Friday, 30 December 2016

84. Happy New Year

Fiona and I are in Sydney to celebrate New Year. We wanted to take the opportunity to say a big thank you for all your support in 2016 and to wish you, your families and friends a very Happy New Year. We hope that 2017 will be kind to you all.

Look forward to seeing many of you at the Myddelton Lunch on 19th January at the Mansion House.

Friday, 16 December 2016

82. Candlelit Carol Service – St Mary-at-Hill Church

The Wardens, several Past Masters and I (together with our Consorts) attended the Candlelit Carol
Service at the St Mary–at-Hill Church in the City earlier this week. The service was well attended by livery companies and the Chief Commoner was there to represent the City Corporation.

The service was led by our Chaplain, the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, and we were treated to some beautiful music provided by the excellent choir. The Master Waterman & Lighterman and I delivered readings as part of the service and we all celebrated with mulled wine and mince pies at the end of the evening.

A very lovely and poignant occasion.

Photograph shows our Chaplain, the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin.

81. Christmas Court Luncheon

Members of the Court and some of their Consorts attended a lunch held in the Member’s Dining Room at the Guildhall following the Court Meeting held earlier in the day.

It was a very happy occasion (see photograph of us all sitting around the splendid dining table) and we enjoyed an excellent lunch produced by Mark Grove and his team from The Cook and The Butler.

After lunch I invited Past Master Ivor Richards to stand and tell us his traditionally delivered Christmas Lunch joke (see photograph) and this was followed by two further jokes from our Beadle, Tony Parker (see photograph)!

A thoroughly enjoyable event, which gave me the opportunity to wish the team a very Happy Christmas.

80. Christmas Court Meeting

At our Christmas Court Meeting, held in the Guildhall, earlier this week we had two special very
pleasant tasks in addition to our full agenda of business. The first was to fill the vacant role of Fleet Warden, following the recent resignation of Richard Waller – I am delighted to report that the Court unanimously agreed that Simon Catford be appointed to the role with immediate effect. We all look forward to working with Simon and will give him and Wendy every support.

The second task was to agree a suitable recognition for all the hard work of Past Master Colin Bland. Amongst other things Colin was Chairman of the Water Conservation Trust and the Past Masters Committee and produced and edited The Conservator for many, many years. The Court was unanimous in proposing that Colin be made an Honorary Liveryman of the Company and I look forward to making a presentation to him at the Myddleton Lunch on 19th January.

Photograph shows the outside of the Aldermans Court Room, where our meeting was held.

Monday, 12 December 2016

79. Candlelit Carol Service – 15th December 2016

Just to remind you all that this years Candlelit Carol Service will be held at St Mary-at-Hill Church,
Lovat Lane on Wednesday 15th December at 6.00pm. The service will be followed by mulled wine and mince pies.

Several Livery Company Masters (including me) will be taking part in the Service. It is always lovely event, and it will be led by our Chaplain, Rose Hudson-Wilkin. I hope as many of you as possible will come and join us.

The photograph shows the interior of the Church.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

78. The Worshipful Company of Cutlers – 600th Anniversary

The history of the craft of Cutlers dates back to the 12th century and in 1285 the first reference is found to a “house of the Cutlers”. On 4th December 1416 the craft received its first Royal Charter from King Henry V – the only such Charter given by Henry during his reign.

So this year the Company celebrates its Sexcentenary. Ralph Riley, our Clerk, and I were invited to join in the celebrations held on Monday 5th December – firstly at a Service of Thanksgiving in the beautiful Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great and then a reception in the Grand Hall of the Old Bailey. Both were attended by almost all Livery Masters and their Clerks – a magnificent turnout for a very important celebration.

In his address, the Chaplain said he was looking forward to seeing as many of us as possible in 2416 to celebrate 1,000 years of the Cutlers Company!

Many thanks to the Master Cutler for including us in this celebration.

Photographs show the invitation and order of service, and the magnificent domed ceiling of the Grand Hall.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

77. Lecture at City, University of London

As part of our attempts to build a closer relationship with City, University of London (and a member of the alumni), I was invited to attend the George Daniels Lecture at the university earlier this week.

