Yearly Archives: 2014

Tuesday 9 December 2014 Livery Company Committees meetings

It is quite remarkable the extent of work our Livery Company now undertakes and how it has evolved into a significant City of London organisation over the past five years let alone its achievements since it was admitted in 1977.

We have over 50 different Liverymen as  members of nine committees. To remind you these are as follows: Charitable Board; Finance and General Purposes; Education; Fundraising; Marketing & Communication; Election; Property marketing Awards, Royal Charter & Master & Wardens. All committees report to the Court which approves and monitors as appropriate.

The big change is that the existing infrastructure has been struggling to keep up with this expansion of Company business and the Court cannot follow the detail of all the work undertaken. In any event at some 28 members strong the Court is too big to be an effective decision maker on the ground. Consequently the work is now devolved to the Committees who work to an agreed three year business plan set by the Court but where the Committees decide for themselves as to how they achieve their objectives. So as to ensure the process is efficient and creative each Committee has been asked to adopt new procedures and to set out their own “terms of reference” for approval by the Court.

Transparency of the working of the Committees is to be improved with the procedures, terms of reference and summary minutes of meetings to be provided on  the web site. for this reason I am not going to follow the approach of previous Masters and give a summary of the Committee meetings as the information will shortly be posted on a more detailed and available basis on the Livery Members side of web site.

Another change is that whereas Committee meetings were spread out over 4 or 5 days over a period of 2 to 4 weeks this will now be condensed into two half day sessions within 2 weeks of each other and within about 2 weeks of the following Court meeting. This will hopefully provide a more prescriptive and effective pattern of meetings which is also necessary now we have adopted Apothecaries Hall as our home. The costs of hiring rooms will require efficiency of use and time with our first Committee meetings at Apothecaries Hall scheduled for the morning of Tuesday 13th January.

We are truly entering a new era with a new home, new business plan, new committee procedures and new methods of reporting. The tradition and closeness of our organisation is not to be compromised in any way with this initiative designed to catch up with the natural evolution of the Livery as well as to promote transparency and interest in the significant and varied work the Chartered Surveyors Company does. Hopefully it will also demonstrate our successes, as well as challenges, to our wider Livery membership and encourage increasing participation.

I am most grateful to our Clerk, Amanda Jackson for accommodating the changes and our Committee Chairmen who have enthusiastically adopted the regime. It was a welcome and enjoyable drink and celebration for the Committee chairman in the splendid champagne bar on the ground floor of the Royal Exchange after our last Committee meetings held at GVA offices on Tuesday 9th December.

Finally my sincere thanks to Past Master Rob Bould,  Court Assistant Tony Joyce and all at GVA who have allowed us to use their City base at 80 Cheapside for a number of years for our Committee meetings. Their generosity and support really has been much appreciated and without this facility we would not have evolved to our current standing.

Graham F. Chase  Master

 

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Monday 8 December 2014 RICS & ICE Carol Service St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey

At this time of year Masters of Livery Companies find themselves brushing up on their reading and speaking skills as several carol services require lessons from the pulpit to be delivered with gusto. So with some nervousness in front of a congregation of about 300 merry Christmas revelers in the wonderful and historic St Margaret’s church next to Westminster Abbey, I took my place at the lectern whilst the verger carefully opened the page that I was to read from.

At this point my audience was still in full voice on the last few lines of the hymn that had announced my turn to read. This was just about enough time for me to realise that the page the Verger had alighted on was totally different from the text I had been provided with several weeks earlier to practice and get word perfect.

I had been quite pleased with the text originally supplied at just two paragraphs long, with no tricky words or names of unpronounceable tribal names and a rhythm that would let me truly belt out my task in probably no more than two deep breaths. However, what faced me was something of significant difference. Six paragraphs glared out of me from the page in close knit type encouraging me to fumble for my glasses which fortunately I had kept in my pocket. As the beads of perspiration began to appear on my forehead the position worsened as I caught sight of some very long words and names in a romanic text that would be tongue twisters for a linguist from Kings College Cambridge.

What to do as I had the original text in my top left inside pocket so could easily read that as I could almost remember it in any event. It was then that I realised that although the texts were very different the story line was the same being the moment when Mary asks the Angel Gabriel about this pregnancy thing and how could she possibly be with child so to speak. At this point I realised the congregation had just finished the hymn and were sitting down in eager anticipation of my words. What to do?

It was then that my arbitration and expert witness skills came to the fore. I had to make an immediate decision and the options were clear — the text in front of me or reverting to the screwed up piece of paper in my pocket with the original text. No contest I whispered to myself. The show had to go on and with an audience of 300 and the chance to project myself over 6 verses rather than 2 the former appealed to my over inflated ego of being the second reader of a lesson out of 7. With confidence I settled my glasses on my nose, released the paper in my pocket and bravely spouted forth from the virgin text in front of me.

I recount this little cameo as it demonstrates the huge pressures placed upon your Master during the year of office and the obvious abilities us property professionals are able to draw upon to cope with unexpected and difficult situations arising.

I should add that the Carol Service was a marvellous affair with all the pomp and circumstance that is expected from a service such as this. 6 hymns, 7 lessons, the blessing by The Venerable Andrew Tremlett Sub-Dean and Rector of St Margaret’s and all supported by the largest RICS Singers group I have seen perform. Bill Gloyn as conductor put in his usual energetic but uplifting arm movements as he brought the choir up to full voice and sung 3 pieces for the entertainment of the audience. As ever thanks also to Damon Emes for his wonderful trumpet playing. He is such an asset to RICS Singers and brings the whole show to life.

