Paul Taberer 2022

  • The City Pickwick Club
    The City Pickwick Club

    Monday 23rd January 2023

    The City Pickwick Club has a rather exclusive membership limited to 100 characters and Past Master Charles Miller happens to be one of the fortunate – referred to, in these circles, as Blazes Tuckle, a character from The Pickwick Papers, the first novel of Charles Dickens. It was a great honour to receive an invitation to join him at the meeting – almost all there being connected to Liveries.

    The venue – as per tradition in the famous and historic George & Vulture Tavern chop house used by Dickens.

    The City Pickwick Club was formed in 1909. Each member is allotted the name of a character.

    The President, Mr. Samuel Pickwick (Alderman Sir David Wootton, Lord Mayor of London 2011-12) introduced each of the several guests with some humour and divulgence of habit!

    The Vice President (Mr Joseph Smiggers – Mark Charles Dickens) happens to be the great great grandson of Charles Dickens…and the guest of honour and speaker was his sister Mrs Marion Dickens.

    We enjoyed the traditional serving of smoked salmon, Pickwick Pie, Jingles fruit salad Treat and Dingley Dell Stilton – washed down by volumes of wine!

    Marion’s speech gave some ‘family;’ insight to her great great grandfather – she being a descendent of Charles’s 8’th child (of 10), son Henry – who went to Cambridge and became a lawyer and judge of great repute.

    Marion proposed a toast to The Immortal Memory of Charles Dickens.

    A most enjoyable evening with a club steeped in tradition!

    I now look forward to reading The Pickwick Papers – a copy of which was kindly given to all guests.

  • January Court and Dinner
    January Court and Dinner

    Wednesday 18th January 2023

    Drapers' Hall

    The magnificent Drapers’ Hall played host to our January Court & Dinner.

    Court successfully voted in favour of 5 new applicants, admitted 6 Freemen and gowned 1 Liveryman – credit to the Membership Committee for continuing to ensure a healthy inflow of new members.

    The Senior Warden and I were then positioned to welcome some 185 members and guests for dinner – a number that filled the beautiful Hall and made for a wonderful spectacle! We were honoured to have Masters from Plaisterers, Fan Makers, Actuary’s and Hackney Carriage Drivers, and the IPM Merchant Venturers; as well as the Asst Reg. Adjutant Irish Guards (Assoc) all present, amongst others.

    My Principal Guest was Rhidian Llewelyn – a distinguished educationalist who gave an amusing and interesting speech focused on education and schools.

    The Hon Chaplain opened proceedings with a wonderfully constructed Grace, after which we were served a delicious meal and copious volumes of wine!

    My thanks to PM Mark Gower-Smith for eloquently introducing our official and all guests.

    I was delighted to present a cheque from the Company to Major Robbie Wilmont for the IGA.

    What followed was an exceptional recital from students of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Emyr Jones (a student we support and crowned best young baritone in the world last year) and Luke Lally Maguire (pianist, member of Irish National Opera) combined to deliver Non piu andrai - The Marriage of Figaro; O sole mio and Some enchanted evening - South Pacific. It all ended far too soon!

    We had a full complement for the Stirrup Cup and the first few requests to vacate the Hall seemed to fall on deaf ears!

    My thanks to our Clerk Sandra and several others for ensuring the evening succeeded! And to Drapers Hall for allowing our presence.

    The Mistress and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time!

  • Plaisterer's Company
    Plaisterer's Company

    Tuesday 10th January 2023

    Masters and Clerks Dinner

    The Plaisterer’s Company hosted their traditional Masters and Clerks Dinner – a great way to start the year and meet up with many Masters, Clerks and friends – I’m told 70 Masters were in attendance and almost the same number of Clerks.

    The Plaisterer’s Hall is quite spectacular, of neo-classical style created by Robert Adam – the largest Hall in the City and comfortably seating all 280 guests!

    Master Plaisterer Stephan Gilbert delivered a wonderful speech, focusing very much on his impressions of a Master’s duty! Master Merchant Taylor Harry Parshall was guest speaker and he too gave an entertaining speech reminding us all that they were currently ranked 6 and will be for two years. Then followed by the Plaisterer Clerk Col Garth Manger – a talented professional with several amusing anecdotes!

    Not to be outdone, the chef and catering team served an exceptional meal along with copious amounts of ‘beverages’, with pianist Edward Dye providing background music during dinner.

    An evening to remember in and amongst the Livery! With special thanks to the Master, Clerk and all members of Plaisterers.

  • Smoking Club
    Smoking Club

    Monday 12th December 2022

    JJ Fox, St James'

    Commuting has become a challenge in England – a little snow and transport chaos!

    Nevertheless, that did not deter a great turn out for the quarterly Smoking Club kindly hosted by JJ Fox, St James’s, in their newly refurbished smoking lounge.

    The event was organised by Court Assistant Stephan von Schilling – absolutely brilliant, selecting a Montecristo No2 cigar, introduced to us by JJ Fox, alongside three sherries from Gonzalez Byass (Tio Pepe En Rama, Leonor Palo Cortado 12yo and Matusalem Cream 30yo). The sherries were individually introduced to us by Arthur Voulgaris of Gonzalez Byass. A fascinating tasting, from dry to sweet! We ended the evening with some Secha De La Silva Rum.

    There was a great mix of Company members and guests, and delightful to meet potential new applicants.

    JJ Fox were most gracious hosts; and sincere thanks to Stephan and the Membership Committee for their organisation.

    This was the final event of 2022 – time to head to the dry cleaners!

    Season's Greetings to you all!

  • Carol Service - held by The Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders
    Carol Service - held by The Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders

    Tuesday 6th December 2022

    Church of St James Garlickhythe

    Our annual Carol Service was absolutely fabulous and took place at St James Garlickhythe, close to Mansion House Station.

    Thanks to Past Master Mark Gower-Smith for designing the Order of Service and to our Hon Chaplain David Parrott for leading it.

    The setting was a Christopher Wren Church, filled to capacity, supported by the Sevenoaks School Choir and their 30 choristers, conducted by their Director of Music Chris Dyer, and the organist Ben Markovic (Senior Organ Scholar at Queen’s College, Cambridge).

    The choir and organist performed outstandingly; the congregation raised their voices to the hymns, and the Church acoustics allowed for a joyous Christmas Carol Service!

    The present collection for the many children in need was full and has been delivered to the charity Growbaby UK for distribution – with sincere thanks and appreciation.

    The Mistress assembled goodie bags for all to enjoy!

    A livestream link to the service: link

    An after-service drinks and bites gathering was held a short walk away at The Little Ship Club in their library – it turned out to be the perfect venue with a lovely food platter and the chance to meet with several of our Charity representatives, friends and members!

  • Furniture Makers' Christmas Dinner
    Furniture Makers' Christmas Dinner

    Thursday 1st December 2022

    East India Club

    The Master and Mistress Furniture Makers, Anthony and Patricia Attard, kindly invited Sharon and I to their Christmas Dinner – a first for them and held at The East India Club (St James’s Square) where Anthony is a member.

    We learnt that the club was founded in the middle of the 19th century, its original members being ‘the servants of the East India Company and Commissioned Officers of Her Majesty’s Army and Navy’.

    Since those early days, the club has amalgamated with the The Sports Club in 1939, The Public Schools Club in 1972, and The Devonshire Club in 1976.

    We had a wonderful evening in and amongst several Furniture Makers’ members and their guests.

  • Pollinating London Together - Annual Meeting
    Pollinating London Together - Annual Meeting

    Wednesday 30th November 2022

    Barber Surgeons' Hall

    PLT was inaugurated in 2019 with the aim of developing biodiversity corridors across green spaces in the City and surrounding boroughs to halt the decline of pollinators.

    There were representatives from 40 Livery Companies at this annual meeting held at the Barber Surgeons' Hall.

    They have managed to secure a considerable grant from the City of London Corporation, and this has helped them secure a partnership with Reading University which offers invaluable resources.

    We heard of the work done over the past year – green space planting and pollinator audits, education and awareness campaigns – all with a view to save and grow our pollinators so needed for the production of food!

    PLT has charitable status and will need to raise funds to keep the momentum going…it has several initiatives to do so!

