Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Chelsea Physic Garden


London’s oldest botanic garden, Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries for the purpose of training apprentices in identifying plants.Situated in the heart of London, it has a unique living collection of around 5,000 different edible, useful, medicinal and historical plants. To this  peaceful green oasis came a group of Marketors to view the many rare and endangered species and wonder at such as the largest outdoor fruiting olive tree in Britain and the world’s most northerly outdoor grapefruit tree. From pomegranates to ginkgos, mulberries to eucalyptus, there are over 100 different types of tree in the Garden.

The other attraction for the Marketors was the Physic Garden's annual reception and prize giving. This was a typical English summer garden scene with a scattering of floral dresses and panama hats plus, of course, the wine and the nibbles and the polite applause. A very gentile affair. From here many of the Marketors wound their way to a nearby Gordon Ramsey restaurant which, unfortunately, we were unable to attend. And so a good time was had by all thanks to our Middle Warden's wife Pam Mullins who has had a long association with the garden, and Freeman Simone Davies who ably organised the two visits.

John Flynn
Master Marketors

Thursday, 26 July 2012

St Brides Gala


St Bridges Church, the Marketors church, is tucked away behind Fleet Street. This magical space was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1703. Its 226 foot spire looks remarkably like a wedding cake, but the reality is that wedding cakes look like it. Excavation has unearthed at least six previous churches on the site with artifacts dating back to 45AD. To learn more of its fascinating history visit www.sbrides.com/history . So why here on this night?

As part of the Olympic celebration St Brides have five very different celebrations leading up to the opening. Tonight was a gala concert in support of the Inspire!Appeal - repairing the iconic spire. The magnificent St Brides choir of over 40 voices was joined by the orchestra of over 30 musicians for an evening entitled "Claire Seaton & Friends" which was a tribute to Claire who has been with St Brides for 25 years. Led by her the programme of 15 pieces included such delights as Pie Jesu, the Flower Duet, Au fond du temple saint, the Easter Hymn and surprises such as Three little maids and a variation of I've got them on the list sung by Cannon David Meara as a tribute to Claire. The skill and artistry of the musicians and singers, coupled with the acoustics in this beautiful church made this truly a night to remember.

John Flynn
Master Marketor  

Friday, 20 July 2012

A Day for Celebrations


The first celebration was of the life of Neil Crighton, a Liveryman of the Company. This delightful service took place in the morning at All Hallows by the Tower and was led by our own the Venerable David Meara. Tributes came from friends in the Speakers Club, the West Farley Sports Club and the Marketors for whom Middle Warden Roddy Mullin spoke. There was also an extract from the article Neil wrote when he learnt of his illness. In all a most uplifting event ably led by Joan, his wife.

The next celebration was the Marketors Banquet at the Mansion House. I was advised that of all the Marketors Great Events this is the one that makes the most impact on a Masters year. They were not wrong. This was a truly memorable occasion which was attended by almost 200 people. Amongst our guests was the Lady Mayoress of the City of London, Liz Wootton whose residence it is, together with the Sheriff Alderman Alan Yarrow who was also the speaker. Interestingly he congratulated me for the most painful pun of the year which was "Then there is our relation with the financial sector, but I would not want to LIBOR that point".

A Ceremonial Court and a reception preceded the event with the music provided throughout by Dragonfly, a group of travelling Tudor player who perfectly reflected the Shakespearean theme. There was also the London Banqueting Ensemble who, amongst other things, brought a new level of excellence and excitement to, what became, a competitive Post Horn Gallop. It was also a delight to see so many friends clearly enjoying this Great Event in these amazing surroundings. A truly memorable occasion. 

John Flynn
Master Marketor.  

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Finally St Albans


It wasn't a good start to the journey to Portsmouth. A small group of us got on a train at Waterloo only to discover that British Rail had later changed the platform number. Fortunately we noticed in time and so only  arrived 30 minutes late rather than ending up at the wrong destination. While others had been on board HMS St Albans before, and even sailed with her, this was my first visit. Interestingly her name dates back to 1687 when she was a 50 gun Ship of the Line.