Now what can happen at the Chartered Surveyors Livery Company Carol Service at St Lawrence Jewry this coming Monday 15th December? Why don’t you find out for yourself and come along with your family? I will be there and who knows I may just get the reading right on this occasion. The tension mounts.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Monday 15 December 2014 The Chartered Surveyors Company Service of Lessons and Carols St Lawrence Jewry next Guildhall

This is always a popular event with Liverymen and this year was no exception with a full turnout from Members with their families and guests to make it a truly social occasion.

The Service was jointly conducted by the Revd Canon David Parrot the Guild Vicar of St Lawrence Jewry and the Revd John Kronenberg the Honorary Chaplain to the Chartered Surveyors Company. We really are so very well served by these two who shepherded the entire event without a hitch. We are very grateful to David Parrot for his genuine and warm welcome as well as his support and understanding, in particular allowing us to wonder around the church with our mince pies and wine glasses after the service.

We all like a good sing song and belting out some well known carols was just the start we needed to herald in the Christmas festivities. We rolled out the old favourites of “Once in Royal David’s City”; “O Come, O come Emmanuel”; “Unto us is born a Son”; “Ding Dong! merrily on high”; “In the bleak midwinter” and “O come, all ye faithful”.

This was complemented by our wonderful RICS Singers, directed and conducted by Liveryman Bill Gloyn and Michael Chapman, who sang no less than four cameo pieces of “Adam lay y-bounden”; Gabriel’s Message” and “Here is the Little Door” but with the best reserved for their rendition of “Stella Nacht” which was sung as a backdrop to the highlight of the entire event, the reading by our Beadle, Yeoman Warder Jimmy James of the “Christmas Truce –A first World war letter from the Front”. As moving an experience as I have witnessed this year on the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and that famous impromptu football match in no man’s land between the trenches and the barbed wire at Christmas 1914. Jimmy’s reading was one of the best I can remember of its type.

Our Honorary Chaplain John Kronenberg followed this up with the “address” which, appropriately and quite brilliantly reflected on the peace that the Christmas 1914 truce brought to the front lines of battle despite the war that raged. That brief moment of peace at was the hope that shone through and the humanity that existed but was buried in a truly bleak period in mankind’s history.

We must also thank Liveryman Nigel Waring who once again demonstrated his skill and dexterity in bringing the St Lawrence Jewry organ to heal and perform in perfect accompaniment with the gusto singing of the congregation as well as the more delicate pieces performed by the choir. Our best wishes go to Nigel as he retires from TSB at the end of the year.

By the end of the service the congregation was emotionally drained but spirits had been uplifted so the buffet and wine taken in the church itself provided a fitting and well deserved end to a fantastic service to kick off the fun of the Christmas and New Year break.

May I wish all Livery, Freeman and Friends of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors, their families and all who help and support us, a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year from the Master and Wardens and our families.

Graham F. Chase  Master

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Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors Endeavour Award 2014 – Citation

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25151052 LCPL P MACKRILL

135 GEOGRAPHIC SQUADRON ROYAL ENGINEERS

PRESENTATION OF
THE WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF CHARTERED SURVEYORS’
ENDEAVOUR AWARD — 2014

LCpl Paul Mackrill embarked on his military career in earnest by joining Bravo rifle platoon of the Royal Gloustershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment, based at Brock Bks, Reading in October 2001. Prior to this LCpl Mackrill had already shown his commitment to the forces by spending five years as a cadet instructor.

He soon began looking for a more challenging career and in May 2003 transferred to 395 Air Despatch Troop RLC at RAF Lynham, qualifying as an Air Dispatcher. In April 2007 LCpl Mackrill transferred to the Hermitage Troop of 135 Geographic Squadron.

Since this time he has strived to contribute to the Squadron by taking on leadership and instructional roles that have allowed him to progress and earn his peers respect. In March 2011, LCpl Mackrill volunteered as a Combat Engineer signaller for a very busy six month Operational Tour of Afghanistan. He has an arm full of military qualifications and in October of this year completed his Class 1 Geographic Course. A quote from his Army Physical Training Instructors course report reads “ LCpl Mackrill was a mature confident and reliable individual who arrived well prepared for the course. His instructional practice was imaginative and well delivered, displaying good class control and originality”

In addition, this year he has attended the Urban operations Instructors course which will be put to good use at the end of this month.

LCpl’s Mackrills positive, can do attitude is a credit to himself and an excellent example to all other aspiring JNCO’s. His willingness to volunteer for duties at the Army Reserve Basic Training course have further developed his Instructional techniques and shown that he can be totally relied upon to represent the Squadron in an excellent light.

The Endeavour Award is presented annually, to the individual who has given outstanding and loyal support to the Squadron, whilst participating and contributing in a variety of activities throughout the training year. The fact that LCpl Mackrill has been selected for this honour, demonstrates the significance of his outstanding contribution to unit life, during this period.

It is for his devotion to duty and sheer hard work that LCpl Mackrill receives the prestigious “Endeavour Award” which is presented annually by the Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors’ and is this year, presented by Mr Graham Chase.

9 November 2014
Mr Graham Chase
Master, The Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors’

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Monday 1 December 2014 – The Order of Mercy Grand Dinner in Honour of HRH Prince Davit, Duke of Lasos and Head of the Royal House of Georgia – Armourers’ Hall

Well this was a bit of a first to be summoned to dinner at the atmospheric Armourers’ Hall with Lords and Knights of the realm in full white tie and medals which in some cases were so plentiful that the wearer had difficulty in moving to the splendid Dining Hall from the reception room. Indeed some of them were more bedecked with sculptured precious metals than the suits of armour hanging on the walls which remind us of a chivalrous and bygone age.

I was kindly and generously introduced to the guest of honour HRH Prince Davit, Duke of Lasos by Lord Lingfield and spent a few minutes explaining the role of Livery Companies in the City of London only to realise from his blank expression  to my detailed and colourful explanation that he did not speak a word of English. However he smiled very politely when I had finished my discourse but I suspect that was his relief that he was moving on to speak to one of his fellow countrymen.