The annual George Daniels Lecture celebrates the life and work of Dr. George Daniels CBE who was considered, during his lifetime by many to be the best horologist in the world and was famous for creating the co-axial escapement which has been used by Omega in their highest-grade watches since 1999. George had a close relationship with the University right up to his death in 2011.

The lecture, given by Matthew Read, looked at how the future of clockmaking is being shaped. In particular with growing awareness of the preservation of horological heritage, scientific analytical techniques are now widely employed in curatorship and conservation to reveal information that would otherwise remain hidden.

A fascinating lecture given by Matthew who teaches foundation, postgraduate and MA horology programmes at West Dean College in West Sussex.

Many thanks to the University for inviting me to attend.

Photographs shows Matthew at work in West Dean and a beautiful marine chronometer made by George in 1953.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

76. The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch 2017

Earlier this week the Lord Mayor arranged a launch party for the 2017 Big Curry Lunch. The 2017 lunch, planned for early April in the Guildhall will be the tenth such event.

The beneficiary of the lunch is ABF, the soldier’s charity. The first nine lunches have raised a total of £1.65m and the Lord Mayor has set us an ambitious target of raising £450,000 in 2017 to help ensure that over the ten years since its first event a total of £2m will have been raised.

The launch party was held at the City of London Club and was very well attended by livery company Master’s and their Clerks. Although the Lady Mayoress and Sheriff Peter Estlin were present, the Lord Mayor was on an extended overseas trip to Qatar where he is promoting the City of London. By the wonders of modern technology, he was able to speak to us all with his smiling face beamed onto a large screen!

The Worshipful Company of Water Conservators are strong supporters of this event and as well as attending the lunch, the Company has traditionally used its collection from a formal lunch to make a financial contribution to this charity that does so much to support army personnel in their hours of need.

Photograph shows the Lord Mayor “on screen” addressing us all.

Monday, 28 November 2016

75. A Trip to the Royal Albert Hall

Last week, Fiona and I were guests at the Royal Albert Hall to see a Jools Holland concert – as ever,
it was a fantastic performance by Jools and his very talented musicians and singers.

However, on our way in we met a group from the Worshipful Company of Engineers including Master Professor Isobal Pollock and Past Master John Banyard (who I spent much time with at Harvard several years ago!). There is no escape from Livery Companies when you are out and about in London!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

74. The Conservator – Lord Mayors Show Special Edition

To enable Members and other followers of our Company to see an early write up of our involvement in the Lord Mayors Show, we have produced a special edition of The Conservator.

This special edition was formatted by Court Assistant David Richards and has been loaded onto our website by our Webmaster, Sue Paterson – it looks great. It contains some background on how the Lord Mayor is elected, how we designed our float and raised funds to build and enter it, as well as what happened on the day. I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Photograph shows the front page.

73. Brewery Visit – Tuesday 13th December

My Bailiff, Dylan Barker, has organized a series of visits to breweries and the famous Tipton Pie Factory on Tuesday 13th December.

The plan is to meet at Wolverhampton Station at 10.30am and return there for 5.00pm, Full details are on our website under Forthcoming Events. The cost for the day will be £35.

We have relatively few social events outside of London, so I hope that as many of you as possible will be able to come along. Contact Dylan to add your name to the list:

Photograph shows a painting of the famous Ma Pardoes Brewery which will be one the brewery visits.

Monday, 21 November 2016

72. Long Weekend Break

Fiona and I have escaped to our property in the southwest of Spain for a long weekend break.

The weather has been beautiful and we were greeted with this beautiful sunset sky on arrival. Lucky us!

Friday, 18 November 2016

71. The Worshipful Company of Actuaries – Lecture & Supper

The Worshipful Company of Actuaries lecture and supper was held earlier this week in their beautiful Staple Hall Inn in Holborn - see photograph.

The lecture, entitled “Risk & uncertainty in finance & business – an annotated history” was given by John Kay CBE who is a distinguished economist and writer as well as a visiting professor at The London School of Economics – see photograph.

John traced the history of insurance back to its origins in the Lloyds coffee shop in London following the Great Fire of London and challenged the models of insurance risk versus “taking a gamble” right through to the modern day.

A fascinating lecture, followed by a delicious supper and a lively Q and A session.

