Monday, 28 February 2011

A Memorable Museum

Last Saturday saw a fine body of Marketors assembled for a memorable private tour of the London Museum. This is the world's largest urban history museum with over 1.1 million exhibits

                                      The Roman Gallery                                   

The Museum has been completely redesigned and extended and now has nine galleries  of which five were opened in the summer last year. With only a morning available we did not see all 1.1 millon exhibits! But split into two groups with a guide each we were taken to see hand picked exhibits beginning with London before London; then Roman London, Medieval London; through the plague and great fire of London on through the expansion of the City in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries until we reached Victorian London and then from the turn of the last Century up to today. An absolutely fascinating tour leaving everyone wanting more.

In traditional style we then repaired for sustenance after such an arduous morning. A private area had been reserved for us in the Concerto Restaurant within the new New Exchange complex round the corner from the Museum, where a splendid lunch was consumed leaving those free for some retail therapy to explore the rest of New Change.

The Start Initative : One Day

Earlier in the month the Prince of Wales launched a new initiative to help everyone lead more sustainable lives. It's called 'START' and has heavyweight backing from the likes of M & S; IBM; BT; B&Q; Virgin and others.It's aim is to help people ''make a start'. Instead of telling people what to stop doing START will provide practical information on how to take easy steps towards greater sustainability.

As part of this initiative, together with Business in the Community, the Marketing Society is inviting businesses, brands and media owners to come together for a single day to encourage more sustainable choices. The name of the intiative : One Day, reflects the chosen day : 1:11:11. Companies are asked to chose one action that day and get involved.

I suspect that One Day will receive increasing publicity in the Marketing media as time goes by. If your organisation would like to become involved go to the web sites for more information .

Friday, 25 February 2011

The Magic of Glass

Where would we be without glass. No telescopes, no microscopes, no windows, restricted chemistry and medical equipment,no TVs or computers, no bottles, no enamel, no fibre optics and so the list goes on. Earlier in the week I was a guest of the Master Glass Seller, a personal friend, at their Annual Ravenscroft Lecture. George Ravenscroft, in whose memory this lecture is held, lived in the mid seventeenth century and is remembered today for his role in the invention and subsequent development of  lead crystal glass. There is some debate over how, when  and why Ravencroft got the idea to use lead in the production of glass (he was a very secretive man). However as we all know lead glass has a higher refractive index making it appear sparklingly bright and brilliant in light and it 'rings when struck'.

The speaker was Dr Bob King a physicist who was a key mover at Triplex, subsequently Pilkington, in researching and developing new materials that were needed for the Concorde windscreen programme. These windscreens were made up of many layers, as all jet windsreens now are. Part of the programme was the development of a new highly transparent electrically conducting coating which is now universally used on civil and military aircraft windscreens. At the same time LCD (Liquid crystal display) technology was under development  and the windscreen work was found to be ideally suited to to these displays and has been utilised in such products ever since. Bob King's lecture was delivered with excellent colour slides making the technical easy for the layman to understand.

The magic in the title is an oblique reference to the fact that Bob King is a magician and has been President of the British magic circle. It goes without that he ended his lecture with a dazzling piece of magic.

Marketor on Television

On Monday our own Lesley Wilson featured in the BBC programme Inside Out. A part of the programme was a look at the Freedom of the City and the actual award of the Freedom in the Chamberlain's office; which is what featured Lesley. She came across as modest and articulate, every bit the modern Marketor.
If you missed the programme and would like to see it click on the link

The part of the programme which features Freedom and Lesley starts at around 19 minutes and lasts just over 9 minutes.  You will also find the Senior Warden smiling charmingly in the background!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Much more than just curry

Eating food prepared by an Award winning chef is always a great  pleasure and it was even more of a pleasure last night. Thanks to an initiative by Liveryman Dan Doherty 68 of us sat down to a specially prepared, mouthwatering, mutton based meal last night at Cafe Spice Namaste. Amongst the 68 were we were honoured to have Lady Mayoress Barbara Bear, together with Sheriff Richard Sermon's wife Rosemary, Ann-Marie Jubber from thr Lord Mayor's Appeal office and Andrew Whitton who is standing for Sheriff in the June elections. The reason we were so graced was that the dinner had a charity element and was in support of the Lord Mayors' Appeal--Bear Necessities.