For the second time in my career in the Livery but within the space of a week, the procession was led by Pikemen of the HAC in full Civil War period military costumes including drummers and trumpeters. No other country I suspect does pageantry as well as the British. The profile of the House of Lords combined with the City of London, the Livery Companies, past Sheriffs and notable dignitaries, resulted in an impact and effect that was simply stunning and awe inspiring. If you were not a prince you certainly felt as if you should be in these surroundings. A totally fitting backdrop to a splendid and glamorous event.

The food and wine matched the glamour of the event and my wild boar was truly delicious as was the soufflé to start with and as well as pudding a savoury of Cod Roe with Caper sauce all washed down with appropriate and high class wines finishing with brandy and port. No wonder Masters put on weight during the year and “dry out” at weekends!

The League of Mercy was instigated by the Prince of Wales and founded on 30th March 1899 by Royal Charter of Queen Victoria with subsequently two Princes of Wales (George V and Edward VIII) taking up the role of Grand President in a way that only Royalty can. Today it is a registered charity and awards the “Order of Mercy” to those who have performed distinguished voluntary work in a number of areas of care.

The current President of the Order of Mercy is The Right Honourable the Lord Lingfield who took the chair and spoke for ten minutes introducing all of his guests by title and telling a number of stories without a note or prompt in sight. Quite extraordinary. Anyway we shall see if this is normal for as some readers may already know Lord Lingfield is my guest speaker at our Livery Dinner at Goldsmith’s Hall on Monday 26th January 2015. I hope as many of you as possible will be able to attend to hear this fascinating Lord advise us on his views on education alongside the Master Educator, Mr Peter Williams.

Just in case some of you may feel I have overreached my station in life at this event, the journey home by underground and bus brought me back to earth fairly quickly but a few hours in a dreamworld was a wonderful experience that I will remember.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Monday 24 November 2014 Installation and Launch of the Guild of Entrepreneurs: Ironmongers Hall

The launch of a new guild is like the birth of a new star. Awe inspiring, filled with mystery and destined to lead to greater things.

The City and Mayoralty have seen a spate of new Guilds being born in the last two years with the Entrepreneurs following hot on the heels of the Guilds of Public Relations Practitioners and Freemen. The key point is the interest in the City of London and its Livery companies and the type of Guilds that are coming forward as part of a tradition that stretches back to 1130 for conversion. Guilds themselves can trace their roots back even further to Anglo Saxon times when they offered their loyalty and support to the sheriff of London, the oldest recorded post in the City. These new Guilds will ultimately take their place as Livery Companies and like a new star, establish their position in the firmament.

It was indeed a splendid affair with the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress processing into the Ironmongers Hall to the sound of trumpets and the beat of drums supported by Sheriffs, the Court of the new Guild, other dignitaries and with the Mayors guard at front and rear.

An ancient ceremony then took place as Sir Paul Judge as Master of the Guild with his Wardens and Court Members were sworn in with much pomp and circumstance followed by the rising of the Livery Company Masters in order of precedence to a rousing shout of “welcome Entrepreneurs”.

Of course this was all thirsty work and therefore a grand reception was held immediately afterwards which was just as enjoyable but perhaps not quite as mysterious as the installation ceremony. Perhaps some things have never changed, even when the timescales exceed 1,000 years presumably because the best aspects of any ceremony are worth keeping!

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Installation Dinner photos

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Thursday 20 November 2014 Worshipful Company of Solicitors of the City of London Livery Dinner

One of the fascinations of the Livery is the differences between the Companies. Some of the more senior promote an independence which is almost surprising in so far as it can give the impression that they are organisations out with the general Livery “movement”. Yet it is this independence and separation which is perhaps at the heart of what makes Liveries so special.

The Modern Livery Companies by contrast instinctively recognise the need for a degree of closeness in support of the City as an effective, relevant and vibrant place for international trade and business which is critical to UK GDP and prosperity.

The Solicitors Company dinner was held on the same day that the EU decided on the restriction of Bankers bonuses. The resultant conversation was a buzz of indignation at the result and concern over the potential consequences. Yet as soon as the Toastmaster called for entry into the Splendid Stationers Hall (built in 1673 the year after Apothecaries Hall which is the oldest surviving Livery Hall in the City) the mood changed and normal service was resumed.

I was seated on the top table with to my left the Rt Hon Lord Clarke Prime Warden of the Shipwrights Company but perhaps better known as a former Master of the Rolls and now a Supreme Court Judge and to my right Nigel Bamping Past Master and Clerk to the Plaisterers Company.

A truly small world given that just a month ago Lord Neuberger, as President of the Supreme Court was one of my two speakers at my installation which was  of course held at Plaisterers Hall. Further Nigel Bamping was well known to me as a solicitor many years ago when he was a guest speaker at the RICS Oxford Study Conference which I chaired. So there I was expecting to know no one in particular and yet found myself sitting next to two fascinating individuals with a strong link to my own career and recent installation as Master.

The reality is that the Livery constantly provides these links and demonstrates its strength as a focus for meeting of like minded individuals who have a common objective and are serious about the importance and relevance of the City of London.

The Master Solicitor, Alderman Vincent Keaveny, reflected in his role as an Alderman in the organisation of the City as he was aware that many did not know what an Alderman does and how the Wards work. I still have gaps in my knowledge but the picture is becoming clearer.

