Monday, 27 February 2017

110. Thames Tideway Scheme Visit

The Thames Tideway Scheme is enormous! It consists of a 25km long tunnel 7.2m in diameter running mostly under the tidal section of the Thames which is designed to capture, store and convey the combined raw sewage and rainwater discharges that currently flow into the river. Construction started in 2016 and the project will take seven to eight years to complete at an estimated cost £4.2 billion.

I have arranged with Phil Stride, the Strategic Projects Director, for a Worshipful Company of Water Conservators site visit on Wednesday 17th May. The two hour visit will commence at 10.00am at the Tideway East Project Office in Chambers Street, London SE16 4XL. Visitors are advised to arrive by public transport – Bermondsey underground station (Jubilee Line) is an 8 minute walk away.
This is a rare opportunity to see this very impressive project and inevitably numbers are limited. To secure your place on this free of charge visit, please contact our Clerk, Ralph Riley (

Friday, 24 February 2017

109. Gin Distillery Tour and Tasting

On Thursday 25th May at 6.00pm I have organized a visit to the City of London Gin Distillery in Bride Street, EC4. The visit will include a tour of the distillery and a tasting of their products! The City of London Distillery brought Gin distilling back to the City in 2012 after an absence of nearly 200 years.

This promises to be a fun evening but spaces are limited and you should contact our Clerk, Ralph Riley, to reserve your place early to avoid disappointment (

The cost of the tour and tasting, followed by some platters of food in the Distillery’s bar area is £30 per head. Any drinks from the bar will be an additional cost. The evening is timed to finish at 8.30pm.

I hope as many of you as possible will be able to join me.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

108. City Walk & Supper – Date for the Diary

We have been fortunate in securing the services of Murray Craig on the evening of Tuesday 11th April 2017. You are cordially invited to attend one of his famed City of London walks; enjoy a 90 minute stroll around the City in the hands of your expert guide to discover about Livery Companies, Wren Churches, Roman London, the mysteries of the Corporation of London and much more.  Murray is the 37th Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court and has a unique inside knowledge of the City and its workings.

The plan is to meet in Guildhall Yard at 6.00pm  and following the walk we will all go to the Guildhall Club for a two course supper with wine. The cost of this event is £45 per head.
Please contact our Clerk, Ralph Riley, to reserve your places on the walk and supper, via email:

Fingers crossed for good weather!

107. The Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects Lecture

Earlier this week I was one of 34 Livery Company Master’s who attended the 2017 Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects lecture. This was an impressive turnout for what was a fascinating lecture entitled “Designing London”.

The venue was City Centre in Basinghall Street – immediately adjacent to the Guildhall Art Gallery. This was my first visit to the Centre and I was truly “blown away” by the scale model of the City of London in the basement – see photograph. This model is constantly updated as new buildings are developed.

The lecture was in three parts – the first by an architect, the second by a city planner and the third by the City of London Corporation. It was fascinating – not least the understanding of protecting “sight lines”. There are three of these in the City and they relate to St Paul’s Cathedral dome, the Monument and the Tower of London. Protecting these has meant that all large new development has been clustered at the eastern end of the City close to the Gherkin Building.

A very interesting evening – many thanks to the Master Chartered Architect for the invitation.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

106. Behind the Scenes Visit to Harrods

After much negotiation the Master’s Consort, Fiona, has organized a “Behind the Scenes Visit” to Harrods in Knightsbridge on Thursday 23rd March. The visit will commence at 9.00am (before the store opens) and will be followed by breakfast in Galvin Demoiselle on the fourth floor.

This promises to be a fascinating visit for those who would like to see how the retail sector works behind the elegant fa├žade. The total cost will be £20 per head.

Places are limited. Please contact Fiona Tozzi (, mobile 07710 800015) by Wed 1st March to reserve a place.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

105. The Worshipful Company of Constructors Livery and Awards Dinner

Earlier this week, I was a guest of the Worshipful Company of Constructors at their Livery and Awards Dinner held in the beautiful Goldsmith’s Hall in the City. With 200 people present it was a very impressive occasion.