Many thanks to Sally Bridgeland, Master Actuary, for the invitation and the hospitality.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

70. Sir Lionel Denny Lecture – Barber Surgeons Hall

Each year the Worshipful Company of Barbers deliver a lecture (The Sir Lionel Denny Lecture)  in memory of Sir Lionel who was Master of their Company in 1938 and Lord Mayor in 1965. This year the lecture, attended by Fiona and I, was entitled “Gogmagog and the Lord Mayor’s Show” and delivered by Dr Alixe Bovey who is Head of Research at the Courtauld Institute.

The lecture took us on a fascinating mythological journey tracing the origins of the famous giants Gog and Magog, who still feature strongly in and around the City of London. Large wooden carvings of these two giants feature on either side of the Guildhall and are an integral part of the Lord Mayors Show.

The Prime Warden Basketmaker was in the audience and introduced the two lady basketmakers who had made the giants for this years Lord Mayor’s Show.

Many thanks to the Master Barber for a fascinating evening.

Photographs show Dr Alixe Bovey and guests standing for the arrival of the Master Barber.

69. The New Lord Mayor’s Briefing

Earlier this week, the new Lord Mayor, Alderman Andrew Parmley, invited all livery company Masters and their Clerks to attend a briefing at the Mansion House. Ralph Riley and I attended on behalf of our Company.

At the briefing the Lord Mayor explained that he will be visiting a record 31 countries during his year with the specific intention of promoting the City of London. He also spoke of his love for music and his three appeal charities – they are The London Symphony Orchestra Discovery Programme, Music in Hospitals and St Paul’s Cathedral Foundation.

In response to a question at the end of the briefing, he amusingly explained how his diary works – he gets up in the morning, is dressed in his regalia, is fed, is put in a car to a destination and has a speech put in front of him. He claimed to be doing exactly what he is told, something his wife Wendy has failed to achieve after 40 years of marriage!

The Lord Mayor is very proud of his roots – his home town is Blackpool and he attended Blackpool Grammar School before going off to university. When we left we were all presented with a limited edition piece of Blackpool Rock!

Photographs show the new Lord Mayor in some of his regalia and a close up shot of the Blackpool Rock!

68. Meeting the Lady Mayoress

Fiona, along with several other Consorts from a wide variety of livery companies, attended the Guildhall for an informal meeting with the new Lady Mayoress, Wendy Parmley, earlier this week.

The event coincided with the printing and distribution of the latest Consorts Picture Book, which enabled everyone to recognize each other! (There is an equivalent Picture Book for Masters that has also just been updated.)

I am told that the lady Mayoress spoke about her interest in promoting businesses across the country and she gave details of the suppliers of her various outfits worn over the weekend of her husbands installation, the Lord Mayors Show and banquet in the Guiildhall.

She also explained her passion, shared with the Lord Mayor, for music and described their three appeal charities. They are The London Symphony Orchestra Discovery Programme, Music in Hospitals and St Paul’s Cathedral Foundation.

The Consorts wished the new Lady Mayoress every success in her year.

Photograph shows Fiona leaving The Mansion House on her way to meet the Lady Mayoress.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

67. Lord Mayors Show – More photographs!

In Blog No 66, I promised to post more photographs of our involvement in the Lord Mayors Show as they became available. Here are a further six, which hopefully portray some of the atmosphere and fun of the day.

The first photograph shows our float early on in the show as we approached Mansion House and we can be seen waving to the new Lord Mayor in his grandstand.

The second shows us on Ludgate Hill enthusiastically waving to the crowds with our Union Jacks in hand.

The third photograph shows us further along Ludgate Hill but with a good shot of St Paul’s Cathedral in the background.

Number four shows us in Fleet Street approaching the half way point at the Royal Courts of Justice.

The fifth photograph unkindly shows me being “drowned” by the Magic Tap during our stop for a packed lunch.

The final photograph shows the new Lord Mayor, Alderman Andrew Parmley in his coach as he returned to the Mansion House.

What a great day!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

66. Lord Mayors Show – The Big Day Arrives!

The new Lord Mayor, Alderman Andrew Parmley was duly installed at the traditional “Silent Ceremony” in the Guildhall on Friday 11th November. As you know, Andrew is an Honorary Member of our Company and in support of him we entered a float in his Lord Mayors Show (see photograph of brochure).