The food and wine was excellent with many remarking that the catering at Livery Halls is now to a very high standard, which is a claim that could not always be made even just a few years ago. Yes the City of London is on its way back up in many ways. Let us hope that the latest EU ruling on how it’s business operates and rewards its workers does not have a detrimental affect on such a special and important place for the UK and the rightfully deserved position of London as a leading world City.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Wednesday 19 November 2014 Lord Mayor Address to Masters of Livery Companies

Alderman the Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow had his first opportunity to meet with Masters of all Livery Companies at the Mansion House and a very lively event it was.

The Lord Mayor pointed out that his office is required to provide an increasing focus as an ambassador for the business profile of the City of London. Scheduled for this year are 120 formal inward visits to the City of London and the Mansion House by overseas delegations. By return the Lord Mayor will undertake 30 overseas visits this year promoting British goods and services through the strength of the City of London as a capital and global City state.

I felt this followed the move of our own Livery to connect with business and influence the City with the reinstatement of our two Open Hall Lunches the first of which has been held and referred to earlier in this series of blogs.

The Lord Mayor pointed out that as a result of this workload only 1 in 5 invitations from Livery companies could be accepted. He hopes that the number of rejections he has to make does not give rise to any offence but an understanding of the increasing role of the Lord Mayor in the promotion of business for the City of London.

The Lord Mayor accepted that the profile of the City has been tarnished by the various banking scandals but encouraged us all to look behind this and to recognise the strengths of the City in all that it does for UK Plc. It was generally agreed by all that the City must market more effectively what it does do and in particular how the Mayoralty and its Livery Companies contribute to its successes. It was the Livery companies which set up the City and Guilds organisation at the end of the 19th century which in turn has given rise to the more recent increase in apprentices as a method of qualification and entry to the professions. Again, this strikes a chord with our own activities with our support for the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust and shows we are right on the button with our policies and activities.

The Master Marketor offered to bring together a group of the very best marketing experts in the country to help promote the City with a coordinated programme. I will be interested to see if this produces a positive result as I agree that it is desperately needed.

The Lord Mayor also pointed out that the City accommodates 387,000 workers entering the City every day. There are 25,000 Livery members but only 3,500 of those liverymen work in the City. The City needs active Livery Members to continue to promote the City so to overcome those City practices which are tarnished and to demonstrate the worth and strengths of the City. In this respect the modern Liveries appear to be well advanced in this approach.

Finally, the Lord Mayor referred to the new charitable giving arrangements. Each year the charity’s that the Lord Mayor supports will change but the Lord Mayor’s Appeal office will be permanent and not change every year as in the past. Our Charitable Board will be considering this new approach and will establish what action if any we will take in the future.

One thing I have learnt is that Livery Companies know how to party and the reception held in the Mansion House foyer following the Lord Mayor’s presentation and answer and question session did not disappoint with many friends re-engaged and new ones made.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Wednesday 19 November 2014 The Festival of St Cecilia Westminster Cathedral

The Festival of St Cecilia, (Patron Saint of Musicians), is in support of “Help Musicians UK”, the leading charity for musicians. The festival is held every November but uses the three Cathedrals of St Paul’s, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral, with this year’s service being held at the latter.

It provides one of the most spectacular processions of the Livery Companies in the calendar, although I have to confess the links with the City are somewhat obscure apart from the service when it is held in St Paul’s. Regardless of its origins it was a packed Cathedral with the procession and service led by the Administrator of Westminster Cathedral, Canon Christopher Tuckwell. Readers of the lessons included the Politician Dame Shirley Williams, Petroc Trelawny the well known BBC breakfast show presenter and Frank Renton presenter of Listen to the Band and the BBC Young Brass Award on BBC Radio 2.

The service focused on the centenary of the outbreak World War I with the readings poignant in their messages from the combatants. The third reading by Frank Renton is worthy of reproducing here although it is a little long. I will therefore leave you with these words on which to ponder.

Spotty was my pal he was
ginger-headed bloke
An everlasting gas-bag
And as stubborn as a moke
 
He gi-us all up he did
Afore he came to war
I spotted all his bits of French
What no-one asked him for
 
He said to me, ‘Old son’ he says
Ha – you won’t stand half a chance
When I gets in conversation
With all them demoiselles of France
 
I says to him, ‘You shut yer face’
‘Aww’ he says ‘Alright mon cher amis
Don’t hurt yourself
So long, Au-revore
 
But when we got our orders
You bet we wasn’t slow
A singing Tipperary – it’s a long, long way to go
At sea, on the transport
 
Spotty, with his parlez-vouing airs
I nearly knocked his head off
Cos he said I’d mal de mar
But when we landed. What a beno
 
How those Frenchies laughed and cried
And I sees old Spotty swelling up
Fit to bust himself with pride
He was blowing them a-kisses
 
And shouting ‘Vive la France’
Till the Sergeant Major copped him
And says ‘Ahh quel verio chance’
But we didn’t get no waiting
 
Where we went to, nobody knows
As it wasn’t like the fighting that is seen in the picture shows
We had days of hell together
Till they told us to retire
 
And Spotty’s floral language
Almost set the water-carts on fire
But him and me, were very lucky
A third of us, were dead
 
With their screaming Black Marias
And shrapnel overhead
But every time they missed us
And the fire was murderous hot
 
And Spotty’d up and shout ‘Encore, encore’
I said ‘What’s that?’
He said ‘it’s French for “rotten shot”’
 
We were lying down an hole
Yes, dug with our very hands
For you gets it very quick and sudden
If you moves about or stands
 
We were sharing half a fag
Yes, turn and turn about
When I, felt him move towards me
And he said, old mate, I’m out
 
His eyes, they couldn’t see me
Nor never will, no more
But his twisted mouth just whispered…
So long matey, au-revore
 
But there was none was quite the same to me
‘Cos him and me were pals
And if I could have him back again –ha –
You could keep your fancy girls
 
But he’s talking French in heaven now
So it’s no use feeling sore
But God knows, how I miss him
So long Spotty, au-revore

 

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Thursday 13 November 2014 Robert Clack School Saracens Training Day

Lewis Sones (Saracens Rugby Development Officer), Marcelo Bosch (Player), Graham Chase (Master WCCS), Jeremy Walters (Governor Robert Clack School), Hayden Stringer (Player)

Lewis Sones (Saracens Rugby Development Officer), Marcelo Bosch (Player), Graham Chase (Master WCCS), Jeremy Walters (Governor Robert Clack School), Hayden Stringer (Player)

It was a “Men in Black” day as Saracens descended on Robert Clack School for a question and answer forum and full on training session.

