Thursday, 28 July 2016

15. Time in the sun…………

We arrived at our property in Spain yesterday for a welcome break – photograph shows the view across our garden and out to sea. Clear blue skies and 32C – all very relaxing.

Fiona and I hope that you will all enjoy a break this summer – have fun!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

14. This took me all day!

An important element of the work of the livery includes our charitable activities. In our case this is focused through The Water Conservation Trust which disburses more than £60,000 each year. The largest amount goes to support a major programme of bursaries for Masters degree students attending water, environmental sciences and waste management courses. The Trust also supports a schools education programme focuse
d on projects to enhance knowledge of water and related science. In addition the Trust supports the Maidstone Sea Cadets, the Lord Mayor’s Charities and cases of hardship.

Many of our members regularly contribute to the Trust to enable this work to continue. One of my objectives for the year is to encourage more members to participate and I have just personally written to nearly 70 members asking them to contribute for the first time.

If you receive one of these letters, please read it carefully and I hope you will be persuaded to take part in this important element of the work of the livery.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

13. WET 10

The WET 10 is an informal group of Livery Companies who represent both users and suppliers of water. The aim is to promote awareness, to contribute to debate and to be an influence for good in this key area. Current members are: Plumbers, Basketmakers, Gardeners, Farmers, Guild of Air Pilots, Tobacco Pipemakers & Tobacco Blenders, Scientific Instrument Makers, Launderers, Environmental Cleaners, Constructors, Water Conservators, Firefighters and Watermen & Lightermen (13 in total – there were 10 originally!).

In recent years, WET 10 has been jointly chaired (and often sponsored) by Roger Hewitt and Barry Dennis (both Water Conservators) with secretarial/clerical  services provided by the Clerk to the Plumbers. In recent months the Clerk to the Plumbers has announced his retirement and the Plumbers have stated that they will not be able to provide secretarial/clerical support going forward. In addition Roger and Barry have indicated their intentions to stand down. In recognition of these changes Roger and Barry have attempted to call a Committee meeting of the WET 10 members but had very limited support in trying to find a way forward. Whilst there is widespread support for the idea of WET 10 amongst the livery, there is little or no willingness to play an active role.

Earlier this week I met with Roger and Barry to try and thrash out a way forward for this group. We are keen to maintain a high profile for The Water Conservators, particularly relating to the annual lecture (usually held in February) which receives good PR for our industry.

We believe we may have found a way forward and this will be discussed at our Finance, Management & General Purposes Committee (FM & GP) in early September. Watch this space!

12. City University, London

I was a student at City University from 1969-73 whilst studying for my Civil Engineering degree, and was sponsored by the Metropolitan Water Board (now part of Thames Water).

Although I have maintained contact over the years, it was with some excitement that I met with David Street, the Director of Alumni Relations, earlier this week. I have always been surprised that our company has no relationship with City University, given that we are both City of London based and they still have a strong civil engineering faculty, so my intention was to put that right!

Over a wide ranging discussion, it was clear that there is an opportunity for our charitable trust to have an involvement with postgraduate students and for me, as part of the alumni, to offer some kind of personal prize for undergraduates.

I am arranging a return visit to meet some of the relevant academic staff in September and I hope that Peter Hall will be able to join me to represent the trust.

It is difficult to believe that it's over 40 years since my graduation from City – I must be getting old!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

11. Worshipful Company of Engineers

On the hottest day of the year, with temperatures of 35C in London, I attended The Worshipful Company of Engineers Annual Awards Ceremony and Dinner – this was a black tie event held at the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons (see photograph) in Lincoln’s Inn Field and I nearly melted!

This was an impressive event with awards (ranging from £500 to £50,000) made to 17 young engineers and one company. Recipients ranged from serving officers in the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force to students developing new robotic prosthetic limbs – all very inspiring and designed to encourage new sponsors and engineering innovation in young professional engineers.

A champagne reception followed, where we had the opportunity to meet the winners. One of the most impressive was Jonathan Parkins (see photograph) who was awarded a total of £18,000 (spread over 3 years) to complete his PhD in improving production rates of 3-D printed hip implant components at Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing.

