A busy afternoon comprising the following committees: Education, Fundraising and Marketing and Communication.
The Lord Mayor presided over Common Hall for the election of Sheriffs and other officers which fortunately was uncontested. Fiona Adler and Dr Andrew Parmley were duly elected.
Guildhall was packed with liverymen and the Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff of the Livery Companies processed to their seats, the junior companies first, the Great Twelve taking their seats ‘on the Hustings’. The Common Cryer opened and closed the Proceedings. I would encourage any liveryman who has not attended Common Hall, to do so. It is a wonderful ceremony and good fun.
The Master Gardener, His Royal Highness Prince Edward invited the Masters to a Garden Party, hosted by the Master himself at Capel Manor College. What a wonderful way to spend the longest day of the year and blessed by sunshine .
Capel Manor is both a working college, teaching students the full range of skills from gardening, through to animal husbandry. It is home to the highly regarded Saddlery course, one of the last in the country, sadly.
We were taken through the Gardens by the Principal, who explained the history and showed us many gardens, which had been Prize Winners at Chelsea, as far back as the late 1980s and reinstated at Capel. A delightful afternoon!
A quick dash on the District Line to Bow for Prizegiving at CFGS.Jenna, Amanda and I were warmly welcomed by headteacher Esther Holland and the governors, including Liveryman Clive Arding. Jasmine Chambers was awarded the Company’s Lionheart prize for overcoming the odds to succeed in school life. The keynote speaker was Emily Cummins, who is an outstanding young woman. She is an inventor and has been inventing things since she was a child. She has invented a solar powered refrigerator, specifically for use in hot countries and it has sold throughout Southern Africa. She invented and manufactured it whilst undertaking her Degree and for which she was given the Nobel Peace prize, at 23! Moreover, she spoke without notes for 10 minutes. What an inspiration for young women!
Jailed and Bailed is the annual fundraising event on behalf of the British Red Cross which is supported by the mayoralty. My misdemeanours had been duly reported to the Organisers and I turned up in gown and badge, together with other victims aka fellow masters, at the appointed time. So far so good and we mingled and drank coffee, enjoying The Lord Mayors Consort’s kind words. Suddenly the Police arrived, together with a Judge who proceeded to call each of us out in turn and read our charges. We were then cuffed to a ball and chain and promptly marched ( a leisurely saunter, actually) along Cannon Street and Eastcheap along to the Tower of London. I must say, that we caused quite a lot of merriment and a bit of confusion amongst the City workers and the tourists at the Tower had never seen anything like it: 20 gowned and chained people escorted by 3 members of the City Police in period uniform to the Tower, encouraged by the Yeoman who shouted ‘off with their heads!’ I hoped we’d at least be given some lunch before that happened!
We were greeted with welcome goblets of chilled Pol Roger( sublime) and sat down to a delicious lunch ( no gruel thank goodness) at the Regimental headquarters of the Royal Fusileers. Upon paying bail, we were photographed and fingerprinted before being freed.
A fantastic, unique experience!
A relaxed dinner at Bucks Club together with many old friends from JO days, including many liverymen. Current chairman is Liveryman Mark Holden.
A busy afternoon for the Finance and General Purposes Committee and Charitable Board, together with a half yearly investment review by our advisers, Schroder Casanove.
Meeting of the Elections Committee in preparation for the Court on 7th July. Amongst various items, it was discussed and I will report here, that we really would like to see more candidates being put forward for the Livery. Recruitment is always ongoing, but it is important for the lifeblood of the company.
We interviewed three potential new liverymen who will be considered on 7th July.
A warm, balmy evening welcomed many Liverymen and their guests to the HAC, resplendent in evening dress and masks! Will Scott, a talented young guitarist, serenaded the guests as they arrived and dancing girls charmed everyone prior to the dinner. The Guildhall School of Music winners from 2013, the David Ingamells band played some upbeat jazz during dinner and the GB Band ensured that everyone danced until Midnight when marching band appeared. Quite amazing!
