Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Total Board Meeting Paris 16th/17th December

Not a Marketors event of course but the chance for an opportune word of thanks to Total who have been very supportive to my year in the City as Master of a livery company.
The Board Meeting in Paris each December has been an important event in my diary each year when I can review with other Directors the activities of the past year for the Company.  It is important for Non-Executive Directors to keep fully abreast of both the problems and the successes.   Total is the 5th largest integrated energy company in the world with a presence in more than 130 countries.  We are in the midst of a £5 billion investment programme in the North Sea to ensure future supplies of energy to the UK.  

Court Meeting Information Technologists Hall Thursday 12th December

With a busy programme of activity in January my year as Master is still far from over but barring emergencies, this was the fifth and last Court Meeting of my Master's Year.  Among items for discussion and agreement we put in place the recommendations of the Master-elect in respect to those chairing committees in the forthcoming year.  It also confirmed the rates of quarterage for 2014 to be notified to members.
Business was completed efficiently in good time as I had a train to catch to make a social meeting near my home in the Dover Constituency with fellow Marketor Theresa May.   Dover is a prime gateway to the country and the front line for the Home Office in enforcing immigration policy.

Court Dinner City University Club Wednesday 11th December

The Court Dinner is held towards the end of the Master's year of office and is restricted to members of the Court and their guests, with the Clerk also in attendance. 
The venue chosen was the City University Club which provides a homely atmosphere in the heart of the City.  A drinks reception was held, followed by the four course dinner on the floor above.
My guest speaker was Sir Robert Worcester KBE DL was is chairing the 800th celebrations of the Magna Carta which occurs in 2015. A number of different events is planned and clearly this will need both marketing and financial support.
As entertainment I arranged for Mates and Godfree, well known to me from my time in Parliament running the IPT.  They provided an amusing performance of high standard which was very well received by all present. 

Communication Industry Carol Service at St Bride's Monday 9th December

The Carol Service each year at St Bride's is shared with a number of organisations from the Communications Industry.  With a professional choir the music can be safely predicted to be of an amazing standard and it is a wonderful service to attend in the run up to Christmas. The BBC Newsreader Kate Silverton gave an excellent Christmas address to a full church.   I particularly enjoyed the choirs rendition of Stop the Cavalry -  a one-time Christmas hit.
Afterwards we adjourned to All Bar One on Ludgate Hill for wine and nibbles and enjoyed a very social Christmas get-together.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

International Cultural Exchange Annual Dinner House of Lords Friday 6th December

The International Cultural Exchange was founded in 1949 with the late Countess Mountbatten of Burma as its first President.  It is a non-political, non-profit making organisation with no endowment, dedicated to promoting understanding between different nations and cultures. The present President is Viscount Allenby and the annual dinner is hosted by Peers. This year our host was the Rt Hon the Lord Hunt of the Wirral MBE, who knows me very well and David was very much involved with the Industry and Parliament Trust when I was CEO.  As guest speaker, accompanied by my husband, I was warmly welcomed. After an excellent dinner I spoke about my MBA that included time spent in Russia and my experience of working internationally, also my time as head of Cable &Wireless in SE Asia, based in Singapore.  It was a very convivial evening, occupying the whole of the Peers Dining Room, also enhanced with seasonal music from the Salvation Army Band.  After a long day it took me some time to extricate myself from the many questions that continued to be asked some time after we left the dining room.  I heartily endorse the excellent work of this quite uniquely well supported Charity.

TEDxWhitehall Women Event at BAFTA, Piccadilly Friday 6th December

My next event on this memorable day was to speak at my first TED event.  Simone Roche is a force to be reckoned with as Director of Women 1st and Rebecca Hill was equally implicit in getting some twenty three women to each speak for no more than 10 minutes on a topic of interest and importance. The group included Stella Creasy MP - whose talk was entitled Rabbits and Rebel Rousing!  Others included Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook, Carla Buzasi, editor of the Huffington Post UK, Liz Bingham who is a Board member of  Ernst and Young and a host of other talented women.  The event was streamed to San Francisco with a multitude of others listening in and tweets flying back and forth.  I was cheered on the social media associated with the event for talking about women at the top and my topic (suggested to me by various Marketors!) was 'Sisterhood'. TED activities, I discovered, are wide ranging and increasingly popular. It was a pleasure to participate. Certainly the lady Marketors were right behind this!

Monday, 9 December 2013

BBC spokesperson in Kent and London on the death of Nelson Mandela Friday 6th December

I was called by the BBC very late on the evening of 5th December, having just returned from the FSClub dinner at Lloyds of London.  As Church of England representative for Canterbury on General Synod I had already been lined up since the initial scare about Mandela's health deteriorating a couple of months ago.  My long standing connection with Desmond Tutu had led to his Hon Freedom of the City of London last month and at that time, I had reviewed Mandela's Hon Freedom granted to him by the City in 1996. I had met Mandela in 2005 in South Africa and also in London the following year at the SA High Commission. BBC radio wished me to speak on the Breakfast Show at 7am the following morning. My five minute interview on 6th December with John Warnett is on BBC Radio Kent iplayer and it is 1 hour and 9 minutes into the three hour show!  I then went to Broadcasting House and was recorded for BBC TV South East News which went out at 6.30pm the same day. Now, of course, the news has been swamped with anecdotes and tributes to the great man.  I spoke of the time I was with him and Desmond in Soweto and the Madiba magic was in full force. Another occasion I had to curtail flash photography at an event for him I had organised as Mandela's eyes had been badly damaged through chipping stones in the scorching sun on Robben Island (where I was also taken!). Friday was a hectic day with two other major events (see further blogs!) resulting in me ending up at home in Kent at 2am on Saturday.

Dinner in the 1688 Room at Lloyds of London with the Financial Services Club Thursday 5th December

I was invited by Freeman Chris Skinner to attend the Financial Services Club Keynote Dinner at Lloyds. The evening was preceded by a superb tour of the Trading Floor, at the end of which I departed with a copy of the manifest and insurance certificate for the Titanic! As far as great brands go you cannot really beat Lloyds of London at One Lime Street.  The speaker for the evening was Gottfried Leibbrandt, CEO of SWIFT. It is a remarkable organisation and Gottfried updated us remarkably well, talking about the company's future strategic direction.  For the uninitiated, SWIFT is a member-owned cooperative through which the financial world conducts its business operations with speed, certainty and confidence. SWIFT copes daily with 10,000 financial institutions and corporations in 212 countries, exchanging millions of standardised financial messages. This activity involves the secure exchange of proprietary data while ensuring its confidentiality and integrity. SWIFT provides the proprietary communications platform, products and services that allows their customers to connect and exchange financial information securely and reliably. It also acts as a catalyst to brings the financial community together to work collaboratively to shape market practice, define standards and consider solutions to issues of mutual interest. Headquartered in Belgium there are offices in the world's major financial centres and developing markets. SWIFT does not hold funds nor does it manage accounts on behalf of customers, nor does it store financial information on an on-going basis. The dinner was very agreeable and it is always good to be among interesting and diverse groups within in the City.  More to the point Gottfried was formerly the organisation's Head of Marketing and could potentially be a Marketor!

