Monday 1st June 2015
At the end of his year, it is the tradition that the Wardens dine out the Master. The Master Elect arranged dinner at Kaspar's Seafood Bar and Grill at the Savoy Hotel. In the former River Room overlooking the Thames, the glittering mirrors, polished brass fittings and chequerboard marble floor evoked the glamour of the 1920s.
It was in this magnificant setting that Master Elect, Chris Allen, Senior Warden Elect, Charles Miller, Renter Warden Elect, Ralph Edmondson and Third Warden Elect, Roger Brookes and their partners, very kindly dined me out, two days before leaving office.
It was a wonderful evening of generous hospitally, fun conversation and laughter which exemplified the best in City Livery Companies and the Tobacco Pipe Makers in particular. I was with four of the most loyal, unfailingly supportive and entertaining Wardens for which any Master could wish. I cannot think of a better way to end my year! A heartfelt "thank you" to Chris and Mary, Charles and Camilla, Ralph and Maureen and Roger and Sally.
Friday 29th May 2015
A group of Liverymen and guests attended a 40 over cricket match between the England and India Visually Impaired teams as part of the Royal London One-Day Series. It was held at the Arundel Castle Cricket Ground and arranged by the Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation, a charity which our Benevolent Fund supports with an annual donation. The purpose of the charity is "to enhance the development and education of young people (mainly aged 7 to 19) with special emphasis upon the disadvantaged and those deprived of opportunity".
In very cold conditions, two hours of play was possible before lunch. Those present were encouraged by seeing the players overcome their sight impairment and play passionately for their countries. Whilst having lunch, the heavens opened and torrential rain lashed the marquee. Due to the outfield being waterlogged, play was abandoned.
Thursday 28th May 2015
The third and final Garden Party given by HM The Queen for 2015 fell within my year of office and it was a pleasure to attend with my two sons and my former wife. The Clerk was also present along with other new Clerks, as were the two Sheriffs and their Consorts and many other Masters.
Despite warnings earlier in the week of rain, it was a lovely sunny afternoon. We enjoyed seeing The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family walking to the Royal Tea Tent, wandering around the Palace gardens and having tea.
A memorable day as my year draws to its end!
Wednesday 27th May 2015
At the kind invitation of Sheriff and Past Master Fiona Adler, I held my reception at the Central Criminal Court. Owned and managed by the City of London Corporation, the Central Criminal Court stands on the site of the West Gate of the Roman City of London and the medieval gate on which Newgate Prison was subsequently built. The present building was built in 1902, restored after severe damage in 1941 and extended in 1972. The colloquial title "The Old Bailey" originates from the name of the street beside which it stands, taking its name from the Norman "Baillie" or fortified place. Under the Courts Act of 1971, it became a Crown Court. It has 18 courts which handle some 1,700 cases a year and between 2,000 and 3,000 people pass through its doors each day.
Since Saxon times, the two Sheriffs of the City of London have, uniquely been elected by the citizens (Liverymen) of London and have been concerned with the administration of justice. Their primacy was displaced in 1189 by the election of the Lord Mayor, for he bacame the principal justiciar of the City by Royal Charter.
During their year in office, the two Sheriffs and their consorts live in the Central Criminal Court. So for 2014/15 it is the home of Sheriff Fiona and Liveryman David Moss. They were our informative and entertaining guides as we visited Number 1 Court in the old building, a new Court, the cells including the cell reserved for those condemned to death (last used in 1901}, the external wallway to the gallows (which becomes narrower and narrower) and the Grand Entrance with its marble, painted ceiling and statues (including one of Elizabeth Fry, the great social reformer).
We returned to the dining room for supper. It was a unique opportinity to visit somewhere we hear about regularly in the news, which dispenses justice for the most serious crimes committed in this country.
Friday 22nd May 2015
Following the celebrations of the previous night, 80 or so Masters and guests left the hotel at 9 am to visit the factories of two very different industrial companies,
AESSEAL is a leading global specialist in the design and manufacture of mechanical seals, bearing protectors and seal support systems. With state of the art computer design facilities and manufacturing, seals are individually made and despatched throughout the world within one or two days of being ordered or designed.
Owen Springs, owned by the Master Cutler, makes leaf springs and parabolic springs, including for trains, classic cars and special projects. The process was followed through from the steel being cut, taper rolled, heated in the furnace to between 950 and 1050 degrees centigrade, bent and shaped, quenched in oil, tempered in the furnace between 500 and 550 degrees centigrade to achieve the correct hardness, painted and inspected.
Both businesses were at the high end of their worldwide markets and were examples of the excellence of British manufacturing.
We were treated to lunch at Cutlers' Hall before boarding our train home.
Thursday 21st May 2015
At the invitation of the Master Cutler, Mr David Grey, MBE, I attended the 379th Feast of the Company at Cutlers' Hall in Sheffield. A number of previous Past Masters had mentioned that this is a high point in a Master's Year. How right they were!
Hallamshire was the southern shire of Anglo-Saxon Northumbria and its boundary, the Meers Brook, separated Northumbria from Mercia. It was centered on the manor of Hallam which was granted shortly after the Norman Conquest. The manufacture of cutlery, which includes any implement with a cutting edge, has been practised in the area for centuries. Its development was aided by the abundant supply of fast flowing water to power the wheels and quarries of sandstone, used to make grinding wheels.
The first Cutlers' Feast was held in 1625 in a local tavern and the members enjoyed themselves so much that they did it again the following year and the custom was established. The first hall was built in 1638 and the Feast has been held there almost every year since. The present hall, the third, was built in 1832. It houses a unique collection of silver, with at least one Sheffield hallmarked piece from every year since the establishment of the Sheffield Assay Office in 1773.
The Hall is magnificant and opulent and it certainly was a Feast! Before the toasts and speeches, the Mistress and the 50 spouses of the members of the Company joined us in the gallery of the Banquetting Hall.They had been dining separately and it came as something of a surprise as there were ladies present at the Feast! The toast to "The Manufacturing Industries of Hallamshire" was given by Mr Jurgen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK who gave a thought provoking and entertaining speech.
An evening to remember!
Tuesday 19th May 2015
The Company's 6th Annual Security Lecture was held in the City of London Police Headquarters and given by Commander Stephen Head, National Police Chief's Council National Coordinator for Economic Crime. As National Coordinator, he manages the police response to fraud through setting standards, facilitating joint working and integrating strategies and activities across the counter-fraud communities. The role of Commander for the Economic Crime Directorate brings the responsibility for supporting the Chief Officer Team and the Government in setting the national counter-fraud strategy.
The lecture gave an insight into the significant importance of policing Economic Crime, something which is not victimless as it affected every person in the country. The scale of the activity the police have to face is increasing at an astounding rate.
A most enlightening lecture followed by excellent liquid refreshment. The Master Security Professional and I met at Ironbridge on 6 June. He had been installed on 3 June whilst I was the new boy with an installation on 5 June! We have maintanined a friendship throughout our year.
