Wednesday 5th October 2022
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!
Tuesday 4th October 2022
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.
Monday 3rd October 2022
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.
Thursday 29th September 2022
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!
Wednesday 28th September 2022
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!
Tuesday 27th September 2022
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!
Sunday 25th September 2022
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!
Sunday 25th September 2022
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.
Saturday 24th September 2022
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.
Wednesday 21st September 2022
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.
Saturday 17th September 2022
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.
Friday 16th September 2022
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.
Thursday 15th September 2022
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.
Wednesday 14th September 2022
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.
Thursday 8th September 2022
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!
Monday 8th August 2022
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!
Thursday 28th July 2022
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.
Tuesday 26th July 2022
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.
Sunday 24th July 2022
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…
Thursday 14th July 2022
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!
Thursday 7th July 2022
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!
Wednesday 6th July 2022
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!
Tuesday 5th July 2022
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!
Monday 4th July 2022
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.
Monday 27th June 2022
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!
Friday 24th June 2022
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!
Thursday 23rd June 2022
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?
Wednesday 22nd June 2022
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.
Saturday 18th June 2022
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.
Thursday 16th June 2022
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.
Thursday 16th June 2022
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.
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.
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.
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!