Think Tank Christmas Lunch Tuesday 3rd December at the Old Doctor Butler's Head

Past Master Venetia Howes organised Christmas luncheon at the famous Old Doctor Butler's Head public house in Mason Avenue, that quaint but busy thoroughfare from the Guildhall.  I was delighted to greet manymembers of the Company including the Senior Warden, Bill Payne, Chahid Fourali, Past Master Jim Surguy, John Hooper and Past Master David Hanger.  Jim will be taking over the Chair of the renamed Thought Leadership group in the New Year.  I actually think we might miss being Think Tankers! It was an excellent and very convivial lunch. Many thanks were given to Past Master Venetia for her excellent chairmanship of this important Committee. I encourage members to put their name forward to join up. Afterwards I took Chahid along to the Chamberlain's office at Guildhall to encourage him to book himself an appointment to discuss his potential Freedom of the City of London. How many Freemen of the Company forget to do this?!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners 39th Annual Ladies Banquet at Clothworkers Hall on Friday 29 November

This was a delightful evening, in one of my favourite Livery Halls, hosted by Master Maureen Marden (Treasurer of our Past Master's group) and attended by as many lady Masters as the Master could muster. However, the men still outnumbered us all greatly!The Company has some 280 members and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is an Honorary Freeman of the Company, as is the Lord Mayor of London 2003 Alderman Sir Robert Finch. The Company also has an allowance of 450 liverymen! Membership is drawn from a broad church to include cleaning equipment manufacturing, chemical manufacturers, janitorial suppliers, environmental health officers, waste management industry, contract cleaners etc. The Company has always had lady Members and two have served as Masters.It also gives encouragement to, and fosters the craft of environmental cleaning which provides such a service to the whole community. A response on behalf of the guests was made by De Bradshaw, Master Plaisterer and wonderful entertainment of both music and drama was provided by the Guildhall School. It was an evening to be remembered.

The Great 13 Past Masters Group inaugural Meeting and Luncheon, Painter's Hall Friday 29 November

Each Master who visits Ironbridge in June as part of their year is invited to be included in the establishment of a Past Masters Group.  The Lord Mayor present is invited to be President and during the course of the weekend the group is formed.  In our case the President is Roger Gifford.  As Master Marketer I was invited to propose a name for the PM's Group.  I thought the Jolly Rogers would be a great idea (naturally endorsed by Roger!).  I envisaged years of champagne, courtesy of Pol Roger! However the name agreed was the Great 13 (I suggested the Grate 13 so that we could all irritate the Great 12!).  Ladies and Consorts settled on their name as The Pearls. A Committee was formed that weekend and I am pleased to serve as marketing consultant, initially by creating our logo. It was a most convivial luncheon and a grand reunion of our get together earlier this year.  Many are now Past Masters and it was good to see so many familiar faces.
We already have several interest groups proposed - golf, shooting etc, a proposed overseas visit and a date for next year's annual luncheon.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Talk to Canada - UK Chamber of Commerce Thursday 28th November

Over eighty members of the very active Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce were present at the very impressive Canada House on Trafalgar Square for a networking reception at which I was guest speaker. Despite the continued noise from those singing and celebrating in Trafalgar Square permeating the substantial walls, the location of Canada House reflects the strong colonial links with the UK, the national flag with the Maple Leaf flag fluttering directly opposite the South Africa High Commission on the opposite side of the square.  Having been entertained several times at the SA High Commission this was my first visit to Canada House. Nigel Bacon, the Chamber's Executive Director, knew me from my work at the Industry and Parliament Trust and, on hearing from Roz that I was now Master of a Livery Company, he had asked her to request me to speak. It was a pleasure to speak to such a large and diverse audience and it was good to be welcomed by Brian Parrott, Senior Trade Commissioner at the Canadian High Commission.

It was one of the most active networking evenings I've attended and I distributed every business card in my possession.  In the end my cold got the better of me and I said my goodbyes.

Dinner with Solicitors Company, Clothworkers Hall Wednesday 27th September

The Solicitors Company originated in 1908, the brainchild of four solicitors practising in the City at that time.  It became the second of the modern livery companies (No.79) on 24th May 1944 and received its Royal Charter in 1957.  The Company has 391 Liverymen and 1391 Freemen.  Its sister organisation is The City of London Law Society which represents the professional interests of City solicitors and this has 56 Corporate Members covering over 15,000 solicitors working in the City.

One striking feature of the Solicitors Livery Dinner was the number of Masters present from across the Livery - about 18, together with their Clerks.  I was sat next to the Revd Canon Roger Hall, Honorary Chaplain to the Solicitors whose is Canon to the Chapels Royal within the Tower of London and a Chplain to the Queen.  He is fundraising for the refurbishment of the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula - the parish church to the Tower of London and situated within its walls.  In the past I have had the pleasure of singing in the chapel with the Parliament Choir.  It is the parish church for the Yeoman Warders of the Guard and their families - commonly known as the Beefeaters.  He was a delightful and informative companion for the evening.

The response was by His Honour Judge Brian Barker QC, the Recorder of London who was entertaining.

Honorary Freedom of the City of London for Archbishop Desmond Tutu Monday 25th November

I have had the great privilege of knowing Desmond Tutu as a close personal friend for over fifty years and in that time have seen him very many times either in South Africa, the United States or here in England.  I first met him in 1962 when he came to my church in Golders Green as a young curate and I babysat for him and his wife Leah - their daughter Mpho being born in London.
Desmond's wife Leah also tested me in some of my guide badges and did not always pass me, she was very strict and expected high standards.

Knowing I would be with him for the day on November 25th before he flew back to Cape Town I looked into the possibility of him being the recipient of the Freedom of the City of London - something which I could organise fairly easily.  I quietly mentioned this to Murray Craig in the Chamberlain's Office and the City suddenly went into overdrive - very quickly deciding that it wanted to extend the Honorary Freedom, a very rare privilege and one that had not been granted to anyone since 2002 and then only to Royalty.  The process and ceremony is altogether different and miraculously we were able to pull together a formal reception and ceremony in Mansion House to which the whole of the Court of the Marketors Company was invited.

The ceremony involves the whole of the Court of Common Council who vote on the resolution on the day.

The recipient of many awards over the years, Archbishop Tutu was very touched by the rare honour extended by the City, particularly as his close friend Nelson Mandela had received the Honorary Freedom in 1996 when serving as President.   After the ceremony I accompanied the Archbishop to Heathrow and said goodbye there.  

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Marketors Annual City Lecture Thursday 21st November

The Annual Lecture is described within the company as one of our "Great Events" and presents us with the opportunity to inform the wider City about our profession of marketing.  To this end we extend an invitation to Masters and Past Masters of all other livery companies as well as to our own membership.  The lecture is always popular attracting high attendance numbers despite several conflicting events taking place the same evening. 
Introducing the speaker - more photos to follow!