Friday 15th May 2015
An invitation from the Master of the Society of Merchant Venturers to their Spring Banquet in the Merchants' Hall in Bristol is a highlight in the year of each Master. The magnificant hall is the backdrop for the generous hospitality of this "Livery Without". which I enjoyed along with the Masters of the Drapers, Merchant Taylors, Haberdashers, Ironmongers, Vintners and Information Technologists and the Upper Bailiff of the Weavers. We were wonderfully wined and dined amongst stimulating and fun company.
The response to the toast of "The Guests" was given by Sir John Beddington, who was the Chief Scientist advising the last three Prime Ministers, who gave an amusing and thought provoking speech.
A most enjoyable evening!
Thursday 14th May 2015
John became King in 1199 but by 1215 faced major rebellion. Hoping to win Londoners to his side, he granted them a charter with the right to choose a mayor annually, who should be faithful, discreet and fit forthe government of the City. The grant requires the mayor to be presented to the Sovereign for approval and to take an oath to be faithful. It was signed in the Temple Church on 9 May 1215. These provisions have been respected ever since and still govern the annual election and swearing in of the Lord Mayor. The charter carries a fine impression of King John's Great Seal.
Just a few weeks after granting the City Charter, noblemen forced John to agree a new statement of the rights of his subjects and the limits of royal authoity, This new Great Charter - the Magna Carta - was a major step in defining individual freedom and the rule of law. It was agreed and signed by John at Runnymede in June 1215.
It was extremely appropriate that the Treasurers of the Honorable Societies of the Inner and Middle Temple and the Lord Mayor held a special service of Choral Evensong on Ascension Day at the Temple Church. It was led by the Master of the Temple (who is also Chaplain to the Lord Mayor) with a sermon from the Bishop of London, both of whose predecessors were present at Runnymede in 1215. Following the service, a reception was held in Middle Temple.
The Charter was guerst of honour at both events. It had only left Guildhall on two previous occasions since 1215: to a safe house near Liverpool Street during the Great Fire of 1666 and to a Welsh mine during the Blitz in 1940.
Wednesday 13th May 2015
Celebrating its centenary in 2015, the Gold Medal for Music is one of the longest standing prizes at Guildhall School, A group of 20 from our livery had drinks prior to the concert and in the interval, kindly organised by Assistant Roger Brookes in association with the Development Office of the School.
The four finalists performing were Milan Siljanov (bass), Marta Fontanals-Simmonds (mezzo-soprano), Thomas Atkins (tenor) and Jennifer Witton (soprano). Each had to sing four pieces accompanied by piano and three pieces with the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra. As can be imagined, the standard was exceptionally high. For the first time in the history of the competition, the judges were unable to separate the two ladies and so awarded two gold medals this year. A wonderful way to mark the centenary! A very inspiring evening.
Tuesday 12th May 2015
The first service held in 1655 was the charity's founding event and there has been a Festival every year since. Over 80 robed Masters represented their Livery Companies. The Lord Mayor and the Bishop of London process in State accompanied by the Sheriffs. The preacher was the Dean of York, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull, who spoke about the implications of the Ascension which will be celebrated on Thursday. The Festival is known for its fine music and this was provided by the choirs of the cathedrals of St Paul's, Manchester and Portsmouth. Each choir sang individually and then joined for the Te Deum composed by William Walton for The Queen's Coronation in 1953. Magnificent!
The service was followed by dinner at Merchant Taylors' Hall, chaired by the Lord Mayor. I was delighted to share the company of the Master Musician, Kathleen Duncan and Sir David and Lady Brewer. Sir David is a Past Master of the Musicians' Company, a Past Lord Mayor and retires in two weeks time after 8 years as Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London. The toast to "The Sons and Friends of the Clergy" was proposed by Geoffrey Munn, a London Jeweller who appears regularly on the Antiques Road Show.
Friday 20th March 2015
After the service we were invited to join the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers for Luncheon in their Hall. On our own table, we all enjoyed the fine food and wine and company. It happened to be my birthday, (one of those round number ones!) and the Master Plaisterer led everyone sing a rousing "Happy Birthday" which was a lovely surprise!
Friday 20th March 2015
The 73rd United Guilds' Service saw St Paul's Cathedral packed. The 110 Livery Companies filling the nave with robed Masters, Wardens, Clerks and Liverymen with the Dean and Chapter and the Bishop of London all robed in their festal copes. A fantastically colourful sight!
As we joined in the well know hymns and listened to the beautifully read lessons and the choir singing the anthems, ones eyes feasted on Wren's masterpiece. An event not to be missed.
Thursday 19th March 2015
The night before the United Guild Service, it is the custom for the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress to invite all the Livery Company Masters and Mistresses to a Dinner at Mansion House. The menu card expains that "the Dinner is an opportunity for the Lord Mayor to celebrate his friendship and partnership with the Livery Companies of the City of London, to return some of the hospitality shown to him during his year in office and to reflect on the contribution made by the Livery Companies - old and new - to London and the entire UK".
After a reception in the Salon, dinner was served in the Egyptian Hall. and the Mistress and I had a most entertaining companions. There were humourous speeches by the Master Mercer, the Master Grocer and the Lord Mayor. Pauline and I had a most enjoyable evening to remember.
Monday 16th March 2015
The presentation of a Royal Charter to a Livery Company is something to celebrate in style. For the Fuellers, this was the second opportunity as they had surrendered their first one in 1667! The presentation was made by HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO during the course of the banquet with the Lord Mayor, the Lady Mayoress and the Sheriffs in attendance. His Royal Highness suggested that they should not lose this one! A programme of music was expertly played by The London Banqueting Ensemble whilst the guests enjoyed excellent food and wine. The Lord Mayor proposd the toast to the Company "May it flourish root and branch forever" to which the Master, Neville Chamberlain CBE responded.
Wednesday 11th March 2015
Whilst the Court met in the Court Room of Pewterers' Hall, the spouses visited Guildhall Museum under the leadership of Carole Hughes-Mack. The visit had been coordinated by Past Master and Sheriff Fiona Adler with Consort and Liveryman David Moss welcomed everyone and shepherded the party. The Curator of the Museum, Sonia Solicari provided an interesting explanation of the collection and the Chief Commoner received the group in his room. I am most grateful to all of them for ensuring the trip was so enjoyable.
The luncheon was an opportunity for developing friendships between Court members and spouses and enjoying a relaxed meal together.
Tuesday 10th March 2015
The Carmen's banquet was a stunning occasion at Mansion House and I had the privilege to be one of four Masters invited. The Lord Mayor was represented by Sheriff Fiona Adler who responded to the toast to The Lord Mayor and City of London Corporation. Sir Peter Hendy KB CBE, Commissioner of Transport for London replied to the toast to the Guests. A most enjoyable evening.
