Monthly Archives: November 2014

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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