April 2017

Court Meeting and Installation Dinner

7th April 2017

My last official duty as Master was to chair the Court Meeting in a very impressive Court Room at Vintners’ Hall. We met for a sandwich lunch and then our Clerk ran us through the process for welcoming new Freemen and Liverymen, as well as the Installation of our New Master and Wardens. It was lovely to welcome new Liverymen to our Company who joined us for the Installation Dinner. The meeting took a bit longer due to a few important areas that needed discussing and then it was time to hand over.

What a wonderful experience this has been – I have filled just over 31 pages of A4 writing the diary (and that does not include the first month, as the Masters Weekend in Woburn was when I began typing away). It is a great record of a fabulous year, which I am very lucky to have had to privilege to enjoy. ‘Friendship, fellowship and fun’ was my theme, and it is relevant across the whole Livery world as we make great friendships, the FWK support students and retired textile employees, and we all know how to have fun! I look forward to supporting the company for many years to come.

The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch in aid of the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity

6th April 2017

This was my third Big Curry Lunch at Guildhall in aid of ABT The Soldiers’ Charity. I opted for a later sitting and caught up with current and Past Masters on my penultimate day as Master. Some Livery Companies including the Turners’ and Gardeners’ were selling their wares in aid of the charity, and there was plenty of opportunity to buy raffle tickets, enjoy a glass of bubbles and submit a bit for the auction. They served about 1000 people over three sittings, which was no small feat and hope to have raised over £250k.

WC Management Consultants opera at Wilton Music Hall

5th April 2017

PM Linda Smith and I met at Wilton’s Music Hall for lunch and an operatic performance of Silver Electra by the English Touring Company. My map ended just after Aldgate tube station and once I found the Hall I was not sure whether I was in the right place as it looks very run-down, but in reality the ‘look’ is quite deliberate. Being Master enables you to attend totally different functions and yesterday was no different. The English Touring Opera are a small group who travel across the UK to inspire children and young people, reaching out to over 15,000 children every year, many of whom are from deprived inner-city locations. Silver Electra was a brilliant production about an elderly woman living in Australia in 1977, who might be the missing pilot Amelia Earhart – the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

WC Gardeners’ Lectures at the Royal Geographical Society

5th April 2017

On a glorious afternoon I had 20 minutes to enjoy the sun in Kensington Gardens before the lecture. There were four speakers who spoke about parks across the world and horticultural initiatives to increase the green space in cities around the world. Loyd Grossman CBE is chair of a new organisation to oversee the management of The Royal Parks and he had some very interesting statistics – the Royal Parks include 170,000 trees, 21 lakes, 15 miles of rivers and 32 miles of roads attracting 77m visitors a year. The challenge is to enable rising populations to continue to enjoy the parks. Daniel Raven-Ellison, a guerrilla geographer aims for London to be the world’s first National Park City and for us to connect nature and people and a statistic I did not know is that 38% of London is green spaces and 24% is domestic gardens.

Phoenix Masters meeting on-board HQS Wellington

4th April 2017

Although not quite out of office I am delighted to be on the committee of our Past Masters Year group, and HQS Wellington was an excellent venue for our meeting and lunch, especially on a lovely sunny day. There are always differing viewpoints on some issues but plans for the year are well underway.

Feltmakers’ Livery Dinner at Vintners’ Hall

3rd April 2017

Shaun and I attended an excellent evening at Vintners’ Hall. I was introduced to a number of Liverymen and Past Masters (one of who remembered me in a pram!) and it was good to see PM Linda Smith’s husband David Bentata (himself a PM Feltmaker). This was my last formal dinner as Master and it was fun to be on top table and sit next to two very interesting PM’s and a Liveryman who used to worship at the same church as my parents! A small world indeed. The speeches were very good and we had plenty of time for a stirrup cup.

March 2017

Chester Boyd breakfast at Goldsmiths’ Hall

31st March 2017

Shaun and I were up early and at Goldsmiths’ Hall for 8.30am. There were a number of Masters and Clerks present and we enjoyed a delicious breakfast and had the opportunity to meet the Chester Boyd head chef and a number of the CB team.

The 75th Service of the United Guilds of the City of London at St Paul’s Cathedral From the breakfast Shaun and I walked to St Paul’s Cathedral via Stationers’ where we dropped off our coats. I was very fortunate to form part of the procession – each year the Great Twelve process and twelve other Livery companies by rotation. This was a wonderful experience and to hear the purity of the choirboys voices as they walked past was fabulous, although with our Clerk by my side throughout the service I was treated to great singing! The service was excellent with wonderful anthems, good hearty hymns and a wonderful sermon preached by The Right Reverend Christopher Chessum, Lord Bishop of Southwark.

Lunch at Stationers’ Hall

31st March 2017

As ever there was a bit of a scrum to offload gowns and use the facilities at Stationers’ Hall before heading upstairs for a drink. We had great support for the service and lunch from FWK members and we enjoyed a very convivial lunch. It is good to spend time together chatting informally and the atmosphere on a lovely sunny day was brilliant. From there Peter and I made our way wearily home – both extremely tired after the previous night and regretting our choice of accommodation which left much to be desired, albeit the two days had been special ones to remember.

Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Livery Dinner at Mansion House

30th March 2017

Everyone will tell you that this evening is one of the highlights of a Master’s year and it’s easy to understand why. From what seemed to be a full complement of Pikemen and Musketeers in attendance to trumpet fanfares throughout the evening, a full Egyptian Hall and all Masters and Consorts, members of Common Council and Aldermen present this is one evening not to miss. The Lord Mayor was as witty as ever, yet with a serious message. I was delighted that they chose the same menu I had at my October Banquet and this time I could enjoy the meal without worrying about speaking! The Band of the Royal Yeomanry played throughout the meal and we were afterwards allowed to stay for an extended stirrup cup which was a last opportunity for me to see a number of Masters.

WC Drapers’ Livery Dinner at Drapers’ Hall

29th March 2017

I was delighted to receive an invitation to dine at Drapers’ and the Master has been very approachable and friendly despite being of such high ranking! There were other textile associated companies present and it was interesting to hear of their link with the Clothworkers, Dyers and Weavers in regard to apprenticeships. We enjoyed a delicious meal coupled with some of the best wine I have sampled, and it was good to hear from Sheriff Peter Estlin. We were entertained by a singer and pianist from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and enjoyed a stirrup cup before departing with a fabulous box of chocolates!

The Treloar’s Talks at Glaziers’ Hall

27th March 2017

On a lovely sunny spring evening Peter and I went to Glaziers’ Hall to attend The Treloar’s Talk, which were hosted by Alastair Stewart OBE, who is a Patron and long standing supporter of Treloar’s. Many Masters will be aware of Treloar’s and have visited the College in Alton. Treloar's began in 1907 when the then Lord Mayor of the City of London, Sir William Purdie Treloar, set up a 'Cripples' Fund' as his mayoral appeal. His aim was to build a hospital and school outside the city for children with non-pulmonary tuberculosis. In 1908, Sir William opened his school and hospital in Alton, Hampshire. Since then, Treloar's has steadily grown and developed, becoming one of the country's leading providers of education, care, therapy, medical support and independence training for disabled young people. We listened to four very different speakers – Dame Clare Tickell who was the Former Chief of Action for Children and current Chief Executive of the Hanover Housing Association, Tom Yendell who was a former Treloar’s student having been born without arms, and is a member of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, Prem Goyal OBE who was a successful City entrepreneur who retired at 45 and is now dedicated to philanthropic causes, and James Melville-Ross who is a high-flying City exec and a parent of severely disabled twins who have been at Treloar’s for two years. All spoke very candidly about their lives and Alastair Stewart hosted the evening with great skill. Peter and I were lucky enough to chat to Tom and his wife Lucy before the speeches began and we learnt not only about Tom’s artistic ability but how he designed holiday accommodation for those with severe disabilities. The success of this project has led to full occupancy and further accommodation being built around the country – a very positive and inspiring man.

WC Turners’ Court Luncheon at Apothecaries’ Hall

23rd March 2017

Having not been to Apothecaries’ Hall for a while until last week it was lovely to return again to return again with Shaun. There were a few visiting Masters and Clerk’s as well as members of Court and Liverymen who support the Company by sitting on various committees. I was lucky enough to sit next to the Master, and it was great to see his place set with a wood turned place mat, side plate and goblet (one of a series of six goblets he had commissioned). We enjoyed some fabulous wines (no Sauvignon in sight!) and a delicious lunch.

After lunch we went into the Court Room, where Hazel Forsyth, Senior Curator of Medieval and Post Medieval Periods at the Museum of London talked about the woodturner Richard Howells and his connection to Samuel Pepys at the time of the Great Fire and the Upper Warden gave her book ‘Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker, Surviving the Great Fire of London’ a gentle plug!

WC Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Tutt Rivers Lecture at Pewterers’ Hall

23rd March 2017

There are some lovely gardens within the Square Mile and after the atrocities at Westminster I appreciated some time to reflect as I wandered past the lovely floral display in the gardens near St Paul’s Cathedral, and near the main Lloyds building close to Wax Chandlers’ and Pewterers’ Halls. The guest speaker for the Tutt Rivers lecture was Steve Holliday, formerly Chief Executive of National Grid. Sylvia Tutt was the first woman to serve as the master of a City Livery company in 1983/4 who blazed a trail for women in the Livery and was a generous benefactor to the WCCSA, hence the decision to rename the lecture the Tutt Rivers Lecture. Steve’s discussion (not a lecture!) was ‘Inclusion and diversity in business and the impact on corporate culture’ and it was fascinating to hear of progress that was made, particularly during his National Grid days. He spoke of 19% of the UK population being disabled and of those 46% are unemployed, 54% of women give up work each year after giving birth and only 3% of apprentices are from minority backgrounds. “Creating the right culture is key”. After the talk we enjoyed a drinks reception before supper.

WC Carmen Evensong at St Paul’s and reception at Stationers’ Hall

22nd March 2017

Shaun and I attended a very special service to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the WC Carmen, which went ahead despite the tragic terrorist attack in Westminster. St Paul’s choir were in fine voice and sitting under the North Dome was again very special. After the service we walked to Stationers’ Hall which was packed, and the Master unveiled a portrait of the Master, Wardens and Clerk to commemorate their anniversary.

Livery Schools Link at Guildhall

20th March 2017

PM’s George Turner and Paul Bethel, plus Liveryman Toni Hicks manned our stand at Guildhall which gave schoolchildren the opportunity to look at a number of Livery companies stands and find out more about traditional trades.

Our new video was being shown and we had a display of students drawings, samples of different knits, a number of coloured yarn cones and a selection of socks which our stand hosts chatted about. It was good to see what other companies offer to attract people to their stand and food for thought for future years. A very good initiative to tell schools about Livery companies.

Phoenix Masters meeting at Plaisterers’ Hall

16th March 2017

A very interesting meeting to look at potential areas for the Phoenix Masters to be involved with going forward. Lots of ideas were discussed and conversations will be made to progress these thoughts.

WC Furniture Makers’ Court Dinner in their Hall

16th March 2017

This was my first visit to the WCFM hall and Shaun and I enjoyed a very happy evening. I believe the FM’s have only owned the hall for 10 years – it has the most wonderful staircase, and the main hall has lovely tall ceilings. I sat next to two charming PM’s and almost opposite a member of 2 Rifles who received an award – he had travelled from Salisbury and was returning for a weekend exercise; I’m not sure which was the most daunting part of his few days! As I near the end it’s very sad to be almost saying ‘au revoir’ to some of the Masters and Clerks as we have built up good friendships that I hope will remain going forward.

WC Spectacle Makers' Luncheon at Apothecaries' Hall

14th March 2017

Shaun and I were guests of the Spectacle Makers' for lunch at Apothecaries' Hall. We were greeted warmly on arrival and clearly some had read my CV and were asking me all about my working life, and love of Leicester City FC! Apothecaries' Hall is the oldest standing hall and the floors in some rooms are rather uneven but full of charm and character. There was a very warm, friendly atmosphere and the hall was full - with 800 members they occasionally decamp from Apothecaries' to a larger hall for an evening dinner.

