Monthly Archives: March 2012

Lynn Painters and Stainers Awards

Evening Sun Old Harry by Deborah Walker RI

Tuesday was a busy day as, following lunch at the Masons, I attended the Prize Exhibition of the Lynn Painters and Stainers held at the Mall Galleries. My daughter Tori came along as she is currently is doing an internship at the Royal Academy, who provided most of the judges for the prize winners. The winners were announced by Ken Howard of the RA. The Mall Galleries – on The Mall – are lovely and worth a visit if you have not been, but that night they were packed out with an eclectic mix of Masters from the Livery, artists and what I can only describe as lovvies from the art world.

Tori and I were a little underwhelmed by the final winners, although I am sure they were technically good, so I have a attached a copy the picture we liked best.

Mickola Wilson


Masons Company Court Lunch

Derek Sayer

Master Derek Sayer, whose sombre photo belies his cheeky character

On Tuesday 27 March I was a guest of the Masons company at their Court lunch held, as always, at the Mercers Hall. The current Master is Derek Sayer, a Chartered Surveyor and member of our Livery, and the guests included our Past Master Michael Coats. The lunch was described as an informal affair – and it was extremely cosy and friendly with only 30 guests. But I was still required to sing for my supper by saying a few words at the end – mostly to make sure the Master was cut down to size – which was not too difficult as I have known Derek for over 30 years and he was a little slimmer in those days. However it was one of the most convivial and welcoming occasions – and I did not begrudge passing up their excellent wines (pearls to swine some might say) in return for being one of their number that day.

The Masons Company, ranked no 30, was formed with the object of regulating the craft of stonemasonry so that standards could be properly maintained and rewarded. The earliest available records of regulation are dated 1356 and were issued by the Court of Aldermen of the City of London.


United Guilds Service

St Pauls CathedralThe United Guilds service is held every year at St Paul’s Cathedral in celebration and thanks for the Livery companies. Many of you who have attended this wonderful  service  will know that it is a wonderful occasion – with a high degree of pageantry and pomp and circumstance.

The setting is magnificent and the music sublime, the little choir boys from St Paul’s choir school filed past looking the picture of innocence followed by the great and the good of the City and the Church. The Sermon was given by the Bishop of London and there was a reading by the Lord Mayor, followed by hymns and blessings – it was such a beautiful day we all felt blessed and grateful to be part of such a happy occasion.

The Chartered Surveyors were well represented – once I found them all tucked into aisle 43 – apart from myself and the Wardens and Clerk, there were Past Masters Lamden and Hartill, Simon Camamile, Janie Strange, William Nicol- Gent and others. After the service we adjourned to the Plaisterers hall for lunch and I left the party in full swing at 3.00 pm – Retirement is a wonderful thing.

Mickola Wilson


Mansion House Dinner

The Egyptian HallOn Thursday 22 March I represented the Company at the Lord Mayor’s dinner for Masters and Prime Wardens of the City Livery Companies at the Mansion House. This is the highlight of the Master’s year and a very splendid occasion with all the gentlemen in evening dress and the mistresses and escorts in their finery.

The Lord Mayor, David Wootten and the Lady Mayoress were heralded in by the Yeoman of the Guard and the musicians for the evening where from the HAC, who  played an eclectic mix of music including a selection of Beatles songs and the theme to phantom of the Opera.  The food was magnificent – how do they manage to cater for so many people at once – fillet of Yorkshire beef cooked to perfection and a pudding to die for!

The Master Mercer spoke on behalf of the guests, a most eloquent and charming speech on the philanthropy of the Livery.

I am gradually getting to know my fellow Masters, especially those of the modern companies and felt quite at home in spite of the magnificence of our surroundings.

Mansion HouseBuilt in the age of Hogarth, the Mansion House is a rare surviving Georgian town palace in central London. It was originally built to enable the Lord Mayor to represent the City in appropriate style; it also acts as a symbol of the City of London as the world’s leading international financial and trading centre.

Mickola Wilson


Spring Dinner in Vintners Hall

On Monday night, 19th March the Vintners Hall rang to the sounds of Mud, mud glorious mud as the Guildhall School of Music and Drama singers lead the sing-along with Liverymen and guests at the Spring dinner.

Attended by 140 people the guests included Masters from the Tobacco Pipemakers, the Plaisterers, the City of London Solicitors, the Chartered Secretary and Administrators and the Constructors and representatives from the armed forces with whom the WCCS has an affiliation. The principal speaker was JohnLivingstone-Learmonth, an internationally renown wine writer specialising in the Rhone region – bio below. John recommended the wines served at the dinner, and helped choose the food menu to complement the wines in tastes and flavours. These were:

2009   Condrieu Chery Andre Perret Northern Rhone
2007 Cornas La Geynale, Vincent Paris Northern Rhone
2005 Cornas La Geynale, Robert Michel Northern Rhone

The wines were chosen to demonstate the wide variety of some of the lesser known wines of the region, although the earthy hues of the 2007 Cornas was not to everyone’s taste.

Replying on behalf of the guests Anne Kavenagh from AXA Real Estate, who reminded the dinner that AXA owns vineyards in France and the rest of Europe and that having a glass of fine wine is an established tradition in AXA and helps foster the good will and fellowship which was also in evidence at our Spring dinner.

John Livingstone-Learmonth has been visiting the Rhône vineyards since June 1973.