The day of the Show, Saturday 12th November, started very wet and overcast. Some 50 of us arrived at our float in Aldersgate, in the City, at 10.00am – some were sponsors who travelled on the front end of the float, the Wardens, Clerk and me (together with spouses) travelled at the back end of the float (in gowns and badges), whilst members and their families walked alongside the float attired in Water Conservator sweatshirts and baseball caps – all had matching blue and white umbrellas.

Despite the wet conditions (which quickly improved to a light drizzle), spirits were high and after boarding the float we set off in the direction of Mansion House (via London Wall and Princes Street) just before 11.00am. At 11.35am (exactly on-time) I was interviewed live by the BBC in Princes Street (see photograph) and that gave me a great opportunity to describe the work of our Company. We were given substantial air-time and much praise and support for our float (see photograph of our tap passing the Bank of England with our Clerk and Walbrook Warden also featured). If you missed the parade, BBC1 iplayer has recorded the whole event and we appear at about minute 50.

After waving at the new Lord Mayor in his grandstand outside the Mansion House we headed off towards St Pauls and the Royal Courts of Justice smiling and waving our union jacks all the way. Pavements were several bodies deep for most of the route and that gave me the opportunity to make some cheering children even wetter with aid of “super soaker” water pistols (see photograph)! Wherever we went our “magic tap” was seen with much awe and interest, accompanied by an awful lot of cheering. Fiona and I felt very proud to take part in the show, having been supported by so many people to produce the magnificent float (see photograph of us on board).

We stopped for a packed lunch at the halfway stage and set off again for the return trip at about 1.30pm. At Mansion House, Fiona and I had to leave the vehicle as all the Masters of the new Lord Mayors livery companies greeted him on his return with a guard of honour. A lunch in the Mansion House followed and then we set off to find a good vantage point (with red wine glass in hand) on the banks of the Thames to view the impressive firework display which started at 5.15pm.

A wonderful day in the history of our Company. Many, many thanks to all who helped organize it under the ever watchful eye of our Clerk, Ralph Riley.

I will post more photographs in coming days as they become available.

65. Lord Mayors Show – Preparing the Float

Following many months of design, construction and endless detailed organization, the final building of our float for the Lord Mayors Show was undertaken on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th November.

The low loader and two drivers were kindly provided by Kevin Clancy of ClancyDocwra, and our first task was to cut and fix artificial grass to the bed of the trailer unit (see photograph). With arrival of the tank and tap (beautifully built by Dylan Barker and his team at Precolor) they were loaded by a fork lift truck onto the trailer (see photograph featuring David Richards and Dylan Barker) and the tank filled with 500 gallons of water. After connecting the pump (kindly donated by Stuart Herritty) and fixing the Clancy Docwra diesel generator, we were ready for a successful trial run.

After fixing of the siderails, storage boxes/seating and signage we were nearly ready to go (see photograph). Once the sound system, kindly loaned by Andy Williamson had been fitted, the vehicle headed off for Central London (see photograph of tractor unit) and the excitement of the Lord Mayors Show on the following day.

Many thanks to all our sponsors (not forgetting Thames Tideway, Roger Hewitt, Barry Dennis, Ivor Richards, Ken Marsh and Peter Hall) for making this all possible. Special thanks to those who physically helped put the whole thing together under the ever watchful eye of our Clerk, Ralph Riley.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

64. The Horners Ralph Anderson Lecture

Earlier this week I was invited to attend the Horners 19th Ralph Anderson Lecture, along with several other livery company Masters.

As many of you know, the Horners Company now focuses on the plastics industry and it seemed appropriate that the lecture (funded by a generous donation from a past member, Rodney Anderson) was given by Professor Marc-Olivier Coppens from University College London (see photograph).

Professor Coppens specializes in using forms, structures  and materials from the natural world for the benefit of science. His fascinating lecture was entitled “Nature-Inspired Chemical Engineering: A NICE approach to innovation and sustainability”. The lecture was given at the prestigious Royal Society of Medicine in Wimpole Street (see photograph) with accompanying fine refreshments!

Many thanks to the Master Horner for inviting me.

