United Guilds Service, St Paul's Cathedral

Friday 15th March 2013

How many other times in my life will I sit in St Paul's Cathedral twice in three days? The origins of this service are quite recent in City terms as, at a meeting of the Masters and Prime Wradens of the Great Twelve (them again), held at Goldsmiths' Hall (my other Livery Company) in February 1943, it was decided to hold a Service to help lift the spirats of the City following the Blitz. Who can forget that iconic wartime photograph of the dome of St Paul's after an air raid?

After the Service, our Company's representatives repaired to Painters Hall, where all the Companies lunching there were slauted in a splendid speech by the Master Painter, each being likened to different trees in Epping Forest. We were linked to Charles Dickens's Oak, because of the great man's fondness for tobacco. Each Company, on being greeted, was invited to 'wave its branches' in acknowledgement. Liveryman David Moss and I did so, supplementing our gestures with a couple of (unlit) cigars.

In past years, we've not been well represented at the UGS and the lunch, so it was wonderful to have been part of a group of a dozen. Next year's service is on Friday April 4th 2014 at 11:15 at St. Paul's.