Gala Concert at St Paul's Cathedral in aid of the Lord Mayor's Appeal

14th March 2017

Peter and I joined the drinks reception at The Grange Hotel near St Paul's before heading over to the Cathedral for the Gala Concert. St Paul's was packed and it was very moving when the Lord Mayor entered accompanied by the Pikemen and Musketeers. They add hugely to the pageantry of an event. The concert began with singing by St Paul's choir and choristers - I was Glad by Parry always gives me goose bumps! We also heard Misere by Allegri and the Coronation Te Deum by Walton, before a fantastic performance of Symphony No. 3 in C minor (organ) Op 78 by Saint-Saens. Our Lord Mayor had been rehearsing this piece when he had a spare moment (and there are not many of those) and played the organ with his usual professionalism. A very special evening and again one of those unique opportunities as I doubt I will ever hear a Lord Mayor perform any instrument in St Paul's in the foreseeable future.

Past Masters Association Dinner at Skinners' Hall

13th March 2017

Although still in post for a final few weeks some Masters' 'fell off their perch' as long ago as last June hence our dinner at Skinners'. It was a very happy evening (with a hearty singing of Grace, which we have all sung many times over the years!) and great fun catching up with Past Masters and Consorts.

Walbrook Ward Club AGM and Lunch in the Old Library, Guildhall

10th March 2017

This was my first Walbrook Ward Club event as a new recruit. The AGM was held in the Print Room and this was a first for me – a lovely room with some wonderful paintings adorning the walls. We were joined for the 208th Annual Luncheon by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress and as they processed in we all sang ‘O we do like to be beside the seaside’ which I think the Lord Mayor appreciated! I sat in-between the Walbrook Ward President Alderman John Garbutt and his wife Solangela, and it was inspiring to hear of their commitment and ongoing work for the Red Cross.

The Annual Meeting of the Court of City, University of London

10th March 2017

After lunch whilst walking from Guildhall to Aldersgate Street I managed to miss the office entrance, and after speaking to a taxi driver to make sure I was heading in the right direction I ended up on a long walk using Google maps at the Cass Business School main campus rather than the Aldersgate offices about half a mile away! The Lord Mayor (Rector of the University) and the two Sheriffs’ were in attendance and the Lord Mayor spoke of his wish to encourage diversity which will benefit companies as well as individuals. Through their outreach scheme the University has helped 6,500 students, many from disadvantaged backgrounds. We heard from a recent graduate and one of the Professors who enthusiastically talked about their time at the university and their ongoing research respectively. It was a fascinating visit and we enjoyed a buffet supper to conclude the evening (although the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs’ had to leave before the buffet for a Mansion House Banquet – another busy day for them!).

WC International Bankers’ Banquet at Guildhall

8th March 2017

On a lovely clear night I arrived early and enjoyed standing in Guildhall Yard listening to the Air Cadets performing. 

We had drinks in the Old Library and were entertained throughout the evening by a quintet of final year students at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Peter has just become a Freeman of the WCIB and it was fun to be supporting him for once! The guest speaker was Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Asset Management and mother of nine children, and her message was one of continued encouragement of diversity in the workplace regardless of school or background.

Education Committee meeting in Corah Hall

7th March 2017

An early start to allow for any problems on the M1 – thankfully all was okay and I arrived in good time to join the ‘Coffee Cup’ which is organised by the residents of our Cottage Homes. The Education Committee reviewed the bursaries and awards granted and considered the colleges and Universities that we visited last year, before watching our new Framework Knitters video, which is already attracting interest from colleges, and which we will be showing at a Livery School Exhibition at Guildhall this month. The work of the Education Committee is very exciting and we hope to develop our involvement with apprentices, as well as continue our support for undergraduates. Members of the committee are acting as mentors to those who received an award, and to anyone who was interviewed who asks us for advice.

The Clothworkers’ Company Masters’ and Clerks’ Dinner

7th March 2017

A series of firsts for me at this fabulous dinner – Bollinger during the reception, coloured bow ties in support of the guest speaker and bagpipes as the musical entertainment. Clothworkers’ Hall is one of the larger halls and is very impressive in terms of décor (although a new tapestry for the end wall is almost complete). It was very special when a Liveryman approached me and asked whether I was a ‘Byford’ as he had loosely worked with my Grandfather (who set up Byfords Socks and Knitwear). Those sitting near me had clearly read my CV and I found a fellow Leicester City and Leicester Tigers fan. The guest speaker was the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Mr Kenneth Olisa OBE, who was very entertaining and spoke of his role as Lord-Lieutenant and putting people at their ease, comparing that to the nerves at his investiture! We enjoyed a delicious meal with wonderful wine, before The First Battalion Scots Guards provided the entertainment with bagpipes and the Sword Dance which is highly skilled.

City Guides Lecturers Association Lecture at St Lawrence Jury

6th March 2017

The 14th Annual Derek Melluish Memorial Lecture, entitled “The Medieval Guildhall of London – Envy of Kings and Pride of Princes” was given by Dr Simon Thurley, a leading architectural historian, a regular broadcaster and former Chief executive of English Heritage to name but a few roles. This was a fascinating lecture with great slides to reinforce the message, and it was interesting to learn about the original Guildhalls which were surrounded by other buildings. English cathedrals such as Canterbury used to be sited in a close and reached via a gatehouse and precinct, whereas European cathedrals were in the middle of the city. We learnt that Wren and Hook opened up St Paul’s and Guildhall when they were rebuilt to make them more open, expansive and available to all.

Inter-Livery Swimathon at the RAC Club, Surrey

2nd March 2017

This annual event was once again organised by the WC Chartered Surveyors’ and I think that both their Clerk Amanda Davies, and our Court Assistant Jonathan Pears have been the two people present at every event which has run for about 19 years! Our team comprised Jonathan, Under Warden Elect Ian Grundy, Liveryman Julia Emmott’s husband Richard and their son Oscar, and myself. Our Master Elect and Julia White were there to cheer us on and Julia Emmott joined us for supper.

Sadly the number of teams entered was lower this year, which is a great shame as it is a very happy and fun event. We were afforded our normal outside lane and each took it in turns to swim six lengths before handing over to the next person – it’s amazing the difference of a 30 metre pool when one is used to a 25 metre pool! We completed our laps with time to spare and Jonathan organised us all to swim the last two lengths together. After a shower and change (and I was ready before most of the chaps!) we decamped to the RAC Club reception rooms for drinks followed by a delicious and much needed supper! The Master Chartered Surveyor very kindly paid tribute to the FWK as being the only Company to have taken part in every Swimathon since its inception.

Glassellers’ Ravenscroft Lecture at Barclays, Canary Wharf

1st March 2017

Peter and I attended the Glassellers Lecture entitled ‘Transforming Barclays: The Glass Bridge’. The views from the 31st floor of the Barclays building were impressive on a clear night and it was fascinating, although not totally surprising, to learn that the Barclays building has been built to resist both aircraft and chemical attack. We heard from three Barclays employees about their innovation, and work in the community which ranged from them being the first bank to offer free wifi in their branches, without the requirement of passwords, to their Eagle Labs which have 3-d printers (and we saw a brief video of a girl who had been born without one lower arm and hand, and how the printer had produced a prosthetic limb for her). In addition it was interesting to hear how they had bought iPads for their staff only to find the majority were hesitant to use them, and from training their staff to overcome their fears they then gave training to all Marie Curie nurses who were supplied with iPads.

Master Mariners’ Company Court Lunch

1st March 2017

Shaun and I met in the gardens near Temple Underground Station for a quick debrief on a few matters before heading across the road for lunch aboard HQS Wellington.

The Courtroom was full and after being welcomed aboard by the Master Mariner and his Clerk we enjoyed drinks on the upper deck before heading downstairs for a super lunch. The guest speaker was Councillor Steve Summers, Mayor of Westminster, which was a first for me, and he enthusiastically encouraged us to continue our work to inspire young people – as a young Newcastle, sports loving man himself he is committed to showing them that anything is possible. As the only ‘floating Livery Hall’ it’s always a treat to dine on the ship.

February 2017

Scriveners' Company Quill Pen Reception and Recital

28th February 2017

Shaun and I attended a very special evening to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the Granting of a Royal Charter to the Worshipful Company of Scriveners of the City of London. A day like today, with such different functions to attend, reinforces how special and what an honour it is to be a Livery Master.

The evening began with the presentation of prizes for handwriting, Calligraphy and Illumination, before Aldermen and Sheriffs Peter Estlin and William Russell were presented with the quill pens with which they signed themselves into office. Following the presentations, we heard a wonderful Recital by Catherine Ennis and Emily Owen who performed 'Exultate, Jubilate' KV 165 by Mozart. The finale of the evening was the performance of a play whose original manuscript dates back to the reign of Edward III (1326/7), and which makes it one of the oldest dramas in the English language. Five talented members of the Scriveners' Company performed the play which was about the reappearance of Jesus to three of the disciples, with Thomas doubting what the disciples told him. It was thought-provoking, with the scene having been set by telling us that the play would originally have been performed on wagons throughout the City of York. We enjoyed drinks and canapes both at the start and end of the evening - a good chance to chat to Masters and Clerks, and a very happy evening.

The Thirteenth Annual Inter-Livery Pancake Race at Guildhall

28th February 2017

This very well supported event, organised by the WC Poulters' was held on a cold but dry day. We could only enter the Masters Pre-Qualifying race and I'm not sure whether I was quick enough to ensure our full participation next year. It was great fun, although some chaps took it rather too seriously with a few heavy tumbles and one suspected broken/fractured shoulder.

The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, together with both Sheriffs and their consorts were present, and it was fun to watch the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs tossing pancakes, together with the Master Poulter. There was a fantastic array of 'novelty costumes' which had to reflect the Lord Mayor's Charity and a wonderful costume of an organ reproduction was the winner and a clear favourite of us all! After the races Peter, Shaun and I enjoyed thawing out in the Guildhall Crypt with some hot soup and a buffet lunch.

World Traders' Annual Tacitus Lecture at Guildhall

23rd February 2017

There was a full house for this popular lecture which Peter and I attended. The fact-filled lecture was entitled 'The World is our Oyster? Britain's Future Trade Relationship' and was given by Sir Simon Fraser GCMG, with an introduction by Alderman and Sheriff Peter Estlin. The main theme was the UK's trade relationship post-Brexit and the clear message was reaching agreement with the EU the number one priority as it represented 44% of exports and 53% of imports, followed by the US with 17% of UK trade, followed by the 30 countries with the free trade agreement with the EU, BRICS, with the Commonwealth countries being only the fifth priority. The closing comments were the necessity for a positive attitude, appropriate policies and sufficient capacity to conduct the negotiations.

Chartered Architects Annual Lecture at The City Centre

22nd February 2017

The scale model of the City of London we saw before and after the lecture was fascinating and made it much clearer to understand how the view lines of St Paul's, the Tower of London and the Monument are protected, and the Corporation's preference for 'clusters' of towers.

Growth of employees is expected to increase from the current 400,000 to 500,000 by 2030 and the challenges that poses, not least in terms of pavement (alias pedestrian flows) and leisure space. 98% of companies in the City are SME's and one-ninth of the buildings are currently under development. We heard from the Head of Design in the City of London Planning Department as well as the IPM Chartered Architect and Keith Priest from Fletcher Priest Architects. The space on top of many of the new towers is now being designed to incorporate gardens and leisure space. A fascinating talk, only marred by drivers on the Met Line deciding to walk out, which meant a much longer journey home via various stations!

2016 Lady Masters Lunch at Northbank Restaurant

21st February 2017

Walking from Barbican to the restaurant via St Paul's and near the Millennium Bridge made me appreciate once again how varied and special London is. The restaurant overlooks The Globe, which I have yet to visit, and is highly recommended. It was lovely to chat to Lady Masters whom I had not talked to that much during 'my year' as we all take office in different months, and some stood down last July after I had only been in post for three months. A lovely restaurant with stunning views across the river to The Globe and Tate Modern.

Upholders' Choral Evensong and dinner at Armourers' Hall

16th February 2017

Shaun and I attended a wonderful Choral Evensong at St Michael Cornhill. The choir and organist were outstanding and we listened to some wonderful singing including Psalm 84, which was sung by the choir to a chant by Herbert Howells, and 'God be in my head' by Sir Walford Davies. After the service we walked to Armourers' Hall and thankfully it was a lovely clear evening. The Hall is extremely atmospheric and is perfect for a Winter Dinner. The Cook & Butler provided a delicious meal, although I had to decline the fourth course of the Master's Brunch (boiled egg, bacon and mushrooms) due to a lack of space!