The excellent dinner, which attracted over 170 participants, was followed by the Loving Cup Ceremony. The welcome to the guests speech was given by the Master, Professor Isobel Pollock-Hulf OBE, who spoke extensively about the work of the company in promoting engineering for young people. The response and toast to the company was given by Major General Alastair Dickinson CBE (Colonel Commandant Royal Engineers).

An excellent evening with good opportunity to meet other recently installed Master’s.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

10. Mistress at Mansion House Luncheon

The Lady Mayoress entertained a handful of Mistresses and a couple of her support staff to a luncheon in her private apartment in the Mansion House today.

Fiona was among those present, thoroughly enjoyed her lunch and was then treated to a private viewing of the Lord & Lady Mayoress’s bedroom - she is sworn to secrecy on what she saw!

Monday, 18 July 2016

9. A Day Off!

On Saturday 16th July, Fiona and I we were guests at the Sebastian Coe Charitable Foundation Polo Trophy at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club.

It was a glorious sunny day and at a series of auctions, over £20,000 was raised for Lord Coe's chosen charity, Cancer Research UK.

We took maximum advantage of promoting our Company with an influential group of fellow guests. The polo was good as well!

8. Port of London Challenge

The Port of London Challenge Rowing Race takes place each July and is organised by the Thames Traditional Rowing Association (TTRA). The race runs from HQS Wellington to Chelsea Harbour Pier - a distance of 4.3 nautical miles.

On Friday 15th July nine cutter crews (consisting of six rowers, a coxswain and one passenger) set off on a windy evening at a blistering pace. Our own cutter, the Water Forget-me-not, was crewed by our all women crew (based out of Poplar Rowing Club) and the coxswain was Johnny Dwan (our Bargemaster).

Expectation from the Water Conservators spectator team on board The Salient support vessel was high, particularly given that our crew have an enviable record of success. We were not disappointed - we won the women's race and the crew were awarded the silver rose bowl again!

Thanks go to Deputy Master Peter Hall and his wife Georgina, who acted as timekeepers for the event.

Well done to everyone involved!

Monday, 11 July 2016

7. Ceremony of the Water Jug

In the Middle Ages, before any bridges across the Thames existed, movement of goods and people along the river and across the river was critical. Such movement was however unregulated, and in 1197 King Richard I (who was short of cash) sold the Crown’s rights over the Thames to the City of London Corporation for the princely sum of 1,500 Marks. This equated to approximately £1,000 and the deal was completed on 14th July - the Corporation immediately started to regulate movements on the river.

Each year the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators presents an inscribed jug of Thames water to the Lord Mayor in recognition of this deal. Earlier today in the Mansion House, I presented the current Lord Mayor with his jug of Thames water to mark the 817th anniversary of this event, together with an illuminated copy of my address. I was accompanied by Fiona (the Mistress), Richard Waller (Fleet Warden) and Ralph Riley our Clerk.

6. The Worshipful Company of Paviors

On a warm and balmy evening I attended a Court Dinner of the Worshipful Company of Paviors. The black tie event was held in the lovely Cutler’s Hall, near St Pauls Cathedral.

This was the first time I have been welcomed as a guest, and it seemed strange as we are normally welcoming our own guests at our events! Dinner was provided by The Cook and the Butler, and as always, the standard was very high.

The Principle Guest was Monty Halls, a BBC Broadcaster and inspirational speaker to young people. He gave a very amusing speech but focused on his favored charity the RNLI – he told us that on average ten lives are saved every day in waters around the UK and that is why he is a volunteer at his local lifeguard station. The RNLI is Master Ian Lumsden’s charity for his year of office.

Many thanks to the Paviors for a splendid evening.

5. City of London Freeman’s School

On a beautiful sunny day, I attended the Prize Giving at the City of London Freemen’s School in Ashstead, Surrey. The event was well supported by numerous Livery Companies and after a splendid lunch and walk through the lovely gardens we got down to business.

The prizes were awarded by Dame Fiona Woolf CBE (Lord Mayor two years ago) including our own prize for Conservation, which was won by Amy Lau.

