Freedom of the City of London for Susan Stocker

Thursday 11th April 2019

Susan Stocker was recently admitted to the Freedom of the Tobacco Pipe Makers' Company and has wasted no time to apply for the Freedom of the City of London, as is her right. The 'guiding hand' in the process was her sister, Sandra Stocker, who is none other than our Company's Learned Clerk. Once an application is accepted, the candidate is invited to attend the Chamberlain's Court for an Admission Ceremony which is conducted by either Murray Craig, the Clerk to the Court, or Laura Miller, the Deputy Clerk. The date was quickly set!

Susan wanted to share the occassion with family and close friends including some of us from the Company. This kind invitation was not to be missed and so it was that the party met at the allotted time on a very fine day outside the North Wing entrance to Guildhall. Once signed in we were ushered into a waiting room that was like a small museum, it was so full of historic artifacts and prints about the City and the Livery Companies. We could have stayed there a while longer but the Court Beadle scooped us up and escorted us to the Chamberlains' Court Room where Laura Miller awaited with a generous welcome before the ceremony began.

Susan delivered her Declaration superbly to become the latest Freeman of the City of London. Laura reminded us of how ancient the ceremony is and what it meant to those in times of yore. It was nothing less than the marker that the person was not a peasant but a free person that enter commercial contracts and conduct business. A life changing event for the individual. Laura went on to highlight many famous people in history that had been admitted to the Freedom and showed us the Freedom Certificates of some including Lord Nelson, Florence Nightingale and Margaret Thatcher. There were many photographs of well known people today receiving their Certificates, a topical recent individual being James Cracknell, the Olympic rower and recent Boat Race winner. We also saw photographs of celebrities exercising their right to drive sheep over London Bridge.

Like all good things, it was time to leave still wanting to learn more but it was a busy day at the Chamberlain's Court and Susan was soon to be usurped as the newest Freeman. In high spirits the party left for a celebratory lunch where Susan was showered with sheepy gifts from her many sisters. It was difficult to comprehend that so many ovine collectibles exist so well done to the family for their enthusiatic endeavour finding them and good luck to Susan housing them in her home! I hesitate to think what will happen on the day that she joins the sheep drive over London Bridge. Would the sisters mark that occasion with a new pet for the garden...?