July 2022

Pétanque Challenge

28th July 2022

The Framework Knitters were invited to enter a three person team into the very first Pétanque Challenge, organised by the Distillers Company. Our intrepid team was made up of our captain & regular league team player, Under Warden Matthew Ellis, Cottage Homes Administrator Nettie Ellis and myself. The event was held on a lovely warm high summer’s evening at the London Pétanque Club situated in the Vauxhall Palace Gardens, where the Pimms was flowing from the very start.

There was an entry of 18 teams and these were then split into four divisions, with each group winner going forward into the semi finals. In our division, we had to play three matches against Milroys of Soho (suppliers of specialist whiskies to the Distillers), the Distillers themselves and then finally against the Dyers. I have to say that we won each match fairly easily and, therefore, took our place in the semi-final.

However, we met much stiffer opposition there in a strong Vintner’s team, and were losing 7-4 (first to 13) when the 30 minute time limit whistle went, meaning that we, unfortunately, missed out on the final, which was then ultimately won by the Vintners against the Plaisterers. Nevertheless, it did mean that we could catch an earlier train back to Market Harborough station, which was a good thing as we later found out that our scheduled 10.35 train had been cancelled and replaced by a bus journey all the way back from St Pancras!

Visit to Hinckley & District Museum

11th July 2022

I was invited to attend an exhibition celebrating the 300th anniversary of Atkins Bros Ltd setting up their hosiery factory in Hinckley in 1722. This was being held in the Framework Knitters’ Cottages museum across the road from the factory in Lower Bond Street. These cottages originally date from 1680.

I was met and shown around the museum and garden by trustees Ann Crabtree and Phillip Lindley. Despite the near 40 degree C heat outside, the museum itself was nice and cool and included several examples of knitting machines used at Atkins and an original wooden frame.

Desford Heritage Festival

3rd July 2022

My wife Mary and I, together with Under Warden Matthew Ellis, were invited by Caroline Wessel (wife of Past Master Anthony Wessel) to attend the second day of the Desford Heritage Festival. There were several heritage zones, one of which was based on framework knitting, which has a strong history in Desford village.

Outside of an old knitters cottage, several artefacts relating to the industry were laid out together with a mock up of William Lee’s wife. This was because her constant clicking knitting needles had first encouraged him to develop the mechanical knitting machine.

I made a short speech to the gathered audience on the history of our Company and the City of London Livery movement in general. This was followed by Matthew giving details of the origins of our Almshouses in Oadby and their connection with the Corah family. We were both very kindly presented with a pair of hand knitted socks with our personal initials on.

After a tour of all the different zones in the village, we were given a very pleasant lunch in the Rectory gardens after which we had the great pleasure of listening to the famous Desford Colliery Brass Band.

Visit to the Wellington Arch and Apsley House

2nd July 2022

Thanks to Assistant Janie Martin and PM Paul Bethel for arranging a wonderful post dinner outing to the Wellington Arch and across the road at the Duke of Wellington’s residence at Apsley House on Hyde Park corner. Two excellent tour guides enhanced both visits considerably by giving us a unique historical perspective into both properties and their artistic and priceless contents. This was followed by a superb lunch at The Horse and Groom public house in nearby Belgravia.

Court Meeting and Summer Dinner at Salters Hall

1st July 2022

On a lovely warm early summer’s evening, our Liverymen and their guests had reception drinks in the lovely Salters Hall garden, next to the Roman London Wall.

We all then ascended in the lifts to the fifth floor and had an excellent dinner in the recently refurbished magnificent ash panelled banqueting hall. After dinner, Assistant Martin Traynor welcomed the principal guests with a witty speech which was followed by the main speaker for the evening Alderman Sheriff Alison Gowman, who gave us an interesting talk about the latest goings on in the square mile and what her duties as Sheriff entailed. I then gave my response, before inviting everyone for a stirrup cup before their departure.

Earlier in the day, we held our Court meeting in the committee room, also at Salters Hall, where two new Liverymen were admitted to the company.

June 2022

Livery Careers Showcase

28th June 2022

After two years of on-line showcases, it was good to be back again at Guildhall in person and the Framework Knitters had a stall as in previous years, along with many other Livery companies. Past Master Paul Bethel had organised everything very efficiently and he was aided on our impressively laid out tables by Assistant Jonathan Pears (together with the usual popular Griswold hand knitting machine) and Liveryman Toni Hicks.

In addition, we had the help of two of our recent Bursary Award winners and new Freemen, Florian and Zeynep, who had a collection of their knitted designs on display. This brought large groups of secondary age school children to our stand to talk to them and ask them to give them information about their own recent career paths. Our three new pop up display boards looked very striking and gave an excellent backdrop to our stand.