Monday 9th March 2015
It is always a pleasure to dine at Cutlers' Hall, the Hall I chose for my Installation Dinner. The half yearly dinner of the Modern Livery Companies enables the Masters and Senior Wardens of those companies in the order of precedence from 78 to110 plus the 2 recently established Guilds, to meet and establish friendships during their year of office.
It was the turn of the Worshipful Company of Lightmongers to host the dinners. It was a special occation for the Tobacco Pipe Makers as the Guest of Honour was Sheriff Fiona Adler who gave a most entertaining speech.
Thursday 5th March 2015
The Spring Court Dinner of the Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers was held at the stunning Hall of the Vintners' in Upper Thames Street. A total of twenty two Masters joined the Livery for a superb dinner with entertaining speeches and the presentation of awards.
Thursday 5th March 2015
The Smoking Club held its quarterly meeting on the rooftop terrance at Coq d'Argent , overlooking the Mansion House, the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England. As usual it was well attended and the opportunity was available to smoke ad enjoy the company of our fellow Liverymen and guests. The Clerk and I atttended for a short time prior to dining at Vintners' Hall.
Thursday 26th February 2015
The annual lecture is held in Guildhall and is named after Cornelius Tacitus who read Rhetoric as a student in Rome and was an accomplished public speaker. In 98AD he wrote the biography of his father-in-lae, Julian Agricola, who was Governor of Britain in 78 to 84 AD, and commented that London was a busy emporium for trade and traders. In the intervening 1900 years since Tacitus wrote those words, London has fremained the centre for trading of a great, island trading nation.
This year's speaker was Aldermanthe Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC. who gave an inspiring lecture under the title "Do we need the City?". She came to the conclusion that the answer was "Yes"! This was a useful conclusion as she has recently been elected Alderman for Bishopsgate.
Wednesday 25th February 2015
I had been invited to the Annual Scholars' Concert of the Guildhall School held in the amazing new Concert Hall at Milton Court. The Hall was opened last year to great critical acclaim. Twelve scholars performed on a variety of instruments to the highest standard. The programme included music by Telemann, Debussy, Elgar, Verdi, Carter and Gilkes. As an organist, I particularly enjoyed the Finale from Organ Symphony No 1 by Vierne which was played at my wedding in 1987!
Tuesday 17th February 2015
The Eleventh Inter Livery Shrove Tuesday Pancake Races took place in the Guildhall Yard, organised by the Poulters' Company. I was unable to run in the Masters' Qualifying Races due to a foot injury requiring surgery. Liveryman Terry Fenner-Leitao ran on my behalf and won his heat. He was also the overall fastest runner, so ran again for the Victor Ludorum Cup. It was a very tight race and Terry was narrowly beaten by a Liveryman from the Butchers' Company. Congratulation to Terry who, by winning the qualifying races, has given the Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders the right to enter a full team in 2016.
Tuesday 17th February 2015
Wednesday 11th February 2015
The Court Luncheon of the Environmental Cleaners was held in Armourers' Hall, presided over by the Master, Issa Tahhan. The four courses were followed by the toasts and the Master proposing the toast to the guests. As it was his last major function, Issa gave a fascinating summary of his busy year in office. The response and toast to the company was given by the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, The Very Reverend David Ison, who spoke without notes and gave a very amusing speech about cleaning!
Wednesday 21st January 2015
Every year the Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants invites those Masters who are member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to be their guests at Dinner. This year the Old Court Room in Chartered Accountants' Hall was the venue, with the Master, David Illingworth, presiding. It was interesting to see that about 21 Masters this year attended. An enjoyable evening.
Monday 12th January 2015
Trinity House was the magnificant venue for the January Dinner, with the floodlit Tower of London visible through the windows of the Dining Hall. Filled to capacity, the toast to the guests was proposed by Liveryman David Moss, Consort of Sheriff and Past Master Fiona Adler. David gave a fascinating and fun tour around the world via the careers of the guest Masters from the Companies of Merchant Venturers of Bristol, Musicians, Fan Makers and Scientific Instrument Makers. The response on behalf of the guests was given by the Rt Rev Jack Nicholls, formerly Bishop of Sheffield, and currently Prelate of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jersusalem. A natural racontour, Jack's humorous stories from his life kept us all laughing throughout his speech. At the Court meeting prior to the dinner, Colin Ritchie was clothed with the Livery and Cain Hayward-Hughes, Daniel Hayward-Hughes, Beverley Spencer-Obatoyinbo and Nicholas Wing were granted the freedom of the Company. All were welcomed during the dinner. An evening to remember.
Monday 8th December 2014
The Company held its Annual Carol Service at St Lawrence Jewry led by the Guild Vicar and our Honorary Chaplain, Canon David Parrott. The singing of the carols was led by the Sevenoaks School Girls Choir under its conductor Alexandra Kidgell. They sang five choir items beautifully, with solos from Ellie Bayne, Amanda Cottle and Julie Morris. The organist was Catherine Ennis, Director of Music at the church, who made the magnificant organ sparkle. Five lessons recounted the Christmas message and David gave an amusing and thought provoking address. We processed out to the Bach's In Dulce Jubilo (BWV 729) which always ends the Christmas Eve service from King's College, Cambridge. The evening concluded with mulled wine and mince pies. It was most encouraging to see a large congregation. I shall certainly remember it as one of the special events of my year.
Wednesday 3rd December 2014
The Smoking Club held its quarterly meeting in the splendid emporium of Dunhill Tobacco at 1A St James's Street. Recently refurnished to a high standard, members were able to smoke a fine cigar selected by our host and resident cigar expert, Robert Emery. Robert shared his passion for tobacco and we were able to look at the Master Blender's Room. A most convivial evening was had by the liverymen and guests who filled the shop. The Membership Committee, who organises these quarterly events, have the knack of finding special places for their events and this was very special! Many thanks to each of the Committee for all they do to foster fellowship within the Livery and to encourage new members to join us, for we are known as a friendly bunch!
Saturday 29th November 2014
In celebration of the 500th anniversary of being granted a charter by Henry VIII, the Innholders' Company held a service at Southwark Cathedral, led by the Dean, the Company's Honorary Chaplain. In his sermon, the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Christopher Chessun, gave an amusing insight into the significance of Innholders in the area of Southwark over the centuries.
Following the service, the Clerk and I attended a reception in a large marquee in the grounds of the Cathedral.
Monday 24th November 2014
I was invited by the new Master of the Musicians' Company, Kathleen Duncan, to a concert at the Wigmore Hall. It was one of three concerts a year which provide exceptionally talented musicians with performance opportunities. Singers aged under 32 and other musicians not over 28, with British residency, may apply for an audition. The two selected for this concert were Alexander Panlilov, pianist, and the Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet. In a varied programme of four works each, the quality of their musicianship shone, in a concert hall whose acoustics were ideal. A most enjoyable evening.
