Friday, 31 March 2017

127. Mansion House Dinner for Master’s & Prime Wardens

Every year the Lord Mayor hosts a white tie dinner at the Mansion House for Master’s & Prime Wardens and their Consorts. This very grand event took place earlier this week and Fiona and I were honoured to attend along with a total of some 300 other guests.

The excellent meal and wines were accompanied by music from the Band of the Royal Yeomanry and a trumpet fanfare before each toast or speech The Lord Mayor gave an excellent amusing, but City focused speech. The response by the Master Grocer (which focused on cricket) was sadly lost to everyone in the audience!

A wonderful occasion. Many thanks to the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress for inviting us.

Photographs show the invitation and menu card, Fiona and I on arrival and the beautiful Egyptian Room full of guests.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

126. Entertaining the Princess Royal

This photograph made it onto the front page of the City, University of London’s website this morning. I thought I should put it on my blog rather than wait to be teased.

I have no idea what I said, but I could potentially end up in the Tower of London!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

125. Princess Royal at City, University of London

Some of you may recall that I obtained my first degree (Civil Engineering) from City University, London. The university, now part of a wider grouping, is known as City, University of London.

This week I had the honour of representing the Engineering Faculty Alumni and the Livery Company’s of the City of London when the Princess Royal (Chancellor of the University) came along to open the rather grand new entrance and specially commissioned works of art.

I had the privilege of spending a few amusing minutes with the Princess – she quickly recognized my Masters’ badge, having been the Master of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners herself in 2005-07. She unveiled a plaque to commemorate this special occasion for the University.

Photographs show the Princess Royal, one of the specially commissioned pieces of art and the Master standing by the unveiled plaque.

124. Testing the Guinness

We were in Ireland over the weekend visiting Fiona’s Mum and Great Aunt in Galway and Dublin respectively for Mother’s Day. The weather was great (clear blue skies and 19C) – we could hardly believe it!

We didn’t have any test kits with us to test the water but decided to substitute the water for Guinness, which is of course mostly water. I am pleased to report that the sample passed with flying colours!

Photograph shows the Master about to undertake the test!

Friday, 24 March 2017

123. The Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators - The Tutt River Lecture

Peter Rivers and Sylvia Tutt were distinguished Members of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and this Annual Lecture is given in their name.

The lecture was given earlier this week at the Pewterers’ Hall by Steve Holliday, erstwhile CEO of National Grid plc, and was entitled “Inclusion and Diversity in Business and the Impact on Corporate Culture”. This is a very grand title for a lecture, but Steve quickly dispelled any air of grandeur by explaining that he didn’t intend to give a lecture at all, but would talk about his experiences at National Grid – and very interesting it was too!

Following a lively Q and A session we were treated to a glass of wine and some canapés. This was a well attended event with some ten Livery Company Masters present, along with Members and guests of the Company.

Many thanks to the Master of the Chartered Secretaries & Administrators for an enjoyable evening.

Photographs show the Agenda card and the Pewterers’ Hall.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

122. Harrods “Behind the Scenes” Visit

Fiona successfully organized a “behind the scenes” visit to Harrods and 15 Consorts, Members and guests had a fascinating visit led by Tim, the Guest Relations Manager.

We learnt much of the history of the store, about the seven underground floors, the tunnels that connect the lorry delivery point to the store, the details of the 1,000,000 square feet of retail space and the continuous investment and improvement programme (including the new £20m escalators recently installed by entrance no 5).

After the tour breakfast was taken in the Galvin Demoiselle restaurant.

Fascinating visit – many thanks to Fiona for organizing it.

Photographs show Tim, our guide with some Hawaiian Green tea (which retails at £6,000 per kilogram!) and the team going into breakfast.

121. The Worshipful Company of Carmen – 500th Anniversary

This week was the 500th Anniversary of the foundation of the Worshipful Company of Carmen. The Company organized several celebrations including an Evensong Service in St Paul’s Cathedral followed by a reception at Stationers Hall. The service was a colourful affair with Masters and Clerks, in full regalia, processing into and out of the Cathedral. These events were well supported by livery companies with some 96 Masters and their Clerk’s attending.

The Company had commissioned a new oil painting of the Master (Marsha Rae Ratcliff) accompanied by her Wardens and Clerk and a new silver horse and cart to represent the early work undertaken by Members of the Company in the 1500’s! Visiting Master’s were presented with a replica of the horse and cart to commemorate this special occasion.