Small dinner party at Girdlers' Hall hosted by the Master Girdler

15th February 2017

This was my first invite to a function at Girdlers' Hall having only experienced a quick look round last September. I walk past the Hall on my way from Moorgate to Guildhall and it is an oasis of calm with a lovely garden, yet surrounded by modern office blocks. The Master Girdler (whose great-Grandfather was Master FWK) invited a few people to a Supper Party in the Hall and it was a real treat. The menu and wines were sublime, and with every other person swapping places half way through we had a good opportunity to chat to most of those present. At the end of the evening we went into the main Hall and saw the famous Bell Carpet which was presented to the Company in 1634 by PM Robert Bell.

Social Committee meeting

8th February 2017

We met in one of the committee rooms at Guildhall which are free for Livery related meetings. A debrief of the trips taken since our last meeting took place and everyone was pleased with the locations chosen, especially the Foundling Museum which was brilliant, as was the pub we went to for lunch. Plans are underway for our visit on 8th April to the Sir John Soane Museum and other possible locations after our forthcoming dinners.

The Worshipful Company of Gardeners’ Banquet at Mansion House

8th February 2017

As you might expect the floral displays were lovely and on arrival we were each presented with a rose which I managed to attach to my badge ribbon, and I was given a lovely posy of flowers as part of the processional party. My paternal Grandfather was Master Gardener, which may have been part of the reason for the invite and my Mother, Peter and I enjoyed a fabulous evening and were afforded a very warm welcome. A first for me (certainly in the Egyptian Room and probably at any livery dinner) was a musical interlude of a steel orchestra by pupils from the Sir John Cass School – they were amazing! We were also treated to ‘The Glory of the Garden’ which is a poem written by Rudyard Kipling, and our Lord Mayor had written accompanying music which was sung and performed by the school orchestra and members of the Gardeners Company. It was brilliant and went down well with everyone, not least the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress who were both present.

Reception at Mansion House

7th February 2017

Jonathan Pears and I attended a reception hosted by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress as a ‘thank you’ to those who took part in the 2016 Lord Mayor’s Show. We also heard from Alderman Charles Bowman about his forthcoming plans (subject to election). It was super to meet a number of Liverymen/Masters/Clerks and I had a good chat with a member of the Pikemen. The Lord Mayor’s Show continues to grow with increasingly impressive floats and improved BBC coverage.

Lady Masters Association Dinner at the RAF Club

7th February 2017

I had to leave Mansion House early and thought I was in good time, only to discover I had managed to head North rather than South on the Jubilee Line and ended up at St John’s Wood rather than Green Park. No excuse for being so silly, but it was frustrating and lost me about 15 minutes, although I did just make it in time for the drinks reception! The guest speaker was Air Commodore R S (Rick) Peacock-Edwards who was Master Air Pilot in 2008 – he was extremely interesting and told of having only an hour’s notice before being posted abroad. There were three current Lady Masters present and PM Linda Smith and David were also present, as was Peter – it was a super venue and a fun evening.

Collectors’ Preview at the Saatchi Gallery

1st February 2017

This was our first visit to the Saatchi Gallery – thankfully it was a lovely clear night and the location is fabulous. The gallery is very impressive with high ceilings and white walls showing off the art to best effect. We met the Deputy Director of the Cass Sculpture Foundation, which was founded in 1992 by Wilfred and Jeannette Cass who are still active founders and trustees. Their mission was to provide support for artists to achieve new levels of ambition. The range of items on display across the museum was amazing, with ‘floating wood’, jewellery, sculptures, and silversmith works to name but a few.

Whilst there we met the management from Cockpit Arts - we currently have three previous bursary winners renting a studio space in Holborn, as well as gaining invaluable advice on sales and marketing. The prices were fairly eye-watering but it was a real treat to be able to look round.

January 2017

Graduation ceremony at De Montfort University

26th January 2017

Back on my home turf having been born in Leicester – there is a huge amount of building work taking place both in Leicester and at the University, and finding the car park was somewhat challenging. On a freezing cold day I wished I had taken a coat but once I had collected my ticket and found my seat (The Venue is fabulous) I had time to defrost. The ceremony was brilliant with wonderful music and a great presentation, and it was very moving to see the graduates collecting their degrees. We had been invited to lunch at Trinity House which is a beautiful listed building and lunch was served in the Chapel. The fashion course leader Della then took me on a tour of the new building which they had recently moved into, and it was brilliant to see the number of machines that the students can use, as well as some of the knits and designs on display. A previous FWK bursary winner Catriona P, who is now at the RCA, had two of her outfits on display, and it’s very special to see the students going from strength to strength.

Wine tasting at Moore Stephens, Barbican

24th January 2017

Fabulous location for me as Barbican is ‘my stop’ and Moore Stephens is so close to the station! We were welcomed by various people from Moore Stephens before being given a map of the world together with six locations. There were two fizzy, two white and two red wines to try, and each bottle was covered up. A representative from Bibendum was there and she told us a bit about each wine at the end – it’s amazing how much you rely on the label to guide you as to whether it’s a good wine/wine you like! Apart from two people who were both in the wine trade (and therefore withdrew from the competition) four of us managed four out of six correct answers and made it into the ‘sudden death’ – sadly my knowledge of Californian Riesling was non-existent and I therefore did not scoop the magnum of Prosecco, but it was great fun.

FWK outing to The Foundling Museum

21st January 2017

After rather a short night 24 of us met at the Foundling Museum for a guided tour. This was a first for me and whilst extremely sad it was very uplifting to hear of the vision and work done by 1739 by the philanthropist Thomas Coram to care for babies at risk of abandonment. Instrumental in helping Coram realise his vision were the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel. Our guide was brilliant and I can highly recommend a visit to this museum. From there we went to The Marquis Cornwallis where we ‘took over’ upstairs. We did not pre-order and the food was delicious and wonderfully fresh. A very happy end to a wonderful couple of days.

Our own Court Meeting and Winter Dinner

20th January 2017

After rather a short night’s sleep I was back on the tube for our Court Meeting and Winter Dinner at Cutlers’ Hall. There is a lot to have to remember to take but as long as I have the chain, badge and gown those are the key items! The Court Meeting had a full agenda and we welcomed new Freemen and Liverymen to our company, and following the interviews of students last Autumn we agreed the awards to be made this year. After the meeting I stayed in the Hall and read my speech through to ensure the acoustics were fine and I didn’t need to keep looking one way (they are great and I didn’t!). We had a Lance Guard with four members of the Leicestershire Derbyshire Yeomanry Squadron who looked very smart in their uniforms, and I was delighted they joined us for dinner.

Murray Craig, Clerk to the Chamberlain’s Court was our guest speaker and was very entertaining us regaling us with tales of some of the famous people he has admitted to the Freedom of the City of London including Morgan Freeman and Joan Collins. Awards were presented to two bursary winners, who are both in their final year of university, and to one member of het Leicestershire Derbyshire Yeomanry Squadron. Charlotte Howes was a wonderful soprano accompanied by Juliane Gallant and she sang four songs, ending with a wonderful performance of Eine Nacht in Venedig.

Cutlers had very kindly opened up their Collections Room, which includes items dating back to the 17th century, and we then concluded with a stirrup cup. It was a very special and happy evening – I’m in denial that it’s my last dinner but with over two months still to go there is lots to enjoy and take part in.

Water Conservators’ Myddleton Service, and Lunch at Mansion House

19th January 2017

The service was held at St Michael’s Cornhill to commemorate the life of Sir Hugh Myddleton who constructed the New River to bring fresh water to the City in the 17th century. From there we processed to Mansion House and enjoyed a delicious meal and great speeches by the Master and Lord Mayor.

WC Pattenmakers' Livery Banquet at Mansion House

19th January 2017

I have never attended two functions in one day at Mansion House – we popped back to the Farmers Club in-between for a rest! However – Mansion House is special and it was lovely to be back in the evening for the Pattenmakers’ Banquet. The Pikemen and Musketeers added pageantry during the reception and we enjoyed some wonderful music by Anna Wang on the flute and Abigail Sin on the piano, as well as the London Banqueting Ensemble. The full Shrieval team were present and the Lord Mayor gave a very entertaining speech which was very different from his speech at lunchtime! The tube journey home was rather chilly but a very happy day.

Meeting at Cutlers' Hall

11th January 2017

Shaun and I met the Beadle at Cutlers' Hall to go over final details for our dinner next week. It is probably wrong to describe a Hall as 'cosy and welcoming' but that is how Cutler's Hall feels to me. I am delighted we are dining there and am looking forward to the evening.

The Beadle kindly showed us their wine cellars which are very impressive and had large quantities of my favourite reds - sadly these are well out of our budget for next week but wonderful to see such a fabulous cellar.

WC Needlemakers' Lunch at Stationers' Hall

11th January 2017

Shaun and I walked the short distance from Cutlers' to Stationers' Hall for lunch with the Needlemakers. Dame Elizabeth Fradd DBE DL is Master - she lives near Nottingham and as part of her Master's outing she has arranged a visit to the FWK Ruddington Museum. I received a lovely gift of a needle set which is in a lovely case. The basic needles I knew from 'nametape days' but 'Curved and Straight Mattress' were new to me! The guest speaker was Barbara Gelb OBE who is Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives which raises funds for children with a life-limiting illness and it was interesting to hear of the work that they do. I sat in-between the Immediate Past Master and the Junior Warden which was great fun and we enjoyed a very happy lunch.

Broderers' outing to the V&A Museum

10th January 2017

Peter and I were almost late (but not quite) due to problems on the tube. We enjoyed a drinks reception and a private view of the 'Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery'. The displays were wonderful with intricate embroidery and The Jesse Cope, which dates from 1310 - 1325 had been restored thanks to a grant from the Broderers' Company, and it was the first time it had been seen for many years.

After the exhibition we walked to the Rembrandt Hotel and enjoyed a carvery supper before heading home.

Past Masters Association meeting at Guildhall

9th January 2017

Happy New Year - the events have begun again! Not wishing to let the train and tube strike defeat me I decided to walk from Euston Station to our meeting at Guildhall, and seeing the queues for the buses and taxis it was the right decision. It was a lovely day and I enjoyed the walk (although my calves were aching more than anticipated when I arrived home!). We met in one of the Committee Rooms and then had a working lunch in the Alderman's Dining Room, which has super views across Guildhall Yard. Plans are being formulated for social events for the year and it will be good to keep in contact with Masters and Consorts who have become friends.

Rolf Noskwith

We were very sad to learn of the death of PM Rolf Noskwith (Master in 1984) who sadly passed away last week. Rolf and his wife Annette kindly came to Bletchley Park for our outing last year where Rolf was afforded VIP treatment.

There have been a number of obituaries written about Rolf and the vital role he played whilst at Bletchley Park, as well as his move into the family hosiery business, and last year he admitted he could still complete The Times cryptic crossword in about 20 minutes!

December 2016

Engineers' Company carol service and dinner

14th December 2016

As I was just beginning my personal Christmas cards a call came through asking whether I was free to 'fill in' due to Southern Trains and sickness - it was a lovely invitation to join the WC Engineers at their Carol Service and Dinner. Never one to turn down an invite and especially the opportunity for another 'first' by attending a carol service in the Chapel Royal of St.Peter and Vincula I was on the train in good time. It was a lovely clear evening and walking from Aldgate to the Tower of London with the City all lit up was amazing.

People were happily skating on the rink at the Tower and happiness flowed. The Chapel dates from the reign of Henry VIII and has been a place of worship for over a thousand years. The bodies of Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey to name but two are buried in the chapel. The choir were wonderful and it was a wonderful service. From there we walked to Clothworkers' Hall and enjoyed a super meal - as I was filling in for someone on Top Table I had a lovely view of the portraits on the walls.

Now to write some Christmas cards and wishing you all a very happy Christmas and New Year.

Royal Yeomanry Regimental Association Carol Service

12th December 2016

Peter and I attended the carol service in the chapel at Lincoln’s Inn – a complete oasis of calm amidst the rush-hour. It was lovely to have the band playing and my favourite carols were sung. Afterwards we had drinks in the Inns of Court and City Yeomanry Mess and it was good to see the outgoing and incoming Commanding Officer.

This is my last FWK event before Christmas – over 120 events attended and what a privilege.