The Musicians' are the Mother Livery Company of this year's Aldermanic Sheriff, Alderman Andrew Parmley, so it is fitting that we establish a good bond with them as Mother Livery Company of the Non-Aldermnic Sheriff.
Wednesday 19th November 2014
The annual service to celebrate music and musicians rotates between St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and this year's venue, Westminster Cathedral. The joint choir from all three led us with inspiring music, including a gorgeous version of Psalm 29 by Edward Elgar, and the Masters and Clerks processed out whilst the organ played Jupiter from "The Planets" by Holst.
The event was held in support of Help Musicians UK and the Clerk and I attended their reception after the service.
Monday 17th November 2014
The Third Warden, the Clerk and I attended a Guildhall School of Music & Drama supporters evening at Milton Court. We were hosted by two Tobacco Pipe Maker Scholars, Elizabeth Karani (Soprano, Opera Course) and Ricky Gore (Violin, Orchestral Artistry) who gave us an insight into student life at Guildhall. We explored the new Concert Hall with its moving halls to adjust the acoustics to the performance being given and moving stage with two air conditioned rooms below in which the two Steinway grand pianos are stored when not on stage. We also saw a brief demonstration of the equipment in the theatre. Milton Court is an wonderful facility for the extremely talented students at Guildhall. The support from our Benevolent Fund is much apppreciated. Long may the link continue.
Monday 10th November 2014
The Lord Mayor's Banquet is the most glittering event in the Civic year, hosted by the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs.
Members of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs' Committee had ceremonial duties and I had the honour of receiving, on behalf of the Lord Mayor, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Mrs Welby when they arrived at Guildhall. As we were about to enter the receiving room, the Archbishop was asked for his tickets, which of course he had not been sent. I explained who they were asking and mercifully we proceeded on our way. It was amusing looking back, but at the time it was not, although the Archbishop immediately saw the funny side!
Trumpeters from the Household Cavalry, four at each end, played various fanfares which echoed around the Hall, magnificant with huge flower arrangements and candles on the numberous tables set for the seven hundred guests. The food and drink were excellent and the company great fun.
The main guest was the Late Lord Mayor, Alderman Fiona Wolfe. The other speakers were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor and the Prime Minister, who, by tradition, gives a keynote speech on foreign affairs. The toasts and some of the speeches were moved at the last minute to the begnning of the evening as the Prime Minster and the Lord Chancellor had to leave for votes in the House of Commons. Fortunately, the Lord Chancellor returned to make his speech later in the evening.
An amazing evening which I shall never forget.
Saturday 8th November 2014
The Lord Mayor's Show, despite providing a fantastic display of the heritage and traditions of the City of London, has a very practical purpose. It escorts the new Lord Mayor to the Royal Courts of Justice to swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Sovereign.
As Mother Company of a Sheriff, our Company was honoured to have a carriage in the procession, containing the Master, the Senior and Renter Wardens and the Clerk.
We started the day with breakfast in the Old Library at Guildhall and then watched the Lord Mayor, Alderman Alan Yarrow, enter the State Coach in Guildhall Yard, with his Chaplain, the Sword Bearer and the Common Cryer. Then we watched the procession from an enclosure by St Lawrence Jewry. Sadly we had to leave to enter our carriage before the Modern Livery Company float arrived, on which, as usual, we were represented. The Third and Fourth Wardens and Court Assistant Adam Bennett gamely walked the route. The crowds, eight to ten deep in places, warmly clapped and cheered and were obviously enjoying this annual event.
We alighted from our carriage at the Royal Courts of Justice and were ushered into the Lord Chief Justice's Court . Before the bench of senior judges, the Recorder of London presented first the Lord Mayor and then the Late Lord Mayor. The Lord Chief Justice addressed the Lord Mayor and the Master of the Rolls, the Late Lord Mayor and the Lord Mayor then made his Statutory Declaration to perform the duties of his office. The judges retired and we all returned to the procession back to Mansion House. As Master, I formed part of the greeting line for the Lord Mayor and then we all entered Mansion House for lunch.
The Mistress and I walked to the Millenium Bridge to watch the excellent firework display. Halfway through, the heavens opened and we were soaked to the skin. However, that did not dull a wonderful day!
Friday 7th November 2014
The day ended with a service of Choral Evensong at 6 pm in St Lawrence Jewry next Guildhall, led by the Guild Vicar and our Honorary Chaplain, the Rev Canon David Parrott. After the pomp and ceremony, we joined the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress and the two Sheriffs with their Consorts in a beautiful and simple service with a thought provoking sermon from David.
Friday 7th November 2014
It is the long standing custom of the City for those connected with the new Lord Mayor and the two Sheriffs to make a presentation at this ceremony in the Art Gallery before invited guests. Surrounded by the Wardens and the Clerk, I had the honour of presenting Sheriff Fiona Adler with an engraved salver for use at the daily Luncheons with Her Majesty's Judges at the Old Bailey.
Friday 7th November 2014
The Silent Ceremony takes its name from the fact that no speeches are made during its proceedings. As a member of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs' Committee, I was a member of the procession of the Lord Mayor into the Great Hall from the Aldermen's Court Room. After the Lord Mayor Elect has made and subscribed the Declaration, the incoming Lord Mayor receives from the outgoing Lord Mayor the symbols of the office. These comprise the Sceptre, the Seal of the Office of Mayoralty, the Purse, the Sword, the Mace and the Collar of SS and Badge. Once the new Lord Mayor had signed the document of appointment of the Deputy City Gauger, the Aldermen, Sheriffs, Officers and the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs' Committee shake hands with the Lord Mayor and the Late Lord Mayor and process out.
Friday 7th November 2014
It was a privilege to join a small group for Luncheon with the Lord Mayor and Lord Mayor Elect and their family. I had the pleasure of being seated between the City Remembrancer, Paul Double, and the Head of Operations at Mansion House, Adam Rout, both of whom were great company. It was very informal, despite being in morning coat, with two fun speeches from Fiona Wolfe and Alan Yarrow which were warmly received. Lunch ended, we quickly walked to Guildhall for the next stage of the transfer of the Mayoralty.
Monday 3rd November 2014
The Royal British Legion arranges an annual service in the North Churchyard of St Paul's Cathedral, opening the Garden of Remembrance, in a simple service, led by the Dean of St Paul's. The band of the Grenadier Guards accompanied the hymns and the National Anthem and played much loved music, including Elgar's Nimrod, whilst Poppy Crosses were laid by the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs, other dignatories and the Masters of the City Livery Companies. It was a poignant occasion, especially in this 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.
Wednesday 29th October 2014
The Lord Mayor's Banquet has been held in Guildhall since soon after 1500. Those responsible for fitting up Guildhall for the Banquet must have inspected the Hall prior to the occasion but it was not until 1777 that it was decided to appoint a Committee to superintend the entertainment. This is the origin of the Lord Mayor's and Sheriffs' Committee.