We held the lecture this year in the beautiful Wren church of St Mary at Hill. It is a very open venue and I had long been keen to introduce members and guests to some of our fine City churches other than our own livery church, St Bride's in Fleet Street.  Used to the fine architecture of the livery halls, we are apt to forget that the churches form a parallel set of long established and very historical buildings, equally suffering within their number much damage in the Great Fire and the Blitz.

Our guest speaker was Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide for Saatchi & Saatchi.
Kevin has developed a unique and engaging style of presentation as I have learned over the years from hearing him and I knew his message would find interest well beyond those engaged in professional marketing as a day job.
Kevin's attention is placed firmly on the customer - as he says the customer ultimately owns the brand, not the manufacturer.  He stresses the importance of IDEAS as the only saleable commodity in the modern market.  People he claims no longer simply want information - there is already a surfeit of information available. Purchases today are made at the emotional level and advertising has to find new unexpected ways of getting noticed, striking home and making an impact within an environment of information overload. Kevin spikes his presentation with well chosen clips of TV advertisements which are highly entertaining, and by UK standards fairly unorthodox in their approach - indicating that the UK may still be slow and somewhat conservative in comparison.   Most of the clips appeal directly to emotion and the wish to establish viral marketing possibilities with impactful ads that people talked or tweeted about still appeared to be mostly American. 

His main opening thesis is that we are moving from a VUCA world to a SUPERVUCA world. A VUCA world is one that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Kevin's new SUPERVUCA world is Vibrant, Unreal, Crazy and Astounding.  Ideas are the new currency and he indicates this by example of the many traditional industries which have been made largely redundant by finding new ways to meet the consumer need.

Kevin Roberts also remarked how management priorities need to change.  The bulk of management time used to be employed in assessment of alternatives and decision making.  Execution used to account for only 20% of management time.  In the new world of business all ideas are allowed to float and the customer will identify those that work.  Execution therefore now accounts for 70% of management time.
What I took away from the lecture was the need for all of us to imagine the impossible, to look beyond the current way of doing things, and in more classic language, to think outside the box.  I rather like Kevin's concept of the CEO becoming the Chief Excitement Officer, the CMO the Chief Magic Officer and the CIO the Chief Ideas Officer.  We seem to be stepping out from a safe stable world to one of great possibilities and more unpredictable outcomes.

We concluded the lecture with refreshments and the feedback received was excellent.  The lecture was entertaining as well as thought provoking and hopefully for those still working in marketing - inspiring.

The Lecture took shape thanks to people and organisations who have both taken an interest in my Master's year and also provided great support to it.
Tina Hallett, Senior Partner at PWC, inspired me with a great theme of 'Loyalty Beyond Reason'. That inspired me to use a church, thus the ideal location of St Mary at Hill, the Church for Billingsgate. Kevin Roberts had spoken for us before and is well known to me and the Company. He did say that he was never usually asked to come back! The Chartered Institute of Marketing and TOTAL kindly provided financial support. I remain grateful to everyone, especially Rev Canon Flora Winfield, Rector of St Mary at Hill.

Monday, 18 November 2013

General Synod Monday 18th - Wednesday 20th November

For three days this week I will be deeply engaged with another quite different area of activity associated with my role as the elected Lay Member of General Synod of the Church of England for the Diocese of Canterbury.
The big issue, returning once again to General Synod and still dominating discussion, is that of consecrating Women Bishops.Whilst several provinces in the Anglican Communion have already moved ahead of us in having women's progression to the episcopate, the Church of England has been in difficulty on this thorny matter, split and divided and unable to secure the necessary two thirds majority in each of the three houses: Bishops, Clergy and Laity.  The measure failed by just six votes a year ago.  It was opposed by a small number of Anglo-Catholics who perhaps see the inevitability of the move but seek alternative provision for continuity of male leadership through preference.   A revised measure is being brought to the General Synod this week and with goodwill on all sides it is hoped some fresh progress will be made.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Thursday 15 November Civic Dinner in the Chief Commoners Parlour

After a very busy week, on Thursday afternoon I attended my Ward Club - Cordwainers - traditional turning on of the Christmas lights in Bow Lane. I arrived with the Chief Commoner and The Lord Mayor and her husband, Nicholas, accompanied by the two Sheriffs. The Lord Mayor's Consort carried out the lighting operation successfully and rows of blue lights shone out into the gathering cloud and darkness. We collected some astonished looks from hurrying commuters as the Mayoralty party gave speeches in the street and proceeded on a tour of the area, apparently a regular and favourite shopping haunt of the Lord Mayor. With strange looks from a group of shoppers and passers by, the party wandered through delightful hidden narrow alleyways, each shop seeming to be a hairdressers or a beauty salon, also a tailors? At each stop there were refreshments  I had been on my way to Guildhall for a Civic Dinner and on passing down Bow Lane had been called to pause and join the party by mine host for the evening, the Chief Commoner.  Arriving eventually at  the Civic Dinner I was then formally greeted in the Chief Commoner's Parlour by mine hosts The Chief Commoner, George Gillon and The City Remembrancer, Paul Double. There were only eighteen guests and it was a splendid dinner. I was the only Master present and guests included the Head of Security at the Bank of England, the Chief Executive of the Prince's Regeneration Trust, the Chairman of the London Commitee of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Mayor of the London Borough of Islington and the Commander of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry.  The Chief Commoner had placed on the dining table a carved wooden box that contained the scroll of Florence Nightingale's Hon Freedom of the City of London. According to the Chief Commoner she was granted the Freedom in 1908 and by this time she was nearly 90 years of age and her memory and eyesight were fast failing her. Before her death on 13th August 1910 Florence had the satisfaction of knowing that her work had been accomplished. Guildhall is managed by the City Remembrancer’s Office which was established during the reign of Elizabeth I. All applications for using Guildhall need to be approved by the Chief Commoner on a recommendation by the City Remembrancer. It was a delightful evening in most interesting company.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Actuaries Annual Lecture Wednesday 13 November, Staple Hall

I was delighted to be a guest of The Master, Charles Cowling for the lecture and dinner. Charles and I served together on the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs Committee, Charles supporting Past Master Actuary Adrian Waddingham and me supporting Sir Paul Judge, past Master Marketor and Aldermanic Sheriff for 2013 - 2104. Staple Inn, London, has been used by actuaries since 1887 when the Institute of Actuaries was first based here. Over its history it has been as an Inn of Chancery for younger members of the legal profession and then a principal office for the Actuarial Profession, and continues to be a meeting venue for actuaries. Many actuaries around the world consider it their "home" Le Stapled Halle.The earliest reference to Staple Inn can be traced back to Norman times. In 1292 the site housed a building known as le Stapled Halle, which was probably a covered market as it means in today's French word halle.  Historic photograph of Staple Inn   
The 'Staple' derived from a duty on wool that was introduced in 1275 at the 'request of the communities of merchants' with the intention that the burden of tax should fall on the foreign buyers of wool.
It is not clear how the Society of Staple Inn, an organisation of lawyers, came into being. The evidence available suggests that it did so from 1415 when the name Staple Inn appears to have been first used by lawyers and students who formed the Grand Company and Fellows of Staple Inn. By 1586, its status was established as an 'Inn of Chancery', a medieval school providing primary training in legal practice, and a college in the 'Third University' in London, junior to the 'Inns of Court'. Staple Inn was most associated with Gray's Inn, an Inn of Court, on the opposite side of Holborn. Inside the current Hall, some early stained glass windows have features contemporary to the site's origins as a venue for merchants and to the Tudor period. Other windows commemorate early Fellows of Staple Inn, as well as Tudor and Stuart monarchs and judges. The Chartered Institute of Marketing at Moor Hall, Cookham, in delightful Berkshire, is much more modern, the CIM having celebrated slightly more than just 100 years.

