Sunday, 31 July 2011
Friday, 15 July 2011
There were a good crowd of people there including a number of London Borough Mayors. In all cases the the massiveness of their gold chains and badges eclipsed most of the Master's Badges and chains that I have seen. It's nice to think that local councils have some of their own gold reserves.
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Times change but this time honoured tradition continues to be maintained by the Worshipful Company of Carmen. Once a year Carmen bring their treasured vehicles to be branded, or marked, with a red hot iron, on a wooden plate which each vehicle carries.. This ancient ceremony acts as a reminder of centuries of service to the City. The vehicles vary enormously and to give you some idea here are a few.
I have no idea!
Ann original Smithfield Bumaree
If you have never seen this ceremony, attended by the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, make a note to go next year. It is a truly eccentric British one-off.
The Awards Dinner is clearly a major event in the Company's year. The Awards are divided into two categories: Civilian and Service which explains something that initially puzzled me: why were there so many armed forces personnel in full kit at the dinner? This incidentally is a Company whose members and Officers keep their service titles even though they are in civilian life, or retired. Always a strange habit I have thought. In civilian life retirees do not continue to use their work titles when they retire.
The Awards took the form of Medals, Financial Prizes and Certificates. There were six Civilian prizes awarded and eleven Service Awards. The Clerk did a masterly job of reading through all seventeen citations. It was a happy and impressive event with a minimum of speeches, excellent food and great efficiency--as you would expect from engineers.
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
The AGM was interesting for the light it threw on the Fund's current activities. With a total income of £179,376 the majority, £161,221 was spent on charitable activities. These activities were in the main small grants to individuals to help them get back on their feet. 1,040 grants in total were given for anything from clothing, tools of the trade to educational/skills based courses. Helping ex-prisoners in this way helps reduce re-offending, relieves hardship and gives people an opportunity for a new start. The Sheriffs' and Recorder's Fund is a remarkable City institution doing good in a simple way for over 200 years.
Monday, 11 July 2011
Saturday, 9 July 2011
Before lunch a tour of the Guildhall art gallery and the amphitheatre had been arranged and this was much enjoyed despite the high volume of noise created in Guildhall yard by the City of London Festival Procession which started from the Yard. 1,000 young people from across London formed a multi coloured display with much loud music in a procession which wended it's way subsequently through many of the streets of the square mile. The City of London Festival is a major annual cultural event which runs from 6 June until 12 August. See http://www.colf.org/
Back in the Guildhall dining room 29 sat down to a fine lunch following a drinks reception. We were fortunate to have a guest speaker--Murray Craig from the Chamberlain's office, who is a witty speaker and who regaled us with stories of the extraordinary things he has experienced at the many Freedom ceremonies at which he has officiated.
The lunch was adjudged a great success so it may well be repeated next year, who knows.
Thursday, 7 July 2011
Matt started by defining innovation as 'profitable creativity' and went on to give the formula :
I+I+I =Innovation which he explained as Insight+ Ideas + Implementation =Innovation.He then went on tell a series of stories, always the best way to make your points, which exemplified the formula. Essentially what he was talking about was how leaders make innovation happen in big organisations. From Kingfisher to Google via Four Seasons to Apple he told story after story. He explained some of the unusual research techniques which Whatif? use and questions and comments flowed from the floor throughout. A lively Q and A session followed before we finished and repaired to another floor to talk on and enjoy a very good buffet lunch
The tea which is provided for everyone is actually very good-fine sandwiches and cakes. The most extra ordinary thing though is that very large numbers of people sit in chairs in long rows, several deep, in front of the Royal Pavilion just staring at the royal party eating their tea. I'm sure the royals are world weary enough not to be disconcerted but strange and poor manners nevertheless. The gardens are a great pleasure to walk around, they're quite immaculate and happily the sun shone all afternoon. Perfect summer party weather. Walking round we bumped into a number of other Masters whom we knew so it was quite sociable as well as being novel.
Her Majesty the Queen accompanied the Duke as did the Princess Royal. We were all personally introduced to each royal before the dinner. The Menu was a joy and a wonderful souvenir but the food and drink were sensational. With such small numbers the tables were in a simple horseshoe shape. With these guests of honour the Fishmongers, if you will excuse the pun, pushed the boat out. A glorious meal was followed by two short speeches, one from the Prime Warden of the Fishmongers Company and one in response by the Duke. The Prime Warden paid tribute to Prince Philip's service to our country and to his tireless support to the Queen for decades. He told the dinner that the Queen had given him a special 90th Birthday present. She had conferred on him the Title and Office of Lord High Admiral which means he is now head of the Navy--a position formerly held by the monarch.
Prince Philip paid tribute to Livery but observed that he was scaling back his commitments. He told the BBC '' I reckon I've done my bit. I want to enjoy myself a bit now, with less responsibility, less frantic rushing around, less trying to think of something to say.'' What he said after dinner was similar and received a great applause. On a separate occasion the Prime Minister said he was ''a remarkable man who has given years of his service to our country, someone who has defended his nation in times of war, a man who has stood alongside Her Majesty the Queen for over six decades, a man who has given his time and effort and passion to so many great causes up and down the country, across the Commonwealth and indeed across the world'' These words reflected the mood of that evening. It was a singular privilege to be there and is one of the greatest highlights of my year so far.