    All part of the save the planet macro campaign, we need to support where we can!

  • Launch Reception for The Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch
    Launch Reception for The Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch

    Tuesday 29th November 2022

    Honourable Artillery Company

    The launch reception for the Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch took place at The Hon Artillery Company.

    Present were The Lord Mayor and his Sheriffs, along with the founder of the event Michael Hockney.

    Entering its 16th year, the annual event has raised close to £3m in total – the proceeds going to help military veterans into employment through 3 military service charities - ABF The Soldiers' Charity, the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.

    The actual lunch will take place on 30 March 2023 at Guildhall and is usually attended by a Royal Guest of Honour – and The Lord Mayor has set a target to raise £325,000 this year (up from £314k last year)!

    Our Company continues to support The Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch – a great cause.

    A lovely evening reception with fellow Masters and Clerks amongst others.

  • Irish Guards Assoc Dinner
    Irish Guards Assoc Dinner

    Saturday 26th November 2022

    Union Jack Club

    The Mistress and I were invited to The Irish Guards Association annual dinner, this year held at the Union Jack Club in Waterloo. We enjoy an affiliation with them – established, in large, through the efforts of the late Alan Beggs, at the time their Hon Secretary and our Clerk’s Assistant. Alan was fondly remembered during the evening toasts.

    We had the honour of being seated amongst the high ranks at the top table. An Irish piper processed us in!

    Major General Christopher Ghika (M G commanding the Household Division) gave the keynote speech. He played a large part in the Jubilee celebrations and Her Late Majesty The Queen’s funeral arrangements. His speech touched on the armed forces modernizing their weaponry (drones etc) and the need for Russia to fail in Ukraine.

    The Commanding Officer of The Irish Guards, Lt Col James Aldridge, also spoke, focusing on the many achievements of the IG this year – both in action and ceremonially.

    There was no doubt as to the high morale in the room and their proud affiliation to the Irish Guards.

    Our thanks to the Honorary Secretary Ron Kirkland for graciously hosting us and organising the evening.

  • Festival of St Cecilia
    Festival of St Cecilia

    Wednesday 23rd November 2022

    Westminster Abbey

    The Festival of St. Cecilia, a celebration of music service, was this year held at Westminster Abbey.

    It was an enormous privilege to have the choirs from Westminster Cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.The annual festival rotates between these 3.

    St. Cecilia is the patron saint of music. Help Musicians is a charity which supports talented musicians in need.

    This annual event raises the profile of the charity and the enormous good it does. Our Livery Company, amongst many others, supports the charity. The Master, Senior Warden and 4th Warden were part of the Livery procession.

    It was a fantastic service. The choir sang the ‘Anthem’ (commissioned for the QE II State Funeral); and another anthem commissioned for this service. Nicky Spence (operatic tenor) gave a moving testimonial. Josh Pyman performed a solo with the clarinet. The Rev James Mustard (Exeter Cathedral) gave an interesting address.

    What a way to reflect upon the valuable role musicians play in all our lives – something we must protect and nurture for ever.

    Then to lunch at The Red Lion, the politician’s local...before attending a briefing by the Lord Mayor at Mansion House where he set out his objectives for the year.

  • Welfare Committee recognises Past Master Roger Merton
    Welfare Committee recognises Past Master Roger Merton

    Tuesday 22nd November 2022

    Lunch in the City

    It was an honour to receive an invitation to a luncheon hosted by the Welfare Committee in recognition of Past Master Roger Merton’s 50 years on committee!

    Roger has recently retired from Chairmanship of the committee and becomes vice-Chair.

    His selfless and dedicated service has seen remarkable work by the organisation which began in the 1860’s and that provides funding and support for (tobacco) industry persons that have fallen on hard times.

    Roger spoke passionately about his time with the committee citing the respect and close relationship he had with the late PM John Adler.

    The new Chairman, Third Warden Tony Scanlan, thanked Roger on behalf of the committee for his 50 years of active involvement.

    The Mistress and I were honoured to be present!

    Thank you to the Welfare Fund administrators, Forum Court, for coordinating the lunch at Vinoteca, Kings Cross.

  • Entrepreneurs' Awards
    Entrepreneurs' Awards

    Wednesday 16th November 2022

    The Old Bailey

    The Entrepreneurs’ Award in Social Innovation (EASI) is the brainchild of Judy Hadden, Master Entrepreneur (for another week!); and she kindly invited, amongst others, Masters and Clerks from all Companies.

    They support early-stage entrepreneurs with funding, guidance, introductions and support – quite amazing work – and we got to hear from the winners and 3 runners up – all most grateful for the support they receive from the Company.

    Alderman Sheriff Alastair King welcomed us (The Old Bailey being the Sheriff’s home for the year!).

    The 2022 EASI winner is a company called Pastoral – focusing on providing an effective solution to the environmentally disruptive farming practices of poverty-stricken countries.

    And one of the runners up, who got much attention from the audience, is Bristol Braille Technology – a not-for-profit organisation – developing advanced technology for the blind.

    This was a stark reminder of the tremendous charitable work from the Livery Companies.

  • Lecture - Power, Reputation & Influence
    Lecture - Power, Reputation & Influence

    Tuesday 15th November 2022

    Drapers' Hall

    Now in its 7’th year, and hosted by CCLA and Marylebone Exec Search, I attended the annual ‘Power, Reputation and Influence’ lecture at Drapers’ Hall – as did many other Livery Co representatives along with a wide-ranging audience – the hall was packed.

    This year Professor Sir Adrian Smith gave the lecture on the subject AI (artificial intelligence). It was fascinating, highlighting the power of DATA and the rapid spread AI is having on our daily lives – all aspects of it!

    Sir Adrian is a top figure, President of the Royal Society and CEO of the Alan Turing Institute.

    A privilege to attend, listen and then mingle amongst many over a drink and snack.

  • Service of Remembrance
    Service of Remembrance

    Sunday 13th November 2022

    St. Paul's Cathedral

    Livery Companies were invited to attend both the Service of Remembrance in St Paul’s Cathedral and the Wreath Laying at the War Memorial outside the Royal Exchange mid-morning through to midday.

    Kindly organised and coordinated by The Fruiterers, The Senior Warden and I attended in company gowns, whilst consorts, spouses and friends were also welcomed.

    The Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and Alderman were present too…and it was good to see PM Chris Allen on Cathedral duty and ensuring we were rightly seated!

    It was a moving and beautiful service in memory and honour of those who have passed whilst in conflict.

    Following the service, we processed down Cheapside to the Royal Exchange and assembled near to the Memorial.

    The Lord Mayor laid the first wreath with the Master Fruiterer laying the last official wreath, on behalf of all Livery Companies.

    We then had the privilege of watching the March Past by veterans and the Band of the HAC.

    A most special event before joining other Livery Company representatives for lunch in the Aldermen’s dining room at Guildhall hosted by The Cook and The Butler.

  • The Lord Mayor's Show
    The Lord Mayor's Show

    Saturday 12th November 2022

    Mid November; London; sun shining; 17 Celsius! What a cracker of a day for our 3-man team to be on parade for the Lord Mayor’s Show!

    Joined by the Senior Warden and Mistress, and in and amongst other Modern Livery Companies, we made our way past streets packed with well-wishers and along the traditional route from Mansion House to the Royal Courts of Justice and back again.

    We received a loud cheer from Past Master Fiona Adler seated in a prime spot which added fuel to our engines!

    As per tradition, the halfway stop was an hour or so on board HQS Wellington for a drink and sandwich, and chance to mingle with many others, but alas no takers for a cigar! We did get the photo outside BAT’s Globe House – a key supporter of our Company.

    A most enjoyable day in a vibrant City of London atmosphere and great setting for the new Lord Mayor Alderman Nicholas Lyons. We wish him well.

  • Silent Ceremony
    Silent Ceremony

    Friday 11th November 2022

    Admission of The Lord Mayor Elect, Guildhall

    The Lord Mayor Elect, Alderman Nicholas Lyons, was admitted in what is known as the Silent Ceremony in the packed Great Hall at Guildhall.

