Monthly Archives: February 2014

19 February: Royal Charter Presentation and Celebration :the Honourable Company of Air Pilots

The Guildhall provided the background for the celebrations of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots incorporating Air Navigators. A magnificent evening, graced by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, who was on fine form, presented the Royal Charter and Ceremonial Sword to Master Tudor Owen.

The history of the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators of the British Empire started in 1929 for pilots who had obtained high status as holders of a ‘B’ Licence and Air Navigators’ Certificate by many leading aviators of the day. It received its letters patent confirming its status as Livery in 1956, with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as Grand Master, who is today, the Company’s patron. All liverymen are required to be navigators and pilots and this is rigorously enforced.

The evening began with a reception for some 400 liverymen and guests in the old Library. We were welcomed by the University of London air cadet force who looked resplendent in their uniforms and the introduced to the Master. Most Masters from the Livery Companies had been invited and we shared a most delicious meal and convivial company, meeting some fascinating people including representatives from NASA amongst others. A most entertaining musical ensemble played some very well known pieces causing singing amongst a number of the guests and a rendition of the Post Horn Gallop filled the enormous Guildhall with cheers.

A wonderful evening, thank you to the Honourable Company and may it flourish root and branch!


11 February: London “The Global Hub” Peter Milo Memorial Lecture

A number of Masters and RIBA members attended The annual Peter Milo lecture, held at their headquarters in Portland Place to hear Stephen Hodder MBE, President of RIBA, deliver his paper on London’s place as the global hub. He described the need for producing professionals whose talents can and are sold all over the world, the need for excellence and of course the buildings that are constructed.

A most lively and at times empassioned discussion took place, with debates from the platform and the floor on the need for high quality building in the residential sector as well as the commercial sector, especially in London.

Thank you to Jaki Howes, Master Chartered Architect, for enabling the visiting Masters to participate in a thought provoking evening.


12 February: the Worshipful Company of Constructors Livery and Awards Dinner

Alan Longhurst, Master Constructor, invited me and Amanda to their annual Awards Dinner at Stationers Hall On Wednesday evening.

The Stationers’ Hall was packed, with many familiar faces and lots of the Company’s Freemen and Yeomen. The keynote speaker was Gary Price, Clerk of Works to Salisbury cathedral who spoke about his work and the training that they provide. Much of the work has taken most of Gary’s working life, but the upside, and food for thought, is that the end result will remain for at least 200 years, which is in contrast to most of the buildings I have worked on during my career.

Thank you to Lee Longhurst, Mistress Constructor, Ian Mason, Renter Warden and Tony Ward, Junior Warden for their company during the evening.


5 February: 500th Anniversary of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen

The Watermen celebrated their half millennium as a Company with Evensong at St Paul’s cathedral in the presence of The Lord Mayor. We sat under the magnificent dome and watched their Master, Court and apprentices, clad in their magnificent red uniforms, processed into their places.

The service was especially poignant, because we were reminded of the skill that the Watermen require with respect to the Thames, but of course, the need to remember all these people affected by the floods, for whom there appears to be no respite.