Cottage Homes residents Christmas Lunch

10th December 2016

Just under 50 residents and committee members sat down to dine in Corah Hall, and once again our caterers did an excellent job producing a lovely hot meal despite working in a very small kitchen! The Hall had been beautifully decorated by the residents and Karl with a fabulous tree and decorations on the windowsills and hanging from the ceiling. It was a very happy occasion and after lunch we ended with a few carols. I was very lucky to be presented with a beautiful gift from the residents which I will treasure.

Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry E Squadron Officers and Sergeants' Christmas Dinner

10th December 2016

Peter and I joined the officers, sergeants and their partners at their Christmas Dinner which was held at Hopthorpe Hall & Woodlands in Theddingworth (a first for us). We had the Woodlands area to ourselves and enjoyed a delicious meal (even if it was our second three course meal in the day!) and good company. Among others we met Sergeant Williams who formed part of our carpet guard at the Installation in April and also walked with us in the Lord Mayor's Show in November. It was a very happy evening and just a shame the M1 was closed on our way home!

Meeting to discuss our military affiliation

7th December 2016

I met with Shaun, Peter White, Nick Turner and Bertie Boyle to discuss our ongoing military affiliation. It was very useful to recap where we can help each other, where members of the Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry Squadron have been present for us so far this year and events to which the Master is invited.

Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry Dinner at the Cavalry and Guards Club

December 2016

This was my first visit to the Cavalry and Guards Club – a wonderful building near Hyde Park Corner. There was a super representation of Framework Knitters with IPM David Miller, PMs Linda Smith and Paul Bethel, Liveryman Nick Turner and Shaun all present (also Bertie Boyle who was there in his capacity of Honorary Colonel), together with officers of the Leicestershire and Derbyshire Squadron. We enjoyed a very happy evening in lovely surroundings and the cheese soufflés for dessert were very impressive.

Farmers' Company lunch at Fishmongers Hall

6th December 2016

I was guest of my mother and thoroughly enjoyed dining at Fishmongers' Hall. With the famous painting of Queen Elizabeth II painted by Pietro Annigoni on show it has a very impressive Hall with large reception rooms and will be a wonderful venue for our Banquet next year.

Weavers' Livery Dinner at Vintners' Hall

December 2016

Shaun and I attended the Weavers' Dinner and once again Vintners' looked after us very well. The current Upper Bailiff spoke about the opportunity he had been given by the company when he was struggling to keep his business afloat and it made me think of the difference our bursaries make to students, apprentices and those at Cockpit Arts. Two trumpeters from the Band of the Royal Yeomanry welcome in the main party and we were entertained by a wonderful soprano and accompanying pianist. The only downside to a very happy evening was having had to park half a mile away due to the car park being full and this was not ideal at midnight in a long dress!

Visit to the Bank of England Museum and Ladies Lunch at The Don

December 2016

This is not strictly part of my Master's Diary but Peter organised a super outing for ladies who are Liverymen in their own right, or a partner or friend of a Liveryman. The talk at the Bank of England Museum highlighted the role of the Bank and the history of the building, and this was followed by an excellent lunch at The Don Restaurant on St Swithin's Lane.

Lady Masters' Association lunch at Ironmongers' Hall

5th December 2016

This was the start of a busy week! Eight of us dined at Ironmongers' Hall and whilst not a strictly FWK event it's worth noting that any Liveryman can book themselves and guests into lunch at Ironmongers' on a Monday for any number of people. There is a carvery option and the meal was very good.

Cutlers' Sexcentenary Service at St Bartholomew the Great Church

December 2016

For those who have not been to St Bartholomew the Great it began as a Priory Church in AD 1123 and became a Parish Church under Queen Elizabeth I. It is very atmospheric with stunning architecture and it was the perfect setting for the Cutlers' to celebrate their Sexcentenary.

Much of the service was conducted as Kings of the past would have experienced with a very moving anthem sung in Latin by the excellent choir. We then walked to the Old Bailey and enjoyed drinks and canapes at a reception in the Great Hall - a fabulous setting and a very special event to attend.

November 2016

Tasting for our January Dinner

29th November 2016

This week is the quietest week so far and it was therefore fun to spend time with Shaun and Mary and Mark Groves from the Cook and Butler catering company tasting possible dishes for our January dinner. We tried three white wines and three reds and it was amazing how different they tasted both before and with food! We also tried two starters, two mains and two desserts (a small portion of each rather than six full plates!) and we hope we’ve chosen a menu that everyone will enjoy – we certainly did. I can’t believe it’s my last tasting – I was told that the year passes by in a flash and they are right, but it’s still great fun and a great privilege.

The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch 2017 launch

29th November 2016

The launch was held in the City of London Club which was a first visit for me. The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch is the City of London’s biggest fundraiser for ABF the Soldier’s Charity, which last year raised over £218,000. As the Lord Mayor is currently abroad he sent a video message encouraging us to support the lunch and help raise over £450,000, which would bring the total raised over ten years to over £2 million. The lunch will be held at Guildhall on either 4th or 6th April.

Coleman Street Ward Club Lunch

25th November 2016

Peter and I were joined at the lunch by the Immediate Past Master David Miller and Diane, and Upper Warden Peter White.

FWK Liveryman Richard Fynes is the Hon Secretary of the Ward and had asked us whether we would like to attend. The lunch was held in the Livery Hall at Guildhall and this was another first for us. The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress were present as was Sheriff Peter Estlin, who is President of the Ward, and his wife Lindy. The emblem for the Ward is a cockerel and a number of members present were sporting a silver cockerel brooch. It was a very happy lunch with every ward seemingly biased that their ward is best!

Cockpit Arts Preview and Open Studios

24th November 2016

This was my first visit to Cockpit Arts and walking from Farringdon Tube it is not the easiest place to find. However, it was a fantastic evening with so much to see. Cockpit Arts has sites in Holborn and Deptford and is home to around 150 of the most creative minds in the country, with crafts such as knitwear, shoes, paintings, printing, and bags to name but a few on display. We currently have three past bursary winners in the Holborn Studios - Genevieve, Carlo and Caitlin, and it was great to see them all and chat to them about their work.

They all have their own websites and Genevieve is taking part in several Christmas events including travelling to Harrogate next week.

Festival of St Cecilia at Westminster Abbey

23rd November 2016

Peter White and I represented the Company by joining other Masters/Wardens/Clerks in processing into Westminster Abbey, which was very special, and other FWK Liverymen and family were also present.

The service has been held each year since 1946 to celebrate music and musicians in support of Help Musicians UK. An anthem is specially commissioned each year and this year Toby Young (winner of the Guardian/BBC Proms Young Composer of the Year 2006) was the composer. The choir were in fine voice with some wonderful anthems, and we heard from a recipient of funds from Help Musicians UK who had to take a year off due to illness. Legendary flautist Sir James Galway OBE gave a short talk about supporting the charity and as a real bonus he played a couple of pieces at the reception which followed the service.

CCLA lecture at Drapers’ Hall

21st November 2016

Having used Drapers' for my Installation I never turn down an opportunity to return and it was as stunning as ever. The lecture was entitled ‘Power,reputation and influence in the 21st Century’ and was given by Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC. His heading was ‘Cyber activism, terrorism and the role of business’ and he began by saying that all companies (charities and business alike) are at risk of cyber terrorism and asked whether our insurance policies cover this.

Lord Carlile spoke about the power of social media and the vital role it had to play in the 2015 general election compared with leaflets/newspapers/adverts. He also said that 80% of Facebook ‘friends’ are not known to people, and referenced the majority who freely give out personal information via sites such as Amazon and Ocado. The danger of cyber terrorism is ever increasing and thousands of internet sites are taken down per week by the authorities. In November £1.9 billion was pledged to crack down on cyber terrorism over the next five years. It was a fascinating talk with a lively Q&A session afterwards, and we then enjoyed drinks and canapes.

Actuaries’ Company Livery Lecture and Supper

17th November 2016

The Lecture took place in Staple Inn Hall, which is a fabulous building near Chancery Lane Underground and is home to the actuarial profession. The speaker was John Kay, a distinguished economist and his speech was entitled ‘Risk and uncertainty in finance and business – an annotated history’. John traced the history of the development of insurance since the Great Fire of London and the emergence of the Lloyds coffee shops where wagers on areas such as the weather began. He mentioned Hurricane Katrina, sub-prime mortgages and our own home insurance as examples of the debate as to whether this is gambling or insurance, and a lively Q&A session took place after supper.

One busy day!

16th November 2016

Information Technologists Business Lunch at Stationers’ Hall

Shaun and I were invited to join the IT’s annual business lunch and talk at Stationers’ Hall. Stephen Tall, Director of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) was the guest speaker and he talked about the work of the charity which is dedicated to making grants of over £200m over its 15-year life to break the link between educational achievement and family income. Their work is carried out by evidence-based projects and it was interesting to tick either reality or myth to five questions with all of us having very different answers!

Lord Mayor’s briefing

Shaun and I walked to Mansion House to join other Masters and Clerks to hear about the vision our new Lord Mayor has for his year. His theme is ‘Educate, Support, Inspire’ and his three charities are the LSO Discovery programme, St Paul’s Cathedral Music Outreach and Music in Hospitals, which are all charities he has been involved with for many years. The Lord Mayor plans to visit over 30 countries during his year and will be accompanied by one of the Sheriffs.

Barbers’ Company Sir Lionel Denny Lecture at Barber Surgeons’ Hall

The lecture was given by Dr Alixe Bovey, Head of Research at the Courtauld Institute and was entitled ‘Gogmagog and the Lord Mayor’s Show’. Knowing nothing about Gogmagog it was very interesting to hear about the history and the importance of Gogmagog to the City where Gog and Magog process through the City of London at the Lord Mayor’s Show, and there is a statue of them in Guildhall. There was a good slide show to accompany the talk and we enjoyed drinks and canapes after the lecture.

Lord Mayor’s Show

12th November 2016

After three consecutive years of rain surely it would be dry this year?! Sadly the forecast proved to be accurate and we woke to rain which did not stop throughout the day. Thankfully our organiser Jonathan Pears was well prepared and had bought plastic ‘bin liners’ for those walking to wear over their tabards. The float looked fabulous – it might have been smaller than many but with a genuine 17th century knitting frame on the back, Holly Batley - the only knitting apprentice in the world - on-board the float, together with two bursary winners Genevieve Sweeney and Olly Lipp we had a very special float which drew the attention of the crowds, not least with the sock bunting which had been made in Derbyshire by George and Nick Turner.

Our ‘arm socks’ in red, white and blue stripes had been manufactured in Leicester and added to the colour of our costumes.

It was a fantastic day and is one I will remember for many years. We were very lucky to have four members of the Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry, which is our military affiliation, walking with us and I think they enjoyed the experience, despite not being allowed to keep dry with our bin bags! Despite the rain the atmosphere was brilliant and the crowds watching reiterated how popular this show is. Rob l'Anson, from the dairy Kirby and West, and his wife Emma were driving our float, which was a reconstructed milk float, and our Coat of Arms and key messages of supporting both students and retired textile workers were clearly displayed.

After a rather cold stop for a packed lunch we were off again! The crowds were still lining the street and high fives were being given out along the way – it was great fun and a real privilege to take part. Peter and I peeled off before the end as I had been asked to be one of the Masters to form the Guard of Honour as the new Lord Mayor returned to Mansion House. We welcomed him in and then went upstairs for a quick meal – the Egyptian Hall was packed and I think they served over 1100 people during the course of the day! It was memorable and Peter was very glad to have delayed his flight to the Far East to be part of it. Our Livery was on great form and we flew the flag (literally) for the Framework Knitters!

Silent Ceremony at Guildhall

11th November 2016

This was another ancient tradition of the City of London as the Election of the Lord Mayor is carried out largely in silence. It was very special to be present and witness the election of Dr Andrew Parmley as Lord Mayor.

Student Interviews for bursary and awards

9th November 2016

Early morning starts are not my favourite and the third one in a row was a struggle, but once there the students were again inspiring. We visited Central St Martins and Chelsea College, and as yesterday the presentations were very good with inspiration ranging from Australian insects to the Isle of Arran. It will be interesting to see the development of the students as some hoped to set up their own label, others were more technical and some wanted to work for a company/designer.