A memorable evening to celebrate 500 years of work by Members of the Worshipful Company of Carmen, who motto is “let us help you carry your load”. Many thanks to the Master for including us in their celebrations.

Photographs show the Order of Service, the Master being robed in the Cathedral Crypt, the Carmen’s new oil painting and the silver horse and cart.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

120. WET 10 Debate

Many of you will be aware of the WET 10 – an informal grouping of Livery Companies who encourage dialogue amongst those engaged in both the supply and use of water. The Worshipful Company of Water Conservators lead this group and normally arrange for an annual lecture to be held in the Spring of each year. This year we changed the format to a debate and the organization of this event (held at the Guildhall) was expertly undertaken by our Walbrook Warden, Mark Lane, and our Clerk, Ralph Riley.

The Motion was “THIS HOUSE believes that the water utility of 2030 will have to be unrecognizable from the water utility of today to survive”. We had four excellent speakers. They were: Martin Shouler Global Environmental Services Engineering Skills Leader at Arup) for the Motion, seconded by Alex Vaughan (MD, Natural Resources for Costain) and Peter Simpson (CEO Anglian Water Group) opposing the Motion and seconded by Richard Laikin (UK Water Sector Leader for PWC).

The audience of over 80 including visiting Masters, Liverymen and Guests proved to be a lively bunch with over 40 minutes of quick-fire debate. The event, which I chaired, was under Chatham House Rules, so I can’t report the details of the discussion, other than to say that when invited to vote, the Motion was lost by a ratio of 2:1!

Everyone was invited to stay for drinks and canapés and many didn’t seem to want to go home.

A very successful and enjoyable event.

Photographs show the WET 10 logo, me introducing the speakers, and the four speakers with me before the debate got underway.

119. Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers Luncheon

Earlier this week I attended the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers Luncheon – and a very fine luncheon it was! The event at was held Glaziers Hall on London Bridge (where the Instrument Makers are based) and I was one of only four visiting Masters. It was an informal networking event, but the catering trade experience of the Clerk was plain to see and enjoy!

The Master, John Caunt, bid us all a hearty welcome and I responded on behalf of the guests. A very enjoyable occasion.

Photographs show the Company’s crest and the menu card and invitation.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

118. A Visit to Treloar’s

Treloar’s is a very special place. It is a residential special needs school, based in Alton, Hampshire. It was established by Lord Mayor Treloar in 1907, so it is 110 years old.

Our Company, and our charity (The Water Conservation Trust) have established an ongoing relationship with the school, by raising funds, providing practical support and using the schools printing service to produce stationery, Christmas cards and our publications.

We were invited to attend the school earlier this week where we met many of the inspirational staff and pupils. We had a couple of very pleasant tasks to perform. Firstly we formally opened the new garden water feature – the sight, sounds and smells in this garden are crucial in developing the well being of the pupils. Secondly we handed over a cheque for £1,280 – the proceeds from our collection at the Myddelton Lunch held at the Mansion House in January.

We were treated to a tour of the very impressive facilities including another sensory garden, the engineering support group (who build key pieces of kit for individual pupils), the technology department (which was incredibly well endowed with IT equipment of every kind) and the printing unit (where we saw the many pieces of equipment operated by the pupils in this commercial operation). All incredibly impressive.

Many thanks to all the staff at Treloar’s for a memorable and inspirational visit.

Photographs show me on arrival (in the courtyard adjacent to reception), Mike Williamson (Thames Warden) and I cutting the ribbon to open the garden, pupil Ryan excitedly enjoying the new water feature, and handing over the cheque to Jon (head of fundraising)

117. Meeting of the Finance, Membership & General Purposes Committee

Earlier this week, the above Committee, more popularly known as FM & GP, met in London to discuss a wide range of issues. The Master chairs this committee and it has wide ranging responsibilities around the day-to-day running of our Company.

Two key areas were discussed around recruitment. Thames Warden, Mike Williamson, is going to make the recruitment of younger Members a key theme of his year as Master and he has had some very helpful discussions with some of our existing younger Members about how this might be achieved. You can expect to see a number of new initiatives coming forward later this year.

Also, Court Assistant David Richards is working with a couple of the professional institutions to see how we can tap into their new senior Members as a potential source of recruitment. Again, please look out for new initiatives in this area in the coming months.

We are fortunate in having Members of our Company who are looking at new and innovative ways in helping us grow. I am sure you will, with me, want to offer them every support.

Photograph shows part of the Guildhall where our meeting was held.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

116. Modern Livery Companies’ Spring Dinner

Twice a year (April and September) the Masters and Senior Wardens of the Modern Companies (from number 87 to 110) meet for a dinner where conversation and matters of common interest are the principle agenda items.