I did, however, find the lecture enormously interesting, the speaker being not an Actuary but Sir Philip Craven, Chairman of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) for the Paralympics, more recently known to me when I was a Gamesmaker in 2012 and hosted Sir Philip at Eton Dorney, as well as Lord Mayor David Wootton  and our own Liveryman Theresa May, along with many lumanaries of the rowing world. Sir Philip had inspired the present Master Actuary and quips were added to the speech in regard to the actuarial skills required to run the Olympics.  How many Actuaries does it take to change a light bulb?  I still don't know as the evening concluded with a superb dinner and good conversation.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Lord Mayor's Banquet Monday 11th November

The Lord Mayor's Banquet is an important City event, if not better described as a national event in so much as it is always attended by the Prime Minister, senior cabinet ministers, the Lord Chancellor, The Archbishop of Canterbury, a great number of Ambassadors and High Commissioners, and many others doing important work across the City and wider London.

Guildhall beautifully prepared for a banquet

Whilst taking place in Guildhall it is not per se a livery event at all and indeed attended this year by only eleven Masters or Prime Wardens.  It was therefore a great privilege to be able to attend this event in my year as Master due to the Aldermanic Sheriff having the Marketors as his mother company.   It was good to see Past Master Venetia Howes also in attendance with her husband Roger, as well as our Liveryman Trevor Brignall both doing valuable work within the City. Another Marketor present was the Home Secretary, Theresa May.

It is a glittering White Tie occasion and an opportunity to thank the late Lord Mayor Roger Gifford, as well as enabling the new Lord Mayor to set out her agenda for the year ahead.  The Prime Minister also customarily delivers a state of the nation address. For those interested in reading the transcripts of the speeches given it is normally possible to download these from the City of London website.   

Remembrance Sunday at St Bride's 10th November

It is traditional for the Master to attend the Remembrance Service at St Bride's Church and to lay a wreath at the altar in Company with other Masters. 

It was a beautiful service with an orchestra and superb trumpeter to play the Last Post and Reveille.  The service included a full rendition of Faure's Requiem - always popular and very moving in a service of this type.

Afterwards, the consort and I, and the Senior Warden adjourned to Hush in Ludgate Hill to enjoy a convivial lunch with the Stationers Company.  

Then we had to bid our farewells to get down to our home village of Tilmanstone Kent where I was due to deliver a sermon at our own Remembrance Service which is always conducted as an evensong - fitting in well with my duties each year in London. 

Lord Mayor's Show Saturday 9th November

Started another busy day with a visit to our office at Plaisterers Hall to collect my Master's gown and the Master's chain of office, then to get robed.  Joined by the Wardens, Clerk and others and we left suitably gowned to visit our Marketors float parked nearby in Aldersgate Street.   And very good it looked too largely thanks to much effort by Junior Warden David Pearson. I am also hugely grateful to Tom Tuke-Hastings who acted as Event Director for the float at short notice.  With the Master, Senior and Middle Warden otherwise engaged all day in a carriage,Tom and David Pearson manned the float, along with Court Assistants Diane Morris and Peter Rees  They no doubt all attracted much attention.  Annie Brooks did a sterling job on the ground as Event Director at the Wine Tun and greeted the parents of St Dunstan's cadets and other Company members. It was a really successful team effort.   

Senior Warden, myself, Middle Warden and Clerk trying out the view from the float - we will not be here for the show this year but instead travelling by carriage

Cadets from St Dunstans College always make a huge contribution to our presence in the Show. The Headmistress Jane Davies helped man the float in the parade - with me prior to both adjourning to Guildhall 

After photographs on the float left with Jane Davies for a breakfast and coffee being offered to members of the Lord Mayor's and Sheriff's Committee and others participating in official capacities in the Old Library of Guildhall.
Soon it was time to find our carriage in Aldermanbury, discovering that it had meanwhile decided to rain - rain that was unfortunately to persist for the whole morning.

Andrew Marsden, Middle Warden joins me in the carriage
Making the acquaintance of Otto and Bullet, our trusty steeds

However the damp conditions did not affect the crowds or the sheer enthusiasm of the participants and whilst it certainly rained on our parade, the show goes on regardless. British spirit prevails.


Our float passing Mansion House - in pouring rain

And here I come, protected by Marketors umbrellas and flanked by very smart St Dunstan College cadets

The Lord Mayor enters her coach and joins the end of the outbound procession - her first stop will be St Paul's Cathedral for a traditional blessing
Lunch break and Past Master Peter Goudge entertains family at the Wine Tun

The weather improved for the return part of the show after a half time break for refreshment - the sun even came out and the sky at one point turned completely blue.  
It is a great annual pageant - a brilliant feat of organisation by the Pageantmaster Dominic Reid OBE to get everyone in the right place at the right time and the atmosphere is superb.  Even the police appear relaxed and friendly, even if always vigilant for any surprises.
The Show was followed by lunch at Mansion House with the Wardens and their partners and the Clerk.

The rain has stopped and we return to Mansion House in the afternoon

Our congratulations to Sir Paul Judge as a Past Master of the Marketors, Chair of Governors at St Dunstan's College and President of the Chartered Institute of Marketing - oh yes, Aldermanic Sheriff too.
We missed the fireworks due to having a Wedding Reception of a close friend to attend in the evening in Putney.

Another very full day for me - but even fuller for the new Lord Mayor on her first full day at the office! 


Friday, 8 November 2013

Service of Prayer and Blessing St Lawrence Jewry 8th November

This was the final event - a traditional service in the nearby church of St Lawrence Jewry at the edge of Guildhall Yard to bless the new Lord Mayor.  The Chaplain to the Lord Mayor is The Reverend Lizzy Woolf, so Fiona's ordained daughter led the service which was well attended.  Particularly good to see many members of our own Company. All the hymns were sung remarkably well and I have to say St Lawrence has a terrific organ - only installed in 2000.  I have heard the Revd Canon David Parrott delivering sermons before - they are always excellent and not without amusement.   I reflected that this church, like many livery halls, has had a difficult history - totally destroyed in the Great Fire and Wrens replacement very seriously damaged in the Blitz.

A long day and the Lord Mayor's Show in the morning!  Let's hope for better weather but the weather forecast on television as I write is unfortunately not good.  Are we finally going to get wet tomorrow having had good luck in recent years?

Presentation Ceremony Friday 8th November

This is a day of many parts.  

The Presentation of gifts to the Sheriffs and Lord Mayor is another tradition of great interest - taking part in the Guildhall Art Gallery.