The need for a rehearsal of the lighting arrangements, and the reason for the Lighting Up Dinner, dates back to the introduction of gas to light and beautify Guildhall. Gas lighting has long since passed into history but the Lighting Up Dinner continues each year. It is an opportunity for the Lord Mayor Elect, the two Sheriffs and the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs' Committee to invite those who will be involved in the Banquet to sample the food and drink to be served. It was great fun to be part of this special event in the life of the Civic City.
Wednesday 29th October 2014
The second meeting of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs' Committee rehearsed the ceremonial for the Silent Ceremony, the Presentation of Addresses and the Lord Mayor's Banquet, followed by Luncheon in the Private Dining Room. Each of us was issued with a pair of white gloves to wear when processing with a wand at the Banquet.
Thursday 23rd October 2014
Our Annual Banquet, celebating the 60th Anniversary of the formation of the Company in 1954 was held in Skinners' Hall. In common with 51 other City Livery Companies, the Skinners lost their original hall in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Nearly twenty years later the new Banqueting Hall was completed on the same site. Sir Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956) was commissioned to illustrate the history of the Company and ten scenes were painted between 1902 and 1910.
Some of the Skinners' plate was displayed behind the top table, including the silver-gilt Cockayne cups. Made after William Cockayne left £120 in his will of 1599, the five cups in the form of cocks are used in the election of the new Master and Wardens on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Also on display was the Kemp leopard made in 1680 as a snuffbox, with the head containing one type of snuff and the body another. It was a privilege to see these.
Court Assistant David Lewis proposed the toast to the Guests, which included the Immediate Past Master Skinners' Company, the Masters of the Carmen, Farmers',Environmental Cleaners', Firefighters' and Security Professionals' Companies and the Master of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire.
The Principal Guest was Colonel Alastair Bruce of Crionaich OBE who will be taking up the appointment of Regimental Colonel of the London Scottish Regiment from 1 November. He is also Equerry to HRH The Earl of Wessex, Royal, Religious and National Events Correspondent for Sky News, Historical Advisor to Downton Abbey, Fitzalan Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary and a member of the Royal Company of Archers.
The evening ended with music by two singers and a pianist from Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
I had attended the Skinners' School in Tunbridge Wells and my sons, Charles and James, attended Tonbridge School. It was a particularly special evening for me and I felt very much "at home".
Monday 20th October 2014
The Annual Service of the Launderers' Company was held in Southwark Cathedral, where their Honorary Chaplain, the Very Rev Andrew Nunn, is Dean. The Girls and Lay Clerks of Cathedral Choir sang beautifully. The music included one of my favourite anthems, John Rutter's "The Lord bless you and keep you".
At the end of the service we walked a few yards over the road to Launderers' Hall for dinner. The speaker was Bryn Parry OBE, CEO and co-founder with his wife, of Help for Heroes. He gave an enlightening insight into the needs of those injured on the field of battle, whose lives are saved despite horrendous injuries. The charity has caught the public imagination and millions of pounds have been raised to support the work.
Friday 17th October 2014
It is always a high spot for any Master to receive an invitation to join Her Majesty's Judges for Luncheon at the Old Bailey. I was especially privileged to be invited this year by Sheriff Fiona Adler as Master of her Mother Livery Company. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Judge Richard Hone, who is a friend and was my Principal Guest and Speaker at the Installation Dinner in June, and the Recorder of London, Judge Brian Barker. Opposite was Judge Nicholas Cooke, into whose Court the three of us guests were invited to see a trial in progress. A most fascinating and enjoyable afternoon.
Thursday 16th October 2014
The Fan Makers entertained seven other Companies at their Selection Court Dinner at Skinners' Hall. It is one of their customs that prior to saying grace, their Honorary Chaplain, Canon David Reindorp, displays one of the Company's treasures and on this occasion it was a fan owned by Admiral Lord Nelson. I was told by a Fan Maker that the quality of the treasure displayed does vary and I had been lucky. On one previous occasion it had been a fan supplied by BOAC to passengers in case the aircraft cabin became too hot!
I was most impressed by the manner in which the Fan Makers look after their official guests, which we would do well to follow!
Wednesday 15th October 2014
The Clerk and I attended the 25th anniversary exhibition by the Painters' Fine Art Society under the title "Art in the City" held at Painters' Hall. The Society comprises Liverymen and Freemen of the Painter-Stainers Company. It was an interesting mixture of styles and subjects, most of which were available for purchase.
Monday 13th October 2014
I attended the Dinner of the Security Professionals in Merchant Taylors' Hall as the personal guest of the Master, Barrie Stewart. The two Sheriffs, Andrew Parmley and Fiona Adler, replied to the toast to the Guests with a very amusing double act in the style of the Two Ronnies. It was also a joy to hear the organ being played during the course of the evening. When the time came for the Stirrup Cup, it was a great pleasure to stand under an umbrella in the courtyard, in the pouring rain chatting with Andrew, Fiona and David Moss.
Wednesday 8th October 2014
The Clerk and I attended the dinner at Painters' Hall with the Master, Sir Anthony Cleaver presiding. As would be expected in this Company, the musical entertainment after dinner was superb. Natasha Jouhl, soprano and winner of the Musicians' Company John Christie Award at Glyndebourne, sang beautifully four items including "Rusalka's Song to the Moon" by Dvorak and "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess by Gershwin.
Thursday 2nd October 2014
As Master of Sheriff Fiona Adler's Mother Company, I was asked to be on the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs' Committee. It has the task of overseeing the arrangements for the Lighting-Up Dinner, the Silent Ceremony, the Presentation of Addresses Ceremony, the Lord Mayor's Show Procession and the Lord Mayor's Banquet. The meeting was followed by Luncheon in the Private Dining Room.
Monday 29th September 2014
As the robed Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff of the Livery Companies processed into a packed Common Hall two abreast and in reverse order of precedence, it struck me that what I was taking part in had been a significant event in the life of the City of London every year for many centuries. Awesome!
After various formalities, the Liverymen chose two out of three names of Aldermen below the chair who had served in the office of Sheriff.The names were conveyed by the two Sheriffs, Andrew Parmley and our own Fiona Adler, to the Lord Mayor and the Aldermen who had passed the chair, who were waiting in the Print Room. Once they had processed back into the Great Hall, it was announced that Alan Yarrow, Alderman and Fishmonger, was Lord Mayor Elect.
After Resolutions of Thanks to the Lord Mayor and the late Sheriffs and speeches from the Masters of their Mother Livery Companies, Common Hall was disolved with a resounding "God save The Queen".
I led a group of Liverymen to Painters' Hall for luncheon with 11 other Livery Companies.