Robert Clack are relative new comers to Rugby having only introduced the sport to the curriculum over the past 5 years. Already they are making their mark by winning all the local competitions and finishing high up in the regional trials. The visit by Saracens was therefore something of a milestone for the school as it takes its ambitions on the rugby pitch to the next stage.

Saracens pulled no punches and were represented by Marcelo Bosch the Argentinian Puma international, Hayden Stringer who made his Saracens debut last season against Leicester and is already making his mark as a star despite being only 18 and Lewis Sones, Saracens all important Rugby development officer.

Some 150 Robert Clack rugby players filled the assembly hall to ask questions such as “will you always play for Saracens?” “who is the best player you have played against?” and “do you like football?” The Saracens team were really responsive and made a significant impression on the students who could not wait to get out onto the training field where they were shown the tricks of the trade by the stars.

My thanks to Edward Griffiths the CEO of Saracens who supported the event and made it happen, the visiting Saracens team who made such a difference to Robert Clack RFC and David Maudsley the Head of PE at Robert Clack for his leadership and organisation on the day.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Tuesday 11 November 17th Horners Company, Ralph Anderson Memorial Lecture, The Royal Society of Medicine

I have always been excited by chemistry and physics experiments in the laboratory and this lecture by Sir John Holman FRSC did not disappoint. Disintegrating roses as shards of glass and liquid Nitrogen doing strange things with balloons is the stuff of school boy dreams. However, as you might expect this was all a front to a very serious but well put together and intriguing lecture on “The livery Companies and education: a scientific perspective”.

As was confirmed at the meeting held earlier in the day with the Windsor Group, it is clear that careers are poorly understood or promoted at schools with the result that science and engineering type subjects including surveying known as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) have limited exposure and promotion as further education options to school leavers yet they offer careers which pay higher than all other employment group areas.

The detail of the lecture was too deep to explain in a blog (yes I did understand it you cynics) but several key themes came out including the need for young role models and focussed mentoring so as to attract students to enter professions such as ours and engineering and science based careers.

Both Duncan Preston as the New Chairman of our Education Committee and I mingled with a full house of Livery Masters and Education Chairmen coupled with scientists and professors congregating close to the bar. It all made for a very satisfying evening with good food, wine and a feeling of academic achievement as well as some surprises both in terms of education issues arising and the experiments undertaken in front of our very eyes by Professor Sir John Holman.

I am grateful to the Master Horner and his Company for hosting such a fascinating evening and for the generous hospitality and fellowship at the dinner that followed.

Graham F. Chase. Master

 

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Tuesday 11 November Windsor Group and CSTT meeting

The Windsor Group is a representative mix of the CEO’s of the leading real estate practices who meet from time to time to discuss issues in the market place.

Their work in this Group is neither secret nor clandestine in any way but the discussions are confidential so will not be repeated by me.

The purpose of the meeting was to explain the role of CSTT in the Apprentice recruitment, training and work placement market and for the Livery and CSTT to gain a better understanding of what employers are likely to be looking for in the future in terms of new entrants and routes into the profession for their workforce.

Only a couple of the dozen or so firms represented had no Apprenticeship schemes but those that did identified it as an important area which they planned to expand and in some cases by a significant amount via this route. Those that had none confirmed that it would shortly be adopted policy to employ apprentice based employees.

Christina Hirst the CEO of CSTT gave an excellent presentation of CSTT, its current status and growing infrastructure to accommodate the significant growth of the Apprenticeship model. With the help of our Livery, through its financial strength, whereas they were supporting just 22 students 3 years ago they have now grown to 160 Apprenticeships under contract, all with UK Government Grant Aid and with the potential to target 400 next year.

The hurdle that has to be jumped is that of placements as there are plenty of suitable candidates but limited job openings. However, with the move away from universities by students on grounds of costs and a growing preference to train whilst working, the employers clearly see an opportunity to expand the apprenticeship route into the profession and in addition it hits their diversity and social programme requirements.

This gives our Livery a clear stamp of approval to our establishment of CSTT in 1984, our recent and on-going financial support under the terms of our Memorandum of Understanding with CSTT and a clue as to our future focus on identifying and establishing work placements.

At the Livery we have not yet finished writing the current chapter of our work with CSTT, yet the next chapter is already being written.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Sunday 9 November 2014 Service of Remembrance 135 Geographic Squadron West Ewell

135 Geographic Squadron together with RAF and other Army units put on a highly polished and professional Remembrance Sunday at St Mary’s Church Ewell. Colour and youth was added by local Scouts, Guides, Brownies, Cubs and Sea Cadets and attended by the Worshipful the Mayor of Epsom & Ewell, Councillor Robert Foote, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP and many members of the public.

The laying of the wreaths was followed by the minutes silence and the service of Remembrance in the Church with the Sermon delivered a youthful, enthusiastic but thoughtful Vicar of Ewell, The Reverend Russell Dewhurst. After the service 135 Geographic Squadron were inspected by the Mayor before marching back to their barracks.