    The Clerk managed to secure tickets for the Mistress and I – this event having more demand than supply! It was a fascinating ceremony with a fairly long procession including the City’s senior and ceremonial officials, the Lord Mayor Elect and The Lord Mayor (Alderman Vincent Keaveny).

    Another great ancient tradition executed to perfection and in total silence apart from the Lord Mayor Elect’s Declaration.

    We reflect on the busy and eventful and indeed memorable year Vincent Keaveny and his wife Amanda have had; and we wish the Lord Mayor Nicholas Lyons and Lord Mayoress Felicity Lyons a successful year ahead that begins today! We shall be in support at the Lord Mayor’s Show in London tomorrow!

  • Livery Partnership Guildhall School of Music
    Livery Partnership Guildhall School of Music

    Tuesday 8th November 2022

    Guildhall School Livery Bar

    Jonathan Fell (Chairman Benevolent Fund), The Mistress and I attended a reception in the ‘Livery Companies Bar’ at GSM.

    GSM receive significant funding from Livery companies; I’m told by Jon that we started donating back in 1964! All donating Livery companies are listed on a ‘roll of honour’ in the bar!

    GSM has initiated a campaign and target to attract more funding for this important cultural music and drama school – in the run up to their 150-year anniversary 2030!

    We heard from Sir Andrew Parmley (GSM campaign board member) and principal Jonathan Vaughan, met some students, and enjoyed some jazz from a talented quartet.

    We are certainly proud to be associated with this exceptional educational institution.

  • Thanksgiving Service for Lord Mayor
    Thanksgiving Service for Lord Mayor

    Monday 7th November 2022

    St Stephen Walbrook

    A short walk from Mansion House is a quaint little Church, St Stephen Walbrook – The Lord Mayor’s Parish Church, a Christopher Wren design, and a place where the Samaritans were born!

    The service was a traditional thanksgiving to the Lord Mayor and Mayoress as they enter their final week in office, the preacher being Revd M J Curry – Chaplain to The Lord Mayor.

    A beautiful service and a way for Masters of Livery Companies and others to join together and to give their thanks to the LM and his consort for all they have done to fly London’s flag in an eventful year!

  • Garden of Remembrance Service
    Garden of Remembrance Service

    Monday 7th November 2022

    St Paul's Cathedral

    This act of Remembrance, coordinated by the Livery Committee of London, took place in the Churchyard Garden of St Paul's, and it was a moving and lovely service, conducted by the Dean of St Paul’s, to remember all those affected by war and conflict.

    In attendance were the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, Masters, Prime Wardens, Upper Bailiff and Clerks of City Companies, with the Band of the Scots Guards, Royal British Legion, various Cadet Forces, and the Choir from the City of London.

    We arrived for a casual breakfast in the Crypt, collected our company poppy cross, before processing out and lining up in order of precedence for the service and planting of the Cross.

    Many of us then went on to enjoy a lunch at Plaisterers’ Hall – and a chance to meet many newly installed Masters!

  • Supporters Evening - our musicians
    Supporters Evening - our musicians

    Tuesday 1st November 2022

    Guildhall School of Music - Barbican

    The Mistress and I joined other supporters at a reception hosted by The Guildhall School of Music – an opportunity to meet the very talented musicians we are supporting.

    This year, our Benevolent Fund is supporting 4 musicians:

    Matthew Brown, Guildhall Artist Masters, Third year, (Fortepiano/Harpsichord/Clavichord/Organ);

    Emyr Jones, Advanced Certificate, First year, (Baritone/Bass);

    Gabriel Francis-Dehqani, Guildhall Artist Masters, Second year, (Cello);

    Lucy Walsh, Bachelor of Music (Hons), Third year, (Flute).

    All expressed their sincere thanks and appreciation for the financial assistance and explained their education and ambitions!

    The GS of M started nearly 150 years ago with 62 students; today they are a leading global music and drama institution with 1,100 students. Their principal, Jonathan Vaughan, gave much credit to the support of Livery companies for their success.

    We look forward to a couple of our students hopefully performing at the January Dinner!

  • Coffee Morning with Lord Mayor
    Coffee Morning with Lord Mayor

    Thursday 27th October 2022

    Mansion House

    The Lord Mayor, Vincent Keaveny, held a series of coffee mornings in the Long Parlour at Mansion House – to which all Masters / Prime Wardens / Upper Bailiffs were invited.

    My allotted day was 27th October, along with about 25 others, and also in attendance was Alderman Sheriff Alastair King.

    The LM coordinated an open discussion on the Livery Companies strategic focus on three main areas – sustainability, philanthropy, inclusion – all relevant in today’s world, and the need to share with one another any ideas and suggestions.

    There is no doubt that we all need to take this seriously and have the City of London lead by example.

    The Lord Mayor thanked all for their support in what’s been an unforgettable year and which has another 2 weeks to go! He has certainly enjoyed an eventful year and performed admirably.

  • A Celebration of British Architect Robert Adam
    A Celebration of British Architect Robert Adam

    Wednesday 26th October 2022

    Plaisterers' Hall

    The Plaisterers’ Master’s Consort, Vanessa Gilbert, hosted ‘A celebration of Robert Adam’ – their Hall being a reproduction of architect Robert Adams, an 18th century British neoclassical architect, interior designer and furniture designer.

    The Mistress and I enjoyed a wonderful event over lunch, which included music and dancing from ‘Consort de Dance Baroque’, a talk from architectural historian Jeremy Musson and antique jeweller Robert Ogden – all themed around the Robert Adam’s era! Most interesting.

    Musicians from the Royal Academy of Music treated us to some fabulous pieces to end the afternoon – violinist Braimah Kanneh-Mason and pianist Konya Kanneh-Mason – well known in the music world!

    The Master Plaisterer, Stephen Gilbert, has as his chosen charity Music Masters – championing diversity and inclusion in music education…it was gratifying to witness such talented musicians!

    A wonderful lunch and event in a most beautiful Hall.

  • Fan Makers Selection Court Dinner
    Fan Makers Selection Court Dinner

    Thursday 20th October 2022

    Saddlers' Hall

    The Fan Makers held their Selection Court Dinner at Saddlers’ Hall (their new base) – and I was honoured to receive an invitation along with a few others on their ‘circuit’.

    Seven members were admitted / gowned and The Master Fan Maker, Jonathan Bewes, had the headmaster of Stowe School, Dr. Anthony Wallersteiner, as his principal guest.

    Anthony delivered a fine speech centred around education and the theme to fully engage in all areas of school life – it’s no surprise they hold the 2022 Tatler Best Public School’s Award. He’d also dug out some amusing old school reports of The Master’s time at Stowe as a pupil!

    The Fan Makers’ Clerk, Martin Davies, received deserved recognition after 13 years of service as he retires at the end of the year. He too gave a lovely speech.

    A wonderful relaxed evening, amongst friendly Fan Makers at a fine Hall!

  • Annual Banquet
    Annual Banquet

    Wednesday 19th October 2022

    Grocers' Hall

    Grocers’ Hall, a first for many, did us proud and the dining area was a spectacle with the imposing chandeliers dangling over beautifully decorated tables.

    Final count was around 140 – with the Clerk performing magic given last minute ever-changing numbers!

    Sharon and I welcomed all guests into The Piper Room, before making our way to the dining Hall.

    Our Honorary Chaplain delivered an amusing grace, disguising the 5 modern pentathlon sports in honour of my principal guest, Professor Greg Whyte – a two-time Olympian.

    Court Assistant John Clarke made a fine introduction of the main guests before proposing a toast to all guests...the main guests including Greg Whyte; Lt Col Chris Sykes; Major Oliver Bambrick; Dame Julie Kenney and Capt Robin Batt.

    Prof Greg Whyte responded highlighting the importance of physical activity to health and productivity, and his endeavours with celebrities and iconic challenges to ‘achieve the impossible’; plus his many charitable works, most recently focusing on creating an awareness of learning to swim.

    He was delighted to receive a cheque from us for The Royal Life Saving Society UK charity.

    Major Oliver Bambrick, Company Commander No 15 (Loos) Co, Irish Guards – with whom we have a close association – was also most appreciative to receive a cheque from us for their Company.