Cafe Spice is a remarkable venue and an iconic landmark Indian Restaurant in Whitechapel. It ia an award winning institution with a feted chef, Cyrus Todiwala, who runs the restaurant with Pervis his wife and co-owner. Cyrus was awarded the OBE in 2010, is a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, an author of three successful cookery books, a visiting professor, and TV and radio performer as well as a producer of his own brand of pickles and chutneys. And he still finds time to cook!

He certainly did us proud last night with a wonderfully constucted meal reflecting Cyrus's innovative and fresh approach to Pan-Indian cuisine. He kindly talked through the menu and at the end of the meal took a Q & A session where his passion for good and sustainable cooking shone through. Lady Mayoress Barbara completed a very successful evening by wandering round the tables talking with people to everyones' great pleasure. A very happy evening--and no one left Cafe Spice hungry but rather with a much better unnderstanding of what real Indian cuisine is about.


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

''Life's just a cabaret old chum''

Splendid entertainment last night at Wiltons Music Hall as a guest of Adele Thorpe, our Clerk, who had organised the trip to Wiltons on behalf of her Ward Club, Aldgate, of which she has recently been elected President.
A listed building Wiltons is the oldest surviving Grand Music Hall in the world. Originally 5 terraced houses, John Wilton opened Wiltons Music Hall in 1858. After many ups and downs it is now owned by a Trust and has 'events' on many nights of the week. Last night's show was the classic 'Cabaret' which many will remember from the famous film starring Liza Minnelli.
The performance was by drama students from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, a body celebrating its 150 anniversary this year. The performance was unquestionably well up to professional standard both in  music and acting. If you've never been to Wiltons, go, it's a remarkable place and I have little doubt you will have the same enjoyment that we had last night.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

From Our Foreign Correspondent

Liveryman Andrew Pound recently departed for the warmer climes of Dubai. He reports that currently on an official tour of the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Lord Mayor Michael Bear was the guest of honour in Dubai at a lunch and reception at the Cass Business School, part of City University, of which he is Chancellor. Interestingly, besides being Lord Mayor, Sir John Cass was both Alderman and Sherrif of the ward of Portsoken, which is today represented by Michael Bear.

 Andrew was able to put to him a question about the lessons the City of London could share with the countries in the Gulf region.  The Lord Mayor highlighted that London remained at the top of the World Bank's ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’, and cited the progress made by UK firms to embrace better corporate governance, diversity and transparency initiatives like the OFR. He contrasted this with the Gulf countries ranking 40-50 and said he believed that UK firms could help local companies who sought to promote greater transparency in business.
Over drinks the Lord Mayor expressed his gratitude to the Marketors for their generous donation to his appeal - the first livery company to make a donation.
Sheriff Fiona Woolf, accompanying the Lord Mayor on the visit, fondly remembered the charter ceremony and wanted particularly to compliment the Company on its website. When preparing for her speech she had found it packed full of information, especially surrounding the more scientific side of marketing measurement. It was an eye-opener for her, and reinforced her belief in the valuable role that the modern livery companies have to play. The flag is clearly flying strongly for the Company in the Middle East

Friday, 11 February 2011

Visit to the College of Arms

                                                                                                                                                                                                         A very successful and interesting trip last night to the College of Arms in the City. We were hosted by William Hunt the Windsor Herald, a title going back to 1364. He wears many hats including being a member of the Court of Common Council and having historically been Master of the Worshipful Company of Playing Card Makers.He started by giving us a fascinating insight into the role of the College as the official repository of the coats of arms and pedigrees of eminent people and families as well as the large amount of genealogical research undertaken.