63. Meetings at the Guildhall

We held our Finance, Management & General Purposes (FM & GP) Committee meeting at the Guildhall earlier this week.

On the way into reception, there is a large covered glass sided building containing the Lord Mayor’s resplendent coach (see photograph) which will be used in the Lord Mayors Show on Saturday 12th November. In reception, I met the Lord Mayor Elect (Alderman Andrew Parmley) who explained that he had been up very early that morning for a trial run in the coach to check timings, route and other key logistics.

Good to know that they are practicing – we are as well, to ensure that our magic tap float performs effortlessly in the Show!

I hope to see many of you in the crowd supporting our efforts.

Monday, 7 November 2016

62. Garden of Remembrance – St Paul’s Cathedral

As we approach Remembrance Sunday, a number of events are arranged in and around the City in memory of the fallen servicemen and women who gave their lives for our freedom.

I attended one such event on Monday where the Royal British Legion opened a Garden of Remembrance in the North Churchyard of St Paul’s Cathedral. This was a very moving service in the presence of the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress as well as the Sheriffs, where all 110 livery companies were represented.

Following the Lord Mayor, every Company laid a cross in the garden. Photographs show the service sheet & cross and the garden during the placing of the crosses.

It was an honour to represent our Company at this event.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

61. Annual Banquet

Our Annual Banquet this year was held at the prestigious Fishmongers’ Hall on Thursday 3rd November. With 100 Members and their guests present, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening orchestrated with great skill by our Clerk (Ralph Riley), Beadle (Tony Parker) and Bargemaster (Johnny Dwan). See photograph of Fiona and I before the event got underway.

The Hall was beautifully prepared by Antonella Santos (Events Manager) - see photograph of the Hall before guests arrived - we were all greeted by a welcoming party of Doggetts (see Doggetts race website for further details) organized by our Bargemaster, Johnny Dwan. (Photograph shows our Beadle on the left, Bargemaster in the centre and Clerk on the right, all flanked by two Doggetts – and very fine they look too!).

Following a traditional “line up” of the Master and three Wardens (and their Consorts) to welcome guests, we participated in social chit chat before being called for dinner. The excellent meal was prepared by Head Chef Stephen Pini and his team and was followed by the Loving Cup Ceremony. (See photograph of me, our principal guest Mark Hunter and his wife Jenny during dinner).

Throughout dinner we were treated to some excellent music from a pianist and this was followed by a musical interlude with selected songs from Flanders & Swan. The two opera singers and pianist were all from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and they did a great job.

I gave a welcome speech to our guests, who included the Clerk to the Chamberlains Court, representatives from three of our Corporate Members, our cutter rowing crew from Poplar Rowing Club and Olympic Gold Medallist rower Mark Hunter. Mark responded with a personal story of his tenacity to “win gold” and this was followed by a further speech from me, giving some anecdotes relating to my role of Master over the last few months!

Following a stirrup cup, the last of us left just after 11.00pm. A very enjoyable evening and many thanks to everyone who helped organize it.

Friday, 4 November 2016

60. “At Home” at the Mansion House

In the last week of their office, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress organized an “At Home” in the late afternoon at the Mansion House. Livery Company Master’s and their Consorts as well as staff from the Mansion House were invited to this very friendly event.

The purpose, over a glass of champagne and a piece of cake, is to say thank you to everyone who has helped the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress during their year and a number of awards are made to key staff such as chauffeurs, housekeepers, diary managers and chefs. A lovely way to end a very busy and successful year.

Photographs show the interior of the beautiful Egyptian Room and Fiona and I at the entrance to that room.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

59. United Wards’ Club of the City of London

Fiona and I were invited as guests at the United Wards’ Club Founders’ Day Dinner earlier this week (see photograph of invitations).

The Club was founded in a London pub in 1877 by Major J Wieland (and 19 other friends and colleagues) and each year the membership (and their guests) meet to celebrate this event.

The dinner was held at the Farmers & Fletchers Hall (see photograph of Fiona and I in the Livery Hall) with 120 sitting down to an excellent four course meal. The President, Barry Scrutton, welcomed the guests – Masters from five Modern Livery Companies were present with their Consorts.

Many thanks to the President for hosting us at this event.