    Following my response, we were treated to some excellent music from the London Fanfare Trumpets – including some African pieces! Alan Beggs (Clerk’s Asst), who sadly passed away 2 weeks ago, played a large part in securing the musicians. We felt that their entertaining repertoire was a fitting tribute to Alan.

    The Mistress and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time, and it took some effort to have the Hall vacated by deadline time 11pm!

  • Battle of Loos Dinner with Irish Guards
    Battle of Loos Dinner with Irish Guards

    Saturday 15th October 2022

    Union Jack Club

    We have a close affiliation with the Irish Guards – and I was privileged to receive an invitation from Major Oliver Bambrick, Co Commander No 15 (Loos) Company, Irish Guards to join an all-rank dinner (in itself unusual) in memory of the Battle of Loos (which was in 1915) at the Union Jack Club near Waterloo station.

    I was seated alongside Major Robbie Wilmont (Assistant Regimental Adjutant RHQ Irish Guards) and Lt Col Chris Sykes (Commanding Officer, 1st Batallion, London Guards). In front of me was the SIRRAH trophy – fitting!

    We heard about the fantastic work the Company does in supplying Reserve troops to the Irish Guards; the commitment of the Reserves; the additional time many of them devote and the admirable way they 'stick together'.

    A lovely evening in and amongst our dedicated forces.

  • The Shamrock Ball - Irish Guards
    The Shamrock Ball - Irish Guards

    Thursday 13th October 2022

    Merchant Taylor's Hall

    A table of 10 from The Tobacco Pipe Makers and Blenders was seated at ‘Norway 1940’ for the Shamrock Ball at Merchant Taylors’ Hall for the Irish Guards Charity fund raising evening event.

    Master of ceremony Maj Robbie Wilmont, well known to many of us, orchestrated the night, with the Reg Band of the Irish Guards setting the scene for a colourful evening. It was fitting that he mentioned the recent passing of our Clerk’s Assistant, Alan Beggs – Alan being largely instrumental in helping to establish our association with the Irish Guards Association.

    The singing waiters, Incognito, took us all by surprise and raised the Hall’s roof!

    By all accounts a significant amount of funds was raised for the charity…PM Andrew Golding and Fourth Warden Jacqueline Burrows making it to the final stages of the guess the answer game!

    For those late goers a casino and disco operated – unfortunately I cannot report on how that went!

  • Young Furniture Makers Exhibition
    Young Furniture Makers Exhibition

    Wednesday 12th October 2022

    Furniture Makers Hall

    The Furniture Makers’ Company organise the afternoon exhibition ‘The Young Furniture Makers’ allowing chosen talent from GCSE students to recent graduates to showcase their pieces.

    The awards recognise excellence and the future in design.

    There were around 100 exhibits – tables, chairs, cabinets, stools, desks – a wide range of products spread between the F M Hall and the neighbouring Dutch Church. I was overwhelmed by the quality of product on display and the innovation - such as top quality stacking stools made from old wooden bed legs!

    A great example of the Livery supporting its trade and heritage, and to view the talent and passion that this craft has!

  • Furniture Makers' Hall
    Furniture Makers' Hall

    Thursday 6th October 2022

    Masters and Clerks Dinner

    A handful of Companies were invited by The Furniture Makers Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants for a black tie dinner in their Hall - my first time there.

    Sadly, the F M Master, Tony Attard, had to withdraw but their IPM David Woodward stepped in and was a gracious host.

    Tony’s speech, delivered by David, was a clever construction mentioning each of the visiting Companies, their history and their Royal Charters / Grant of Arms. There was some bemusement at our history and 3rd resurrection!

    The furniture industry is a strong one in the UK – and we were given a catalogue of The Frederick Parker Chair Collection which is housed at The London Met University. It comprises a fascinating collection of 200 chairs showing a wide variety of materials, forms, decoration and design and illustrates how furniture has evolved over time, with changing ideas about comfort, style and design. Worth a visit!

    Another fine evening in the City!

  • Evensong - The Musicians' Company
    Evensong - The Musicians' Company

    Wednesday 5th October 2022

    St Paul's Cathedral

    The Renter Warden and I attended the annual Musicians’ Company Choral Evensong at St. Paul’s – an event that has been going since 1908!

    Along with other Masters and Wardens, and a large core of members from The Musicians, we gowned up in the Crypt and processed into the Dome and were joined by the St. Paul’s choir and the Royal College of Music for a beautiful Evensong.

    The Bidding was given by The Dean (newly appointed), and The Second Lesson by The Right Rev Graeme Knowles, Master Musicians. In between, the choir and RC of Music performed some wonderful pieces.

    The evening ended with a large gathering of us in the Crypt for a wine and canape reception – where we met The Mistress, Sharon, and the Renter Warden's wife Carolyn.

    The Musicians’ craft is the music profession whereby they nurture and support emerging musicians – and by all accounts do a fantastic job!

  • Riding for the Disabled
    Riding for the Disabled

    Tuesday 4th October 2022

    Barrow Farm

    The Mistress and I had the pleasure to visit one of the Benevolent Fund’s longstanding charities, Barrow Farm (near Chelmsford) and quickly realised that the contribution really does make an impact on them!

    Our arrival coincided with a group of disabled children enjoying a ride on the ponies under the supervision of committed, passionate and professional aides, some employed, some volunteers.

    Karen Lehner, Trustee, hosted us, provided detailed information and gave a wonderful tour.

    We have a long association with them, dating back to Past Master John Adler.

    We learnt that riding at Barrow Farm (for the disabled) can provide physiotherapy and exercise, a chance to learn, the opportunity to make new friends, build self-esteem and confidence and all this while having FUN.

    It really is a blessing to see this sort of good community work.

  • Modern Liveries Dinner
    Modern Liveries Dinner

    Monday 3rd October 2022

    Armourers' Hall

    The Senior Warden and I enjoyed a fun evening at The Modern Liveries Dinner – this time being the turn of The Educators (109) to host which they did wonderfully – and at Armourers’ Hall – where I was installed – it was good to be back!

    Modern Companies are from precedence 78-110; Masters and Upper/Senior Wardens are invited to dine twice a year (March and September – this year October), with the host company, by rotation, choosing the hall. That implies our Third Warden, Tony Scanlan, will be the host in March 2025 (subject to!).

    There were about 70 of us dining with a vocal ensemble from ‘Modality Collective’ – 5 singers and a pianist ending their performance with “We’ll meet again” in memory of Her Late Majesty, QE II – and to which we were provided the words for a group effort!

    Master Educator Caroline Haines, Upper Warden Educator Janet Reynolds and guest Andrew Wigmore, a British-Belizean politician, diplomat and Commonwealth Games sportsman all gave speeches with Andrew focusing on Green Canopy, one the Her Late Majesty’s ‘green’ initiatives. Most interesting.

  • Election of Lord Mayor
    Election of Lord Mayor

    Thursday 29th September 2022

    Common Hall

    I took a late breakfast in Guildhall kindly hosted by Mark Grove, The Cook & The Butler, before joining other Masters in The Crypts to gown up and prepare for the procession (11.35am) to Great Hall – for the election of the new Lord Mayor.

    Lord Mayor candidates, the current Lord Mayor, the (new) Sheriffs, late Sheriffs, Aldermen and officers all took to stage to start this ancient ritual.

    Voting took place with Nicholas Lyons becoming the elected Lord Mayor (to take office in November), Michael Mainelli favoured for election next year, and Alison Gowman and Timothy Hales favoured for consideration ‘in the future’!

    The Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Recorder and Town Clerk retired to the Print Room to consider the result of the election, during which time the Assistant Town Clerk delivered a clever speech with amusing twists on relevant City of London issues.

    On their return the motions were adopted and what followed were great speeches – from The Lord Mayor-Elect, The Master Solicitor, The Lord Mayor, The late Sheriffs and the Master Glover.

    A delightful ceremony in a packed hall of eligible Liverymen.

    The Renter Warden and I then set off to Stationers’ Hall where, along with the Mistress, we lunched with many other Companies in their recently refurbished premises – and we were kindly given a tour after a delicious meal – great work done.

    I came away from the day convinced the City of London was in good hands yet again – and the many challenges out there will be tackled head on!