Speeches from the Chairman of Governors, the Headmaster and Dame Fiona Woolf were followed by very personal reflections from the Head Girl and Head Boy – these were truly thought provoking and gave a great feeling of confidence in the next generation. Well done!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

4. St. Stephen’s Church, Walbrook

A Service of Thanksgiving for the work of The Lord Mayor was held at St Stephen’s Church, Walbrook on Tuesday 5th July. The church, immediately adjacent to the Mansion House, is the Lord Mayor’s parish church. The service, in the presence of the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress was very well attended by livery company Master’s and their Consorts.

During the service the Lord Mayor was invested as an Honorary Warden of the church and he was presented with a new Stave that had been designed and made by silversmith Steve Wager of Hatton Garden.

This was our first official engagement since my Installation and we proudly wore our badges of office.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

3. Company Weekend

The advantage of moving the Installation event to a Friday was that we could carry on with a series of events over the weekend. Numbers were restricted to 20 as some of the visits could only cope with that number.

Saturday was a very busy day with a 09.10 start to catch the Thames Clipper River Taxi from Greenwich to Tower Bridge, where we met a waiting coach to transport us to New River Head in Islington.

We visited the old headquarters of the Metropolitan Water Board (now luxury apartments) which is the final destination of the 40 mile long New River completed by Sir Hugh Myddleton in 1613 to bring fresh water to a rapidly growing London. Our host was Thames Waters’ CEO, Martin Baggs, who gave us a guided tour of the magnificent Oak Room to which Thames Water still have access for 20 days each year.

A brief coach journey took us on to the Royal Opera House where we enjoyed a wonderful backstage tour. The Opera House employs over 1,000 people including singers, dancers, technicians and front of house staff. One of our members, Yusaf Samuillah, gave us a superb (albeit brief) piano recital in one of the ballet rehearsal studios.

A further coach trip (complete with packed lunch) saw us return to Tower Bridge for a guided tour of the newly installed glass walkways and the very impressive boiler and engine rooms. With excellent timing the bridge opened during our tour, so we were able to see the operation in full swing!

Following a return Thames Clipper River Taxi journey to Greenwich we returned to our hotels to “smarten up” for a very enjoyable and convivial dinner at The North Pole in Greenwich. And so to bed – exhausted!

After brunch on Sunday morning, we all set off home. I have been asked to organize another similar event in the Spring – I will do my best!

2. Installation Court & Dinner

In a break with tradition, the Installation event was moved from a lunch to a dinner, the ceremony of installation was witnessed by members and their guests, the venue was moved out of the City to The Painted Hall in Greenwich and it was a “black tie” event.

The Court Meeting was held in the Admiral’s House in Greenwich and at the end of formal business, Peter Hall adjourned the meeting to enable us to process to The Undercroft, beneath the Painted Hall.

Members and guests awaited the arrival of the procession and the ceremony of installation took place, ably led by our Clerk (Ralph Riley) and the Beadle (Tony Parker).

Pre-dinner drinks in the Colonnade followed, before we processed into the magnificent Painted Hall for dinner. The Hall was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor and has been described as “the finest dining hall in Europe”. The ceiling and walls were painted by James Thornhill who spent over 18 years completing them!

After an excellent dinner (accompanied by a harpist from the Guildhall School of Music), and the Loving Cup ceremony, another break in tradition was the toast to the guests which was proposed by the Mistress, Fiona Tozzi. A very amusing response from the principle guest Richard Goddard followed and after a further response from the Master, we partook of a stirrup cup.

The collection for the event was in aid of the Children’s Magical Taxi Tour to Disneyland Paris and a magnificent £1,000 was raised.

A great occasion.

1. Water Conservators 28th Master

Peter Hall did a great job in maintaining a blog to enable Company members and other visitors to our website to keep up to speed with the activities of the Master during his year. I intend to maintain a similar blog and hope you will enjoy reading it.

For those of you who don’t know me, I have been a Freeman of the Company since 1995 and worked extensively in the water industry from 1968 until 2003, after which I established my own businesses which were listed on the London Stock Exchange. I am married to Fiona and we live in Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire.

I am keen that my year as Master should reflect our traditions but also include some new innovations which I hope will attract the attention of a wide group of our members. Fiona and I intend to build on our three key objectives of quality social events, supporting our charity and promoting technical excellence and we look forward to seeing you during the coming year.