Friday, 30 September 2016

43. Election of the Lord Mayor

On 29th September  I attended Common Hall at the Guildhall where the new Lord Mayor was elected. The day started early when breakfast was provided by caterer “The Cook and the Butler” in the 3rd floor dining room at Guildhall 08.00am. That was a friendly and very social event where many Master’s, Clerks and Senior Wardens met up to “put the world to rights”!

At 10.00am we moved down into the Crypt to get gowns, chain and badges in place (see photograph, top right) before all 110 Masters lined up (in reverse numeric order) and then formed a procession across the courtyard to St Lawrence Jewry Church (see photograph, middle right) for a Divine Service before the election took place.

At 11.30am we formed a similar procession back into Guildhall (see photograph, bottom right) where we took our places for the election process. This was a very formal affair and lasted about an hour. Alderman Andrew Parmley (who is an Honorary liveryman of our Company) emerged victorious and was duly installed as Lord Mayor Elect.

A very colourful and well orchestrated event that showed the finest traditions of the City.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

42. The Honourable Company of Air Pilots Lecture

This week Fiona and I attended the Honourable Company of Air Pilots lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. The lecture, on the subject of Airlander, was given by Chris Daniels who is the Head of Partnerships and Communications at Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd.

It was a fascinating lecture looking back at the development of airships (and the dramatic loss of R101) up to the present day and the Airlander, which is a hybrid with conventional  aircraft wings (albeit small) but a large helium filled “balloon” over 60m in length.

Future operations as a payload carrier and surveillance, both military and wildlife poacher monitoring were ably included and discussed. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Photograph shows me beneath the record of past presidents of the Royal aeronautical Society.

Monday, 26 September 2016

41. London Bridge Sheep Drive

In medieval times, sheep farmers drove their sheep across London Bridge into the City of London to sell them at market. Freemen of the City were excused the bridge toll in recognition of their status as local traders. Freemen of the City of London still have the right to drive their sheep across London Bridge free of charge and in 2013 the Worshipful Company of Woolmen arranged a “sheep drive” for Freemen to help raise funds for the Lord Mayors charities. This event was so successful, that it has been repeated each year.

Fiona (also a Freeman of the City of London) and I registered for this very popular event this year before all bookings were sold out. We were part of a group of 8 Freemen from a variety of Livery Companies and we had a start time of 1.30pm from the South side of the River Thames – see photograph of our guide from the Guild of Young Freemen.

The sheep are well cared for throughout the event – fed and watered and supervised by the RSPCA. Our pack of sheep consisted of 8 pretty docile creatures – one per Freeman. See photograph.

We set off across the bridge on the stroke of 1.30pm and without incident (other than stepping in a lot of sheep’s poo) we made it to the North side of the river. See photographs of us en route.

On arrival at the finishing post, we were presented with our signed certificates which recorded the fact that we had exercised our right to drive sheep across London Bridge!

An excellent turnout by Masters from a wide range of livery companies and great fun! Some £60,000 was raised for the Lord Mayors charities.

40. Sponsored Walk for the Water Conservation Trust

On Sunday 2nd October several of us will be walking 9 miles from the Angel in Islington to Battersea Park – a distance of some 9 miles and we will visit a number of historic water sites en route.

We will be raising money for our charity, the Water Conservation Trust. The Trust undertakes important work with inner city and special schools and in sponsoring post graduate students studying subjects relevant to our industry.

You can help by joining us or sponsoring us. Please contact Peter Hall (Treasurer of the Trust) on for further details.

39. Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners Luncheon

This week I attended a Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners luncheon at Trinity House. The lunch was in two parts – the first half was a series of presentations to award winning junior officers and cadets across all three military services. The second half was a formal celebratory lunch where I was one of two guest Masters.

It was a very grand affair in lovely surroundings and very interesting dining discussions. I met two City analysts that I have not seen for twenty years – surprisingly, they are still doing the same jobs they had in 1996!

Many thanks to the Master Environmental Cleaner for a very enjoyable event.

38. The Chartered Accountants’ Company Lecture

This week Fiona and I attended the Chartered Accountants’ Company 3rd “Fair and True” lecture at their Hall in Moorgate Place. The title of the lecture was “Globalisation and its Discontents” and was given by Fayezul Choudhury, erstwhile Vice President of the World Bank and currently CEO of the International Federation of Accountants.

Fayezul gave a fascinating insight into the shift in global business from West to East and the backlash against globalization in the Western World.

The lecture was well attended by Livery Company Masters and we had the opportunity to meet up with a number of now familiar faces.

37. Michaelmas Court & Lunch

Our Michaelmas Court and Lunch was held at the splendid Trinity House, near the Tower of London on Monday 19th September. At the Court Meeting, amongst other duties and agenda items, I had the pleasure of installing one new Freeman and six new Liverymen to our Company.