  • Masons - 550 anniversary
    Masons - 550 anniversary

    Wednesday 28th September 2022

    Mansion House

    This year marks the 550th anniversary of the Granting of Arms to the Masons’ Company by Edward 1V in 1472. To celebrate this milestone in history I, along with many other Masters, was invited for a reception at Mansion, hosted by the Masons and in the presence of the Lord Mayor, HRH the Duke of Gloucester, our new Sheriffs (who took office today) Alastair King and Andrew Marsden, and others.

    On display was a stunning silver piece commissioned for the anniversary – The Stonemason.

    A lovely evening at a lovely venue!

  • Goldsmiths' Fair 2022
    Goldsmiths' Fair 2022

    Tuesday 27th September 2022

    Goldsmiths' Hall

    The Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, The Lord (Mark) Bridges invited Masters, Clerks and guests to their 40th Goldsmiths Fair at their stunning hall.

    The Clerk, Mistress and I joined many others for a reception and private viewing of 136 of the UK’s most extraordinary silversmiths and goldsmiths.

    The Goldsmiths’ Company sponsors ten selected recent graduates to display their new collections. It’s a great level of mentorship and exposure that can really provide a boost early in their career and many Fair graduates have gone on to sterling careers as artist-craftsmen. Judging by their pieces many more will follow suit!

    The highlight was a replica Platinum Jubilee brooch, made for HM QE II – and given to her just weeks before her passing. A stunning, delicate piece.

    The fair is open to the public - in case you're looking for a gift for Christmas do consider popping along!

  • The Sheep Drive
    The Sheep Drive

    Sunday 25th September 2022

    London Bridge

    Sharon and I decided to pass by the Sheep Drive after the music competition and watch some Freemen drive ‘their’ sheep over the bridge.

    This charity event, organised by The Worshipful Company of Woolmen, celebrates a Freeman's ancient “right” to bring sheep to market over the Thames, toll free – and is all in aid of raising funds for The Woolmen Charity and The Lord Mayor's Appeal.

    Close by, at The Monument to the Great Fire of London, was a Livery Fair, with stalls from several companies showcasing their trades and selling products, proceeds again destined for the Lord Majors Appeal. There was much interest from both the public and liveries – and good to connect again with several Masters after the August recess!

  • Lord Mayor's Music Competition
    Lord Mayor's Music Competition

    Sunday 25th September 2022

    Guildhall Yard

    A midday event in Guildhall Yard – the annual Lord Mayor’s Music Competition, started in 2017 by Alderman Sir Andrew Parmley (representing the Lord Mayor today).

    In the final were the Band of The Sea Cadet Corps, the Band of the RAF Air Cadets and the Combined Cadet Force Corps of Drums from Mill Hill School.

    Each band marched on, played 3 tunes followed by Bugler, and then marched off.

    These young cadets displayed amazing talent, and many will go on much further in their military musical careers.

    Whilst the judges deliberated, we made our way down to the Crypts to enjoy a reception with other Masters and Consorts.

    The 3 distinguished military judges had a tough task selecting the prize winners – the main prize for the best band being awarded to The Sea Cadet Corps.

    The Mistress and I were spell bound at the quality produced from these young cadets.

  • River Thames Reflections Flotilla
    River Thames Reflections Flotilla

    Saturday 24th September 2022

    HQS Wellington

    I was back to HQS Wellington for the 3rd time in a week – along with the Mistress and Alderman Sheriff Nicholas Lyons and his Consort Felicity and other Masters and Consorts, and the Sea Cadets and young Royal Marine Cadets. About 100 of us boarded in the evening to witness the River Thames Reflections Flotilla – graciously hosted by The Master Mariner, Capt Robin Batt, and their Clerk Scott Hanlon.

    The flotilla took place at dusk with over a hundred and fifty boats, including the Gloriana – all making their way down the River Thames from Chelsea to Tower Bridge. The event was a reflection for Her Majesty and raised funds for the RNLI, supporting the construction of a new lifeboat station at Waterloo Bridge.

    A real spectacle on a fine autumn evening.

  • Autumn Court Meeting and Dinner
    Autumn Court Meeting and Dinner

    Wednesday 21st September 2022

    HQS Wellington

    Back to HQS Wellington for the 5pm Autumn Court Meeting, reception and dinner – not surprisingly, considered one of the nicest company evenings of the year – especially when the weather is kind to us – and it was!

    In Court we installed Jonathan Fell as an Assistant, passed 6 new member applications, admitted two Freemen (Ricardo Carioni and Mike de la Fargue) and gowned a Liveryman, Andrew Pinto.

    By this time, we had developed a thirst and rapidly proceeded upper deck for predinner drinks – and in many cases a smoke!

    Our Honorary Chaplain called for a moments silence in memory of Her Late Majesty The Queen, produced a wonderful grace and then we seated and enjoyed a lovely meal from Seahorse Hospitality and in the excellent company of Master Mariner, Captain Robin Batt and his clerk Scott Hanlon.

    For the first time in the history of our modern company The King was toasted!

    And what followed was the traditional port, aged brandy (from the farm in SA) and cigar (or two!).

    A great evening and we were made very welcome by HQS W.

  • Ironbridge

    Saturday 17th September 2022

    Broseley Pipe Museum

    Having heard much about Ironbridge, the Broseley Clay Pipe Museum and our unofficial ‘apprentice’ clay pipe maker Oliver Meeson, I asked the Renter Warden, Henry Tuck, to kindly arrange a visit – and was delighted to go with Henry and his wife Carolyn and the Mistress.

    Arriving on Friday 17 September allowed us a full day to explore on Saturday before returning home the next day.

    The much-dedicated curator Kate Cadman gave an amazingly interesting tour of the Broseley Pipe Museum – she is passionate, and I found it most informative and well laid out and came away so much better informed on the history of clay pipes. At its peak, this operation was producing 3 million pipes a year and employing 80 people!

    We lunched with the CEO of The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Nick Ralls – they run the 10 museums in the region including Broseley. Covid was tough on them, and the challenges remain with the current recession. Nevertheless, he has plans on ensuring this display of English heritage remains strong.

    Oliver Meeson was displaying his pipe making skills down the road at Coalbrookdale, and it was a pleasure to meet him and hear of his plans and objectives.

    I hope to be back to finish off all there is to see and do there – and strongly recommend the Broseley Pipe Museum to any members who don’t know it!

    My thanks to Henry for his diligence and commitment with the relationship we have at Ironbridge.

  • Children's Magical Taxi Tour
    Children's Magical Taxi Tour

    Friday 16th September 2022

    The Big Breakfast

    One of the charities our Benevolent Fund supports is The Magical Taxi Tour - organised annually by the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers.

    This is the 27th year of the event – involving 120 dedicated taxi drivers taking around 420 suffering children, siblings, carers and parents on a three-day trip of a lifetime to Disneyland in Paris. For some youngsters, the Magical Taxi Tour could be one of their last adventures, a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    IPM Jerry Merton and I joined many other livery members at The Big Breakfast in East Wintergarden, Canary Warf – along with the children, their families, the taxi drivers and the carers. Music from the Royal British Legend Band added to the joy of the morning.

    Alderman Sheriff Alison Gowman and Past Master Fiona Adler were in support with Fiona leading a huge cheer for the tour!

    After breakfast the excited children dashed for their taxis as we lined the street to bid them farewell – off they went in convoy, taxi horns blaring, and escorted by the police to the ferry in Dover on route to Disneyland.

    A very moving event that has grown in magnitude and expertly organised by the W C of Hackney Carriage Drivers.

  • Tobacco Trade Golf Association
    Tobacco Trade Golf Association

    Thursday 15th September 2022

    Golf Tournament

    The annual Tobacco Trade Golf Association golf day was once again held at The Berkshire, my home golf course! Inside knowledge clearly did not help!

    We entered a team to represent the Company – Past Masters Nigel Rich and Ian Panto, late stand-in The Mistress and myself. There were 17 teams – another good turnout, with BAT, JTI, PMI and several other companies participating.

    All proceeds are for the Welfare Fund and the charity raffle drew much attention with a great range of prizes. There were also several generous sponsors.

    It was a great day, perfect golfing weather, morning golf followed by the traditional Berkshire carvery and prize-giving.