We were greeted by the captain, Commander Sharpe, in his quarters and then shown around the ship. We had, of course, met earlier in the month when we sponsored his receipt of the Freedom of the City of London. While the tour was a complex journey with extremely steep staircases it was well worth it to discover the role that our Navy plays and the difficult conditions in which they have to perform. The question is of course why a navy? Two answers which resonate with me are that almost everything in the home reached our shores by sea, and the UK needs an oil tanker to off load every eight minutes to keep us in fuel. We need open sea lanes.

And so to the purpose of the visit, the prize giving. Our contribution was the Marketors Cup which went to the person who contributed most to the positioning and promotion of the ship and its crew. This was presented by Past Master Jim Surguy who donated the cup last year. Another prize was awarded by Lady Susie Essenhigh who is the ship's sponsor and who brought her husband Admiral Sir Nigel Richard Essenhigh, GCB, ADC, who served as First Sea Lord and is now chief executive of Northrop Grumman's  Information Systems Europe business, an organisation I was involved with in the past. Conversation over lunch in the ward room ranged from the defence budget to music and as always was both interesting and entertaining. 

Having had a brief look at Portsmouth Harbour I really must return soon to view the various ships moored there plus, of course, Henry the VIII's Mary Rose.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Old Bailey


Back to the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, for the second time this year, but on this occasion with the Mistress. Fortunately this was because of the good that the Marketors do rather than a misdemeanour on my part. The occasion was the Annual General Meeting of the Sheriffs' and Recorder's Fund, a charity which was set up in 1808 to help London's ex-prisoners and their families. The grants made cover such needs as tools of trade, education & training, clothing and household equipment. Of those receiving the grants 10% re-offend within 6 months against a national rate of 53% - so a real success.

The speakers included a beneficiary of the fund who gave a moving description of her experience. She was followed by The Rt Revd. & Rt Hon. Richard Chartes, the Bishop of London. His was possibly the best speech I have heard this year. It was at one, moving, entertaining, informative and rousing, but then, as a neighbour said "he does have the advantage of sounding like God".

John Flynn
Master Marketor  

Monday, 16 July 2012

The first shall be last


The City Livery Concert at the Barbican Concert Hall was the first ever and was the brainchild of the Marketors, and in particular Liveryman Steven Rowe, who conceived of the idea almost two years ago. This was taken up by Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, now Master of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, who brought together the London Symphony Orchestra, the Barbican Centre and the Guildhall School of Music to create this amazing event.

With an audience including 750 from the Livery, plus the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, this was a fitting conclusion to the 50th City of London Festival. The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev, together with soprano Renee Fleming, performed Debussy's "La mer", Henri Dutilleux's "le temps l'horloge", Ravel's "Sheherazade", and the amazing "Petrushka" by Stravinsky. A truly moving and emotional occasion.

A reception in the interval gave the opportunity for a welcome from Kathryn McDowell, the LSO Managing Director, and Alderman David Wootton, the Right Honourable The Lord Mayor who took the opportunity to announced his forthcoming Composition Prize. In all a memorable Sunday evening in delightful company. If you missed it why not book for the next one which will be Sunday 16th June 2013.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Cranfield to Cookham


Yesterday was a day of travel. First from Cranfield Business School in Oxfordshire, where I had attended the Practise Advisory Board the day before, back to home where I changed cases and made my way to Cookham in Berkshire and the home of the Chartered Institute of Marketing at Moor Hall. The occasion was the annual Fellows dinner which, as always, is an opportunity to catch up with old friends and to meet new ones. The formal Marketors activity was the presentation of a plaque to the CIM for their support in last years Lord Mayors Show. This was made by Junior Warden, and CIM liaison person, Michael Harrison and it was received by Sir Paul Judge, President of the CIM and also Past Master of the Marketors. Those present ranged from one of the Founders of the Marketors, Austin Nunn to the new chief executive of the CIM Anne Godfrey. In all it was a most enjoyable evening. And so this morning it was back to London and thence to a garden party. Tomorrow it is a special concert at the Barbican, but more of that in the next blog.

John Flynn
Master Marketor 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Vehicle Licencing of Old


The parade through Guildhall Yard was very different to the usual, comprising as it did of vehicles old and new. Ranging from a simple handcart through to horse drawn carriages, charabancs, steam driven vehicles and even the new London bus, the occasion was the annual symbolic branding or "cart marking" which dates back over 500 years and was then a means of licencing the carts and carriers plying their trade in the City of London. This time it was a sample 47 vehicles.