Horners’ Ralph Anderson Lecture

October 2016

Shaun and I attended the Ralph Anderson Lecture, which was held at The Royal Society of Medicine, which is a wonderful building. The guest speaker was Professor Marc-Olivier Coppens who spoke about ‘Nature Inspired Chemical Engineering’. Some of this was slightly complicated for my non-scientific brain but the essence was that nature is a treasure trove of clever solutions to sustainability, resilience and ways to efficiently utilize scarce resources. Professor Coppens showed us a femur bone which was hollow, and he linked that to the strength of the Eiffel Tower which was designed using the minimum amount of iron possible. We then enjoyed a buffet supper.

Student Interviews for bursary and awards

8th November 2016

Four of us spent the morning interviewing students at London College of Fashion for possible awards. There were three of us interviewing in the afternoon at the Royal College of Art. Inspiration for their mood boards, swatches and garments was wide ranging from beauty and kitsch to objectification of women and sustainability. It was fascinating to see the presentations and a real treat to see the talent of the students.

The Royal British Legion Opening of the Garden of Remembrance

7th November 2016

Shaun and I attended a very moving service in the North Churchyard of St Paul's Cathedral on a thankfully dry but extremely cold morning. The day began with refreshments in the Crypt and we were welcomed by Air Marshal David Walker CB CBE AFC MA RAF (Redt). Lining up Livery Masters in order of precedence is never the easiest, but we were well marshalled by members of the armed forces. Some lovely hymns were sung, led by The Band of the Welsh Guards and Air Marshal David Walker gave The Exhortation before the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs led the planting of the crosses. Each Livery Master planted a cross before The Dedication was read and The National Anthem was sung. This was a very special occasion which reminded us how lucky we are to be Master and representative of a Livery company.

Fish and chip lunch in Oadby followed by singing

4th November 2016

Peter and myself, my mother and her piano teacher Ginny had been invited by the residents to join them for a fish and chip lunch and to enjoy a 'singalong' afterwards. Shaun was also with us to lend his wonderful singing voice. My Mother and Ginny had rehearsed on more than one occasion and came prepared with song sheets of songs that the residents knew (I have to confess that a few were a bit 'before my time'!). We enjoyed some delicious fish and chips that were cooked in a van onsite and we then broke into song - Que Sara Sara was my favourite! It was great fun and we even had time for a quick game of skittles.

'At Home' with the Lady Mayoress at Mansion House

3rd November 2016

The Egyptian Room was packed with Masters and Mistresses/Consorts, as well as members of Common Council, Aldermen and Sheriffs. The Lady Mayoress spoke well, despite suffering with a croaky voice, and she presented gifts to members of their staff. Two large television screens had a selection of photos that had been taken during their year. I don't think I appreciate even now how busy their year is and it makes the hectic life of a Master seem very quiet!

Installation Service followed by lunch at Drapers' Hall for the Glovers'

1st November 2016

Shaun and I attended a lovely service with rousing hymns at St Margaret's Church, Lothbury. Hats and gloves were the order of the day and I was glad I checked my Pour Memoire the evening before and discovered that hats were expected! The Installation of the new Master and Wardens took place in the church which was very special. We then walked to Drapers' Hall (always a favourite of mine!) and enjoyed a lovely lunch. I was asked to process in and after the meal a few Masters were welcomed and presented with a lovely pair of gloves - with the cold weather approaching they could not be better and having to measure my hand in advance I'm pleased to report they fit very well!

October 2016

Past Masters Association reception at Pewterers' Hall

31st October 2016

It was very strange congregating for a PMA event despite having almost half of the year to enjoy! However, Peter and I had fun catching up with Masters and Mistresses/Consorts who had 'fallen off their perch'. Plans are underway for events next year.

Vintners’ Livery Dinner at Vintners’ Hall

27th October 2016

Peter, Shaun, Mary and myself enjoyed a very happy evening at the Vintners’ Livery Dinner. There was a strong French theme throughout the evening with Confit de Canard and Normandy Apple Tart accompanied by some very fine wines! The guest speaker was Sir Peter Ricketts who spent 40 years in the Diplomatic Service and ended his career as HM Ambassador to France. ‘The Rose Quartet’ provided some wonderful singing including ‘Bring Him Home’ from my favourite musical Les Mis.

The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor Annual Service of Dedication in The Chapel of St Faith, St Paul’s Cathedral

27th October 2016

This was the first time I had attended a service in The Chapel of St Faith. The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor was founded in 1908 and was given the title of ‘Imperial’ by Royal Warrant of George V in 1912. The service was very moving with an excellent choir, wonderful fanfares and anthems, ‘hymns with gusto’, and an excellent address by The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Richard Chartres KVCO Bishop of London who clearly knows his Shakespeare better than most! We then wandered over to Apothecaries’ Hall and enjoyed a reception meeting many other Masters and Clerks as well as a couple of the senior members of the Knights Bachelor Society.

Education Committee meeting

25th October 2016

The Education Committee met in Corah Hall to consider applications from students across the country. Interviews are now being arranged and a busy time will ensue for the Committee as there is a short window to fit in the interviews. There are some extremely talented students and I am looking forward to visiting some of the Universities to meet them and see their work and hear about their future plans.

Lightmongers' Lecture with Jonathon Porritt held at the London Transport Museum

October 2016

Jonathon Porritt was an excellent speaker (and he was also happy to answer some tricky questions!). A couple of his points were that in the UK we use 13% less energy than ten years ago for the same level of service. He also spoke of Professor Nakamura who invented the blue LED light that then enabled the production of white household LED's, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2014. He said that if all bulbs were switched to LED we could reduce the total electricity consumption from 20% to 4% which is the equivalent of the consumption of Europe! A very interesting and thought provoking lecture.

Glaziers' Art Fair at Glaziers' Hall

24th October 2016

The Art Fair had a range of stalls selling paintings, jewellery, lots of glassware, wood turning items etc. The highlight of the Fair was the Roots of Knowledge stain glass display upstairs, which had been brought over from Utah. This is a huge work of 80 complete panes of stained glass and a section was on display. Over 60,000 pieces of glass were used along with rock, fossils, coins, meteorite, petrified wood, and coral. Forty artists worked on the pieces and the students were responsible for researching the historical background to ensure the characters and buildings were portrayed accurately.

Art Scholars lecture on Kenneth Clark at Goldsmiths’ Hall

20th October 2016

I knew nothing about Kenneth Clark and the guest speaker has written a biography about him. His contribution to the art world is astounding via his knowledge both as an art historian and his art collection. He also was also an author, museum director and broadcaster. Masters were tested as they entered the Hall as we had to find our places by recognising our Coat of Arms which was printed on a piece of paper on each chair, which was fun. Thankfully I found my seat fairly quickly, which is more than can be said for one Master who will remain nameless! From here six of us had a quick supper at Rucoletta which is an excellent restaurant on Foster Lane – I can highly recommend.

Woolmens’ Civic Dinner at Mansion House

19th October 2016

Peter and I were delighted to be back at Mansion House and I could enjoy the meal rather than be nervous about speaking! Having been ‘received’ we chatted to the Headmaster of Christ’s Hospital School and his wife and it was very interesting to hear about the school. Thankfully the menu was completely different to ours and I noticed one of the Sheriff’s Consorts having fish and berries which is not surprising given the number of lunches and dinners they have to attend! We were entertained by two fine singers from the Guildhall School of Music.

Visit to the Tower of London

15th October 2016

We had a full house for our visit to the Tower of London and Wendy our tour guide was so knowledgeable. She told us about historical events over the centuries and showed us the various towers where the princes and others such as Sir Thomas More had been incarcerated. At the end of the visit we saw the Crown Jewels including the Imperial State Crown, as well as the Coronation Spoon and a wonderful array of maces from Charles II reign, and other precious items (including a gold ‘bottle holder/cooler’ which will take 144 bottles of wine!). After the tour we enjoyed lunch at the Hung, Drawn and Quartered pub nearby.

Our Banquet at Mansion House

14th October 2016

This was the most memorable night! We were lucky enough to have members of the Pikemen and Muskeeteers with us, and they added colour and a sense of pageantry to the evening as they formed our carpet guard. They were also very friendly and happy to chat to Liverymen and guests, as well as ensuring I did not stray from the carpet during the receiving line! Alderman Sir David Wootton and our two new Sheriffs were present and David Mercer was our guest speaker. We had four bursary winners present and they received their parchments from Sir David and myself.

It was a very happy evening – well organised by our Beadle and Clerk and we had time for a stirrup cup after the speeches.

Concert and supper at Mercers’ Hall organised by the Mercers’ Company

13th October 2016

Shaun and I attended this concert which featured brass and strings. Students from St Paul’s School and St Paul’s Girls’ School played for us and the pieces varied from Neruda to Mendelssohn and Mozart. The standard was extremely high with the majority of the students being music award holders. After the concert we enjoyed supper with other Masters, Consorts, Clerks and musicians and their families.

Wizardry in Wood reception and exhibition at Carpenters’ Hall

October 2016

This event was organised by the Turners’ company. The talent on display was enormous and there was a room for competition entries as well as a section for Young Turners as well as the main hall for the leading exhibitors. From 500-year-old bog wood to hard and soft woods – some had been kept natural and others crafted and painted. There was also a display of objects such as a 19th century butter press that had been loaned by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. A fabulous exhibition

Farmers’ Installation service and lunch

11th October 2016

I attended the Farmers’ Installation service and lunch as a guest of my Mother who was Master Farmer in 2013/2014. The service was held in St Bartholomew the Great Church and it is their harvest service as well as their Installation. The choir are fabulous and watching the Installation take place in the church is very special. We enjoyed a happy lunch at Haberdashers’ Hall.

Actuaries Livery Dinner at Painters’ Hall

6th October 2016

Shaun and I attended the Actuaries Dinner (it looked very different from Tuesday when I was at the art exhibition!). After the stress of running to St Paul’s earlier in the week I was far too early but decided this was the safer option. On arrival I was met by a Past Master who looked after me during the reception before we went into dinner. The Master Vintner and myself were the two Masters present and the Liveryman who introduced us was very amusing comparing me to Harry Potter (or probably Malfoy!) for being a ‘pureblood’ as my Father and both Grandfathers had been Master FWKs! The Actuaries have a large hourglass which sits in front of the Master and it takes two and three quarter hours for the sand to fall through, which is the time a dinner should take. I’m not sure whether I would find it unnerving if the sand was almost through and we were not quite finished!

Upholders’ Ladies Banquet at Mansion House

5th October 2016

Peter and I walked from St Paul’s to Mansion House and enjoyed a lovely evening with the Upholders. The Lord Mayor and both Sheriffs were present as well as other Masters and guests. We were well entertained by the London Banqueting Ensemble who played well known tunes before the Post Horn Gallop. The starter was the same as we have chosen for next week and was delicious – I hope others will agree!

Musicians service at St Paul’s Cathedral

5th October 2016

Peter and I stood on the platform dressed in white tie at 3pm and caught the tube to Barbican. Unfortunately due to an incident the Met Line was temporarily suspended and we were stuck. After a number of texts to Shaun saying we may not make it they reopened the line – we ran from Barbican to St Paul’s which was challenging as we also had my robes, heels etc! I was shown down o the Crypt and the Parish Clerks’ Master and Clerk helped me with my gown and chain until Shaun spotted me! Over seventy companies were represented and it was very special to process in with Peter W and Shaun. The choir were in fine voice and we enjoyed a very special service.

Painter-Stainers’ 27th Annual Art Exhibition

4th October 2016

This was a very enjoyable evening and once again I wished I had some artistic talent! There was a large selection of paintings, which varied from watercolour landscapes to heavy oils, portraits and two very different sculptors had their work on display.

Dinner at Stationers’ Hall with The Makers of Playing Cards

3rd October 2016

I thought I had improved my knowledge of London but turning the wrong way out of Mansion House tube (following the sign for the Central Magistrates Court not the Central Criminal Court!) and finding myself almost at Bank Underground was not the best way to begin the evening as I was a bit hot and slightly stressed on arrival! However, I was met by a charming Past Master who introduced me to other Liverymen and guests. I found myself on the Top Table sitting next to Alderman (no longer Sheriff) Charles Bowman and the Master Air Pilot who were both great company.