    At the halfway stage we made the fatal mistake of looking at the electronic leader board, seeing our team in the lead, and going downhill from there – apart from Ian Panto who dug deep, played consistently and was runner up in the individual over 60’s comp, receiving the Vets Falcon Pipe Cup for his efforts! Well done Ian.

    Our thanks to Janet Poole from JTI for once again organising the day.

    Next year save the date - 14 September 2023.

  • Theatre Trip
    Theatre Trip

    Wednesday 14th September 2022

    Jersey Boys

    What a great initiative from the Membership Committee, and especially Court Assistant Professor Mallory Factor, to hold a theatre night for members and guests to watch the award-winning musical production Jersey Boys in London’s Trafalgar Theatre.

    There was significant interest with some 60 tickets being scooped up and for the first time I never needed binoculars in the theatre – our seats being ring side!

    Mallory has some key connections in the theatre production world and what a privilege it was to meet the cast after the show – autographs, photos, questions – indeed a charming cast with admirable stage skills.

    I strongly recommend Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from the streets of New Jersey to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

    My thanks to Mallory and the Membership Committee. Excellent entertainment.

  • Past Masters Dinner
    Past Masters Dinner

    Thursday 8th September 2022

    In & Out (Naval & Military) Club

    The eighth Past Masters’ Dinner saw the attendance of 12 PM plus me at The In & Out (Naval & Military) Club, St James’s Square in the Astor Room.

    Shortly before dinner was called, we heard the very sad news of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen. We gave thanks for her reign and toasted The King.

    Our Senior PM Rolf Christophersen was on top form, and I was most grateful he attended - we took this opportunity to present him with his Past Master’s Hat.

    A delicious dinner was served, and formalities ended with the port – kindly donated by Liveryman Conrad Blakey, a past Chairman of the club! A lovely gesture.

    I reported my opinion that The Company was in good order with a positive influx of new member applicants.

    Cigars were enjoyed before and after!

  • Arundel

    Monday 8th August 2022

    The Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation

    The Benevolent Fund supports The Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation and the Mistress and I had the good fortune to meet the Foundation’s Chairman (Peter Bristowe) and Tim Shutt (Director) at their base, The Arundel Castle Cricket Club in West Sussex.

    It is fitting that The Duke of Norfolk is their President – residing in the stunning Arundel Castle, a big cricket 6 from the grounds!

    It was explained to us how they use the power of cricket, outdoor recreation and their unique, historic setting to create magical experiences that enhance the education, health and wellbeing of disadvantaged young people. The day we visited they had a group of youngsters from East London on a 3-day residential in partnership with Chance to Shine and Surrey Cricket Foundation. It was moving to witness the thrill the children were getting – many of them never having ventured beyond their neighbourhood before.

    After meeting and touring the facilities, we took advantage of being in Arundel and paid a visit to the Castle and its gardens – I can only recommend to anyone who has not seen them to do so – quite spectacular.

    We were bowled over at the passion and commitment of The Foundation and will revisit to coincide with a game of cricket!

  • Petanque!

    Thursday 28th July 2022

    Inter-Livery Comp

    The Masters Inter Livery Petanque Competition was held for the first time at the initiative of The Distillers Company.

    Eighteen 3-man teams entered, with our team comprising IPM Jerry Merton and PM Charles Miller and myself – on paper a powerful team, but, as the IPM pointed out, we upheld the finest Corinthian principles of the Company!

    The event took place on a fine summer’s evening at the home of the London Petanque Club in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, with the Distillers passing the net proceeds to The Lord Mayors Appeal. Club members kindly gave guidance on the rules and refereed any controversial calls!

    The plus side of being knocked out after 3 matches – we could relax, smoke, drink, picnic and encourage; the downside – missing out on The Master Distillers bottle of Master’s Cask Whisky and the Cask Trophy (donated by The Coopers Co)…which was won by The Vintners in a closely (and competitively) fought final against The Plaisterers.

    There was talk of this becoming an annual event – a game for anyone and everyone and perhaps a chance for us to be more selective on a quality team!

    Special thanks to The Distillers, the LPC and all involved.

  • World Drinks Awards Spirits Tasting
    World Drinks Awards Spirits Tasting

    Tuesday 26th July 2022

    Worshipful Co of Distillers

    Hosted by The Distillers at Vintners’ Hall, we enjoyed a very well organised event which displayed a selection of the winners of the World Drinks Awards Spirits – featuring well over 100 bottles, by geographical region and comprising whisky, gin, vermouth, tequila and others!

    This is a passionate industry, and one I fell in love with, as we moved around the world sampling a variety of spirits and developing a very long list of favourites! The winners of the various awards had been chosen by judges from over 30 countries – a commendable feat.

    It was well attended by many Livery Companies and the noise level intensified before we were reminded of carriages. How fortunate it was to be supplied with a plate and a great selection of food to help smooth the journey.

    We were well presented with CA Martine Petetin and her husband Ken, and Freeman Andrew Pinto.

    Proceeds from the event went to The Distillers for their chosen charities.

    Special thanks to them and to all involved.

  • Platinum Jubilee Garden Party
    Platinum Jubilee Garden Party

    Sunday 24th July 2022

    Grays Inn

    A garden party at Buckingham Palace for Livery Masters is one of many highlights during one’s year in office – however this was sadly not to be for the 3rd year running…and so, at the initiative of a few Masters, the idea was conceived to hold a separate version of this event in the gardens of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, central London.

    Masters and Consorts from 2021 and 2022 were invited, and the IPM and Consort, Jerry and Catherine attended as did the Mistress and me.

    A warm summer’s day shone upon the approx. 100 strong group, and we enjoyed a welcome reception, 3-course summer lunch, stroll around the gardens and then afternoon tea! Perhaps a little overloaded on the food front but wonderfully presented by Catering CH& Co. and I certainly enjoyed the various offerings!

    A silent auction raised money for the Ukrainian Refugees in the City of London which was most enheartening.

    Special thanks to Master Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and Master Needlemaker for leading this initiative along with their support teams.

    There was talk that this may become an annual until Buckingham Palace returns…

  • Guildhall - A Music Performance
    Guildhall - A Music Performance

    Thursday 14th July 2022

    The Queen and the Commonwealth

    The City of London hosted “The Queen and The Commonwealth” – a musical performance by The Commonwealth Children’s and Scholar’s Choirs and The Band of the Coldstream Guards at Guildhall.

    The Senior Warden and I were fortunate to attend along with Masters and Wardens from other Livery Companies.

    Her Majesty The Queen is head of the Commonwealth which now has 56 countries.

    Alderman and Sheriff Nicolas Lyons provided welcome and closing remarks to a wonderful programme of music over 60 minutes by the choirs and band, along with an incredible piece by solo violinist Osian Dafydd.

    Most of the pieces were composed by very talented and highly respected musician, the CO of the Bands of The Household Division Lt Col Simon Haw MBE and we were privileged to hear some remarks from him during the program.

    The evening’s theme was based on the Commonwealth’s theme – Engage, Educate, Empower and celebrate the past, plan the future!

    A reception followed and another great opportunity to meet a few more Masters and Wardens!

  • City Beerfest
    City Beerfest

    Thursday 7th July 2022

    Lord Mayor's Appeal

    The annual City Beerfest called!

    11 breweries set up stall in Guildhall Yard – we did our best to sample them all!

    Arranged by The Brewers Company and The City of London Corporation this event, now the 8th, raises money for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

    The Mistress and I had a fun late afternoon with sun shining, and an upbeat mood in the Yard along with several other representatives of City Livery companies. It was strange to be dressed down!

  • Military Musical Spectacular
    Military Musical Spectacular

    Wednesday 6th July 2022

    Horse Guards

    Major Robbie Wilmont, Assistant Adjutant Irish Guards, extended an invitation and along with The Immediate Past Master and Mistress and Senior Warden we met at Wellington Barracks for drinks and snacks before making our way to Horse Guards for a 7.30pm start on a perfect summer’s evening.

    The concert was a 90-minute Military Musical Spectacular presented by the Household Division to celebrate The Queen and the Commonwealth in the Platinum Jubilee Year.