Friday 26th September 2014
As Mother Livery Company of the new Non-Aldermanic Sheriff, Fiona Adler, the Wardens, the Clerk and I had the honour of playing a part in this annual City ceremony in Guildhall. With the Musicians Company, the Mother Livery of the Aldermanic Sheriff, Dr Andrew Parmley, we processed into the hall in front of the Sheriffs-Elect and formed a guard of honour as they processed up to the dais to be admitted to this ancient office. After two oaths were sworn, they received their robes, chains and badges of office and addressed the assembled company. Fiona's beaming smile was a picture.
We made our way to Merchant Taylors' Hall for the Sheriffs' Breakfast where we had a splendid Luncheon followed by amusing speeches from the Recorder of London, Judge Brian Barker QC, the Rt Rev Graham Knowles and the two Sheriffs. It was also a pleasure to hear the organ played!
As Master, it was a privilege to be part of this rare honour of having one of our own Company as Sheriff. On behalf of the Company and personally, I wish Fiona and David and Andrew and Wendy a wonderful year. I know they will have a great amount of fun but also contribute an enormous amount to the City in the year ahead and be a great support to the two Lord Mayors whom they willl serve. Congratulations Fiona!
Friday 26th September 2014
As guests of the Principal of the Guildhall School of Music and Dance, Professor Barry Ife, the Senior Warden and I attended a performance of Verdi's Requiem in the Barbican Hall by the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. It is a tradition to bring together new undergraduates and postgraduates together at the beginning of a new academic year to learn a major choral work in under two weeks. A great ice-breaker and opportunity for students to get to know each other. A magnificent performance, with four Guildhall alumni as soloists.
The Company has given support to the Guildhall School for many years through our Benevolent Fund and it is uplifting to see and hear the fantastic talent which is developing through our support and that of others.
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
The Mercers' Company has just purchased a Fazioli F212 piano and invited the Masters of the other Companies to a concert to hear it. I went with my younger son James, who has just graduated from Manchester University with a degree in music. The recital began with a recital of Lieder by Brahms and Schubert sung by Benjamin Appl. baritone, accompanied by James Baillieu followed by pieces by Bach, Tienssuu and Ravel played by Mei Yi Foo. Both performances were stunning and the range and quality of the piano shown to the full. This was followed by a buffet supper with nineteen tables in three rooms to accommodate the one hundred and fifty four guests! An inspiring evening!
Thursday 18th September 2014
The Renter Warden, Chris Allen, and I arrived at Armourers' Hall at 8 am for breakfast with the Master and a Warden of 19 other Companies. Leaving at 9 am, we spent the next seven and a half hours walking eight and a half miles around the City visiting each of the 43 Livery Halls.
It was a fascinating day and a great opportunity to get to know the other Masters and Wardens. I am not sure how long it will take my feet to recover!
Wednesday 17th September 2014
A large number of members of the Company attended the presentation of the Badge and Chain to Sheriff-Elect Fiona Adler in Girdlers' Hall. It was presented by Alderman Sir David Wootton, following his finely crafted speech. He had spoken to family and friends and obtained amusing stories of Fiona's life.Lady Wootton presented David Moss with his Consort's Badge. Both Fiona and David responded. As Master of Fiona's Mother Livery Company, I had the privilege of joining a small group of family and City Leaders for Luncheon at the Hall. It was a very special day.
The Badge was designed and made by City Goldsmith, Grant Macdonald, The main theme is based upon the humble valve handle which was part of Fiona and David's business activities.Radiating from the Adler arms are golden tobacco leaves symbolising Fiona's time in the tobacco trade. The enamel shields around the edge of the badge are those of this Company, the Ward of Queenhithe, the Oxford & Bermondsey Youth Club, her 2011 Past Masters' Association "The First XI", the United Wards' Club and the shield of South Africa (where Fiona spent ten years).Around the edge are engraved The Guild of Freemen and The City Livery Club, which Fiona supports. The connection between the badge and the City of London arms is a circle of briar (the wood used to make smoking pipes) and set in the centre is a diamond symbolising our Livery Company's Diamond Jubilee this year, her 2012 Past Masters' Association "The Diamonds" and South Africa. The three golden chains connect to the shoulder pieces which are stylised Jewish Stars, in the centre of each is engraved BBB which is the most famous brand and trade mark of her family pipe making company, Britains Best Briars, and on the other side 888, considered as one of the luckiest numbers particularly in Asia where Fiona worked for many years.
Wednesday 17th September 2014
The Masters and Clerks of all the Livery Companies had been invited to Evensong and sat next to the choir in the choir stalls. As ever, the service was inspiring with the choir giving wonderful rendering of the Psalm,canticles and anthem.
The service was followed by a recital by the Choristers under the Dome which was outstanding. The Director of Music, Andrew Carwood, invited those present to ask questions to the Choristers. Some cleverly worded questions were given some frank and amusing answers. The Clerk and I had an enjoyable evening.
Tuesday 16th September 2014
Following the Autumn Court meeting, the members of the Court moved to the Quarterdeck of HQS Wellington for a Reception and Dinner. It was a warm evening so the deck was open to the wonderful view of the South Bank from Tower Bridge to the London Eye. As the sun set, the stunning night view of the City unfolded. The Court was joined by the two Liverymen who had been gowned, Howard Mundy and Chris Davies. After the Loyal Toast, I was able to say "Ladies and gentlemen, you may smoke" followed by a loud cheer from the Court!
Wednesday 10th September 2014
The Clerk and I attended the bi-annual Masters and Clerks Luncheon of the Farmers Company at Apothecaries' Hall. Speeches were made by the current Master, Baroness Byford, and the Immediate Past Master, John Reynolds. The Farmers' Nuffield Scholar for 2014/15, David Wlston, gave a speech in which he gave a fascinating insight into current trends in farming. He was a most impressive Scholar, speaking without notes.
Monday 8th September 2014
The Autumn Dinner of the Modern Livery Companies was held at Skinners' Hall. The Modern Livery Companies are those from number 78 to the recently formed Arts Scholars at 110. We meet twice a year and it gives the current Master and the incoming Master the opportunity to meet and develop friendships with those in their years of office. Skinners' Hall is one of my favourites, but I may be somewhat biased! The guest speaker was Murray Craig, Clerk to the Chamberlain's Court, who was very entertaining.
Thursday 4th September 2014
This quarter, the Membership Committee organised informal drinks at Davy's at Woolgate Bar and Brasserie in Basinghall Street. We had a designated outdoor area where those who wished to smoke could do so and livery clay pipes and tobacco were provided. It was encouraging to see a good mix of Liverymen and guests all enjoying a splendid environment.
Thursday 17th July 2014
Following a reception in the cool Courtyard, we filed into Dinner in Apothecaries Hall, which must be one of the most beautiful in London. The discipline of black tie and badges on one of the hotest evenings this year was relieved by the Master announcing in his opening remarks that those present could remove their jackets on payment of a fine - the purchase of a fund raising tie from the Master Apothecary. Decorum prevailed and no fines were required!