In the Drill Hall I had the privilege of presenting the Endeavour Award to L/cpl Paul Mackrell in the presence of the Officer Commanding Major Charlie Wasilewski, Honorary Lt Colonel Vanessa Lawrence CEO of the Ordnance Survey and the Mayor. I congratulated L/cpl Mackrell on his significant achievement and reflected on the fact that he was a winner because of the efforts of all those who were candidates for the Award and for which competition was fierce. His Award therefore represented the efforts of all his colleagues of 135 Geographic Squadron.

The much heralded “curry lunch” was a most impressive and enjoyable affair with marvellous food provided by “Cook Trevor” who is now in his eighties and remarkably was the recipient of the first Endeavour Award some 32 years ago – what a coincidence and what a link with the past.

My thanks go to Liveryman David Reynolds and his wife Ita who organised my visit, looked after me during the activities and kindly poured me back into Surbiton station for my return trip home after a most enjoyable and satisfying day.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Monday 10 November 2014 The Monmouth Initiative Dinner Haberdashers Hall

I have always wanted to make a Livery Hall my private dining club and today was my opportunity. Having held the Open Hall business lunch at Haberdashers Hall on the subject of influencing the City on property issues we them had the Monmouth dinner also at Haberdashers Hall entertaining some 100 VIth formers and encouraging them to look at Chartered Surveying as a profession.

The Monmouth Initiative is promoted by the Haberdashers Company in their quest to make City business and the professions more understandable and attractive to students, a theme that strikes a chord with us.

The event was brilliantly organised by Liveryman Elizabeth de Burgh Sidley and the haberdashers company, supported by a number of Chartered Surveyor Liveryman and representatives from 10 employer organisations who were giving support to the students the following day in their trip around the City property market.

The students sat at tables of 10 which included these senior property figures providing the students with the benefit of their experiences in their careers and answering the many questions put to them by a very eager and inquiring set of students. This was certainly a very different environment to that which they normally experience in the classroom.

I was kindly invited to speak for 5 minutes on the breadth, depth and opportunities that exist in the Chartered Surveying Profession as part of a global market and qualification as well as giving some excerpts from my own career. I was ably assisted and indeed outshone by Laura Wardell of Savills who as a notably younger surveyor had a much stronger rapport with the audience and gave a very interesting account of the work and diversity of young chartered surveyors in today’s market place.

A very lively and uplifting event which has significantly helped the cause of our profession and much improved our profile and what surveying means as a career. My thanks go to Master Haberdasher Jonathan Bates and his colleagues for their wonderful hospitality and the Assistant Clerk to the Haberdashers, Andrew Carr for organising such an enjoyable event.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Monday 10 November Open Hall and Business Lunch Haberdashers Hall

Open Hall business lunches have been reintroduced to the calendar for a number of reasons. Firstly to provide a business forum where the Livery is able to discuss topical issues and look at how it may influence the City: secondly they provide a format of interest to the business element of the Livery and thirdly they also appeal to a different part of the Livery membership with a different budget level.

With some 130 attendees at our first Open Hall lunch for a number of years proving such an event to be both popular and welcomed by those who signed up.

We had two first class and well known speakers in the guise of Mike Hussey, CEO of Almacantar and Peter Wynne Rees former City of London Chief Planner and now Professor of Places and City Planning at UCL Faculty of the Built Environment.

The subject matter was “Banking, Property, Lending and Valuation … Do they go together”. The tone was set by Peter who declared that “developers should not be trusted with money and bankers should not be trusted with property”. He then set out what was wrong with international dormitory based investment in London residential property. The result is that Londoners can no longer afford to live in their own city whilst they watch empty property going up in value and becoming even more remote. The sadness with this stock is that not only was it unoccupied but because it was built for the investment market its design is not conducive to occupation and potentially represents the high density slums of tomorrow. These properties do not add any stimulus to the local economy against this background and will ultimately be a cost to the community.

With plenty of nodding in the room Mike kicked off with an attack on Government policy towards property which usually reflected no understanding of the issues but produces the unexpected consequences that their policies create. He then examined the competing forces of debt against equity and concluded that in only about 3 out of the last 30 years have property companies, investors, the banks, lending and the valuation profession been in balance and aligned. The rest of the time it simply does not work. Although he felt Valuers had on the whole done a good job he railed against the valuations put on development land which were unsustainable. This supported Peters view that areas such as Nine Elms has been sterilised for perhaps 100 years as values would not permit suitable development for true of homes worthy of occupation for perhaps 100 years.

The floor put forward a number of questions but time was tight so we probably need more time allowed for this in the future but we have learnt our lessons from this very successful inaugural event. The next Open Hall business lunch will again be held at Haberdashers Hall on Monday 18th May and I hope will prove as popular. Judging by the after lunch feedback we will certainly be going back for the Roast Beef carvery and giant Yorkshire pudding which was simply delicious.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Saturday 8 November 2014 Lord Mayor’s Show

As Pageantry goes this is as good as it gets and this year we were blessed with kinder weather with only the occasional spots of rain rather than the deluge of 2013 and consequently there were very full crowds along the entire route both morning and afternoon totaling an estimated 1/2  million.

I was joined by the Senior Warden, Jenna Davies and Liveryman Louise Brooke-Smith who is of course our current RICS President. The BBC Cameras captured the event and included two full minutes of coverage of our affiliated 135 Geographic squadron who were position 60 in the Parade, quite some distance ahead of the Modern Companies, where we sit, at 100.

After a long wait in the starting position we started moving at 1117 hrs, a minute within the official start time of 1116 hrs and ended up for a welcome lunch and rest at HQS Wellington the only floating Livery Hall and home of the Master Mariners. Launched in 1934 this former Grimsby Class Sloop served in the past as a convoy escort ship in the North Atlantic and today as a warm and friendly champagne bar for the Lord Mayors show Modern Companies marchers. Refreshed and fortified the three of us were able to complete the return journey filing back past Mansion house and Guildhall.

