Friday, 29 October 2010

Brand Finance Conference and Advertising Association Reception 26th & 28th October 2010

I mention these two events together, although they were not strictly Livery occasions, because both focussed on how the advertising profession could express its value and utility to society. We are all interested in the ethics of marketing and of its constituent skill-sets, so it was good to hear the latest thinking on this. For further information take a look at: and

Furniture Makers' Lunch - Thursday 21st October

The Furniture Makers are a modern livery company with a hall in the City of London - most unusual and interesting to see. They are also taking the (I believe rare) step of creating corporate Liverymen, in other words companies who wish to be associated with the Livery. As always we were delightfully hosted and entertained.

Royal Charter - 19th October 2010

The greatest day in the Marketors' history, when HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT presented us with our Royal Charter at Guildhall.

We started preparing almost a year ago, taking a chance on booking the Great Hall (shown above, although we had long tables, not round ones) before we knew we would be awarded the Charter.

A huge amount of work done by the committee, especially our Clerk, Adele Thorpe, resulted in a never-to-be-forgotten occasion. I cannot do justice here to it but the full story will be in the souvenir brochure and DVD to be sent to every Freeman and Liveryman of the Marketors. You might like to read the views of a guest, the Master Draper, on his blog:

Coverage also from the Livery Committee's website:

Chartered Accountants Installation Dinner - 12th October 2010

Our Clerk and I dined as guests of the Chartered Accountants on the occasion when they installed their new Master. It is always interesting to see how other companies do things - one of the nice ideas we picked up from them is for the Master to sign a copy of his declaration to serve the Company.

I was fortunate enough to sit next to Alderman Roger Gifford, Master of the International Bankers. Although we discussed more serious subjects, we also agreed that the City's Sung Grace (Laudi Spirituali of 1545) is set in too high a key. The third line is too high for altos and basses, so I end up singing that line at tenor pitch. Ho hum, the challenges of being a Master.

Women of the Year Lunch - Monday 11th October

I was honoured to be invited to the Women of the Year Lunch. Roz Morris generously nominated me and here we both are - note the slight lack of focus was the result of indoor lighting, it had nothing to do with the excellence of the lunch!

So many of those attending had done amazing things in the sphere of charitable work or what could now perhaps be called "Big Society" volunteering. It made me feel very humble by comparison.

The event was hosted by the wonderful Sandi Toksvig - a pocket battleship of humour and good cheer - and while celebrating the successes of women, the tone was determinedly NOT anti-man. Thank goodness.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Lighting the Way - Friday 8th October 2010

Lunch with the Lightmongers' Company, whose Master, Hugh Ogus, has been such a kind and wise friend this year - he is in his second Mastership so really knows the ropes. After welcoming the guests he gave a short exposition on energy-efficient light bulbs. Did you know that there are eco-halogen bulbs, which don't save quite as much energy as the most efficient new bulbs, but which give a better quality of light? I didn't but I shall be looking out for them.

Harvest of the Sea service at Billingsgate Thursday 7th October 2010

Got up at ten to five and caught almost the first tube from Holland Park to Mile End where Sally Muggeridge and husband David Williams rescued me from the clutches of 3 chivalrous cockneys and bore me off to Billingsgate Market. This used to be beside the Thames just west of the Tower but now sits alongside Canary Wharf, incongruously under the new towers of HSBC and Barclays.
The market was in full swing and my eyes were out on stalks at the fabulous display of fish and seafood of all kinds. It is a retail market so anyone can go and buy there. Saturday is the busiest day.
At 7 o'clock a brass band struck up and we took part in a short Harvest Festival service conducted with great aplomb by Canon Flora Winfield, with the market buying and selling continuing quietly in the background. What an experience, especially when you rejoin the rest of the world at about 8.30 (after breakfast with kedgeree - what else?) with a sense of virtue at having been 'up and doing' so early.
Do go next year if you can.

Hearts of oak and the Nelson touch - 4th October 2010

A delightful extra social event was organised this evening by Liveryman Jenny Moseley. Her good friend David Williams (not our Court Assistant of the same name) is an expert on Nelson and Admiral Collingwood, who fought alongside Nelson frequently. David gave us a wonderful illustrated lecture and brought a piece of original oak from HMS Victory as the top prize in a charity raffle. We even have a descendant of Collingwood in the Marketors, but I'm not telling who!

Ward Clubs - yet more learning 4th October 2010

I was invited today as a guest of our Clerk, Adele Thorpe, to the Annual Civic Luncheon of the Ward of Cheap Ward Club. The Wards are electoral constituencies in the City of London and the Ward Clubs support the Alderman and Common Councilmen who represent the Ward in the local authority, the Corporation of London. A charming and welcoming group of people with many years of City knowledge and experience between them.

Lord Mayor's conference on Values and Trust in the City - Monday 4th October 2010

You may have spotted a letter in the FT on Wednesday 29th September from 17 leaders of the financial services sector in the City, pledging themselves to exercise leadership to "create, oversee and imbue their organisations with an enlightened culture based on professionalism and integrity".

On the following Monday, Lord Mayor Nick Anstee hosted a seriously heavy-hitting conference to take the conversation beyond law and regulation and to stimulate the shift from talk to action. Speakers included Marcus Agius, Chairman of Barclays, and Hector Sants, Chief Executive of the Financial Services Authority. The tone of the meeting was clear: we accept we have a problem and we have to do something about it.