At the lunch we were well supported by Masters from the Paviors, the Environmental Cleaner’s, the Plumbers, the Constructor’s and the Hackney Carriage Drivers. My principal guest was Lord Tim Bell, erstwhile PR advisor to Baroness Margaret Thatcher. Mark Lane (Walbrook Warden) proposed the toast to the guests and Lord Bell responded, in an amusing speech full of anecdotal stories, on behalf of the guests.

A retiring collection managed by my Bailiff, Dylan Barker, raised £874 for our charity, The Water Conservation Trust.

Photographs show the “welcoming line for guests”, guests chatting before lunch and Lord Bell addressing us all.

Friday, 16 September 2016

36. Hackney Carriage Drivers Tour to Paris Disney

Each year the Hackney Carriage Drivers organize a black cab tour to Paris Disney. They take unwell or underprivileged children and their parent/carers on the trip of a lifetime.

We raised £1,000 at our Installation Dinner to sponsor one of the cabs and they set off on a wet and miserable morning on Friday 16th September. Mark Lane (Walbrook Warden) and his wife Judy represented the Company and were in Canary Wharf very early to meet the cab driver and the lucky family before they set off for a wonderful weekend. The weather forecast for the rest of the weekend was fortunately good!

Our sponsored cab was driven by Lee Holligenn. He was driving Logan, his mother Sharon and brother Philip.

Photograph shows Mark beside our sponsored cab before it set off.

35. Battle of Britain Dinner

As part of our ongoing relationship with RAF Northolt, Ralph Riley (our Clerk) and I were invited to attend a special black tie celebration dinner for the Battle Of Britain in the Officer’s Mess earlier this week.

The whole event was themed around the RAF station in the 1940’s (see photograph of menu card) with some poignant and sometimes amusing “vignette’s” from the time which were read by current serving officers. Some of the traditions of the Mess (which were a revelation to Ralph and I!) added to the fun of the evening.

A very big thank you to the Station Commander, for allowing us to participate.

34. The Livery Hall Walk

Each year a walk is arranged to visit all 40 livery halls in one day. The purpose is to raise funds for the Lord Mayor’s Charities. This year the event was organized by the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners under the watchful eye of their Clerk, Maureen.

The twenty livery company participants (selected on a first come, first served basis) included the Water Conservators and Mike Williamson (Thames Warden) and I represented the Company. The walk commenced, in full regalia, at HQS Wellington and meandered its way through the City, finishing some seven hours later at The Galziers Hall – coffee, lunch and afternoon tea breaks were provided by the Barber Surgeons, Armourers and Furniture Makers respectively. It was a very hot day and we were pleased to stand in the shade outside each Hall for official photographs!

Mike and I set up our own ViginMoneyGiving page and raised some £600 for our Company charity, The Water Conservation Trust. The site is still open if you would like to contribute.

Photograph shows us just before we set off from HQS Wellington with the list of Halls in hand!

33. A day off in the Cotswolds!

Earlier this week, on a lovely sunny day we found a few hours to visit some friends in the Cotswolds. It is only about a one hour drive from home, but a world apart – lovely honey coloured stone buildings and a very relaxed lifestyle (assuming that you manage to avoid the day visitors and the coaches!)

All very relaxing and a helpful recharge of the batteries!

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

32. Consorts’ Luncheon

The Mistress Farmer, Patsi Wheatley-Hubbard, hosted a luncheon for Consorts on 12th September at the Farmers & Fletchers’ Hall in the City.

The Farmers & Fletchers’ Hall, which has only been open for a year, is located close to Barbican underground station, is very modern but has a warm and inviting feel.

Fiona was one of 50 guests who enjoyed an excellent lunch and heard a great speech from Samantha Bowman (Sheriff’s Consort) on anecdotal stories relating to her career as a vet – it was very amusing.

See photograph of Fiona ready to leave for London.

Monday, 12 September 2016

31. Livery Halls Walk

Each year the Master and Senior Warden of twenty livery companies have the opportunity to take part in a walk across the City where all 40 livery halls are visited. The walk takes about 7 hours in total.

This year Mike Williamson (Thames Warden) and I volunteered on behalf of the Water Conservators and the event, with us fully robed, takes place on Thursday 15th September.

We are hoping to raise money to support our charity, (the Water Conservation Trust) and you can help by sponsoring us. We have set up a page on VirginMoneyGiving, and if you would like to sponsor us, details are:

In anticipation, I have even purchased a new pair of Nike trainers! – see photograph.

Thank you, in anticipation, for your support.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

30. RAF Northolt – Annual Reception

Because of longstanding links with the Water Conservators, RAF Northolt invited Fiona and I along to their Annual Reception this week. On a mild, dry but windy evening, the reception was held outside the Officer’s Mess.