Organisations linked to the new Sheriffs and Lord Mayor choose a gift to present - with some prior liaison taking place to avoid duplication.

The Marketors had chosen to present a leather bound diary, personalised by gold blocking to the Company and Sir Paul.  I presented it to Sir Paul after expressing the Company's delight in seeing a Past Master of the Company progress to Aldermanic Sheriff.  I expressed the observation that Sir Paul might have a large number of visitors to the Old Bailey.

A delegation from each organisation is called forward in turn, and the receiving Sheriff or Lord Mayor stands to receive the delegation and the gift, with congratulations passed and thanks given.  Bows are given and returned before and after.

The Silent Ceremony Guildhall Friday 8th November

The Silent Ceremony on the day preceding the Lord Mayor’s Show, is one of the most whimsical and anachronistic of the City’s traditions.  Dating back for many hundreds of years it takes place in Guildhall watched by Aldermen, the City Officers, Masters of Livery Companies and several hundred liverymen.
With much pomp and pageantry, and, in a carefully choreographed piece of theatre undertaken with a the solemnity befitting the occasion, I processed into the hall carrying a wand in my right hand along with other members of the Lord Mayor's and Sheriff's Committee.  Behind us came the Aldermen and various other City dignitiaries with Lord Mayor Roger Gifford bringing up the rear.  The Lord Mayor-elect Fiona Woolf swore her oath of office and thereby undertook to safeguard the silver and furniture at Mansion House, signing for the “plate”.  The outgoing Lord Mayor then moved to the left and beckoned the incoming Lord Mayor to her seat, the latter donning her tricorne hat at the precise moment Roger removed his  – the hat symbolising the official transfer of the mayoralty and the power that accompanies it.  It was nice to observe that our Lady Lord Mayor appears to have commissioned a more feminine lighter version of the tricorne.  
There then followed a series of presentations to the new Lord Mayor of various symbols of office all made with a series of reverences, three steps, bow, three steps bow etc..  All the symbols are presented first to the outgoing Lord Mayor and then touched by the Lord Mayor to signify receipt and transfer before being put down on the table.  The whole procedure is then reversed with another series of approaches, but this time the objects are removed with the officers walking backwards, still reverencing every three steps.  It is an ancient process all watched by hundreds in deathly silence.  The purpose one reflects is to transfer the responsibility for the treasures as well as to transfer power, each item of value being sighted by the incoming Lord Mayor.  The Ceremony concludes with congratulations being made in an orderly manner to the Lord Mayor, those doing so forming an endless chain and each shaking hands with the new Lord Mayor.  The whole ceremony lasts no more than twenty minutes but is a piece of carefully correographed theatre, reinacted every year.  
The final necessary piece of ceremony reputedly takes place totally out of sight in the Mayoral limousine on the way back to Mansion House.  The tradition is that the Swordbearer removes his fur hat and retrieves the key to the seal of Christ’s Hospital. It is handed to the outgoing Lord Mayor, who passes it to the incoming Lord Mayor, who returns it to the Swordbearer, who promises to “keep it under his hat”.  
And so after a break of thirty years, we have the second lady Lord Mayor in the long history of the City safely installed.


Installation Luncheon Mansion House Friday 8th November

The Installation Luncheon is the last function that a Lord Mayor hosts at his home in Mansion House in the course of a mayoral year.

Attended by a somewhat select group of people seated at a single long table who are involved to some extent with the organisation or ceremonies of the Silent Ceremony or the mayoral changeover it was a privilege to be one of only four Masters present.  With many activities following during the afternoon it was also the only real opportunity to obtain sustenance for those with duties.

Speeches were delivered by both the outgoing Lord Mayor Roger Gifford and the Lord Mayor elect Fiona Woolf.

We emerged from Mansion House to very heavy rain - needing to transfer ourselves as best we could to Guildhall for the preparations for the Silent Ceremony.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

And now for something slightly different Medieval Banquet Saturday 2nd November

Writing about Guildhall put me in mind of a character part I have played very recently - Catherine Howard. Or that at least was the name given to the costume.    We were celebrating my brother in law's 70th birthday in St Katherines Dock where the old Ivory House provides a splendid Medieval Banquet evening much to be recommended for anyone wanting a new experience.
Of course one should reflect that many livery companies date back well before Catherine Howard and Henry VIII.

Catherine Howard, complete with lace up corset and whalebones

My daughters Ginny and Pippa also in period costume

Livery Company Reception Milton Court Wednesday 6th November

Milton Court is a new Theatre and Concert Hall development in the Barbican built as a much needed extension of facilities at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama - my alma mater.  Its state of the art performance areas will do much to assist the educational aspects in the Arts in which Guildhall excels.
The City Livery Companies have done much to support the development financially and has included a City Livery Companies Bar.  Supporting livery companies have their names on display by the bar - including our own company.
I went to Guildhall in 1967 straight from school as an eighteen year old.  It was then situated in John Carpenter Street very close to St Bride's and the Bridewell Institute in which we performed our ballet and dance.  I graduated in July 1969 playing the lead in Antigone - a tragedy by Jean Anouilh inspired by Greek mythology. The morning after my final curtain call I got married which I recall necessitated a rapid transformation in character.  I went off to Salisbury Playhouse as one of my first professional theatrical engagements and still maintain a deep love for the theatre.  I am still a full member of the Actors Union Equity.  An Equity Card used to be an essential pre-requisite in order to work in the professional theatre.
Whilst the facilities available to drama and music students today have no comparison to the rudimentary arrangements in the 1960's, I was obliged to remind a fellow Master that students today have to pay considerable sums of money for their tuition - in my day it was not only free but we got a Grant from the local authority on which to live!

With a Master in the Alumni we just had to be seen as a livery company sponsor!

Centre Stage again after 45 years on a stage at the GSM&D

A Livery Bar with a large coffee machine and no alcohol?

Receiving a briefing on the modern technology for raising lighting and scenery - all by computer

Monday, 4 November 2013

Opening of the Garden of Remembrance at St Paul's Cathedral Monday 4th November

First thing this morning all Masters arrived at the Crypt of St Paul's Cathedral, each collecting a Cross on which was written the name of their Company. Joining us for breakfast were the band of the Grenadier Guards, The Royal British Legion Standards, the ceremonial squad of the London Ambulance Service and the City of London Schools Choir. After a briefing, we then moved to the Garden of Remembrance at the side of the Cathedral and were quickly marshalled into position in order of precedence. The service commenced at 11am, led by the Very Reverend David Ison, the Dean. The Representative Lord Mayor, Alderman Ian Luder, accompanied by representatives of his Ward of Castle Baynard and the National President and National Chairman of the Royal British Legion. All took their places, accompanied by the two Sheriffs, Alderman Sir Paul Judge and Adrian Waddingham.  Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson, CB, CVO delivered the Exhortation.  After the Silence and the Reveille, our crosses were placed in the Garden, the Masters undertaking this in groups of three. The Kohima Prayer was delivered by Fiona Toye, President of the Royal British Legion City of London Poppy Appeal, a charity that the Marketors continues to help and support. It was, as always, a poignant service and we returned to the Crypt for warmth and to speak with many of the older members of the British Legion's men and women sections.  Fortunately the sun shone throughout and the Garden now remains open for the planting of crosses by members of the public. Always a service to remember.