Common Hall - Election of Sheriffs

24th June 2022

Despite the national rail strike, I managed to make it down to Guildhall to process in order of precedence into the Great Hall with other Livery company Masters, Prime Wardens and an Upper Bailiff.

The traditional mid summers day election of Sheriffs then took place, with both Alastair King (Aldermanic) and Andrew Marsden (Non-Aldermanic) being unanimously voted in to their new roles, commencing from 29th September 2022.

After the ceremony, I disrobed from my gown and chain and then took a short walk to the wonderful Painters Hall for a very convivial lunch together with several other Framework Knitters and Liverymen from 16 other companies.

Cottage Homes Master's tea party

21st June 2022

For the first time since 2019, a tea party was held for the residents of our Cottage Homes Almshouses based in Oadby. The outing this year was to the Church of England retreat house at Launde Abbey.

As IPM Julian Ellis couldn’t have a tea party in his year due to the Covid restrictions, it was agreed that we should share it and make it a joint event between the two of us this time.

A good mixture of residents and members of the management committee, together our administrator Nettie Ellis, had a sumptuous high tea of sandwiches, cakes and scones with cream and jam, together with many pots of tea.

After tea, on a warm sunny afternoon, we all took the chance to roam around the lovely grounds and the stunning walled garden. In addition, the mediaeval chapel was opened for us to visit and see the beautiful stained glass windows and the impressive tomb of Gregory Cromwell. He was the son of the infamous Thomas Cromwell, who had retained ownership of Launde for his own family, despite ordering the destruction of other monasteries around England following instruction from Henry VIII.

The party eventually got on the coach for the journey back to Oadby at around 5 pm, after, hopefully, having enjoyed a pleasant and relaxing afternoon.

London's Turbulent Son

17th June 2022

As part of the Becket Pageant, a musical play called “London’s Turbulent Son” was held in Guildhall Yard. My wife Mary & I attended one of the four performances on Friday afternoon, in stifling heat of over 30 degrees C. Luckily we had booked seats under cover in the shade, to watch a super performance of this specially written new musical, which was not only entertaining but also slightly moving.

Becket Pageant

17th and 18th June 2022

To celebrate the 900th anniversary of Thomas Becket’s birth, just around the corner in Cheapside, a Pageant was held in Guildhall Yard over two days. Sixteen Livery companies were in attendance, each setting up craft stalls to showcase their arts and sell their wares to the London public for charity. The FWK stall was fronted by Assistant Jonathan Pears, and he was ably assisted by Assistants Janie Martin and Susan Jagelman. Assistant Catherine Fuller was also prominent as she was in charge of costumes for the Pageant play, “London’s Turbulent Son”.

Friday was stiflingly hot at over 30 degrees C, but our stall was soon, thankfully, in the shade. A steady stream of visitors came to our stall, some of them especially curious to try out our hand operated circular Griswold knitting machine, which was over 100 years old and borrowed from the Ruddington Museum.

The Lord Mayor tries out our Griswold knitting machine

Sales of socks were constant throughout the two days, and on the Saturday the cooler, wetter weather encouraged many sales of our cut price Cashmere and Lambswool sweaters, provided for us by Johnstons of Elgin. Our very own Lord Mayor, Vincent, visited us on the Friday & had a go on the Griswold, whilst his wife Amanda bought some socks.

After two days on his feet, without a sit down, Jonathan eventually shut up shop at 4 pm on the Saturday, with sales for Charity finally totalling £888 and after stock purchases giving an excellent overall surplus of £780.

The Drapers’ Company Court Lunch

16th June 2022

I attended the Court lunch in the sumptuous Great Hall of the Drapers’ Company together with our Gallant Clerk, Shaun and many other Masters and Clerks of other Livery companies. The Great Hall was completely refurbished during the period of lockdown, at considerable cost, but looking at the final result, it was certainly worth it.

After a drinks reception in their lovely gardens on a warm sunny day, an excellent lunch was followed by a speech by the Master and afterwards came the London Youth Choir singing three classical pieces beautifully before everyone left with a smile on their face.

Horner’s Golf Day at Ashridge Golf Club

14th June 2022

After coming equal first in last year’s competition, our FWK team unfortunately brought up the rear, but there were extenuating circumstances. The requisite team of 4 was reduced to only 3 by the late withdrawal of Janey Heaney due to Covid and this put us a significant disadvantage with only 2 scores to count on each hole.

Nevertheless, Messrs Turner, Piper and Jarvis put up a game show, on a lovely warm summer’s day in Hertfordshire, on a magnificent golf course in superb condition. The famous horned trophy was eventually won by the Plumbers, with an excellent overall score of 97 points.

Masters Livery Weekend

10th June 2022 to 12th June 2022

Around 200 Masters and their consorts met up at the Mercure Hotel in Sheffield on the Friday evening for start of the Livery weekend, hosted by the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire.