Another most enjoyable evening which marked the end of my first six weeks representing the Company as the Master. There is now a seven week break which I shall use to prepare with our new Clerk the Livery schedule for the rest of my year - and to catch up on my work in the office! See you in September!
Wednesday 16th July 2014
On one of the hottest day of the year, the Clerk and I sat on Guildhall Yard for almost two hours and watched this fascinating ceremony, obtaining a magnificant sun tan. The Corporation of the City of London has exercised its rights over carts and carriages since the 12th century, as transport is the life blood of commerce. A fellowship of Carmen has existed since 1277 and the City regulated its trade. In 1838 an Act of Common Council vested the power to license and mark carrs and carts, to stand and ply for hire in the City's streets, in the Keeper of the Guildhall with the provision that the owner was a freeman of the City and a member of the fellowship of Carmen.
Once a year Carmen bring their horse-drawn waggons,and carriages, steamers, veteran and vintage lorries, buses and coaches and modern trucks and tractors to be branded with a red hot iron, on a wooden plate, with the year letter (this year was W) and "carr number", as a reminder of centuries of service to the City. It was an amazing display of vehicles, all immaculately polished.
After a reception in the Library, 585 liverymen and guests sat down to luncheon in the Great Hall, grateful for the generous hospitality and to escape the sun!
Wednesday 16th July 2014
Evensong was celebrated in St Paul's Cathedral to celebrate the 350th Anniversary of the granting of Royal Charters to the Worshipful Companies of Needlemakers and of Glass Sellers of London. The Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs were present. In his Bidding,the Dean, David Ison, welcomed the Civic City, the Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff and added " and those who haven't a clue as to what is going on"!
An inspiring service, as ever, at St Paul's.
We walked to Guildhall Yard for the Beating of Retreat by the Band of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment followed by a Reception in the Old Library in Guildhall.
Saturday 12th July 2014
Under the title of Opera Course Scenes, the students gave a performance of music from the beginning of opera to the present day. Arias were sung by works composed by Monteverdi, Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, Smetana, Janacek, Stravinsky, Britten and from Pedro Paramo, a new opera by Stephen Mc Neff. These showed the tremendous talent of singers and accompanists currently at Guildhall and gave great hope for the future of music in this country at the highest level. An inspiring afternoon. It was good to see our Company's name on the list of Companies which had supported the creation of the Livery Companies Bar in Milton Court.
Tuesday 8th July 2014
The annual service celebrates the rededication of the church in 1957 following the restoration of damage sustained during the war. Our Honorary Chaplain, the Rev Canon David Parrott, is the Guild Vicar and he led the service and preached. The Lord Mayor, the Non Aldermanic Sheriff and the Commandant General of the Royal Marines were present, together with Masters, Wardens and Clerks of many of the Companies of which David is Chaplain. The choir and magnificent organ led the hymns, with a congregation in good voice. They also sang three beautiful anthems.
During the service, a chapel was rededicated, after its refurbishment, in recognition of the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines. St Lawrence Jewry is the church of the Marines in the City of London. David referred to the Royal Marines' Chapel as "sacred space in the city".
Monday 7th July 2014
For over 200 years the Sheriffs' and Recorder's Fund has been helping ex-offenders make a new start in life and endeavouring to relieve hardship for the families of serving offenders. The Masters and Clerks of the Livery Companies together with City Officials and Past Sheriffs are invited to the Annual General Meeting held in the Central Criminal Court. And so it was that our new Clerk, Sandra Stocker, on her first day in office, and I found ourselves in No 1 Court at the Old Bailey. We declined an offer to sit in the dock! Following approval of minutes and accounts, election of officers and the Chairman's report, we listened to two talks.
The first was from a beneficiary of the fund, aged 45, who explained how, at an early age, she became dependent upon drugs and alcohol. Over the years she has served a number of prison sentences for drug dealing. She has managed to come off both drugs and alcohol through help and her own will power. One was struck by her fluency and bravery in recounting her story. A most striking thing was that she had been joined by her son, who had been born when she was 16 and looked after by his grandparents. He has never been in trouble and this is extremely rare. A moving example of the important work done by this charity which received heartfelt applause from those present.
The second talk was from Lord Ramsbotham GCB CBE, a former HM Inspector of Prisons. He is an outspoken reformer in the world of criminal justice and prisons in particular. An irritant to the Establishment, he shared his considerable concerns over the prisons and probation reforms being currently proposed and put forward a well argued case for an alternative approach.
Upon leave the Court, we met Judge Richard Hone QC,who was my principle guest at the Installation Dinner last month. He asked us to join him in his rooms, which were opposite No 1 Court. After a delightful chat, we all adjourned to the Reception.
Tuesday 1st July 2014
I attended the Banquet at Mansion House at the personal invitation of the Master, Michael Fowle CBE. I had the pleasure of sitting between the Master Management Consultant and the Canon Treasurer of St Paul's Cathedral, Canon Philippa Boardman MBE, who is also Honorary Chaplain to the Chartered Accountants' Company. The three of us spent most of the meal in fits of laughter. Alderman Ian Luder, representing the Lord Mayor, gave an amusing speech, reminded us of the necessity of professional integrity in the City. The principal guest was Professor Sir David Tweedie. Those accountants reading this will recognise his name as a former Chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board which produces the rules under which accounts are prepared. Not an organisation that brings any degree of amusement.. However, Sir David's speech was the funniest I have heard at any dinner. A fun evening.
Saturday 28th June 2014
On 28 June 1914, HIRH The Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo. This event was the trigger, six weeks later, of what became known as "The Great War". Over the subsequent four years, more than sixty million military personnel were mobilised in Europe. Sixteen million military and civilian personnel were killed and a further twenty million wounded.
One hundred years to the day, the London Regiment, held a Solemn Drumhead Service of Remembrance at the Royal Hospital, in the presence of HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, three Royal Honorary Colonels, HRH The Earl of Wessex, HRH Prince Michael of Kent and HRH Princess Alexandra and a member of the Habsburg Imperial Family.
The moving service was led by the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev and Rt Hon Richard Chartres. It was followed by a reception at which the three Royal Colonels presented medals to members of the London Regiment who have served in recent conflicts.
I was accompanied by our new Clerk, Sandra Stocker, who formally takes office on 7 July.
When leaving, we viewed displays by cadets and young people from Youth Organisations in Uniform (YOU). Whilst Reserve personnel are volunteers today, young people are the volunteers of the future. We were especially interested in the displays of The Boys' Brigade (where we sheltered for ten minutes from torrential rain) and St John Ambulance, It was an inspiration to see the diverse activities all the young people were involved in and the sheer energy they bring to bear.