With the Royal Air Force marching band in front of us and Hells Kitchen Hip Hop band behind us it was not always easy to maintain a well measured march but it was fun and kept us all amused as well as taking away some of the pain of our 5 mile walk.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Friday 7 November 2014 RICS and ICE Service of Remembrance St Margaret’s Church Westminster

The Chartered Surveyors Company was not promoted this year as a sponsor at the St Margaret’s Church Remembrance Service and therefore I will be looking into how we can correct this for the future.

A moving and Poignant Ceremony with support from the RICS and Ice Singers conducted by Bill Gloyn FRICS and an excellent trumpet performance including the Last Post and Reveille by Duncan Emes FRICS.

The address was given by The Reverend Daniel Morgan CF the Chaplain for 3 Royal School of Military Engineering Regiment and who reflected on tremendous sense of loss but the very real debt owed to those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in conflicts over the years.

There were a disappointing number of attendees for such a special location and for all the effort that went into the organisation but hopefully the inclusion of The Chartered Surveyors Company may help to redress this next year.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Thursday and Friday 30 and 31 October 2014 Barcelona Meeting Point

I was invited by Barcelona Meeting Point and the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce to participate in this two day conference and promote how London has emerged from the economic recession with a strong inward investment profile.

My focus was the role of the City of London as a hub for international investors in property and a prime source of finance for not only inward investment into the UK but a base for investment on a global stage.

I was introduced and sat alongside the Spanish Secretary of State for economic affairs, Signor Inigo Fernandez de Mesa. His main thrust was to establish how to force banks to lend in Spain given the injection of Government cash they have received over the past 5 years rather than for it to simply be redistributed as shareholder dividends.

I will not go into detail of the debate or the various solutions as proposed as that is better stated in a CPD paper but I was pleased that London was seen as a driving force for recovery, global financial provision and flexibility coupled with a stable location and growth potential for international business and inward investment.

Several comments were made about the importance of City States and the role of the Mayors and expertise such centres have in terms of commerce and their guilds especially London with its two Mayors and support of its Liveries which adds to the business culture, education and charitable giving activities.

These were all messages which made me appreciate that the City of London with its infrastructure, skill base and Mayoralty is held in very high esteem on a world stage even if as Londoners we tend to take it for granted.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Monday 3 November 2014 British Legion and Lord Mayor St Pauls Garden of Remembrance Service

This was a moving ceremony especially as it coincided with the withdrawal last week of British Troops from Afghanistan with some 453 killed in action and over 2,000 wounded during their tour of service.

The Lord Mayor led the service in the Garden of Remembrance of St Pauls with City representatives and all the Livery Companies paying homage to the fallen members of our armed forces defending our causes.

It was an impressive gathering of all the  Masters as we lined up in order of precedence to plant our crosses in the Garden. A ceremony of poignancy, meaning and with the clear message that we will never forget their ultimate sacrifice.

“When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.”

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Monday 27 October 2014 The Lord Mayors Charitable Trust Presentation: “What does success look like?”

Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE, The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of London and her Consort Nicholas Woolf gave an inspiring and in depth presentation on the “Lord Mayor’s Charity Leadership Programme”.

This is a new initiative and has come about because of the ad hoc and disparate charitable giving of the Mayoralty in the past. The result has been the creation of a formal “Lord Mayor’s Appeal Charity” with a permanent staff and with the objectives of providing funds to charities where it can make a difference.

The 4 adopted funds are “Beating Bowel Cancer”; “Princess Alice Hospice”; “Raleigh International” and “Working Chance”. I will not explain how they all operate but would point out that they are all small charities and that every additional donation makes a difference in areas where there is need for help.

Each Charity was represented and individual presentations were made by their CEO’s with the common theme that the Lord Mayors Appeal was already making a difference both in terms of confidence in their business model and the funds they are receiving.

Other subjects covered were school and community mentoring, diversity in the City as a whole and sustainability of effort and objectives in terms of charitable giving.

The general feeling was that the modern liveries, because of their lack of large endowment and foundation funds, focused more on the giving up of time and expertise. It was generally felt that more focus was required by all livery companies on specific areas where they could make a difference and this could include support for the more focused and permanent Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

Much of this was news to me and very revealing about the new broom, which is sweeping through the Mayoralty on Charitable giving. We will be looking at the implications of this and considering if there are any changes which are appropriate for our Livery through our Charitable Board now chaired by Mark Larard.

It was an excellent afternoon which provided the opportunity for a close and personal meeting with the Lord Mayor and to discuss a really relevant and live issue with important considerations for the future.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Monday 20 October 2014 Installation Dinner

The installation dinner attracted just short of 300 Liverymen and guests who were entertained by our two speakers Lord Neuberger, the President of the UK Supreme Court and Nigel Wray the City of London entrepreneur and Chairman of Saracens RFC.

Plaisterers Hall, although built in the basement of a modern office block in 1972 is a magnificent Robert Adams Neo Classical faithful reproduction using the original Adams mouldings. Not only were the surroundings impressive but it is one of the largest livery halls in the City, which was helpful as we took up every available seat.

Our other guests included the Master Plaisterer; Master Pavior, Master City of London Solicitor; Master Architect; Master Arbitrator and the Master Constructor.

The general theme was business, the rule of law and role of the City coupled with how Institutions remain relevant and the criteria of performance expected of them. However we were soothed on these weighty subjects by the excellent RICS Singers who sang beautifully and included a newly written piece by Professor Alan Gillett, the Father of the company, entitled “He is the Master now”

The food and wine were excellent with my thanks to the caterers, Create Food and the wine merchants, Vintage Cellars who could not have performed better.