This Spring it was the turn of the Information Technologists to organize the event which was held at the Brewers Hall in the City and our Senior Warden, Mike Williamson, and I attended to represent the Water Conservators. It was interesting to note that the two major areas of discussion around the dining table were the recruitment of new younger members and the disbursement of charitable donations. These issues are important to the future success of the Water Conservators, so it was helpful to hear how others are tackling these issues.

Next year, it will be the turn of the Water Conservators to organize and host this event and Mike Williamson was keenly taking notes throughout the evening!

The toast to the Modern Companies was given by Sir Peter Girshon KBE (Chairman of National Grid and Tate & Lyle) who gave an insightful view of the impact of technology on our lives today and in the future.

Many thanks to the Master Information Technologist for organizing such a successful evening.

Photographs show the invitation/table plan/menu card and the Brewers Hall laid up in preparation for the dinner.

Friday, 10 March 2017

115. The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers Spring Court Dinner

I was a guest of the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers earlier this week at their Spring Court Dinner held at Carpenters’ Hall. It was a very well attended event with a total of 200 people present, including some 15 guest Masters. An excellent meal, prepared by the Cook and the Butler was followed by the Loving Cup Ceremony.

Alan Roughan, the Master, proposed a toast to the guests but managed to give a brief mention of all the visiting Masters in his allocated 8 minutes – very impressive! The response was given by Craig Mackey, the Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

After a Military Awards Presentation we continued the evening with a Stirrup Cup and much discussion about “putting the world to rights”!

A thoroughly enjoyable evening. Many thanks to the Master Hackney Carriage Driver for the invitation.

Photographs show the invitation and menu card and the Carpenters’ Hall laid up and ready for the dinner.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

114. Adios Seville

Following our successful Master’s Committee meeting in Seville and completion of our sightseeing activities, we bade farewell to this lovely City and started our return journey’s home.

Photograph shows the team on our last morning beside the fountain in Plaza de Espana which was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. A beautiful place.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

113. Master’s Committee in Seville

The Master’s Committee, comprising myself, the three Wardens and the Clerk have met regularly during my year. The Committee attempts to take a longer term view of the Company, particularly looking at providing continuity between Master’s.

Our March meeting was held in Seville – unfortunately Ralph Riley, our Clerk, was unable to join us but thanks to Skype “attended” the meeting from Suffolk!

In addition to the Meeting, which was held outside under clear blue skies and a temperature of 23C, we managed with our partners to complete a substantial amount of sightseeing in this beautiful city.

Photographs show the Committee meeting in full swing, inside the magnificent Seville bull ring, the enormous Giralda Tower which we climbed and the prominent Torre del Oro (Golden Tower) on the banks of the River Guadalquivir.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

112. Honorary Company of Master Mariners Court Luncheon

Earlier this week I was a guest of the Master Mariners at their Court Luncheon on board their Livery Hall, HQS Wellington.

It was a splendid occasion with an excellent lunch (provided by the Cook & The Butler) with several other Modern Company Master’s (now established faces and good friends) also attending.

The toast to the Guests was given by the Master, Flavian D’Souza and a response was given by the Lord Mayor of Westminster.

A thoroughly enjoyable event. Many thank to the Master for the invitation and the excellent arrangements.

Photographs show the Livery Hall and the inivitation and menu card on the day.

111. Inter-Livery Pancake Race

Each Shrove Tuesday, the Worshipful Company of Poulters organize an inter-livery pancake race in the Guildhall Yard in London.

This is a fun event and some 30 livery companies took part this year, including us. The Lord Mayor and the two Sheriffs watched over proceedings, to ensure no cheating! There are four categories of race: Master, Liverymen, Ladies and Novelty. The participants (racing in groups of five) have to wear their gowns, badges, an apron, chef’s hat and gloves – the novelty theme has to reflect the current Lord Mayor’s music related charities.

Our Clerk, Ralph Riley was team manager and I ran as Master, Fiona ran as a Liveryman, Lynva Russell represented us in the Ladies Race and Mike Williamson was our Novelty entry. Mike was dressed as conductor Sir Simon Rattle who joins the London Symphony Orchestra as Music Director in September.

We were unfortunate in not winning anything, but had great fun on the day.

Photographs show the team (from L to R Lynva, Mike, Fiona and me), Fiona in full flight in the liverymen’s race and Mike in his spectacular costume.

Many thanks to the Poulters for organizing this fun event.