“The Wines of the Rhône” was the first book written on the Rhône, and appeared in three editions (the last one published by Faber (1992, 680 pages). “The Wines of the Northern Rhône” (University of California Press, 2005) won the Louis Roederer International Wine Book Award in 2006. In December 2011, “Gigondas, Its Wines, Its Land, Its People” was published in French and English (Bottin Gourmand and IG & AV); here John covers every vintage of the wines of Gigondas from 1959 to 2009. His Rhône website is

John’s articles have appeared in a range of British magazines, notably Decanter, Wine, and the World of Fine Wine, as well as the Singapore Wine Review. He contributes to annuals such as the Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine Book, the Wine Atlas, and the Oz Clarke Wine Atlas and Pocket Book. He has held tastings in Britain, the United States, France and Asia, and tasted on Panels including the Mâcon, San Francisco and McLaren Vale South Australia Wine Fairs. He is an Honorary Citizen of the Rhône village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and in July 2006 was made a Chevalier of the Ordre du Mérite Agricole by The French State.

Anne Kavanagh is the Global Head of Asset Management of AXA Real Estate, Europe’s largest Real Estate Investment Manager with over €40 billion of assets under management. In this role, Anne is responsible for transactions, development and asset management and is also a member of the Management Board.

Prior to joining AXA Real Estate Anne was Managing Director at Lazard. Before, she was Head of Real Estate Europe at CPIM and an International Director at Jones Lang LaSalle.  With over 25 years in the real estate business, Anne has extensive experience in capital markets, investment and asset management.

Mickola Wilson


Mercers Company Royal Ballet Master Class

Mercers CompanyOn Wednesday 14th March we went to the Mercers Hall and, along with a glittering array of Masters from over 60 Livery companies, were entertained right royally by pupils from the Royal Ballet in Master Class. We saw pupils from both the junior and senior schools demonstrate the art of ballet, starting with the simple Plié and ending with the graduates completing the most amazingly athletic jumps.

ballet dancers

The class was followed by Supper, and I sat next to Bill Scarborough, a Mercer and a Chartered Surveyor though not one of our Liverymen (note to self, invite to the ‘getting to know you’ drinks on the 21st April) who was telling me about the new developments being completed by the Mercers in Covent Garden – a place near to my heart – vis Seven Dials. For those that have not been there, the new development of St Martin’s Court is a happening place, with some good new bars and restaurants.

Covent Garden

Mickola Wilson


Sustainable City Awards

Raymond BlancOn Thursday 1 March I was invited to the Sustainable City Awards at the Mansion House. The awards were hosted by Raymond Blanc, who regaled us with fishy stories which, given his strong French accent (in spite of living in the UK for over 20 years), made it quite difficult to catch the punch line, but his beaming smile and little giggle was enough to make us all laugh along.

WCCS support the Sustainable Buildings Award, which was won by The Castle Climbing Centre, details below, but Laurence don’t even think about it…

The Castle Climbing Centre
The Castle is the premier indoor climbing centre in South East England. It is housed in a Grade II Victoria building, which has been refurbished to the highest environmental standards which has inspired staff and customers alike to live sustainable lifestyles.

For further details see

Mickola Wilson


Inter Livery Swimathon

On Monday 12 March WCCS hosted the 20th annual Inter Livery Swimathon at the RAC club Epsom. Thirteen Liveries participated – see the list below – in this arduous but enjoyable task. The Swimathon was first conceived by Sir Brian Hill and our Clerk and was one of the first events that involved a cross-liverychallenge, the aim being to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s appeal.

A most appropriate event for my year with its joint themes of sport (in the year of the Olympics) and ‘getting to know you’.

This year the Lord Mayor’s appeal is ‘Fit for the Future’ which aims to promote better health opportunities for all, including those from some of the UK’s most deprived areas, and the WCCS is donating a minimum of £5000 to the Lord Mayor as part of our charitable giving, plus any contributions from sponsors of the swimmers.

The WCCS teams included: Sir Brian Hill, Brian Lamden, Sven Topel, Digby Flower, David Mann, James Bryer, Tony Collins, Brett Robinson and Amanda Jackson. And of these Sir Brian Hill, Brian Lamden and Digby Flower swam in the original Swimathon 20 years ago.

There were 18 teams in total, and the Drapers fielded 2 teams – one of livery man and one of pupils from the Bancrofts School – whose young fit swimmers were in stark contrast to some of the older but none the less enthusiastic swimmers. Each swimmer was asked to swim 34 lengths, equating to 1000 meters. The participants took to the water with enthusiasm and some of the stronger swimmers like Digby and James seemed to manage the whole course at a cracking pace – heads down, doing the crawl, whereas some of us took it at a gentler pace doing a dignified breast stroke in the slow lane.

After the swimming, there was an informal dinner in the RAC Club, attended by most of the teams and Masters from companies attending including , Mr John Lockyer, Master Actuary, Lt Col AnthonyPaterson-Fox, Master Plumber Surveyor His Honour Giles Forrester, Upper Bailiff Weavers, Mr Paul Bethel, Master Framework Knitter, Nicola  Frazer Master of the Loriners  and members of our Court. The award to the company that had raised the most for the Lord Mayor’s appeal in 2010 was presented by Sir Brian to the Master of the Loriners and in the spirit of good fellowship and healthy competition he challenged the other companies to participate in the Swimathon in future years.

Livery Companies participating in this year’s Swimathon:
1.    Chartered Surveyors
2.    Paviours
3.    Weavers
4.    Haberdashers
5.    Framework Knitters
6.    City of London Solicitors
7.    Actuaries
8.    Chartered Accountants
9.    International Bankers
10.    Plumbers
11.    Stationers
12.    Loriners