    The Massed Bands of the Household Division were joined by the Pipes from the Irish Guards and London Scottish Reg Assoc, The Royal Choral Society and the Commonwealth Youth Choir.

    They put on a magnificent show with a delightful range of music, marching, and fireworks and displaying deep talent and discipline!

    The programme was cleverly constructed to cover the range of The Queen’s reign encompassing The Coronation, Commonwealth, UK, Falklands, Balmoral, the Queen’s Green Canopy, Jubilee and Finale!

    A riveting performance which deflected from any goings on next door at No 10!

  • Guildhall Yard - Music!
    Guildhall Yard - Music!

    Tuesday 5th July 2022

    The Band of The Royal Yeomanry

    The City of London Corporation invited us to a concert by The Band of the Royal Yeomanry in Guildhall Yard - the Mistress and I attended.

    It was a fabulous summer’s evening, and we enjoyed an hour of music performed by The Band which is one of the oldest and finest in the Army Reserve. They still maintain their distinctive ceremonial uniform of French blue jacket and trousers, chain mailed shoulders, George boots and spurs, all topped off with flamboyant Chapka helmets!

    Many of the band’s musicians are former members of the Household Division and other Regular Army bands. The rest include freelance professional musicians, instrumental teachers and graduates

    We were treated to a selection of military marches, classic film scores and light music – including music from the original Top Gun movie and Elvis!

  • Sheriff's and Recorder's Fund AGM
    Sheriff's and Recorder's Fund AGM

    Monday 4th July 2022

    Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey

    The Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Trade Benevolent Fund is a regular donor to The Sheriff’s & Recorder’s Fund – as are several of the Livery companies.

    All current Masters and their Clerks are invited to the S&R Fund’s AGM, held in No. 1 Court of The Old Bailey.

    It was an honour for the Clerk and I to attend.

    Founded in 1808 the Fund gives grants to ex-prisoners and their families, to help them stop offending and start a new life. It is well worth reading more about this on their web – quite fascinating work they do and most professionally managed.

    A moving and somewhat emotional talk was delivered by a beneficiary who highlighted the difficulty prisoners faced in society on being released.

    We also heard from HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Mr. Charlie Taylor on the many issues and challenges at stake surrounding prisons and inmates.

    Lady Hilary Russell (Lady Mayoress 2021) was elected as Chairman and there is no doubt that she, along with her officers, will continue to broaden the range of essential benefits to the prisoners and their families. Last year they made 998 grants amounting to £199,600 – an impressive and commendable achievement.

    A reception followed the AGM, sponsored by The Cooks, with a delicious range of canapes prepared by The Clink – memories rebounded of our visit to The Clink Brixton prison several years ago capably arranged by Past Mistress Kate Golding!

    As far as I can determine we are sponsoring a very worth while charity.

  • Superbloom - Tower of London
    Superbloom - Tower of London

    Monday 27th June 2022

    Private Viewing by Livery Companies

    As part of the Platinum Jubilee year for Her Majesty The Queen a ‘Superbloom’ of wildflowers has been created in the moats at The Tower of London. This has been spearheaded by Pollinating London Together (PLT) in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces (HRP). PLT is an initiative between the City of London liveries driven by The Worshipful Companies of Wax Chandlers and Gardeners.

    The Mistress and I attended a private evening viewing, along with members and friends from some 40 other livery Companies, followed by a presentation from PLT and HRP. They shared their vision for a greener, more pollinator-friendly London at the New Armouries whilst we sipped on a refreshing Martin Miller’s Gin & tonic.

    Over 20 million seeds have been sown in the moat which will continue to develop and morph over the course of the summer. Designed to attract pollinators, ‘Superbloom’ brings a wonderful natural beauty to this urban space and celebrates the value of nature for our wellbeing.

    It’s open till mid-September and well worth a visit!

  • Election of Sheriffs and other Officers
    Election of Sheriffs and other Officers

    Friday 24th June 2022

    Common Hall, Guildhall

    Following a rolling breakfast hosted by The Cook & The Butler in The Members Dining Room at The Guildhall I made my way to the Crypts to meet the Beadle and be gowned along with a hundred or so other Masters. We were led in procession into the Great Hall to our seats below the stage reserved for the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, Sheriff Elects, Aldermen and many more.

    The formalities of this ancient process commenced and the two sheriffs to be elected were introduced, voted on and appointed! Alastair King was elected as the Aldermanic Sheriff and Andrew Marsden was elected as the non-Aldermanic Sheriff.

    They take over from Alderman Nicholas Lyons and Alderman Alison Gowman and will take office on 28 September at the Admission of Sheriffs, holding the position for one year.

    The office of Sheriff, a pre-requisite to becoming Lord Mayor of the City of London, is one of the oldest in existence and dates back to the Middle Ages.

    The Sheriffs’ modern-day duties include supporting the Lord Mayor in his or her civic duties and serving, both, at home and abroad, as ambassadors for the UK-based financial and professional services industry by promoting the UK as a place in which to do business.

    They also support Her Majesty’s Judges at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) in promoting the importance of the English rule of law to businesses, schools, diplomats, charities, the City Livery, and leading arts figures.

    The Lord Mayor led the procession out the Great Hall and we were soon in the bright sunshine in Guildhall Yard where I met up with the Senior Warden and 3’rd Warden and along with the Mistress we made our way to Butchers’ Hall for a most delicious lunch…before returning to Guildhall Yard for the annual Armed Forces Flag Raising Ceremony introduced by The Lord Mayor and with a short speech from Air Vice Marshall Simon Edwards (RAF) and supported by the RAF Music Band.

    The end of a busy week – yet thoroughly satisfying!

  • Company Golf Day
    Company Golf Day

    Thursday 23rd June 2022

    Tandridge Golf Club

    PM Derek Harris kindly organised the annual Company Golf Day for the Charles Rich Cup. Derek has been running this for the past 20 years at Tandridge and his name is on the cup as winner 2005.

    It was a glorious day, and apart from a slight mid-morning drizzle 6 members and 17 guests played golf on a beautifully manicured golf course with views far into the South Downs.

    PM Derek donned all players with maroon golf shirts sporting the Company C of A.

    Many more, including the IPM Jerry Merton, Clerk, Hon Chaplain and Treasurer joined for the spectacular Tandridge lunch, drinks, cigars – and prize giving.

    It was most fitting that PM Nigel Rich won the Charles Rich Cup (which Nigel donated in 2002 in honour of his father, a founding member of our modern Co).

    In recognition of the many years of service PM Derek (ably supported and encouraged by his wife Sheila) has given to running this annual, a gift was presented by the Company – a teak garden chair and cushion with the C of A!

    Thank you to Derek and Sheila from us all – I have been asked to take over from Derek – it will be a hard act to follow and perhaps Derek can umpire from his chair?

  • Mansion House for SIM Charter
    Mansion House for SIM Charter

    Wednesday 22nd June 2022

    Royal Charter Banquet Scientific Instrument Makers Banquet

    The Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers held their Royal Charter Banquet at Mansion House. Their Company was formed in 1956, became a Livery in 1964, ranks 84th and their Royal Charter was electronically sealed in February 2021. We enjoy a close relationship with them and it was an honour to be invited and learn more about the great charitable work they do.

    HRH Prince Michael of Kent endorsed the Charter, and the banquet was attended by The Lord Mayor, The Sheriffs and around 330 guests – the largest gathering in The Egyptian Hall since the pandemic! Court Assistant Chris Sawyer (a PM of SIM) graciously greeted and comforted me and he was a driving force behind The Charter and the banquet. It was good to see Charles Miller (PM) and Camilla there too.

    We were treated to some wonderful entertainment from the Secret Singers and The London Banqueting Ensemble and the entrance Halls were well manned by The Pikemen and Musketeers and Southwark Sea Cadets.

    I had the good fortune to be seated alongside The Lady Mayoress Amanda Keaveny and Glenn Hurtsfield, Consort to Alderman Sheriff Alison Gowman - how intriguing to learn more from them and all the good work they do.

    Special thanks to the SIM Master Charles Holroyd and his Consort Caroline Holroyd for hosting a fabulous evening to commemorate a significant milestone in their history.