A full programme of events had been laid on for us and five coaches provided to take us to interesting venues around the city. On the Saturday we visited the following:-

Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet

Kelham Island Museum

Persistence Works (Yorkshire Art Space)

MetLase (Unipart/Rolls Royce JV)

AMRC-factory 2050 (University of Sheffield)

Dinner on Saturday evening was held at the sumptuous Cutlers Hall, where we were welcomed by the Master Cutler and the Lord Mayor, Vincent Keaveney, responded on behalf of the guests.The Livery Year Group inaugural meeting was held first thing on Sunday morning and it was eventually agreed that the name of our group would be “Platinum”.

The weekend concluded with a visit to nearby Wentworth Woodhouse House where we were given an excellent presentation by the CEO and then after lunch had a private tour of the amazing Grade 1 Listed house and grounds.

Finally, I understand that next year’s Masters weekend will be held in Edinburgh, as the Livery Committee wish to rotate these weekends between different venues around the country each year.

Cottage Homes Jubilee Tea Party

3rd June 2022

My wife Mary and I had the pleasure of attending the residents' Jubilee Tea Party. Dry but fairly cool weather led to the party being held in Corah Hall rather than outside in the beautiful grounds, but this did not affect everyone’s enthusiasm for celebrating the Queen’s platinum anniversary.

Upper warden Elizabeth Fox welcomed a mixture of residents and management committee members to the party and we all then tucked into beautifully prepared sandwiches, scotch eggs and a scrumptious selection of cream cakes. A glass of fizz was provided to everyone to close proceedings together with a rousing loyal toast to the Queen.

May 2022

367th Festival of Clergy Support Trust

24th May 2022

Past Master Liz Green and myself represented the company at St Paul’s Cathedral for a superb festival of prayers and music, which was provided by the three choirs of St Pauls, Southwark and Liverpool Cathedrals.

The Masters and Prime Wardens of each Livery Company processed in their gowns and jewels into the Cathedral in reverse order of preference, so I was stationed pretty well in the middle at number 64.

After the stunning service, a post festival dinner was held at The Merchant Taylors’ Hall where speeches and moving presentations about the history and current workings of the Clergy Support Trust were given to those present. A fairly late finish meant that I missed my intended train and instead caught the late stopper to Market Harborough, eventually reaching home at 1 a.m.

Court Meeting at the Ruddington Museum

21st May 2022

Due to the exceptional number of new Freemen applications we had received, it was decided to have a unique Court meeting in the wonderful surroundings of the newly refurbished Ruddington FWK Museum. Immediate  Past Master Julian Ellis pointed out that this was probably the first FWK Court meeting to be held in Nottinghamshire for over 200 years!

After calling the Court, out on the lawned garden, our Gallant Clerk read out the Declaration and Oath to the eight new Freemen in ancient form and they all said “I do”. I then presented each one with an envelope containing their Freedom certificate, details on how to proceed to become a Freeman of the City of London and our latest newsletter, before Shaun asked them to “sign the book”.

After the ceremony, we all returned to the museum for a very nice relaxed sandwich lunch with soft drinks laid out in the old chapel. Afterwards, our new Freemen and their guests were given a tour of the museum, which included a demonstration of knitting with the original wooden frames given by Matthew, the resident expert and tutor.

The whole event was a great success and it is clear that we should use the Ruddington venue again in the very near future.

Inter-Livery Golf - Prince Arthur Cup

19th May 2022

The Framework Knitters again entered a four person team in the Inter-Livery Golf competition at Walton Heath in Surrey. We were competing for the prestigious Prince Arthur Cup over 36 holes of foursomes against bogey, on the superb Old and New Courses against 36 other Livery Companies.

Our teams comprised of myself playing with Mike Piper and Past Master Liz Green playing with Adrian Keene. The course was softened by an overnight thunderstorm but was still set up as an extraordinarily difficult test of golf with the heather thicker than ever.

After the morning round on the more challenging Old Course, accompanied by members of the Carpenters and Brewers teams, we finished at a slightly disappointing -10 overall, but had our compensation in a wonderful three course lunch in the clubhouse afterwards.

We went out in a lovely warm and sunny afternoon on the New Course and improved our score slightly and finished at -8 making a total of -18 overall. We finished off with a nice afternoon tea on the terrace and watched the winners, the Leathersellers, come in at +2 and claim the cup. By finishing around half way overall we should have guaranteed that we will be invited back again next year for another crack at the trophy.

The Framework Knitters' team

Laying Up of the Guidon

13th May 2022

I represented the Company at the church service at All Saints’ Newtown Linford where the Guidon of our affiliate, the Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry was paraded for the final time. It was surrendered to the church in perpetuity and will be placed on display in its final resting place at a later date.

This was followed by an Act of Remembrance at the Frezenberg Memorial in Bradgate Park, which involved a 700 foot climb up a rocky path to arrive at the summit. A wreath was laid by Liveryman Colonel Bertie Boyle, after a short service conducted by the Rev. Richard Tretheway.