As well as the formal dinner and the loving cup ceremony, the Company made awards to outstanding students from London Universities and for bravery to serving army, navy and air force personnel based in and around London.

The principal guest and proposer of the toast to the Company was Professor David Mosey who spoke on the importance of teamwork in the construction industry.

Many thanks to Ian Mason, Master Constructor, for an excellent evening.

Photographs show the splendid Goldsmith’s Livery Hall and the menu card and invitation.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

104. Master’s Valentines Dinner

It is a Company tradition for the Master to organize a lunch or dinner to say thank you to the Wardens, Bailiff, Clerk, Beadle, Past Masters, Members of the Court and their partners for all their support during his or her year. The Master also “sponsors” the partners at this event.

This year we organized (with great assistance from our Clerk, Ralph Riley) a Valentines Dinner on Board HQS Wellington. Although only seven months into our year, Fiona and I thought it was a good idea to use Valentines Day and link it to the installation of seven Consorts as Freemen of the Company (see blog no 103). It was a fun, colourful and very sociable event. The Cook and the Butler decorated the Livery Hall beautifully with large red heart-shaped balloons, candelabra’s, colourful tablecloths and roses. The excellent dinner had a Valentines Day theme and speeches were thankfully short!

A great evening and thanks to everyone who helped organize it.

Photographs show Fiona and I before the event started, the beautifully decorated Livery Hall, table place settings, Father of the Company Roy Harris with his wife Sonya, Past Master Roger Hewitt and his wife Rosemary, and Past Master Barry Dennis and his wife Jan.

103. Consort’s Installation Ceremony

On 14th February (Valentine’s Day) immediately before the Master’s Dinner (see blog no 104) on board HQS Wellington, Company history was made!

A specially convened Court Meeting enabled me to install seven Consorts as Freemen of the Company. They were Sonya Harris, Georgina Drummond, Rosemary Hewitt, Jan Dennis, Lis Matthews, Georgina Hall and Fiona Tozzi.
The Consorts have made an enormous contribution to our Company having given tremendous support to their Master’s during their year of office and it was a great privilege to honour them in this way.

Photographs show HQS Wellington (built in 1934 as a Grimsby class warship and now the Livery Hall of the Honorable Company of Master Mariners) and the seven new Freemen proudly holding their certificates and badges.

Monday, 13 February 2017

102. Speaker at Election Court Lunch

Our Election Court Lunch will be held on Thursday 20th April at the Armourers’ Hall (81 Coleman Street, London). Our Clerk, Ralph Riley, will shortly be issuing a flyer for the event but I wanted to give you advance notice of my principal guest and speaker.

I am delighted to tell you that it will be Peter Estlin, who is Alderman for the Ward of Coleman Street and who was elected Sheriff of London for 2017/18. If elected he will become Lord Mayor in the year 2018/19. Peter has a wealth of experience in working in the City and is still a Senior Advisor to Barclays Bank.

Peter will be a great speaker and I hope as many of you as possible will attend the Election Court Lunch to hear him.

Photograph shows Peter in some of his Sheriff’s regalia.

101. WET 10 Debate – 21st March 2017

The WET 10 forum consists of an informal group of livery companies who have a link with water – the group includes the Water Conservators, Plumbers, Launderers and Environmental Cleaners (in fact now 13 companies in total!)

The Water Conservators have always taken a leading role in this forum and this year have organized a debate entitled “THIS HOUSE believes that the water utility of 2030 will have to be unrecognizable from the water utility of today to survive”. The debate, with key players from the water industry acting and proposers and opposers, will take place on 21st March 2017 in the Guildhall Members Club (3rd floor of the Guildhall building in Aldermanbury) commencing with tea and coffee served at 5.30pm.

The event is free but you will need to register with Ralph Riley, our Clerk, if you would like to attend – there are limited places left.

Some of the post-graduate students supported by our charity, The Water Conservation Trust, will be participating in a poster exhibition at this event.