Guests included local dignataries, business people, friends of the RAF and us! It was a very splendid affair with split second timing, alcohol and delicious canap├ęs. The highlight was seeing the RAF band in full flow and a great demonstration of precision marching. Just as the National Anthem was completed, and the sun was about to set, we were treated to a fly-past by a Spitfire – wonderful.

Friday, 9 September 2016

29. Potential Liaison with City University, London

As I have previously reported, I am keen to establish a link with City University for several reasons. It is where I read Civil Engineering back in the 1970’s, and given that we are a City based livery company that is keen on promoting education as part of our charitable ethos, it seems an obvious choice.

Peter Hall (representing the Water Conservation Trust) and I met this week with Dean Professor Ken Grattan (see photograph), to see if we could explore this further.

We had a fascinating tour of the laboratories where they are developing leading edge technologies around the use of fibre optics for continuous monitoring of pollutants and a wide range of other activities relevant to the water and environmental sectors.

Further discussions with the University are planned – watch this space!

28. The Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers Lecture

Each year the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers organize the Ravenscroft Lecture. This year the lecture, at the Museum of London, was closely linked to the 350th anniversary of the 1666 Great Fire of London.

Hazel Forsyth, Senior Curator at the Museum, gave a fascinating illustrated talk about their unique collection of glassware rescued after the Great Fire - often from basements not uncovered for more than 200 years. Some pieces are severely damaged, whilst other pieces are in pristine condition and have provided valuable insight into the way glass was manufactured in the City of London hundreds of years ago.

I thoroughly enjoyed the event which was well attended with over 25 livery company Masters present.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

27. Globe Theatre – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This year is the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. To help celebrate this, thirty members of our company and their guests visited The Globe Theatre to see a performance of his play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream – and what a performance it was!

Directed by Emma Rice, it was a wonderful mix of colour, language, dance, singing and a fantastic sense of energy. Well done to the whole cast and team – it was a great experience on a lovely sunny afternoon and the theatre was packed.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

26. Fuellers’ Annual Energy Lecture

Some 12 years ago Lord Ezra initiated an annual Fuellers Company Energy lecture and this year it was given by Steve Holliday, the recently retired CEO of National Grid. Steve gave an inciteful presentation of his 39 year career in the energy sector, including interface with government and the rapidly developing alternatives to carbon rich electricity generation. Chatham House rules applied, so I cannot give you more detail!

The lecture was well attended by Master’s and Wardens of livery companies and Richard Waller (Fleet Warden) and I were there. The reception and lecture was hosted by lawyers King & Wood Malleson in their splendid Thameside offices

25. Modern livery Companies Dinner

The Modern Livery Companies are defined as those that have been formed since 1926. That means Companies numbered 78 to 110 fall into this category – we are number 102.

Twice a year, March and September, a dinner is arranged to allow the Master’s and Senior Wardens of the Modern Companies to meet. This year it was the turn of the Worshipful Company of Constructors to arrange the September dinner and it was held at the Farmer & Fletcher’s Hall in the City – both Mike Williamson (Thames Warden) and I were there.

Nearly 30 Master’s attended and heard Sheriff Dr Christine Rigden remind us that we all face the same problems of recruitment, encouraging young Members and raising funds for charitable works – sounded very familiar problems to me! She advised that we share ideas, experiences and opportunities together, to help ensure the growth and success of the Modern Companies.

See photograph of an attentive audience listening to her speech.

24. The Great Fire of London – 350th Anniversary

In 1666 the mainly timber built City of London was ravaged by a now famous fire, that left 100,000 residents homeless.

Thomas Farriner's Pudding Lane bakery has been blamed for the Great Fire. A spark from his oven is thought to have started the inferno that obliterated 350 acres. From Pudding Lane off Eastcheap, it spread until just one fifth of the walled city remained. The Monument (which is well worth a climb for a spectacular City view) was built to commemorate the event, and is located near to Pudding Lane – indeed, the height of the Monument is the same as the distance to where the fire is believed to have started.

A number of celebrations to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire were held over the first weekend in September. The most spectacular was a 120m long timber model of the 1666 skyline which was ceremoniously burnt on a large barge on the River Thames. See photograph.

Friday, 2 September 2016

23. Master’s Committee Meets in London

The Master’s Committee comprises the Master, the Thames, Fleet and Walbrook Wardens and our Clerk, Ralph Riley. The purpose of the Committee is to develop a longer term strategy for the Company away from the day to day activities that inevitably take up so much time.

We met at the Guildhall in London yesterday for the first time since the summer break. Our agenda included items such as the Lord Mayors Show, future recruitment initiatives, developing relationships with other relevant organizations, equality & diversity in our Company and the potential of Royal Patronage in the future.

After this exhausting meeting, we moved to a local wine bar for refreshments (see photograph)!