Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Common Hall - a Liveryman's duty, Thursday 24th June 2010
The Master Constructor, Dr Christine Rigden (about to be re-elected as an Ale Conner for the City) and the Master Information Technologist, Charles Hughes (who has just celebrated the award to his company of their Royal Charter) assembling with all the other Livery Company Masters in the Old Library at Guildhall. We were ordered into line in order of precedence, juniors first, then processed into the main hall where the election of Sheriffs takes place.
This is Common Hall, the meeting of the Livery Companies that takes place typically twice a year, once to elect the Sheriffs and the other time to elect the Lord Mayor. Liverymen are entitled to vote and I would encourage all Liverymen to do this at least once in their life. These elections can be contested, so your vote counts.
It is a splendid ceremonial occasion, memorable for the white gloves worn and the posies carried by the Aldermen, the Lord Mayor's huge black tricorn hat (with feathers to die for, Ladies) and the stentorian tones of the Common Cryer calling us to order and conducting much of the proceedings.
This is also the place where the Livery Committee, an organisation that represents all the Livery Companies, presents a report on its activities, including running various briefings and courses for introducing Freemen and Liverymen to the City http://www.liverycommitteecourses.org.uk/ .
Alderman Fiona Woolf was elected as only the third woman to be a Sheriff and, as she said, the tallest. She is an international lawyer with specialist expertise in the utilities sector. She is also currently the Mistress Tax Adviser i.e. the Master Tax Adviser's lady.
Richard Sermon was elected as the Lay Sheriff. He is a specialist in financial communications, corporate governance and reputation management (technically, he could be a Marketor). Our Clerk, Adele Thorpe, is one of his team of supporters so we have a personal connection with both Sheriffs for the coming year.