Lunch at the Old Bailey with Alderman and Sheriff Peter Estlin

3rd October 2016

I was delighted to be invited to new Sheriff Peter Estlin’s first lunch at the Old Bailey. There were three other guests from the business world. Having only been elected the previous week we enjoyed bubbles in the Sheriff’s private apartment, which already looked homely with pictures and invitations on display. We were joined by Alderman Alison Gowman and later by Judge Peter Rook QC who has written a number of plays which are staged in Court One. We joined the judges for lunch – the format is very sensible with a simple two course meal (no alcohol) which allows the judges time to return to court for 2pm.

September 2016

Election of the Lord Mayor

29th September 2016

This was a long day but one of the main events of a Master’s year. I began by joining fellow Masters for breakfast in the Members Dining Room at Guildhall – an early but wonderful start to the day. We then went down to the crypt and Shaun helped me with my robes and chain. Trying to put the Masters in the right order for processing takes a fair while with lots of loud chatter drowning out the instructions! We processed across to St Lawrence Jury for the ‘Divine Service’ prior to the election. From there we processed back into Guildhall and then into the main hall for the election. I was lucky to be sitting fairly near the middle and had a great view of proceedings. This important event is one not to be missed by Liverymen and thinking back to the origins of how many years it has been taking place was humbling. 

After the Election we enjoyed lunch at Stationers’ Hall who coped with everyone arriving later than expected. There is a tradition of every livery company being ‘roll called’ and a big cheer goes up from every company present, which is very entertaining! 

From lunch three of us walked back to Guildhall for our Social Committee meeting at which plans were made for our next social events. It’s exciting planning ‘what to do’ next year and we have a great committee organising outings for us.

Lecture at Royal Aeronautical Society

28th September 2016

Shaun and I attended a fascinating talk on Airlander 10 – a hybrid air vehicle that offers enormous possibilities for the future in so many different ways. Defence, cargo, , ‘camera in the sky’ uses were discussed as well as the environmental benefits. We were given an excellent slide show and learnt about the construction of Airlander, why the fins are the shape they are and how environmentally friendly the model is.

Sheep Drive 2016

25th September 2016

The Framework Knitters were represented today by Upper Warden Peter White,new Liveryman Sharon Beardsworth and her daughter and mother, and me. It was rather a surreal experience and although we only 'drove our sheep' a short distance across the bridge it was a wonderful and well organised occasion. There were lots of other Masters and Liverymen present and plenty of photos were taken by tourists who were passing.

From the sheep drive I went over to the Wool Fair which was held by Monument and had my photo taken on a red double decker bus with the Master of the WC Woolmen Alderman Peter Hewitt, before looking round the various stalls who were selling a wide range of UK produced woollen products.

Sheriff's Ball at Guildhall

23rd September 2016

This was our first experience of dining at Guildhall and what an evening it was. Funds were being raised via a silent auction for the Lord Mayor's charities - JDRF who are leading the fight to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes, and the Sea Cadets. There was dancing to Chance Band who ensured a full dance floor by playing old favourites. The evening ended at midnight and Peter and I were invited by Christine and Stephen Rigden to the Bailey with some other Masters' for bubbles, which rounded the evening off perfectly!

Chartered Accountants’ Lecture in their Hall

20th September 2016

Entitled ‘Globalisation and its Discontents’, Peter and I both attended this lecture which was given by Fayezul Choudhury, CEO of the International Federation of Accountants. This was a very interesting lecture which included the increased demand for products such as the iPhone which is produced in China (137,000 every day and one a minute!) and the working conditions in the factories. The different tax regimes and different standards across the world were talked about, as well as the difficulties in holding politicians to account for public finance as opposed to private companies. After the talk and questions we enjoyed a drink with some canapés.

Masters' & Clerks' Luncheon at Farmers & Fletchers' Hall

19th September 2016

Shaun and I enjoyed a very happy lunch with fellow Masters and Clerks, and members of the Farmers Livery. One of their sponsored Nuffield scholars was the guest speaker who told us about his travels around the world talking to large and small scale developments, together with plans to develop his farm. We were very well looked after and it was lovely to see the recently refurbished hall.

Membership evening at Bangers, Wilson Street

15th September 2016

This was organised by Nick Turner and Simon Burrows and was great fun. We had a private room which was ideal and we enjoyed chatting to Liverymen. We hope that more people will attend in November together with some prospective Liverymen as this is an inexpensive way to meet and chat informally. Great location very close to Moorgate tube.

Livery Halls Walk

15th September 2016

This was a horribly early start with the alarm going at 05.30am! Peter White and I took part in the 11th Annual Livery Halls Walk, which began on HQS Wellington at 8am. Thunderstorms had been forecast but we were very lucky to stay dry although it was hot and walking in our robes was a bit of an effort when we stood in the sun! We had our photograph taken outside all 40 Halls and we had the opportunity to look inside a few of the Halls and enjoyed lunch in Armourers Hall. By the end of the day (when we had a glass of bubbles in the grounds of Southwark Cathedral next to Glaziers Hall) we had walked 8.4 miles - a much greater distance than I had thought as we were within the City. It was exhausting but a wonderful opportunity to chat to other Masters, Wardens and Clerks.

Tasting at Mansion House

14th September 2016

Shaun and I met at Mansion House to taste the menu for our October Banquet. We tried two starters, mains and desserts plus two red and white wines. It's well worth doing as not only do you taste the dishes but you see the presentation and colour, which is so important, and I hope we've chosen a menu that everyone will enjoy.

Leicester weekend

9th - 11th September 2016

This weekend is one of the highlights of our year. The weekend began with a golf competition at The Leicestershire Golf Club with 28 golfers taking part. We were lucky to enjoy a dry day although the wind was strong and made some holes rather tricky. Adrian Keene had organised a super day and 50 diners sat down to enjoy an evening meal together.

On Saturday a number of Liverymen and guests enjoyed a fascinating tour of the Richard III exhibition at Leicester Cathedral, followed by lunch. I attended the Ceremony of the Socks at Wigston Framework Knitters Museum. It was sadly wet which meant we were all indoors but the peppercorn rent of a framed knitted pair of socks was presented to the Mayor of Oadby and Wigston, and we looked round the Museum, which is fascinating and well worth a visit.

Members of the Court met in Corah Hall, Oadby for our Court Meeting, and we then went to The Grand Hotel, Leicester for our September dinner. We were delighted to be joined by residents from our Cottage Homes and the traininig officer for the LDY Yeomanry. Chris Ouvry-Johns, Director of Music at Leicester Cathedral and Emma Trounson entertained us with three well known songs, and prior to that we were treated to a Flanders and Swann rendition by our Clerk, who has a very fine voice.

On Sunday a number of Past Masters, Past Masters Emeritus and Court Members processed into St Peter and St Paul Church in Oadby for our annual service and a number of our Cottage Homes residents also attended. The Very Rev’d Dr Derek Hole led our service and gave a very thoughtful sermon. Our weekend together concluded with a barbecue at the Cottage Homes and I was fortunate to see the renovation and extension of one of the cottages.

On display in the grounds was our milk float which is being prepared for our entry to the Lord Mayor’s Show – some work still to do but quite a transformation thus far! Two months to go until the big day!

Annual Fuellers’ Energy Lecture

6th September 2016

The lecture was held at the impressive offices of King & Wood Mallesons, which overlooked The Thames. Steve Holliday, until recently the Chief Executive of National Grid was the guest speaker and was very interesting both in what he said and also taking questions after his talk. He highlighted the growing problem with the lack of engineers, and the increase in the production of energy through wind farms both off-shore and on-shore. One interesting fact is the disappearance of het ‘spike’ in energy demand at half time in a match or after a popular show, which is largely due to the number who now stream programmes rather than watch them ‘live’. A very interesting talk.

August 2016

Visit to the Solva Woollen Mill

21st August 2016

Whilst Peter and I were on holiday in Wales we visited the Solva Woollen Mill, which has been on this site since 1907. Co-incidentally we saw the machine which had been used to make a rug which we have at home. Anna showed us round the Mill and we spied a sock knitting machine that had come from Bentleys in Leicester. They hope to have the machine working in due course and powered by the water wheel that was restored in 2007 and is working on this site. It was lovely to see these crafts and we also saw an old machine which Tom is in the process of overhauling in the hope that they will be able to weave bed covers as well as rugs. A fascinating trip - we also visited Melin Tregwynt, which dates back to the 17th century and is where they produce blankets, bags and cushions - there is an excellent set of display boards and information, not to mention both places had well stocked shops!

ACF Cadet View Day

17th August 2016

Peter and I travelled to Sennybridge in Brecon to attend the Army Cadet Force view day. Wales is notoriously damp but this was a very hot day, which resulted in the cadets being sprayed with water on the back of their necks to keep them cool while they were on the parade ground. There were almost 500 cadets from the Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland divisions and their stay was for a week. I was honoured to inspect one line of the Leicestershire division with cadets ranging in age from 12 to almost 18. After the inspection we had lunch and then went to various sections to learn about handling weapons starting with air rifles. There were generally three cadets talking to us and it's wonderful to see what they are learning while they are there. The first aid talk was fascinating, if a little gory for me! We also saw cadets camouflaged and hiding a distance away and learned about survival in the field. At the end of the afternoon we saw some great team building with the climbing tower, which looked terrifying. It was explained to us that the instructors can encourage most cadets to take part by trusting their fellow cadets and although a challenging week they were obviously having great fun and great success.

Meeting about the Lord Mayor's Show

15th August 2016

Jonathan Pears, Peter Corah and I met at a service station on the M1 to discuss our entry for the Lord Mayor's Show. The float is coming on well and we are seeking sponsors to support our entry. A number of Liverymen will be able to walk behind the float and we have ordered tickets for the Grandstand. It's a fabulous day and we are busy making plans to ensure a lot of fun for everyone.

July 2016

Distillers’ Spirit Tasting at Vintners’ Hall

27th July 2016

Shaun and I attended the Distillers’ Spirit Tasting despite my not being keen on spirits. I had been assured this was an event ‘not to miss’ and this was good advice! We began upstairs with a choice of gin in our G&T and it was interesting to see them include black peppercorns as well as ice and lemon. There was, not surprisingly, a wonderful buzz at Vintners’ with a wide variety of spirits to choose from. I declined the whisky and brandy but had a sip of a number of liqueurs – some definitely better than others with one particularly potent ginger liqueur! Despite my intention to head straight home 12 of us went to a steak and chips restaurant, which was huge fun. This is all they serve – no choice available. It was a wonderful way to end the busy period and begin the summer break.

Champagne & Canapes at The Old Bailey

22nd July 2016

This event was organised by Sheriff Dr Christine Rigden and was held in the fabulous setting of The Great Hall at The Old Bailey. Christine is an ‘Officier’ of the ‘Confrerie du Sabre d’Or’ (who welcome new members) and organised this event, with a donation being made to the Sheriffs and Recorders Fund. Pink champagne flowed as the majority of those present all became a ‘Sabreur’ having taken the top off a bottle of champagne with a sword. It was huge fun – from there a group of us (including Stephen and Christine) enjoyed a meal at the Burger and Lobster opposite the Bailey.

City Church Walk

20th July 2016

Upper Warden, Peter White and I took part in the church walk which was organised by the Plumbers Company and began with bacon rolls at 9.30am in the Crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral. There were two groups and over the day, which ended just before 5pm, we visited eleven churches. All bar one church were Wren designed and were so different in terms of the design of the steeples and inside. It was a truly fascinating day (slightly too warm to be walking for too long but thankfully the churches were cool inside), and as well as learning a great deal about the churches we enjoyed wonderful fellowship with other Masters/Consorts, Clerks and Wardens.

19th July 2016

19th July 2016

Sadly, Peter was abroad but I attended a fabulous small dinner party in the Judges Dining Room at the Old Bailey as a guest of Sheriff Christine Rigden and her husband Stephen. We began with bubbles and I accepted the opportunity to ‘sabrage’ a bottle of bubbles, which was slightly terrifying as this involves knocking the top off with a sword, and on the second attempt the cork flew out, and the bubbles followed into glasses! The menu and wines were excellent and nine of us enjoyed a very special evening.

The Grand Hotel, Leicester

19th July 2016

Shaun, Mary and I met at The Grand Hotel in Leicester to taste a few possible dishes and wines for our meal in September. Negotiating the roadworks to find the car park was challenging but we achieved it on time – just! It was fun sampling three starters, two main courses and two desserts and we hope we have chosen a menu that everyone will enjoy.