We subsequently went into the very private records office where books as far back as 1530 were opened. The way in which coats of arms were,and still are, designed was amply demonstrated with a large variety of antique records being opened for us.

The evening finished with a handsome buffet in this wonderful Grade one listed building

Simon Campbell Davies, the Event Director,
the Master and the Windsor Herald

Monday, 7 February 2011

Quaint Customs In Old Halls

You will I'm sure be familiar with the dispute between the Skinners and the Merchant Taylors which came to a head in 1484 when the two guilds erupted into violence during the Mayor of London's river procession, an occasion when everone wanted to be seen 'up front'. Their dispute over precedence was resolved by the Lord Mayor who ordered that the two companies would alternate in precedence each year one being six the other being seven, the next year the order being reversed. Giving rise to the phrase 'to be at sixes and sevens'.

Last week I had the pleasure of being a guest at Skinners Hall at their Dinner for the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, all of whom were there. A small Grade 1 listed building the hall has enormous charm--and the Company some very quaint cusoms. Here are three:

  1. The hall itself being narrow there is only space for 3 long sprigs. When the Master wishes to take wine with diners he does so a sprig at a time. The first sprig stands and shouts 'Master' as loudly as possible. Then it is the next sprigs turn, then the third sprig. Each trying to outshout the others. It is truly a deafening shouting competition between sprigs. There are no prizes!
  2. At the Installation Dinner for the new Master the outgoing Master puts a special cap on the head of one of the principal guests at which point everyone shouts out ''it doesn't fit''. The cap is then placed on the head of another principal guest and again the shout goes up ''it doesn't fit'' (there seems to be a lot of shouting at Skinners).This goes on several times until the cap is placed on the head of the new Master at which point the shout goes up ''it fits''. Hence we have the phrase 'if the cap fits wear it.'
  3. The Company, dating from the fourteenth century, has accumulated significant treasure. Its most precious treasures are silver-gilt cockerells dating from 1599. The head lifts off and they are in fact cups.. New Liverymen, at a dinner, are required to march behind a band, hold one of these great treasures and run several laps round the room whilst the diners jostle them and make the run difficult.
There is no doubt that old Companies do indeed have quaint customs

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Eating with a conscience

Back to Stationers Hall less than two weeks after my Installation. This was the Stationers' annual
Master and Clerks' Dinner and was held in the Court room rather than the hall since it is a far more intimate gathering. I'm beginning to meet more Masters from other Companies whom I know, so I feel I'm getting into the job, as it were.

Adele who would normally accompany me at such a Masters and Clerks' event was, the same evening, elsewhere being installed as the new President of the Aldgate Ward club. Many congratulations to her.

Whilst it's always a pleasure to enjoy another Company's hospitality there was, I thought, a certain irony in feasting on good food and wine whilst the enormous oil painting dominating the room is of King Alfred Sharing His Cakes With A Begger, by the late eighteenth century/early ninteenth century Anglo-American artist Benjamin West.
At a sumputous lunch last week in Vintners Hall, surely one of the finest in the City, I found myself seated between two Clerks. On my right was the Clerk to the Broderers an ancient Livery company with its roots in the craft of embroidery. There were, he observed, not a lot of members still in the craft. But I rejoined at least you must have a strong female membership. Not so apparently, and he commented that anyway all the great embroiderers were men. He then ruminated that the finest exponents of a great many of the supposedly traditional female crafts --cooking, fashion design, flower arranging, knitting were all men. The conversation then conveniently moved away on to a very old custom of the Broderers. At every Court Dinner the Master has to sing the Broderers song. This not a short song and apparently the more out of tune the Master the greater the delight of the audience. I am mighty grateful that I am a Master of the Marketors and not the Broderers!