The numbers put timing up against the clock but we finished when we said we would albeit with a slightly extended stirrup cup. My thanks go to our Learned Clerk, Amanda Jackson, for her organisation and patience.

I am most grateful to everyone who made the evening such a wonderful and memorable event.

Photographs are available on Michael O’Sullivan’s excellent web site at: www.michaelosullivanphotography.co.uk.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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Monday 20 October 2014 Court Meeting and Common Hall

The Court meeting and Common Hall witnessed the stepping down of Elizabeth Edwards from the Chair and my installation as Master.

My thanks go to Liz for her fantastic successes over the past 12 months. These have included the record fund raising Masked Ball at HAC and securing our new base at Apothecaries Hall, amongst a number of other notable achievements.

This followed on from the adoption by the Court of the important new 3 year business plan. I will be writing to all Livery members to advise them of its content and a copy will be placed on the website in the Members section. Our thanks go to Past Master Laurence Johnstone for tackling this critical task and coming forward with a comprehensive but easily understood document which can readily be remembered.

An important element of our business plan is to secure our target of 400 Liverymen with a waiting list. May I encourage all Livery Members to bring forward suitable new candidates for consideration.

Finally I am pleased that we presented 6 new Liverymen to the Court: Robert Hall; Philip Walker; Marina Krisko; Paul Disley-Tindell; Matthew Kelly and Ted Muxworthy. We wish them a very warm welcome and an enjoyable time as members of our Livery.

Graham F. Chase. Master

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17 October: the Company of Framework Knitters Livery Banquet

And so to my final engagement, the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters’ banquet at Mansion House. The Framework Knitters are mostly based around Leicester which is the home of the UK hosiery industry. The Guild was incorporated by Letters Patent on 13th June 1659 and became a Livery Company in 1713, ranking it 64 in the order of Livery Companies.
The Company initiated its Bursary and Awards scheme in order to encourage students to take an interest in the knitting and knitwear industry and a number of the winners were presented with their awards during the Banquet.
Master Linda Smith had invited Sir David Wootton to reply to the Civic toast and Ian Davenport replied on behalf of the guests.
I was hosted by the immediate Past Master, Stephen Woolfe and enjoyed a delightful and relaxed evening, together with many of the Masters I have got to know during my year, including Clare Chisholm, Master Wheelwright, Dorothy Saul Pooley, Master Air Pilot, Douglas Clasby, Master Fanmaker, David Bentley, Master Baker, David Raines, Master Distiller.
It was a fitting dinner to end my year: huge fun and with many new friends.

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15 October The Engineers Company Annual Banquet

The Mansion House was packed for the Engineers’ Annual Banquet. Mike and I were hosted by Jenna and David Davies. A stunning evening made more so by the guest speaker, HRH The Princess Royal, who was incredibly witty as she spoke about the necessity for Women to study core subjects and raised a cheer when she admitted that always preferred Mechano, as a child, to Lego. The Representative Lord Mayor, Sheriff Fiona Adler responded to the Civic toast.
A wonderful evening amongst great company.

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7 October: Behind the Scenes: an evening with the Central School of Ballet

A wonderful evening shared by liverymen and guests at the Central Ballet School in Clerkenwell. We were treated to performances by the three years, showing how they learn the various dances and the hard work required in order to achieve the amazingly high standards. It was difficult to comprehend that most of these students are 17 to 21 years old, but they display maturity behind their years .This year we gave burseries to two final year students who are incredibly talented and will have a fantastic future ahead of them.

We then repaired to a local restaurant to continue the evening. As always, a very big thank you to Past Master Laurence Johnstone.

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1 October: St Paul’s Cathedral: Musicians Company Evensong.

A glorious celebration of music and hymns for the Musicians Company, together the Royal College of Music String Orchestra playing Elgar’s Elegy for Strings.

These services really do bring the companies together  , sitting together under the great dome of St Paul’s. A great feeling of Fellowship and the reason we participate. Afterwards, we gathered in the crypt for a reception .

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29 September: Divine Service and Election of The Lord Mayor

St Lawrence Jewry was filled to capacity for the Divine Service. This is an historical service  of  celebration as well as guidance prior to the Election of The Lord Mayor which follows  afterwards. The Livery companies filed into their pews, followed by the Civic procession and clergy .

We sang some well known hymns and listened to  a beautifully sung aria from Cosi Fan Tutte ‘ Soave sia il vento’. This was quite a solemn service prior to the lively nature of the Election, for which we filed out following The Lord Mayor and the Civic procession into Guildhall.

The Common Hall Election of The Lord Mayor is open to all liverymen, although tickets must be obtained in advance from the Clerk. It follows a format, but is done with good humour and elegance and never fails to entertain, especially when the Sherifs discuss and agree the election results. Alderman Alan Yarrow was elected the 687th Lord Mayor.

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23 September: Concert and Supper at the Mercers’ Hall

The Mercers’Hall hosted an evening of music at their Hall. Masters, together with their other halves and many people from the music world gathered to hear a programme of Lieder, sung by a wonderful young baritone, Benjamin Appl, followed by a piano recital given by Mei Yi Foo who won the BBC Best Newcomer of the Year Award in 2013. She played JS Bach Partita no 5 in G and notably, La Valse by Ravel. These young performers were stunning, dramatic and to watch out for in the future.

Afterwards, we gathered in the various court and dining rooms for a most enjoyable supper. It was a magical evening.

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23 September: Annual Livery Ladies visit to the Royal Albert Hall

A fun afternoon, together with Junior Warden Jenna Davies, Liveryman Vivian King and over 30 better halves, comprising the Ladies or Mistresses. Assistant Janie Strange kindly arranged an backstage visit to the RAH, including the Queen’s private rooms. Our guide was informative and fun, finishing the afternoon off with tea and sandwiches.

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