Parish Clerks Installation Service at St Vedast Foster Lane followed by the Installation Court Dinner at Goldsmiths’ Hall

13th July 2016

I was delighted to be invited to attend the service and dinner for the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks. The service was lovely with excellent singing by the choir. We had a short walk to Goldsmiths’ Hall and I was very well looked after throughout the evening and was more than surprised to find myself on Top Table as one of the principle guests. Many Liverymen will have dined at Goldsmiths when PM Graham Smith was Master – the candles were lit and the hall looked magnificent with the gold on display. The seating plan is somewhat confusing as the Parish Clerks are all known by their Parish name such as St John Zachary. One toast was very unusual as one Clerk stands up and toasts another Clerk, addressing him by his Parish name. He in turn then stands and by the end the Clerks are all upstanding toasting each other - somewhat raucous but good fun and great fellowship! Another difference is that the toast is Church and Queen rather than just The Queen. The guest speaker was Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum and he was very entertaining. We had plenty of time for a stirrup cup and enjoyed a wonderful and very special evening.

Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund AGM at Central Criminal Court

11th July 2016

We sat in Court Room 1 in the docks for the AGM. Whilst much was ‘routine’ we listened to an excellent address by a beneficiary of the Airborne Initiative, which provides five day courses on Dartmoor as an alternative to custody for young offenders aged 18 plus. They work with three Young Offenders’ Units and the Police and Probation Service – for more information click here. The guest speaker was Mr Peter Clarke, who is Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons and he spoke about the need to upgrade prisons. We then had drinks in the Judges’ Dining Room.

Tour of the House of Lords followed by lunch in the Cholmondeley Room

6th July 2016

We organised this event for Masters of other Livery companies and their Mistresses/Consorts. It proved to be very popular with a waiting list as we had to cap the numbers. Three guides showed our groups round the Houses of Parliament and we then enjoyed drinks on the terrace overlooking the Thames.

We were so lucky that it was a lovely sunny day (rather warm in the Cholmondeley Room but after the lack of summer thus far we were not complaining!). Thankfully we had opted for a light summer lunch and there was a wonderful atmosphere in the room. The majority then went into the Chamber to listen to Questions – a busy but super visit and thanks to my mother for acting as our host and facilitating the event.

Service of Thanksgiving for the work of the Lord Mayor

5th July 2016

The service was held in St Stephen Church, Walbrook. Although the Lord Mayor has four months remaining in office his diary is such that the service was held somewhat earlier than anticipated! The church choir were in fine voice singing the Te Deum, and the Investiture of the Lord Mayor as an Honorary Warden was led by Revd. Oliver Ross, Area Dean of the City of London.

Visit to the Royal Hospital Chelsea

2nd July 2016

Tours are not normally offered on a Saturday but having asked well in advance they kindly said that they would organise a tour for us.

We were shown round by a Chelsea Pensioner who was extremely knowledgeable as well as very funny. We saw the size of past accommodation and then a video of the current, more modern accommodation before going into the refectory and chapel, and we stood inside the quadrangle and learnt about the different parts of the buildings. It is the most fantastic place and is home to over 200 residents, including ladies. Our guide clearly loved living there and you can see why – there are lots of activities as well as attending functions on behalf of the Chelsea Pensioners. After our tour we enjoyed lunch at Cote Brasserie near Sloane Square – thankfully close by and great value.

Court Meeting and Dinner at Skinners’ Hall

1st July 2016

We met for a sandwich lunch and chatted to those who were being admitted as new Freemen/Liverymen. Chairing your first Court Meeting is always rather nerve wracking but all went smoothly and thankfully we were not rushed before changing for dinner. The overcast weather resulted in us deciding not to have drinks on the rooftop garden, which was a shame, but we used the outside patio area downstairs when the sun came out. Our speakers, FWK bursary award winner and Freeman Caitlin Charles-Jones, and Prof The Lord McColl of Dulwich were brilliant. Caitlin spoke about life after the RCA and launching her own fashion label, and Lord McColl spoke about his work since 1998 with Mercy Ships, where he spent up to three months a year performing surgery, and his work in the House of Lords. We were entertained by 12 singers from the London Youth Choir, which was founded in 2012 and now has 200 members ranging from age 7-21.

This was a first for us and my fear of ‘dirgy church music’ was unfounded and they were brilliant! Our Beadle kept us in check with our timing and we had time to enjoy a stirrup cup together.

June 2016

Jailed and Bailed in aid of the British Red Cross

29th June 2016

I had been told by PM Linda Smith that this was a wonderful event to attend and she was right. It was a slightly surreal day which began at Mansion House in the Ballroom. Dressed in our robes and badges, we entered the Ballroom (a room I had not been in before) to be addressed as ‘felons’ and each accused by Sheriff Charles Bowman of various heinous crimes! We were then transported to the Tower of London to be ‘locked up’ and as there was a heavy chance of rain which risked our Livery robes we were bundled into taxis and were met by the Beefeaters berating us for being terrible villains, at which point all of the tourists descended on us to take photos!

We were ‘marched’ to the Regimental HQ’s of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (a lovely room) where we were fed and water, alias champagne and venison pie! Each Master was then called out and finger printed before being photographed with the Beefeaters.

Many thanks to everyone who sponsored my release and I’m delighted to be out on bail and hope to chair our Court Meeting on Friday and attend the dinner.

Election of the Sheriffs, and lots more!!

24th June 2016

This was the ‘day of days’ for engagements but all great fun. Shaun (our Clerk) and I began the day by attending the Chester Boyd City Livery Breakfast at 8.30am at Goldsmiths’ Hall – the ‘gold’ was on display looking resplendent and we enjoyed the opportunity to chat to other Masters and Clerks. From there we walked to Guildhall Yard (low comfy walking shoes essential for this part!) and had a short time catching up on the seating plan for next week before heading into the Crypt where Shaun helped me with my robes, chain and badge ready for processing in at the Election of the Sheriffs.

Election of the Sheriffs - this ancient tradition is one of the main events of the City’s year and it was a privilege to take part. The Masters lined up in reverse order of precedence before processing in and we sat near the front where we had a far better view of proceedings than usual. This year the City has chosen two Aldermanic Sheriffs rather than one Aldermanic and one non-Aldermanic Sheriff, and in September William Russell and Peter Estlin will be installed. With my comfy shoes back on, 12 of the FWK party who had attended the ceremony walked to Stationers’ Hall and enjoyed drinks in the garden before lunch. The two Sheriff-Elects visited eight Halls before lunch to chat to Liverymen, which was some feat!

Flag raising ceremony – we walked back to Guildhall for the flag raising ceremony at which the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs were present plus Aldermen, Masters and Liverymen as well as school children whom the Lady Mayoress, Sheriffs and Consorts took time to chat to while the Lord Mayor inspected the military present. Veterans and cadets were on parade and the Band of the Grenadier Guards played. The Lord Mayor and Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff both gave a short speech.

After the ceremony we held our social committee meeting in the Court of Aldermen and thankfully as it was June the room was warmer than it is in winter! Plans are under way for future events following the Livery dinners, and for a stand-alone function.

Bakers’ dinner and play – to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London The Bakers’ Company commissioned a play to be written which was entitled ‘An Evening with Samuel Pepys’. The play was performed by four actors and it was a brilliant format with scenes performed both before the meal began and in-between courses. The Framework Knitters were mentioned twice in the play which was a bonus!

Carpenters’ Company tour of their Building Crafts College

21st June 2016

Despite serious delays on the tube which resulted in a slightly late arrival this was a fascinating trip. We were addressed by the Principal of the College, Len Conway, and our group was then shown around by the Bursar. We toured the woodwork studios which included intricate skills, and then went into the construction ‘warehouse’ where students worked in pairs to construct a room. From there we looked round the stonemasonry studio and saw an ‘eagle’ in the early stages of production, which is anticipated to take over a month to produce. The students ranged from 14/15 in age to some who were embarking on a ‘second career’ in woodwork.

Chartered Surveyors Midsummer Banquet

20th June 2016

After a morning of torrential rain, the sun came out and we were able to enjoy drinks in the garden of Haberdashers’ Hall. I was a guest of the Master, Lady Davies, and all visiting Masters found themselves on ‘top table’. We were met on arrival and those charged with looking after us had done their homework and our websites had been studied! The Company were presented with their Illuminated Royal Charter by Major William Hunt TD, Windsor Herald of Arms, and Aldermanic Sheriff Charles Bowman was the principal speaker. We enjoyed some wonderful singing by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama – a super evening.

Master’s Tea Party for the Cottage Homes Residents

17th June 2016

It was very special to welcome the residents, Helen and Karl to my Mother’s home for our tea party, as well as a large number of the Cottage Homes Committee. After a very grey start to the day we were very lucky that it stayed dry and we had the opportunity to wander round the garden both before and after a delicious tea, catered for us by Emerson and West. There was a croquet challenge, which I lost, and then a very happy singalong with favourite tunes and a couple of encores! Great fun!

Drapers’ Court Lunch

16th June 2016

A fabulous event in a wonderful Hall (having chosen Drapers’ for my Installation I am biased and still love it!). The lunch was held to thank those companies who have offered hospitality to Drapers’ over the past year and Shaun and I were both present. We were welcomed by PM’s before meeting other Masters and Clerks and then enjoyed an excellent with some quality wines.

Fashion Show at the Old Bailey in aid of the Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund and Blue Sky

15th June 2016

This was a unique event and slightly surreal to sit in the Grand Hall of the Old Bailey and watch models sashay down the catwalk. The outfits had been designed by Sue Bonham and made by inmates at HMP/YOI Bronzefield in the Stitch in Time Workshop – a Blue Sky project that works to re-habilitate offenders through employment.

Horners’ Trophy golf competition at Ashridge Golf Club

15th June 2016

The Framework Knitters’ were represented by PM George Turner, Assistant Ian Grundy, Liveryman Martin Madden and myself (we also fielded a team in the Rotary competition in Leicestershire on the same day). Whilst not exactly challenging the winners (the Fruiterers’) we enjoyed a lovely course and great friendship. We will endeavour to improve our position next year!

Fairtrade wine, cheese and chocolate tasting at Old Bailey

13th June 2016

This evening was organised by JustShare, a coalition of charities and churches based at St Mary-le-Bow Church. The FWK were very well represented with four Court members present. The event was held in the Judges Dining Room at Old Bailey and we were joined at our table by Sheriff Charles and Mrs Samantha Bowman. Sarah Jane Evans, a BBC Good Food writer and Master of Wine hosted the evening and we tasted five wines, three cheeses and four types of chocolate that ranged from chocolate, raspberry and lemon to Bacon Bits - the latter was not popular and to me it tasted of mouldy, smelly trainers! The City of London intends to promote Fairtrade products where possible and the consensus was that a number of the wines, which are all available to buy in the UK, would be well received at Livery functions.

Ironbridge weekend

10th -12th June 2016

This is the key weekend that all Masters and Consorts have in their diaries well in advance. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet and chat to as many different people as possible. The weekend is held at the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution at Ironbridge in Telford, Shropshire. 

Buses transport everyone for the whole weekend and as this is the 33rd weekend it is a well-oiled machine. Two black tie dinners are held and Saturday is spent touring four museums around the Ironbridge Gorge – we looked round the former Victorian tile museum at Jackfield, walked across the Iron Bridge, wandered round the Bilsts Hill Victorian Town and visited the Coalport China Museum. Some of us also visited the Darby Houses and had an exclusive viewing of period costumes. It is a fabulous few days and if anyone is in the vicinity of Ironbridge we highly recommend a visit.

Livery Education Conference

9th June 2016

An early start for an 8.15am registration at Staple Inn Hall. The aim of the conference was to develop the partnership between Livery Companies and schools with an emphasis on how Livery Companies can help schools prepare students for the workforce. There were a number of speakers including the Lord Mayor, Sheriff Charles Bowman, and a Headmistress, and we broke into groups for discussion.

