Marketors and their guests had flocked in unusually high numbers to this stunning livery hall to be received by me and senior members of the Company for the traditional Installation Dinner that marks the start of a new Master’s year. It was a record attendance and a hall packed to capacity, with not a seat to spare. One memory I will cherish was to see cadets from the Naval Section of St Dunstan’s College lining the steps at the entrance to Merchant Taylors' Hall each being personally addressed by the First Sea Lord.
At a Ceremonial Court earlier in the evening, I had been delighted and privileged to be installed as Master for the ensuing year, making my oath as follows, prior to signing the Declaration Book: I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare that I will, as Master for this present year, well and truly order and govern all the fellowship of the mystery and Company of Marketors, according to my best skill and knowledge. I will keep and see kept to the best of my power the Royal Charter and Ordinances, Policies and Procedures of this Company.
After the new Master’s declaration, it is custom and practice for the outgoing Master of the Company to be divested of the Master's robe and chain of office and then, with the assistance of the Clerk and the Beadle, the new Master is ‘clothed’ in the robe. My predecessor John Flynn held the lapels of my gown with both hands, almost lifting me off my feet! The traditional words were spoken: 'I clothe you with this gown in the name of the Worshipful Company of Marketors'. He then invested me 'with this Chain and Badge as the insignia of your Office as Master.'