Friday, 1 November 2013

City Livery Club Installation Dinner Haberdashers' Hall Thursday 31st October

The City Livery Club was founded in June 1914 to provide a home for liverymen of the City of London. It has since expanded its membership to include Freemen of Livery Companies, members of the Guild of , Freemen, Society of Young Freemen, Ward Clubs, City of London branch members of the Royal Society of St George and the City of London branch of the IoD.

The new President Alderman Neil Redcliffe installed at the AGM immediately before the dinner will therefore preside over the Club's Centennial Year.

The Club has premises overlooking the Thames (aka The Little Ship Club) which provides luncheon and club facilities for members and guests, with a Club Room and Bar.  The Club offers reciprocal arrangements with leading clubs in the UK - including the Farmers Club in Whitehall.   It offers a varied programme of social activities which complement and supplement those offered by one's own Livery Company or Ward Club.

The dinner was very pleasant socially - meeting with a number of friends from across the City and Livery, and also some fellow Marketors - including Valerie and Norman Boakes, both Past Presidents of the City Livery Club, and Trevor Brignall, Hon Secretary of the City Livery Club.

The motto of the City Livery Club is "Uniting the livery, promoting fellowship" and it seems to do that extremely well.  For further information on the City Livery Club visit the website on www.cityliveryclub.com or contact the clerk by email clerk@cityliveryclub.com

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Lighting-Up Dinner Guildhall Crypt Wednesday 30th October

One of the requirements, or rather privileges,  of the Master of the mother company of the Aldermanic Sheriff is to sit on the Lord Mayor and Sheriff's Committee involved with aspects of the organisation of major events in the Mayoral Year.  Major among these is the banquet for the new Lord Mayor held in Guildhall on the Monday following the installation and such regular charitable activities as the Big Curry Lunch.

More will follow about the Lord Mayor's Banquet in later blogs but there is a little known but interesting quirk of history - that of the Lighting-Up dinner which deserves some explanation.

Prior to 1777 there had apparently been several years when the Banquet had not been conducted with the decorum becoming the City and it was decided in that year to establish a committee to superintend "The Entertainment" - the origins of the Lord Mayor's and Sheriff's Committee. As an evening event likely to extend late into the night, at that time much attention had to be paid to the lighting of the Great Hall, still achieved by means of candles and oil lamps.In 1791 the contractor responsible for lighting the Great Hall and adjoining rooms underootk to provide 6000 glass lamps of various colours, 800 black lanthorns, 15 dozen pounds of wax candles, together with a sufficient quantity of cotton spermaceti oil.  The lamps were to be lighted by 4pm on Lord Mayor's Day and to remain burning until 4am the following morning.  Lighting was always of great importance to the success of a major function.

The need for a rehearsal of the lighting arrangements almost certainly dates from introduction of gas to light and no doubt there were also safety considerations of concern.  Gas was first used in 1815 and proved a success - beautifying Guildhall for the Banquet.  It was an exciting innovation and the rehearsal itself became a popular event to which members of the public were invited - eventually turning up in excessive number to view the hall and its decorations.   Fire was always a danger and in 1827 a board carrying variegated oil lights in the shape of an anchor fell down with a terrific crash from where it had been badly fixed in the great east window.   Unfortunately it fell on the heads of the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress seated at that time on the dais at the east end, as was the custom.      The Lord Mayor Alderman Matthias Lucas sustained head injuries by broken glass, and the Duke of Clarence also received two slight wounds.  The Lady Mayoress had her dress ruined by oil.  Many of the distinguished guests left soon afterwards and clearly this was a huge embarassment to the City as the evening was ruined. The Clerk of the City's Works was held responsible for the accident and severely reprimanded although he would have had to climb a high ladder to discover the use of thin and unseasoned wood that was to warp with the heat and become unwedged.  The following year the Lord Mayor and Sheriff's Committee accepted the offer of 18 firemen from the Secretary of the Norwich Union.  The committee continued to have a duty to inspect a rehearsal of the lighting arrangements.  This continues long after use of gas was discontinued and the Committee supervises all arrangements for the Banquet to this day holding a Lighting Up Dinner.  It is enshrined as part of the ceremonials attedant on the installation of a new Lord Mayor.  It is conducted in the presence of the Lord Mayor-elect and the Sheriffs, as well as many of those with responsibilities for the conduct of the Show and the Banquet.
One quirk was the expectation for the Lord Mayor's and Sheriffs Committee to provide an "entertainment".
This we duly did, singing "Oranges and Lemons" to much accompanying good humour.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Bowden Charter Dinner Thursday 24th October Plaisterers' Hall

The Bowden Charter Dinner held annually in October was instigated to celebrate the achievement of Reginald Bowden, founder Master to both the Guild and the Livery Company he helped create.

Reginald Bowden was selected from a group of seven Fellows of the Institute of Marketing, five of whom former Chairmen, to lead a working party in 1973 with the aim of establishing a City Guild to represent the profession of marketing.   In just two years such a Guild was founded, and just two years after that we were a full blown livery company, obtaining the approval of the Court of Alderman to progress to full livery status in December 1977.  The working party not only had to negotiate with the City, but also find the members prepared to join and help fund the proposed Guild and Livery Company.  Financial viability lies at the heart of what is sought prior to establishment of both Guilds and Livery Companies.  At the dinner I really wanted this year to re-establish the huge importance of Reginald Bowden to the existence of the company - something that I thought had perhaps been rather lost in recent years. This is a particularly good time to do it as it is forty years since the establishment of the working party and some of our founders are still active in the Company and wish that their work be recognised and fully appreciated by the current membership.

Viscount Younger is the Under Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and is the Business Minister in the House of Lords representing his department.  In his speech at the start of the evening Lord Younger stressed the role that Professional and Business Services (PBS) need to fulfil in the new economy that will emerge in the wake of the financial crisis.  It is expected that a further 600,000 jobs will be created in this sector in coming years - representing a huge transition in employment opportunities and the skills needed in the modern economy.

My after dinner speaker is a personal friend Dr Gillian Tett, Assistant Editor to the Financial Times and a well known journalist and author on financial matters.  She stressed the fact that even experts such as Alan Greenspan can "get it wrong" and that there is no monopoly on wisdom.  The origin of the word "credit" is CREDO - the Greek for trust and that implied that personal relationships must again come to lie at the heart of transactions in the City. With her anthropological interest in the motivations of people she said that livery companies have importance in the city - representing as they do a connectedness between professionals.

The Bowden was very well attended - over 200 - and this was my fourth "Great Event" during my year of mastership.   The Masters of the Mercers, Plaisterers and International Bankers were also in attendance as guests, along with Mr Nicholas Woolf who will shortly be assuming the role of consort to the incoming Lord Mayor.  Our dinner was reported today in the Daily Telegraph under Court and Social.