Thursday 26th June 2014
By kind permission of our Honorary Chaplain, Canon David Parrott, the Smoking Club held its June event on the roof of St Lawence Jewry. The weather was kind and those present were able to smoke and drink overlooking Guildhall. Food was kindly provided by Sue Parrott. A most convivial way to spend a summer evening.
On my way to Armourers' Hall, I was able to pop in and meet some of the guests.
Thursday 26th June 2014
Armourers' Hall has been refurbished in the past few years and is resplendant with displays of armour high on the walls and the arms of past Masters through five centuries below. It was an evening of quality throughout. The food and wines were exceptional, the speeches were very entertaining and the music from four singers from Guildhall School was inspiring. During dinner, I had the pleasure of the company of two of the Company's Freemen,both of whom had distinguished themselves in their chosen careers.
I was accompanied by the Clerk whose last event it was with us. A splendid dinner upon which to end and I wish Paul well for the future.
Tuesday 24th June 2014
The Election of Sheriffs is always held on 24 June. The Liverymen meet to elect the new Sheriffs who will take office on 26 September. The Masters wear robes, badges and chains and process into the Great Hall in pairs and in reverse order of precedence. They are followed by the City Officers, the Aldermen and the Lord Mayor. It is a magnificent sight - the City of London in all its splendour!
This year is unique in our sixty year history. The non Aldermanic Sheriff elected unopposed was our Past Master Fiona Adler. This is an enormous privilege for any Company and we congratulate her and wish her and her Consort, Liveryman David Moss, a fantastic year. We also congratulate the Aldermanic Sheriff, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley and wish him and his wife, Wendy, an equally enjoyable year.
Following the Election, we joined nine other Livery Companies for Luncheon at Painters' Hall. The two Sheriff Elects joined us during the meal and were welcomed with applause and cheering. As Master of a Sheriff's Mother Company, I had the privilege of responding to the toast of the Guests. It was also a pleasure to have on our table, Lord Strathalmond, who had chaired Fiona's Election Committee.
Tuesday 24th June 2014
Following the Election of the Sheriffs, we joined nine other Livery Companies for Luncheon at Painters' Hall. The two Sheriffs Elect joined us during the meal and were welcomed with applause and cheering.
As Master of the Mother Company of a Sheriif, I had the privilege of responding to the toast to the Guests. When I rose to speak, I was greeted by a very loud cheer that erupted from the Tobacco Pipe makers' table! it was a pleasure to have on our table, Lord Strathalmond, who chaired Fiona's Election Committee.
Monday 23rd June 2014
The annual Livery Golf Day took place at the beautiful course at Tandridge Golf Club. Nineteen Liverymen and guests took to the course in the morning followed by an extremely good lunch. This most enjoyable day was organised for the fourteenth year running by Past Master Derek Harris who is a Past Captain of the Club.
It was my pleasure to present the prizes were to: First and Winner of the Charles Rich Trophy: Glynn Meredith. Second: Conrad Blakey. Third: Ian Panto. All had a score of 32 and the results were based upon Count Back Longest Drive. Longest Drive: Tim Lindfield (guest of Simon Orlik). Nearest the Pin: Roger Hopkins (guest of John Gossage). Best Guest: Mark Addison (guest of Conrad Blakey) with a score of 31.
Thursday 19th June 2014
A visit to Drapers' Hall is always a treat with its magnificant Livery Hall, used in the film "The King's Speech" as the scene for the Accession Council. Along with 47 other Masters, plus their Clerks, we received most enjoyable and generous hospitality. Amusing speeches were given by the Master Draper, Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Boyce KG and by Immediate Past Master, Lady Victoria Leatham.
Wednesday 18th June 2014
The 50th anniversary lunch of the Association of Independent Tobacco Specialists and Tobacco Trade was held at Lord's Cricket Ground. As usual it had been organised by "The Gang of Three" including Past Master Roger Merton. The guest speaker was Karren Brady, a former managing director of Birmingham City Football Club and currently chairman of West Ham United. As Master, I was very pleased to present the Retailer of the Year Trophy, which we sponsor, to the winner - the Cuban Cigar Club in Newcastle. The proceedings ended with an auction which raise a significant sum in support of the Welfare Fund of the Benevolent Fund.
Tuesday 10th June 2014
It was a great pleasure to attend the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace with the Mistress, Pauline Kane, and my two sons, Charles and James. Since I last attended in 1991, the rules have changed to enable sons as well as daughters between 18 and 25 years of age to attend.
The weather was hot and sunny and despite there being eight thousand guests, the grounds are large enough to absorb the large numbers.
It was The Duke of Edinburgh's 93rd birthday and the Equerries told those meeting him not to refer this fact. However, as The Queen and Prince Philip made their way through the guests from Her Majesty's Tea Tent to the Palace at the end of the afternoon, a few people started singing "Happy birthday to you" and everyone joined in. The Queen responded with a beaming smile which radiated to all around her. A memorable and delightful day!
Friday 6th June 2014
Each year the Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff of the 110 Livery Companies are invited for a weekend together by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in Coalbrookdale, Telford, Shropshire. Ironbridge Gorge was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986 and is regarded as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
As well as visiting four fascinating sites in the Gorge on Saturday, there was a Livery Dinner on Friday night and the President's Ball on Saturday night, where I sat next to the Senior Curator of the Museum Trust. He shared his vision of revitalising the unique Broseley Pipeworks. Having seen the number of Livery Companies who have supported the sites we visited, I pondered how we might actively be involved.
The whole weekend was excellently organised and it was a great opportunity to meet fellow Masters. On Sunday morning we met to form our Past Masters' Association - somewhat premature in my case as Friday had been my first day in office! - and are calling it "One 4 All", an allusion to the year.
Thursday 5th June 2014
As the new Master, my first duty was to preside at the Installation Dinner at Cutlers' Hall. Joining me on the receiving line were Arthur Richards, Senior Warden, Chris Allen, Renter Warden and Ralph Edmondson, Fourth Warden. The Third Warden, Charles Miller, was abroad on business and he will be admitted at the Autumn Court in September. Congratulations to them all and I look forward to working with them.
The present Hall was the fifth owned by the Cutlers' Company and was opened in 1888. The first mention of a "House of the Cutlers" was in 1285 and the Company received its Royal Charter in 1416 from Henry V. The main features of the Livery Hall are the Victorian hammerbeam roof and the Barge Banner mounted high on the end wall, which was used for the Lord Mayor's procession in 1763. We have not been to this Hall for many years and it was a pleasure to see inside such an architectural gem.
We had the treat of two very amusing speeches, one from Fourth Warden, Ralph Edmondson and the other from the Principal Guest, His Honour Judge Richard Hone QC. The Judge sits next door at the Old Bailey and specialises in murder cases. The evening concluded with music from soprano, Elizabeth Karani, a Tobacco Pipe Maker scholar at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, accompanied by Juliane Gallant. Elizabeth brought the house down with a sparkling aria from Strauss's Die Fledermaus.