For me the best exhibits were those drawn by the magnificent horses and which included everything from a Mourners Coach, dating from 1887, to an Omnibus and an Ambulance to a Greengrocers Cart. Others were more impressed with the motor driven variety which dated back to 1905 and took us up to the present day with a Toyoto Prius. All of this, together with the reception and lunch which followed, was arranged by the Worshipful Company of Carmen with the Glovers providing protection for the branders, including the Lord Mayor, who handled the red hot branding irons.

Next was a dash to a Marketors review meeting, then a Master & Wardens meeting at Plaisterers, and finally home and on to the theatre for the press night of Mack and Mabel at the Southwark Playhouse. So another busy day.  

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Monday, 9 July 2012

Apprenticeships and Mack & Mabel


Up early and to the Mansion House by 8:15am for a discussion on "Making Apprenticeships Fit for the Future". A sizable gathering of people representing Livery, Education and Business contributed to a programme of first class speakers who were drawn from both large and small companies, and education and training. Led by the Lord Mayor the event was organised by the Livery Companies Skills Council. In addition to apprenticeships the discussion turned to University Technical Colleges (Academies) including the new IT / Mercers Hammersmith Academy, a project with which our Outreach team has been involved.

There was a great deal of useful discussion around the Livery Trades and Technologies, and having started my life in a Technical College and later chaired the development of Marketing NVQ's I found it of great interest. However, the professions, to which the majority of Modern Livery Companies relate, were not discussed. As your Master and Wardens have the question of marketing apprenticeships on their agenda I shall leave my views for another blog. And so off to the Marketors office for a meeting.

Following the meeting I picked up a copy of the Evening Standard on the way home only to find a picture of Bea (Brenda) and I under the headline "Music from Mack and Mabel brought me back from the dead". It was about how I recovered from my op with the help of music from a favourite show - one we recently invested in and which opened the previous week and was to have its press night this Wednesday (11th). So Brenda's PR activities were most timely.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Derek and Dance


Again a day of several parts. First to the Royal Geographic Society to celibrate the life of Derek Holder who died in February. Derek established the direct marketing profession in the UK; conceived, designed and created the world's first ever professional qualification in DM; and was co founder and MD of the Institute of Direct Marketing. His wit, wisdom and warmth were ably described in the many formal tributes from friends and colegues and these continued as about 100 of us mingled after the service. All agreed he was a great loss to the marketing profession.   

And so to the ballet - but first why. Last year the Marketors Trust decided that, while they contribute a great deal to professional education and other worthy causes, they should perhaps contribute to the arts. Past Master Venetia Howes and myself (then Senior Warden) were set the task of researching the options in and around the City and drawing up a shortlist. From the final four the Central School of Ballet rose to the top mainly because of their unique final year touring company which allows students to become involved in the business, as well as the perfomance, of ballet. Tonight was their End of Year Performance at the Bloomsbury Theatre which involved student from all three years in performances covering a range of styles. An excellent event which, for me, showed the true definition of performance art.

John Flynn    
Master Marketor

Friday, 6 July 2012

Surveyors, The City and Shows


The Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors is one of the earlier "new" Companies being number 85 against our 90 and so, not yet having a Hall of their own, have the opportunity to move from one great Hall to another for their events, as do we. On this occasion they chose the delightful Waterman's Hall for their Court & Livery Luncheon to which I and one other Master was invited. Sitting with Prof Alan Gillett, past Master and Founder member, I learnt of their early life and how they evolved. As a Company based on an active profession this was not unlike us. And so to an excellent luncheon with the fellowship one would expect, and only 10 minutes walk from home.

