Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Derek Melluish Memorial Lecture – Monday 4th March

Sue Jackson, Chairman of the Association of London Blue Badge Guides, gave a splendid introduction to Lord Richard Dannatt GCB CBE MC, Constable to the Tower of London.  His lecture for the Association was entitled   ‘Sent to the Tower’.
Lord Dannatt pointed out to a large assembly of Masters, Liverymen and interested parties that after four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan  he left the Army on 31 July 2009 and was appointed as Constable of the Tower of London the very next day, 1 August.  

As an outspoken member of HM Forces he might be forgiven for thinking he was literally being ‘Sent to the Tower’. Once the seat of government, the Tower of London is now controlled and run by Royal Armouries, who keep a modest collection of armoury and weapons in the White Tower. This is also the only space allowed for private entertaining and I used it myself in 2006 for a great party with MPs and Peers suitably transported by river boat to the Tower and a private viewing of the Crown Jewels.

His tour of duty in the Tower of London mainly consists of managing 2.5 million visitors a year.  To assist him in this task he has of course the  Beefeaters.  The Tower hosts many Livery Companies for church services in the two beautiful chapels, alive of course with stories of previous worshippers who no doubt prayed there before meeting their deaths.

The event took place in the City’s Dutch Church. This dates from 1550 when King Edward VI gave Protestant refugees from the Netherlands permission to establish their own parish.  It aims to be a meeting-place for Dutch people living and working in London either for longer or shorter periods. Destroyed in the Blitz the Church was rebuilt in 1950 and is a familiar sight to those who walk down Aldersgate Street and cut through Austin Friars, the street named after the monastic order which founded the Church.  The Dutch Church has a spacious undercroft for entertaining where refreshments were provided.


No comments:

Post a Comment