This is a subject close to my heart (part of the holistic sustainability agenda that is my theme for the year) so I was delighted when the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants invited Sally Muggeridge, Junior Warden, and me to join a team working on this topic with the Lord Mayor-elect, Michael Bear. Watch this space.

'Rules for the Conduct of Life' - modern version from a church with no Sunday services - 30th September 2010

If you are a Freeman of the City of London, you will have been given a copy of this publication, written for apprentices in about 1740. Of course although the context has changed, the values haven't.
The Guild Vicar at St Lawrence Jewry, Canon David Parrott, has rewritten the Rules into modern English to make them more readable, especially for young Freemen. The new edition will be launched at a lecture on 29th November at 6pm. More details from
StLJ is a Guild Church i.e. it doesn't have a parish but serves a particularcommunity, in this case all those who work for the Corporate of London, especially those in Guildhall. Most of their services take place during the week because hardly anyone is there over the weekends.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Mayoral election "bears" fruit

Taking part in the election of the Lord Mayor is something every Liveryman should do at least once in their life. It combines City pageantry with exercising your civic duty and is just good fun.

The day started for me with breakfast as a guest of the Cook and the Butler (who were our caterers for the Installation Dinner and Spring Lunch this year) and included a squirrel casserole - tasty in its own way but slightly bitter so not my choice for future breakfasts.

Thence to the crypt in Guildhall to robe up and join the other Masters processing in colourful array across the yard to St Lawrence Jewry church (see also next post) for divine service. Back to Guildhall before processing into the Great Hall for the election.

The three eligible candidates' names were called out, to which the hall replied with a shouted "All" for the preferred one, "Next" for the one to follow next year, and "Later" for the third.

It's a solemn occasion but humour is not far below the surface, as when the Common Cryer and Serjeant-at-Arms (the same person) bellows "Silence!" into a hall where you could hear a pin drop. And when the Aldermen retire to determine their choice between the two candidates put forward by the Livery, the Assistant Town Clerk (Chief Executive in Corporation of London-ese) does what can only be described as a "turn", entertaining the troops while we await the results.

Alderman Michael Bear emerged as the Lord Mayor-elect and made a speech in which he promised plenty of ursine humour in the year ahead. He takes office on Friday 12th November, the day before his Lord Mayor's Show.

The vote of thanks to Lord Mayor, Nick Anstee, who is now approaching the end of his year, was given by HRH The Princess Royal, this year's Master Butcher (NA is a Butcher). She is a great supporter of the Livery in general and gives a good speech.

Lunch followed at the always-hospitable Farmers' and Fletchers' Hall and the day ended with the Worshipful Company of Musicians' Choral Evensong at St Paul's, followed by the third meal out of the day.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Interest sprouts in Brussels - 27/28th September 2010

This is the Hemicycle, at the heart of the European Parliament building. It's where the 736 MEPs meet and debate - literally, hugely impressive.
Below is a sculpture which symbolises the entwining of the 27 countries that now make up the EU.

Thanks to the inspiration and hard work of Past Master David Hanger, Junior Warden Sally Muggeridge, Silvia Cambie and Janet Morris, a group of Marketors had a fantastic 24 hours in Brussels learning about how the EU works and visiting a lobbying organisation (FAEP), the Commission and the Parliament.

Did you know that 80% of our laws are now created in Brussels - all the ones that involve trading standards, rights to work in different countries etc. So, like it or not, we need to engage with the EU and ensure that our preferences are known and our interests represented. We pay 1% of our GDP to fund it, so we might as well get value for our money.
Did you know that the average MEP is 20 years older than a Westminster MP and has had a "real job/life" before going into politics?
We all learned a great deal and came home with a new respect for those who struggle to create an open market across 27 different countries and even more cultures and languages. It may cost a lot, but it's cheaper than the wars that preceded it.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

A successful experiment - 22nd September 2010

Today we had our first members-only event of the year (and I believe for some time), lunch at Butchers' Hall. Diane Morris booked us a large table in their dining hall and 14 of us sat down to their wonderful set menu (highlight - roast beef). We rotated places between courses so that everyone could meet as many people as possible.

Conclusions: worth repeating; lunchtime suits some members better than evenings; more privacy would have enabled us to have a collective conversation but this was still enjoyable; a different dynamic without partners, but nice for a change.

Images of St Paul's - 22nd September 2010

There is a collection of paintings, drawings and sculputure produced by over 50 artists to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the completion of Sir Christopher Wren's great enterprise. It is in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral and all the items are for sale with proceeds going to support the maintenance and mission of the Cathedral. They are wonderfully diverse and show modern "takes" on a traditional theme. Well worth a visit.

Sheriff's badges are not star-shaped - 21st September 2010

If you are a Liveryman, each year you will receive two letters from the lead supporters of the incoming Sheriffs, asking if you would like to donate to their Shrieval badges. I never really appreciated what this was about until this year.

Each Sheriff has to buy their own badge of office to wear during their year - it's not provided for them, hence the appeal for donations. This year I had met both new Sheriffs during the course of the year so felt I knew them quite well. For the first time I made a small donation and it's something I will do again in coming years.
As a result, I was invited to see this beautiful badge being presented to Alderman Fiona Woolf at a reception held at Carpenters' Hall for all her supporters. If you are coming to our Charter celebrations, you will see her wearing it there. It's full of symbolism of her life and career.