Afterwards, the congregation made its way down the hill and concluded with a buffet lunch at the Bradgate Arms in the village.

St Bartholomew’s Hospital

11th May 2022

Our Gallant Clerk, Shaun, and myself attended the View Day at St Bartholomew’s Hospital along with Masters and Clerks from many other Livery Companies. This is Britain’s oldest hospital and dates back to 1123 and so it will be celebrating its 900th anniversary next year.

The event started with Choral Evensong at the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Greater, London’s oldest church. We then processed back to the Great Hall where there were several presentations to highlight the achievements of the last year and to learn more about the hospital’s amazing history and also its plans for next year’s celebrations.

April 2022

Mercers’ Hall Concert and Dinner

28th April 2022

My wife Mary and I were guests of the Mercers’ Company for dinner, preceded by 3 musicians from India performing unusual, but excellent, Punjabi music for the 50 Livery Company Masters, Wardens and Consorts present. After an excellent dinner, a slight dampener was put on the evening as our 10.35 train from St Pancras was cancelled due to the lack of a driver. A later train meant getting off at Kettering Station, and a bus to Market Harborough car park and home in the early hours of the following morning.

Brigantes Golf Day Royal Liverpool GC

27th April 2022

The annual Brigantes Golf Day was held this year at Hoylake, the venue of next year’s British Open. Around 40 golfers participated on a lovely mild and windless spring day, although this Championship course still offered a tough test of golf. Despite not playing well myself, our team of 4 managed to come out on top with 90 points, much to the delight, I am sure, of other attending Framework Knitter golfers, Past Master George Turner, Past Master Liz Green and Liverymen Adrian Keene and Mike Piper.

Watermen’s Hall Luncheon

26th April 2022

I attended the St George’s Day Luncheon held by the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames, together with our Gallant Clerk. The venue, whilst fairly small, was beautifully apportioned, interesting and historic. The Master gave those present, which included Masters and Clerks from around 40 other Livery Companies, a brief history of the Company, informing us that they were formed by Act of Parliament and not Royal Charter, so they were not actually listed as a formal Livery Company, a unique situation.

Installation of new Freemen

23rd April 2022

This was a “first” for our company, in that 8 new applicants were installed as Freemen in front of a quorate Court, by Zoom. The Gallant Clerk, Shaun, administered the Charge to them in Ancient form and all agreed to accept the charges. I then welcomed them all as new Freemen of the company and informed them of the next stage at Guildhall in order for them to obtain their City of London Freedoms.

PM George Turner gave a brief history of the company and its current role in the textile and fashion industry whilst I gave them some background on our Almshouses in Oadby. Members of the Court present, gave a synopsis of their individual roles on Court & after a general question and answer session with our new Freemen the meeting closed.

Worshipful Company of Fuellers Installation Lunch

13th April 2022

My wife Mary, our Gallant Clerk Shaun and I attended the Fuellers Installation lunch at the Mansion House. Their Master, Carrie Marsh, referred in her post luncheon speech that she had knitted some squares for our Knit for the Community initiative, although she hadn’t handed them in to us yet. Former Lord Mayor Alderman Sir Andrew Palmley was the principle guest speaker and other senior guests were the Master of Shipwrights, Master Carmen and Master Security Professionals.

Social visit to the London Canal Museum

9th April 2022

Following my Installation Dinner on the previous evening, the official Company social visit to the London Canal Museum was fully subscribed, so I took a further party of my personal guests following on a quarter of an hour behind them. The museum building, a former Ice House, was situated next to the canal basin near Kings Cross station and housed artifacts of the canal world which everyone found extremely interesting. After having some left over coffee and biscuits by the official party, our slightly jaded party after the previous nights travails departed after having the ideal relaxed post dinner social visit.

Installation Dinner Apothecaries Hall

8th April 2022

After a year as Master-in-Waiting, I was finally installed as Master of the Company at the Court meeting held at Apothecaries Hall. My dinner followed in the evening, where I was joined by my wife Mary and two children, Sarah and Andrew.

The welcome to our guests was given expertly by Assistant Simon Burrows and the main speaker for the evening was Past Master Baker David Bentley who gave an excellent and witty talk, which he terminated by presenting me with a loaf of bread, freshly baked in Yorkshire that day. In return, I gave him a copy of our Company history together with a pair of Livery knitted socks for himself and wife Jenny.

The Master with tomorrow's breakfast

The other senior guests included Masters of the Apothecaries, Upholders, Glovers and Feltmakers companies. In addition, Andrew Marsden attended as a guest of PM Liz Green, he being candidate for Non-Aldermanic Sheriff. After my own, rather a nervous speech was over, a stirrup cup was enjoyed by all before everyone wended their way home.