Prior to the dinner a Ceremonial Court was held at which I had the pleasure of installing a new Court Assistant, admitting four freemen into the livery as liverymen (sometimes described in livery companies as clothing or clotheing), and admitting eight into the Freedom of the Company.  These eight Freemen now have the opportunity to apply for the Freedom of the City of London, sponsored by the Marketors' Company.  The procedure at Ceremonial Court is very formal with each person admitted or installed reading a declaration in front of the Court. I also awarded four Pioneer Medals and two academic prizes so it was a very full Court Meeting.

The Bowden Dinner marks that I am three quarters of the way through my year but still with plenty of other events still ahead of me, and of course the Company - Autumn is always a busy period for all livery companies.      


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Gresham Lecture Barnards Inn Hall 23rd October

The Gresham Lectures embrace a wide variety of topics of interest to those involved in the City of London.  The lectures are free and held in the historical setting of Barnards Inn Hall, which used to be a Mercers School up to 1958.

One of the lesser known subjects involving livery companies are the Irish Plantations which took place early in the 17th Century, coincident in timing with the Virginia Plantations and the planned colonisation of America.  

Part of a series of three lectures on the establishment of Londonderry and forced colonalisation of Northern Ireland by the English, under Royal pressure financed by 55 Livery companies, Professor James Stevens Curl gave an interesting insight into the role of The Honourable Irish Company and particularly the Great Twelve - each allocated large areas of land in what we now know as Ulster.  Professor Curl outlined how the Irish Plantations shaped events in Europe and also in England - helping to bring about the decapitation of Charles 1 and creating the Civil War at home.

The story is fascinating and makes interesting reading - all lectures are transcribed and available online for printing out or for listening.

151 (London) Transport Regiment's Curry Night Tuesday 22nd October at 240 Transport Squadron's TA Centre at Barnet

Over the year the Marketors, and myself in particular, have developed and maintained a really special relationship with 151 (London) Transport Regiment. The Regiment is London's only logistic regiment and part of the Royal Logistic Corps. The soldiers and officers come from all walks of civilian life and represent the diversity of Greater London and beyond. Their promotional material states you don't have to be a professional driver to join the Regiment.   Having been only that morning to Thruxton race circuit for a Jaguar experience (see previous blog!), I felt very humbled when I went to visit the Transport Squadron in Barnet in the evening.  Here I met the men and women of the Regiment and learned how they drive the most unwieldy and difficult vehicles over very challenging terrain in the course of their part-time volunteer work - and love it! The Regiment includes professional drivers, communication specialists, Chefs, HR specialists, medics and engineers, to name but a few  - because that is what they all are - trained professionals giving of their time to form a volunteer reserve able to reinforce the Regular Army in time of emergency.
It was a fascinating evening, organised by Freeman Michael Smeeth, and supported by some twenty Marketors and guests, including the Senior and Junior Wardens. We heard from the Commanding Officer, Lt Col John Kerner about their new 2014 'rebranding' as the Army Reserve, the increasing dependency on the reservists to fill the many gaps in the regular Army, and the enthusiasm of the Regiment to take on a broader and more 'regular' role. The commitment of the Regiment to train to an absolute top standard in all they do and the inherent skills that they all bring from their working life - medical, managerial, engineering - is second to none. I did express my wish that there should be a marketing campaign to build greater awareness in business of how invaluable these men and women are to the British Army and the need for all employers to understand the dependency and necessity of supporting this dedicated volunteer resource. 
The skills of 151 were all too evident in the fantastic food that had been prepared by the Chef.  I gather she had taken the day off work to make sure the curry was perfect for us visitors and for the 151 members present - which it certainly was.  Many thanks to all involved. 

The Jaguar Experience Thruxton Race Circuit Tuesday 22nd October

Jaguar say in their blurb that if you’ve ever dreamt of roaring around a racetrack behind the wheel of one of their cars, this was the day to get the pulse racing. Jaguar offered to show me how to get the most out of their cars on the track – accelerating hard on the straights, sliding through corners with ease and getting to grips with the cars’ active safety features in real life scenarios. 
This was promoted as the Jaguar Experience, an exclusive and complimentary invitation to be down at Thruxton Race Circuit in Hampshire at 9am for a day of exhilarating driving activities, both on and off track, designed to showcase the breadth of capability of the new Jaguar range.   It seemed to fit particularly well with my theme of “Great Brands makes Britain Great” and I was firmly "into cars" after my recent day at Mclaren. 
After a welcome cup of coffee and light breakfast, under the watchful eye of professional Jaguar drivers, male and female, I was able to put some exciting new Jaguar cars through their paces, albeit at a somewhat steadier speed than some of the chaps.
Pride of place had to go to being in the driving seat of the new Jaguar F-TYPE and equipped with crash helmet I was able to try out both the 3 litre V6 and the heavier 5 litre V8.  This is a beautifully designed car totally in the footsteps of its famous predecessors – the C type, D type and E type.    I don’t pretend to have taken the car to anything like its limits on the track but it was a lovely car to drive – as much fun and rather more predictable than our own forty year old E type convertible sitting at home.
I was also given the opportunity to take the XJ Supersport around the circuit a couple of times – challenging as the course had been subject to a constant downpour that morning and there was standing water as well as spray from passing cars.
For the XF Sportbrake Diesel S we had a slightly different experience – that of manoeuvring the car around bollards at speed and being impressed with its superb handling.  From a practical point of view this would probably have been my car of choice, head ruling over heart.
For the XFR, I was instructed to accelerate fast up to 45mph and then slam on the brakes and at the same time steer the car “out of trouble” around some bollards.  Miraculously the car seemed to go exactly where pointed despite very heavy braking – all due to its incredible ABS braking system.  This apparently brakes each wheel just to the extent needed and they never lock.  In an emergency situation, this car could stop and avoid a collision where other cars simply could not.

And then (above) to the highlight of the morning – being taken around the circuit in a blue  
XKR-S by one of Ja
guar’s professional driving team, demonstrating in a couple of laps the awe-inspiring performance of their fastest and most powerful production car.  This was the fairground ride to beat all fairground rides as we touched on 145mph in wet conditions feeling the back end sliding as well as the front end, taking the track at maximum speed.  The car may be incredibly fast but my main appreciation is of what it really takes to be a professional driver, able to take a car to its absolute limits whilst always maintaining total safety and control.  It was an exhilarating experience!
Jaguar say The Experience is where their cars truly come alive. It left me impressed with their hospitality and over-awed by their cars.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Marketors visit to McLaren, Woking Saturday 19 October

