Thursday, 15 November 2012

Basketmakers and Skinners


Every year the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers invite one third of the City Livery Companies to a Masters & Clerks Dinner. This time the Marketors were included amongst the invitees. This was particularly appropriate as the Clerk of the Basketmakers, Roger de Pilkyngton, is retiring at the end of the year, and is a Past Master of the Marketors. Coincidently their new Clerk is to be Julie Fox who occasionally assists our Clerk at our own Great Events.

On this occasion the Basketmakers, formed in 1569 from weavers of baskets and chair seats, and number 52 amongst Livery Companies, to our number 90, chose to have their event in the Hall of the Skinners who were formed in 1327 and are either 6th or 7th depending on whether it is an even or odd year. This fine hall, on a site that the Company has owned since the 1400s, was first a medieval hall that was burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666 but is essentially still the second hall rebuilt in the 1680, having survived the wear and tear of centuries, and the bombing of two world wars, as indeed did the chandelier in the entrance which was a gift of Catherine the Great. The building is now a scheduled ancient monument, Grade I listed.

Our host for the evening was the new Prime Warden of the Basketmakers Alderman, Neil Redcliffe who I had met the evening before at the Horners. Interestingly his father is a Past Prime Warden and his mother and daughter are both Liverymen of the Basketmakers. The speaker for the guests was H C Jourdain, Prime Warden of the Dyers Company who had some fascinating and amusing insights into the history of the two companies. He was a truly entertaining speaker. And so, at the end of what was an excellent evening, I made my way home by strolling across London Bridge. Ah, the joys of living in central London.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

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