Richard Auterac kindly auctioned off the wonderful lots that people had donated, raising over £13,000. Green Property, our major sponsor for the evening but be thanked and congratulated. I have so many people to thank, firstly Duncan Moss who is absolutely amazing, thank you, Rob Bould and his team at GVA, Cushman’s too .Thank you to Amanda, who came in at the beginning to ensure everyone was safely in. Mention must also be made of Michael O’Sulivan who photographed all evening and has hundreds of wonderful photos on his site for sale.
The HAC was lit in muted purple with beautiful table decorations. Thanks to the HAC staff for their work, delicious food and lastly, the cloakroom girls, who entered into the spirit of the party.
A wonderful, one off evening, raising some £27,000 at the last count, complete with bacon butties providing sustenance to the revellers before they let for home.
An early evening invitation by Cazenove/Schroders to their evening at the Royal Academy, London. Sophie, my daughter joined me and was an invaluable guide as she narrated me through many of the artists’ works. Some fantastic (Ansem Kiefer), some not so, but then that is the joy of an open exhibition!
The annual Masters’ journey to Ironbridge is a major date in the Livery Company calendar. It been taking place each year and has a sense of everyone coming together to celebrate the Livery movement and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution .Mike and I drove to Shropshire to join the party of Masters and Consorts on friday morning.
The weekend began with a Livery Dinner on Friday evening at Coalbrookdale, together with members of the London Ironbridge Committee and the various staff. The mood was that of ebulliance and it was a joy to meet so many of the Masters and Consorts. Saturday morning began with a major thunderstorm and torrential rain which cleared towards the end of the day. It certainly did not dampen the visit to Blists Hill, which was a recreation of a village from 1900, complete with buildings which had been salvaged from many nearby villages and erected to form the village. I visited the Estate Office and was met by the extremely grumpy Estate Manager demanding his rent( Past Master and Father of the Company, Alan Gillett complete with a new beard!)Having duly paid my fine, we visted Coalport and Coalbrookdale, progressing our way through the story of the growth of the area as a result of the Iron industry during the late 18th and 19th centuries and its inevitable decline. We then visited the Jackfield Tile Factory which, in its heyday produced nearly all the decorative and floor tiles for houses and public buildings in Victorian England. It closed down 50 years ago as demand had fallen so much. Today, the tileworks is back on the map, producing high quality hand produced decorative and floor tiles which are exported all over the world. The final visit was to the iconic Ironbridge itself, which, unbelievably was to have been sold for scrap metal by the local authority in the late 1970s!
The end of the weekend was marked by a Ball, attended by the Lord Mayor and her Consort, together with Sheriff Adrian Waddingham and his wife. It was a fun and exhausting weekend.
Every year, the Royal Hospital plays host to the Governor’s Review, which is the full dress rehearsal for Founder’s Day, a celebration to commemorate the founding by King Charles 11. The event is held as close as possible to the birthday of King Charles and the date of his restoration as Monarch in May 1660.
This year’s Review was especially poignant as it fell 100 years after the start of the First World War and of course, 70 years after Normandy. The Reviewing Officer was General the Lord Dannatt GCB, CBE, MC, DL, who was Chief of the General Staff and a Commissioner of the Royal Hospital. He is currently Constable of the Tower of London.
The morning began at 10.30 with the Band of the Grenadier Guards, followed by the Coldstream Guards and then the formal Review of the Chelsea Pensioners who stood boldly in their magnificent red coats and tricorne hats, proudly wearing their medals. Those unable to walk, paraded in their wheelchairs. It was moving to see them, many well advanced in years. Following Lord Dannatt’s address, the Pensioners cheered their Pious Founder King Charles 11, Her Majesty the Queen and General the Lord Dannatt.
One thing I didn’t mention: the weather. Or rather the rain, which began precisely at 10.30 and ended at 11.35, when the Parade ended. It was intense, like stair rods, but we all sat there riveted by the Parade in front of our eyes.