Great Brands do make Britain Great! In 1963, Bruce McLaren founded the McLaren team. They contested their first Formula 1 race in 1966 and won their first F1 grand prix in Belgium in 1968. 50 years after the company's foundation McLaren has won 182 Formula 1 Grand Prix and 20 World Championships, with champion drivers Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton. To this day, the McLaren team still inhabits the rich values set forth by Bruce McLaren himself: pragmatism, humility and a solid belief in the strength of teamwork and the value of good, honest engineering. Celebrating 50 years from the initial car being created by Bruce McLaren, Court Assistant Edward Fulbrook kindly organised an absolutely superb and exclusive visit for twelve Marketors to visit McLaren Marketing at Woking. Ten years ago the very impressive Marketing Centre (with Heritage) at Woking, set in 150 acres of protected parkland, had been opened by Her Majesty the Queen and 2013 marks the company's 50th anniversary since the first car was brought to public attention.  And what a first car! The group was introduced to Peter Stayner who is an absolute treasure chest of knowledge about McLaren, eminently and suitably titled a Partner Ambassador.  Peter showed us the cars in chronological order - every Formula One car is built in the UK - and took us around the highly impressive and spanking clean engineering facilities - not a drop of oil in sight!  Steve Morrow, also an absolute expert in Formula One racing, with his delightful wife, Sharon, answered many questions about racing.  It appears that, rather than the car being key, the speed in which you can assemble your corporate hospitality (larger than any of the other racing teams!) by the side of the race course is one of the more important aspects of the business - the scale of money expended runs into millions! According to my notes,140 people work at the factory incorporated into the Marketing Centre, you can order a car at a minimum cost of £160,000 (£900,000 for a P1). As most cars are are made to order, there is a short waiting list of just a few months. 10 cars a day are produced. After a visit of over two hours we left the secure zone and drove to a  local restaurant, Sands, and enjoyed continuing the conversation with Steve, Peter and Sharon.  It was a great day and attended by the Master and Consort, Ian Barclay, Victor Chopin- John, Graeme Doctor, John and Kathy Fisher, Edward Fulbrook, David Pearson, Peter Rees, Marc Scott and Steve Wilson.  Many thanks to McLaren. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Installation Dinner, The Chartered Surveyors Company, Drapers Hall Wednesday 17 October

And so to the beautiful and historical Draper's Hall for dinner to meet the new Master Chartered Surveyor.  Throgmorton Street is currently undergoing renovation and it is not easy at present to negotiate the barriers and roadworks to access the Hall.  However, it is well worth the effort! There is an interesting aspect in this respect about the history of the original Guilds. As trading activities expanded members of the Drapers Guild required a Hall where they could meet to discuss and coordinate business. At first they used individual houses but in the 1420s the Guild decided to build its own Hall.  This first Hall was in St Swithin;s Lane. The present Hall was bought in 1543 from the King and had been the home of Thomas Cromwell but had been forfeited to the King on Cromwell's execution in 1540.  Destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666, the Hall was rebuilt between 1667 and 1671, rebuilt again after another fire in 1772 and later altered in Victorian times.  I can well understand the importance of the Firefighters!  It is a Hall well worth visiting on the open days in the City. The Master, installed at the Court meeting prior to the dinner, Elizabeth Edwards, has worked as a Chartered Surveyor in the banking industry for over 20 years, in particular, working for German banks. During her time as a property banker, she built up a loan book with a value of some £3 billion in a number of well known London properties. Prior to her banking career, the Master had worked for PWC on the privatisation of British Telecom. I do recall Liz when I was at BT. I was hosted by the immediate Past Master, Roger Southam, who is a member of my Past Master's Association, formed when I went to Ironbridge in June. The Master's guest speaker was the President of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Michael Newey.  I was most impressed by the RICS Choir who sang throughout the evening, revealing in music the history of the Master's career in true Gilbert and Sullivan style!

Freedom of the City of London Ceremony (Freeman Roz Morris) Wednesday 16th October

It was a pleasure to attend the Freedom ceremony for Roz Morris at Guildhall at her invitation. It is always good to let the Clerk know if you are planning to take the Freedom of the City of London and would like to invite the Master or members of the Company to attend.  Roz was admitted to the Company as a Freeman in 2007.  The short ceremony was conducted by the Clerk of the Chamberlain's Court, Murray Craig, who is an extremely engaging speaker on the subject of the history of the City of London and the Freedom.  Roz is Managing Director of TV News London and, of course, works in the media world.  After the formalities and welcoming Roz as the youngest Freeman, Murray had no hesitation in showing us all, family and friends, photos of all the media personalities to whom he had granted the Freedom to over recent years. 

Murray also regaled us with many both historical and amusing anecdotes of other Freedoms, illustrated by certificates and pictures galore of the past great and the good! It was excellent to see so many of Roz's family enjoying the ceremony with her, as well as a number of Court members. Naturally we all repaired from the Guildhall for a celebratory toast to Roz's progression.

Freemen of the Worshipful Company of Marketors take note! You join a livery company to become a liveryman, and you must first become a freeman of the City of London to progress to the livery of any company.  Only as a liveryman can you participate fully in the traditional life of the City - with rights to vote for Sheriffs and the Lord Mayor. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Master's City Walk Saturday 12 October

Up early on a Saturday morning an intrepid group of Marketors and two very well behaved dogs assembled on the western edges of London to explore the beautiful and best example of ancient woodland in Britain.

Burnham Beeches is an area of 220 hectares, located close to Farnham Common, Burnham and Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire and approximately twenty-five miles to the West of London. Owned and managed by the City of London Corporation through the City's charitable trust, I recall regularly pushing a pram through the beeches when we lived at Dorney while bringing up our three children, near Windsor. In beautiful sunshine we were greeted by our guides, Jeremy and Jake, two incredible experts in ancient woodland management and preservation. We learned a great deal from them about the important art of pollarding,vital to preserve the beech trees, some of which have only survived through pollarding to be over five hundred years old. 

We walked some four miles within the woods and learned that during the second world war, at the instigation of Winston Churchill, it offered brilliant camouflage for military vehicles, keeping them out of sight of the enemy.

The management of the Beeches is designed to keep the whole area self sustaining, but also encouraging the natural return of heathers, funghi and wild flowers that would have been there originally. It was delightful to see cows and forest ponies assisting in this regeneration. 

 Famous for being the setting for a great many films including Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, it transpired that all financial proceeds from the filming traditionally went back to 'City Cash' until it was negotiated that this daylight robbery should remain with the Beeches management!  After our excellent walk in glorious sunshine we retired to the nearby Crown Inn for a pint and a well-earned lunch.

Fortified, we then adjourned to Past Master John Petersen's nearby home, Dropmore Farmhouse to have an offered tour of his extensive vineyard.  We learned a great deal about the viticulturalists busy year - wine making is clearly not just about picking grapes - and not only had the opportunity to test the sugar content of grapes for their readiness but also some of the possible leaf signs for chemical imbalance.  This vineyard was all the more remarkable for being fairly newly planted on former paddock land - it had clearly been set up with some considerable expertise and knowledge. It only remained to sample some of the excellent Dropmore wine - a white and a blush met with full approval.  10,000 bottles this year, I believe, will be produced this year. 

Retiring eventually to the house for a superb tea with Feona, we left after enjoying a really superb social day in the fresh air away from the City - which I suppose was exactly why Burnham Beeches was originally acquired for the people of London.

Dropmore - proudly shown on the map of UK vineyards

A busy year

A variety of grapes being grown

Busting with grapes!
Very neat well spaced rows

Sampling the produce - excellent!