While I usually stick to Marketors business in this blog I thought it might be of interest to learn what else happens to the Master - particularly today. From Monument I took the tube to Embankment where I sat in the Victoria Embankment Gardens and was interviewed by the Evening Standard on the phone. From there I went to a Tomorrow's Company event at PwC entitled Changing the City which was in effect a book launch for James Featherby's "Of Markets and Men". Next down to the ferry to float back to London Bridge and home. Change and off to the Southwark Playhouse, which is only just around the corner, for the opening of "Mack and Mabel" the latest show for which we are angels, and our first Off West End venture. There to be photographed by the Standard with Bea (Brenda) and the producer in front of a poster for the show, this to be published shortly. And so to the show which was all we expected and should be a great success.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Lunch at the Lords


Some while go I mentioned to our Senior Warden Sally Muggeridge that it would be nice to have lunch at the House of Lords, and lo there we were, 38 Marketors and guests in the Attlee Room with our host the Right Honourable The Baroness Royal of Blaisdon, who is Shadow Leader of the House of Lords. While the Baroness's interests include foreign policy, democratic engagement, and youth policies, it was clear from her presentation that she recognises the importance of marketing to politicians and the position of marketing as the business driver (my theme). As she mentioned in the House a month before, British industry has £700Bn on deposit awaiting an upturn in confidence. Her view was that confidence comes with action - the marketers task.

The Attlee Room brought back many memories in that it looks out across the river to St Thomas Hospital where I spent March, amongst other things, gazing at the Palace of Westminster. With the "goodie bag" at the end of the event, and a trip to the HoL Shop for a top up, those attending did not go away empty handed. It was, as expected, a delightful and relaxed event at which I was accompanied by the Mistress and son Ben with his partner Amy. Finally my thanks go to Simon Campbell-Davies who was the Event Director and who, for this event alone, dealt with over 200 emails - that is dedication.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Free St Albans


While there have recently been many opportunities for members of the Marketors to meet with the crew of our new armed forces affiliate, HMS St Albans, I have not been fortunate enough to be at any of them until now. This occasion was the presentation of the Freedom of the City of London to their captain, Commander Sharpe, at the Guildhall. Accompanied by his delightful family including two young, and very well behaved, children this was as always an entertaining ceremony tailored to the profile of the Commander. As sponsors our party included the Clerk plus the Past Master and the Chair and Vice Chair of our AFCC.

For the Commander it was a double event in that we then all went on to Haberdashers Hall where he was also given the Freedom of that Company, they being joint affiliates with us of HMS St Albans. This was followed by a reception and lunch hosted by the Master Haberdasher. In all a most memorable occasion for all concerned.   

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A Day at Verulam


I knew that the Marketors "Ryder Cup" Livery Fellowship Golf Day was big, but did not realise just how big. Over 100 players from 17 Livery Companies plus the CIM, 151 Regiment and various commercial organisations descended on the Verulam golf course in St Albans to partake of 18 holes plus a putting competition. This was preceded by bacon rolls in the morning and followed by a four course dinner at the end. Needless to say we joined them for the latter. The threat of rain held off until the end of the afternoon catching some players but it in no way spoiled the camaraderie and fellowship of the day.

Not being personally involved in golf it was interesting to learn that the history of the club includes the fact that Sam Ryder, he of The Cup, was Captain of Verilum, and that the course, which was opened in 1905, was designed by the great James Braid. My only history in golf is that I attended the 2001 Ryder Cup at the Belfry which, of course, actually took place in 2002. Standing where Tiger Woods stood and looking down the fairway both inspired me and made me realise it was not for me. However, I have great admiration for those who, in all weathers, pursue their sporting goals.

My role for the day was to help hand out the prizes to those that had led the field in various ways. However the real prizes went to Junior Warden Michael Harrison for organising the event and leading it on the day, and to Liveryman Peter Short for his backroom work without which this would not have happened. Its success is reflected in the fact half the places have already gone for next years event.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Lucia in the Park


This evening the cultural level moved up somewhat as we attended a production of Lucia di Lammermoor. This was at the kind invitaton of Mei Sim Lai, the Master of the World Traders Company. An Opera Holland Park production in Holland Park we had no idea what to expect, and certainly did not expect a "picnic" followed by a stunning performance. While it was true to say that it was under canvass, it was attached to the ruins of Holland House and made a most impressive theatrical space. A cast of 40 and an orchestra of 44, including a Glass Harmonica (think wine glasses) created a magnificent rendition of this Scottish Opera writen and performed in Italian. This coupled with the hospitality and fellowship of our hosts made this one of the artistic highlights of our year.

John Flynn
Master Marketor