  • London's Turbulent Son
    London's Turbulent Son

    Saturday 18th June 2022

    Thomas Beckett's Life and Legend - a musical

    The Mistress and I attended an evening open-air play in Guildhall Yard on 18 June – an informal gathering to witness ‘London’s Turbulent Son’ – a modern musical interpretation of the dramatic life of the former Patron Saint of London, Thomas Becket – and in celebration of his 900th anniversary.

    Did you know: Thomas Becket was an English archbishop and martyr, famously murdered by knights of Henry II at Canterbury Cathedral? After his death, his tomb and relics became a focus for pilgrimage, and he was made a saint!

    Charting Thomas’s story from the mythical meeting of his parents in the Middle East and early life on London’s Cheapside, to his meteoric rise to King Henry II’s right hand man, we followed his struggle between ambition, friendship and conscience to its tragic climax in the most shocking murder of the Middle Ages.

    It was an incredible production written by Emmeline Winterbotham with Music by Vahan Salorian and performed with great energy and heart by a talented professional cast and live band, members of the City of London community and local schools.

    There were a number of stalls by various Livery Crafts with displays of ancient and new craft skills.

  • Fishmongers' Company 750 Year Civic Reception
    Fishmongers' Company 750 Year Civic Reception

    Thursday 16th June 2022

    Fishmongers' Company 750 Year Civic Reception

    The Fishmongers’ Company hosted a 750th year Civic Reception at their quite magnificent Hall located alongside the River Thames on a very warm summer’s evening.

    Formed in 1272 they are one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London.

    They play a leading role in upholding the standards in the trading of fish and shellfish as well as making a significant contribution to the UK fishing sector and other non-fishery areas through their Philanthropy and Grants projects. We heard about their various significant projects in an address given by their Prime Warden Alderman Sir Alan Yarrow (former Lord Mayor of London 2014-15) and some video clips by recipients of their support.

    Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne (Prime Warden 2017-18) attended to Reception as did The Lord Mayor amongst others.

    It was a lovely and interesting evening, an opportunity to meet others, a privilege to see their Hall and to enjoy some delicious canapés.

  • Drapers' Co Lunch for Masters and Clerks
    Drapers' Co Lunch for Masters and Clerks

    Thursday 16th June 2022

    Drapers' Co Lunch for Masters and Clerks

    The Master and Wardens of the Drapers’ Company hosted a lunch for Masters and Clerks by way of giving thanks to those that have supported their magnificent Hall

    I’m looking forward to having our 2023 January Dinner there – such a splendid Hall.

    We met in the gardens on the hottest day of the year to date for some light pre-lunch refreshments.

    The London Youth Choir provided us with some great musical entertainment.

    Master Draper, David Chalk, has one month to go in the chair – he has become a popular figure on the circuit as one of the Past Master’s mentioned in their speech. David is a good friend to us and we have enjoyed his year as Master.

    A lovely lunch and the opportunity to meet a few more folk.

  • The Livery Weekend in Sheffield 10-12 June
    The Livery Weekend in Sheffield 10-12 June

    Friday 10th June 2022

    Traditionally the Livery Weekend has been held in Ironbridge.

    2022 marked the first time for it to take place in Sheffield following the plan to spread the event around the UK.

    We were most graciously hosted by The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire. Their Master and Mistress, James and Jo Tear, along with others in their support team, put on a most splendid program of events.

    The Lord Mayor, Lady Mayoress, Sheriffs and members of The Livery Committee joined Masters and their Consorts from just about every Livery Company.

    Coordinating plus 220 people was no small feat.

    Sheffield played a crucial role in the Industrial Revolution. We would learn that significant inventions and technologies have been developed here and that the city enjoyed rapid growth in the 19th century on the back of the stainless steel and crucible steel industries.

    On Friday evening we were welcomed into the Wintergardens for a drink and canape reception followed by a viewing of the Millennium Galleries displaying metalwork and art from both Sheffield and the world…this allowed us to get a taste for the Sheffield region’s significant industrial heritage.

    It was a first time visit to Sheffield for many of us and we were staggered at the importance this region has played over the centuries.

    Supper was served in the Galleries.

    Saturday’s events covered 5 venues – allowing us an insight into the past, present and future.

    We visited Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, Kelham Island Museum (see snuff photo!), Persistance Works, MetLase (a Unipart / Rolls Royce JV) and the University of Sheffield’s AMRC – Factory 2050.

    Each venue offered fascinating facts – and the tour guides were exemplary under such time pressures.

    The University of Sheffield is considered as one of the top 100 global teaching and research institutions.

    The Gala Dinner was held in the splendid Cutlers’ Hall – without doubt one of the finest halls in the country – along with the very best of cutlery!

    It was a busy day with no time for rest – and a lot to reflect on.

    We gathered the next morning to discuss the 2022/23 Past Master’s Association – seemed strange to be doing this having been installed 10 days ago!

    The final viewing and tour was Wentworth Woodhouse, a Grade I listed country house in the village of Wentworth, in the Borough of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, England. The building has more than 300 rooms, although the precise number is unclear!

    The original Jacobean house was rebuilt by Thomas Watson-Wentworth (1st Marquess of Rockingham in the early 1700’s) and vastly expanded by his son, who was twice Prime Minister, and who established Wentworth Woodhouse as a political centre of influence. In the 18th century, the house was inherited by the Earls Fitzwilliam who owned it until 1979, when it passed to the heirs of the 8th and 10th Earls, its value having appreciated from the large quantities of coal discovered on the estate! It is now owned by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation and is undergoing an ambitious renovation project.

    This weekend – typically held soon after our Installation – provides an ideal platform to meet other Masters and Consorts and we thoroughly enjoyed doing so. Some Masters only have a month to go; other a few months; some are into their second year. Whatever, we look forward to many more gatherings and to developing friendships amongst the City Liveries.

    Exhausted, we returned home Sunday evening and collapsed into bed at a rather early hour!

    Our sincere thanks to The Master and Mistress Cutlers in Hallamshire and all the many others involved in making the weekend a truly memorable one.

  • Master's (now IPM) Dinner
    Master's (now IPM) Dinner

    Wednesday 8th June 2022

    St. Jacques, St. James's

    It's a tradition for the Wardens to dine out the Master.

    What's not a tradition is for this event to take place soon after Installation - but...we were snookered by forced cancellations for the planned dinner during the weeks before!

    It was a lovely evening hosting the IPM and reflecting on the excellent year he and Catherine had. We had many a good laugh and took the opportunity to throw many questions at Jerry. Unfortunately Catherine had to withdraw and she was sorely missed.

    The meal was delicious as were the wines and beverages!

    Again - thank you Jerry and Catherine from the Wardens and partners.

  • Installation

    Wednesday 1st June 2022

    The Installation took place in the magnificent Armourers’ Hall. The Armourers’ Company started life in 1322 as the medieval guild charged with overseeing standards in the production of arms and armour. The vast array of suits of armour hanging from the walls did their best to deflect attention!

    It was an absolute privilege to be gowned Master by my predecessor, Jerry Merton, who, along with Catherine, had an outstanding year representing the Company.

    What a pleasure it was for me to appoint my Wardens Elise Rasmussen, Henry Tuck, Tony Scanlan and Jacqueline Burrows…and to present the Mistress with her badge!

    The Court Room was full with members and guests to witness the occasion!

    Customary photographs were taken followed by the drinks reception before being ‘called’ to lunch by the Beadle.

    Our Principal Guest was my good friend Lloyd Wigglesworth, and he was joined by our special guests The Master Painter-Stainers, Lewis Cohen and The Master Pewterers, Richard Hills.

    Our Honorary Chaplain, The Rev Canon David Parrott, delivered Grace with his special ability to find a fitting rhyme!

    The Cook and The Butler served lunch with a particularly delicious desert – burnt orange and grand marnier crème brulee!

    Thanks to Court Assistant Pieter Vorster for presenting the guests.

    Lloyd responded with a somewhat amusing speech touching on his understanding of my life!

    The lunch concluded with the Immediate Past Master reflecting on his year and giving thanks to all his supporters – what a year he and Catherine had.

    Thanks to The Master Armourers, Mrs Nicola Davies, for allowing us the use of the Hall.

    An unforgettable day and start to what promises to be a very memorable year!