Our Walbrook Warden, Mark Lane (ably supported by Fleet Warden Simon Catford and our Clerk, Ralph Riley), has put much effort into organizing this debate, which has generated much interest. I hope you will be able to join us for a good evening.

Photographs show Martin Shouler of Arup who will be supporting the proposition and Peter Simpson of Anglian Water who will be opposing it.

100. Weekend in Vienna

A weekend in Vienna in February to celebrate Fiona's birthday could have been at risk of delayed flights and heavy snowfall, but we were lucky. Cold (-2C to +2C), no snow and glimpses of sunshine in a blue sky all made for a memorable occasion.

Together with some planned sightseeing we also had tickets for a spectacular performance of Verdi's "Otello" at the State Opera House.

A beautiful City, which must look even better in the summer when the trees are in leaf.

Photographs show us by the canal which flows into the nearby Danube, the colourful 15th century roof of St Stephen's Cathedral (showing the House of Habsburg coat of arms) and the elegant entrance at the Opera House.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

99. Meeting with the Society for the Environment

The Society for the Environment has 24 professional bodies (eg CIWEM, ICE, CIWM) as its members who collectively have over 500,000 individual members. The Society has the ability to license individuals to become Chartered Environmentalists and over 7,500 professionals have taken advantage of this opportunity.

The Water Conservators and the Society have been looking to see if a shared understanding can be achieved between the two organizations which could lead to recruitment opportunities for both parties.

Earlier this week our Clerk (Ralph Riley) and I met with Peter Matthews (Chairman of the Society and Past Master Water Conservator) and Dr Emma Wilcox (CEO of the Society) to explore opportunities. We anticipate reporting back to our own FM & GP Committee and our Court later in the year on those opportunities.

Photograph shows the Institute of Directors building in Pall Mall where we met.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

98. JustWater Launch Dinner

The Church of England has co-ordinated a series of events in recognition of World Water Day on 22nd March 2017. St Paul’s Cathedral (London), Trinity Wall Street (New York) and St Paul’s Cathedral (Melbourne) are amongst the participants in this co-ordinated approach to bring awareness of the plight of millions of people still without an adequate water supply and safe sanitation.

The initiative is branded “JustWater” and I was invited to attend a launch dinner at St Mary-le-Bow in Cheapside last night. The formal dinner for 100 people was laid up in the Church (see photograph), which is famous for designating those born within the sound of its bells as “Cockney’s”.

We were addressed by an array of key players in the Church of England including the Dean of St Paul’s, the Bishop of Salisbury and the Archbishop of Cape Town. Our own work in raising awareness of the critical role of water in our lives is closely linked with this initiative by the Church.

Monday, 6 February 2017

97. A Day Out at Twickenham

A good friend kindly hosted me at Twickenham on Saturday to watch the Six Nations England v France match. A great atmosphere and a tricky game that we were lucky to win – but hey, a win is a win!

I am having difficulty in finding a link with the Water Conservators, other than to say that very little water was wasted at the event, but quite a lot of beer was spilt!

Congratulations to Wales for a convincing win over Italy – the England v Wales game should be one to watch.

Photograph shows the stands filling up just before kick-off.

Friday, 3 February 2017

96. Growing relationship with City, University of London

As many of you will be aware from earlier blogs, one of the objectives I set myself during my year as Master was to establish a link with City University, now rebranded as City, University of London.

I attended the University from1969 -73 as a student on a five year Civil Engineering sandwich degree course. I have stayed in touch with the University over the years and have felt for some time that as a City based Livery Company this is an obvious University to link with.

I was therefore delighted yesterday when the Trustees of our charity, The Water Conservation Trust, agreed a three year sponsorship of a post graduate student in a subject related to water and the environment at City.

I know the University is keen to develop further links with us and I look forward to helping achieve this. Interestingly, the Lord Mayor has historically been the Chancellor of the University during his term of office – this year that role has been rebranded to Rector and Andrew Parmley (a Member of our own Company) is the first Rector of the University.