Members’ Dinner with The Worshipful Company of Barbers

7th June 2016

I was delighted to be invited to dine at Barber-Surgeons’ Hall by The Master. This was a first visit for me and it’s a lovely Hall with some wonderful treasures including a 1541 Holbein painting of ‘King Henry VIII and the Barber-Surgeons’, and an impressive collection of silver which dates from the 16th Century. After our meal a Rosewater Bowl was passed round and the purpose of this is to ‘aid digestion and refresh those present’. We placed the corner of our napkin in the bowl and then dabbed the napkin behind our ears and on our wrists. The scent of the roses was wonderful and very refreshing! A fabulous evening with great hosts who ‘scooped me up’ on arrival and were extremely attentive throughout the evening.

Lord Mayor’s Show discussions at Guildhall

7th June 2016

I popped in to Guildhall to discuss our entry for the Lord Mayor’s Show in November. There were people there to talk about the magazine (encouraging us to place an ad amongst general information!), Health and Safety, the website and social media (help needed with this!) and the main organisers. It was very useful and I hope that we will have a fun entry with lots of Liverymen taking part or watching from the Grandstand.

Private View at the London College of Fashion

6th June 2016

A totally different experience – the private view had a wonderful collection of footwear, plus live photography and illustration and a bit of clothing as well. The Master Currier and I were not initially sporting a ‘gold wristband’ that entitled us to attend the catwalk show but someone kindly ‘swept us up’ and we were in with fashion editors, retail buyers and the press watching the show, waiting to spot the best talent. The atmosphere was electric with extremely loud music and some amazing designs. I did not see our bursary award winner but it was fun to be there – badges not needed and trendy gear was the order of the day!

Lecture at Guildhall by Sir Hew Strachan titled “The redefinition of Battle: Verdun and the Somme”

1st June 2016

This lecture was held to mark the opening of the “Fields of Battle – Lands of Peace” Exhibition in Guildhall Yard. Hew Strachan spoke about the different strategies at the Somme, the length of the battle and the enormous loss of life, which was estimated at almost two million people. I highly recommend the exhibition – it is free to view and is on during June. The photography (by Michael St Maur Sheil) is very moving and portrays what was the fields of battle as the lands of peace.

May 2016

Veteran’s Aid reception at Trinity House

26th May 2016

A drinks reception was held at Trinity House which is opposite to the Tower of London. It’s a stunning building with fabulous portraits on the walls. We heard speeches from the Chairman of Trustees and Chief Executive of Veteran’s Aid which was established 84 years ago and cares for veterans as well as offering advice around the world. They react immediately to phone calls, which are often in an emergency, and find temporary accommodation across the country, as well as running a hostel in East London.

Social Committee outing to the Royal College of Art and V&A Museum

25th May 2016

16 of us were met by Sarah Dallas, Senior Lecturer at the RCA, for a tour of her studios. It was wonderful to see some new faces on a trip that was totally different to our normal Saturday visits, and the RCA was chosen to enable Liverymen to understand more about our bursary awards and see ‘creativity at its best’! Whilst at the RCA we were shown round the fashion and textile studios and a real bonus was meeting three of our bursary award winners who were happy to talk to us and show us their designs. We were also shown into the dye room and then had a look in the yarn room and at some of the knitting machines that are used. We enjoyed lunch in the RCA and then walked to the V&A – our guide showed us a wonderful selection of woven, embroidered and knitted garments ‘through the ages’ including some stockings! There is so much to see that another visit is needed to but it was fascinating to see the development of the designs and intricacies of the work, as well as a very old knitting needle!

Garden Party, Buckingham Palace

24th May 2016

What can I say? We began by joining a few other Masters and consorts at a nearby hotel which was a lovely start to a fabulous day. The weather stayed dry and it was slightly surreal standing in the grounds at 4pm as the Queen came out and the National Anthem was played. Our daughter came with us and we enjoyed a memorable day, even finding ourselves at the front of the line that William and Kate came down – not that we spoke to them but it was a wonderful experience. Wearing my badge helped as an introduction to other Masters and those who were curious about what the badge represented. The gardens and lake are stunning and so peaceful to wander round – 40 acres of tranquillity, with the exception of the 8,000 or so of us who were present!

Milo lecture organised by the WC Architects

23rd May 2016

The annual Milo Lecture entitled ‘The Leadenhall Building’, alias The Cheesegrater, was by three speakers from British Land, the architects who designed the building, and the head of design at the Corporation of London. It was fascinating to see how the project began, especially with all of the constraints that are involved. The main constraint centres around ‘view points’ and in particular St Paul’s Cathedral as there must be a clear view of St Paul’s from key areas such as Fleet Street. The future development of new towers was discussed and the desire to keep the current ‘cluster’ of towers together in a block rather than spread out too widely.

Frezenberg Service and lunch

22nd May 2016

As part of our affiliation with the LDY Yeomanry Peter and I attended a very moving service in Newtown Linford Church to mark the anniversary of the Frezenberg Battle. After the service we went to Bradgate Park and walked up to the memorial – the squadron and cadets were present and there was a lance guard round the memorial. After the services we had a super lunch at Welbeck College with members of the squadron and cadets.

36-hole Prince Arthur Cup Inter-Livery golf

19th May 2016

Held at Walton Heath Golf Club near Epsom, Surrey. The format is a very tough foursomes ‘bogey’ competition and the club has two challenging courses. Hugh Stevenson was our team captain and Tony Jarvis, Adrian Keene and I were the other members. We were first off at 7.45am which was far too early but over the course of the day, which thankfully was dry, we scored respectably (Tony and Adrian in particular) and hopefully we will have played sufficiently well to be invited back again next year. 51 Livery companies took part – a super day but the M25 traffic was rather challenging on the way home!

Private viewing of The Crown Jewels in The Tower of London, followed by a drinks reception in The Queen’s House

16th May 2016

The viewing was in aid of the Army Widow’s Association and was hosted by General the Lord and Lady Dannatt. Fifty of us attended and to see the Crown Jewels so close up without lots of other people around was a real bonus. Lady Dannatt explained a bit of the building’s history, and we were then shown around, including the room and tower where Guy Fawkes and Saint Thomas More were held, before going onto the roof top and enjoying a fabulous view of the City. The Queen’s House is one of the only houses to survive the 1666 Great Fire of London, which is probably due to the surrounding moat. We met a number of the Army Widows who chatted to us about their experience and how the charity had helped them.

British Red Cross collection on London Bridge

13th May 2016

Dressed in our Livery robes I was joined in the lunchtime session by the Master Educator and Master Water Conservator plus Wardens from the Educators and Basketmakers to collect money for the British Red Cross. We walked from Guildhall to London Bridge where the Master Water Conservator and I stood for two hours hoping for some generous donations (or any donations!). We received a few queries about our robes and a lot of stares from those passing by. Upper Warden Peter White took part in the evening collection – thankfully it was a dry day and hopefully they will have raised a good sum.

Royal Choral Society reception and concert to mark the 80th birthday of HRH The Duke of Kent

12th May 2016

Our Clerk, Shaun Mackaness has sung with the Royal Choral Society for over 20 years and was instrumental in the invitation being extended to Livery companies. Held at Westminster Central Hall the singing was fabulous and ended with a rousing performance of Hallelujah from Handel’s Messiah and everyone singing Jerusalem.

Bart’s View Day

11th May 2016

Masters are invited to attend a service in the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great which dates back to 1123 and has been in continuous use as a place of worship since at least 1143. View Day was historically an inspection of the hospital instituted by new governors in 1551 and is held annually to enable guests to find out more about the work of the Trust and the Charity and their plans for the future.

Festival of the Sons and Friends of the Clergy

10th May 2016

This was the 362nd time this service has been held and I found it very moving thinking of those who have attended over the years. Master’s process in and the service was led by wonderful singing by the choirs of St Pauls’, Birmingham and St Edmundsbury. The Archbishop of Canterbury gave the address.

Master’s ‘Woburn Weekend’

May 2016

The Woburn Hotel was our base for the weekend and they looked after us very well with private dining rooms for our meals and drinks reception. This is a lovely hotel in the centre of Woburn and the staff went to enormous trouble on our behalf. The day started with a fascinating visit to the Military Intelligence Museum at Chicksands near Bedford. Our two excellent guides told us about the history and activities of the Corps, and we learnt about the importance and development of aerial photography and image analysis.

From Chicksands our coach drove us to Bletchley Park where it was a great privilege to have Past Master Rolf Noskwith and his wife Annette with us (Rolf is shown with me in the photo below). Rolf was based at Bletchley Park and played an important role in code-breaking and it was very special to look round Hut 8 with him and ask him about his time there. Our group were given a talk of the use of the Enigma machine and the number of possible answers to trying to break the codes – quite beyond our comprehension and we had a clearer understanding into how Rolf can still answer the Times cryptic crossword each day! On the coach we were very fortunate to have a Bletchley Park guide with us and he gave a wonderful insight into the history and life at Bletchley Park and the importance of the role played by those who worked there.

In the evening we enjoyed a drinks reception and meal before David Bentata spoke to us about his time in counter-intelligence and it was thanks to David that we were able to visit Chicksands.

The following morning our group drove two miles through the deer park to Woburn Abbey before having four guides to show us round the Abbey. The knowledge of the guides was phenomenal without a note to be seen. From Queen Victoria’s bedchamber to the Canaletto Room and wonderful displays of crockery, gold and silver, not forgetting the Rembrandt and so much more! 

After lunch a number went back into the house for further viewing before wandering round the extensive gardens.

This was a very special weekend – we were very lucky to enjoy two sunny days and great friendship.

April 2016

27th April 2016

An Evening with the Cathedral Choristers of Britain at St Paul’s Cathedral. One chorister from 63 cathedrals in the UK was chosen to join the choir and perform at St Paul’s as part of a fundraising concert to raise funds to enable children from all walks of life to become choristers. The evening began with a wonderful performance of Zadok the Priest and included a number of well-known and lesser known pieces, before ending with I was glad. Aled Jones and Alexander Armstrong both spoke – the singing in St Paul’s was as ‘spine-tingling’ as I have ever known.

26th April 2016

‘Bird–in-a-Biplane’ – Hosted by The Honourable Company of Air Pilots the Annual Cobham Lecture was given by Tracey Curtis-Taylor and was inspired by Amy Johnston, whom many of you will have heard about. PM Linda Smith, our Clerk and I attended the evening. The talk by Tracey was fascinating as she recounted her flight in an open cockpit bi-plane to Australia in 2015/2016. The talk was inspiring and from the short film that was shown Tracey had clearly inspired girls at school that ‘anything is possible’. She had undertaken numerous menial jobs to raise funds to follow her dream of flying and this was a very moving and well-presented lecture.

25th April 2016

AGM for Lady Masters followed by supper at Guildhall. Great to meet other Lady Masters past and present and to dine at Guildhall is always a treat! Apparently I am the 110th Lady Master and I think that my mother (Master Farmer 2013-2014) and I could be the first mother and daughter to be Masters, but I’m not 100% sure of this.

18th April 2016

Our Clerk and I attended a Reception and Concert at Milton Court, Guildhall School of Music to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the first recorded Master of the Tylers and Bricklayers Company. The quality of the music was, not surprisingly, outstanding with a wide range of music including Dvorak, Bach, West Side Story (as we had at Drapers’) and La Traviata. It is very strange being addressed as ‘Master’, and wearing the Master’s badge is a wonderful way to start a conversation. Fellow Masters and their Consorts or Clerks are extremely welcoming and we enjoyed a very happy evening.

14th April 2016

Peter Corah and I represented the Company at an evening reception at Ruddington Museum, near Nottingham. The Museum has won a number of awards and plans for expanding the Museum are well under way. Before the reception we were given a guided tour and the photographs below show a range of small and large knitting machines which dated from the mid-18th century, and colourful yarns.

We both tried our hand on the small individual sock machines and learnt how the machine set-up is altered for the toes and heels on socks. Andy is one of a small number who can work the machines and he provided a wonderful insight into the workers living and working conditions, for example the machines were situated near windows to achieve the best light for the longest period of time. Liverymen Jonathan Pears and Julian Ellis were also present and we were made extremely welcome by Chairman of Trustees Audrey Winkler and her husband Liverymen Andrew Winkler. The Museum is looking for new trustees and anyone interested should contact Audrey via the Museum.

9th April 2016

After a very special Installation Dinner at Drapers’ Hall the Social Committee organised a fascinating visit the following morning to the Museum of the Order of St John, which is near Farringdon. A full write-up of both events can be found in our Newsletter which is available to download from our home page.

8th April 2016

My Installation Dinner held at the Drapers' Hall