceremony, proceedings were opened by The Lord Mayor, and the four Shrieval candidates made their respective addresses to the assembly of Liverymen and other eligible voters. Common Hall was packed to the gunnels as were additional chambers. The candidates' addresses were fine and impressive. There was not a cigarette paper's difference between the Non-Aldermanic candidates and there was hearty applause for each.
So rare is it the case that we have a contested election for the Non-Aldermanic Sheriff and so large was the assembled electorate, that a new voting system was devised. Four coloured cards were given to each voter; one card for each candidate. Keaveny was white, Fleck was pink, Green was (confusingly) yellow and Rhys was orange. At the allotted time, the voters cast their votes and they were counted. The vote emphatically supported Liz Green and so it was that her election was confirmed that day. With Vincent Keaveny's candidacy also being supported by the Livery, the newly elected Sheriff's delivered their acceptance speeches after which further votes were taken on the Bridge Masters, the Ale Conners and Auditors. It was a fine day's work. Well done to Vincent and Liz!
With the main excitement of the day over, the formal proceedings at Guildhall were concluded and the assembled crowd dispersed with many retiring to comfortable Livery Halls nearby for lunch. The Tobacco Pipe Makers made their way to Stationers Hall where the Master Stationer presided over a very agreeable reception and meal for around ten companies including the Glass Sellers who were by far the most raucous of us all. Whilst the Shrieval election had not gone Gwen's way, the fact was not going to stop her and her supporters marking the day in celebration for their part in civic democracy. An example to us all.