Sunday, 30 June 2013

St Dunstan's College CCF Contingent Dinner Saturday 29 June

It has always been a pleasure to attend the College's annual Contingent Dinner, in the school's Great Hall.  This formal event is for those students who are members of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) along with the members of staff who volunteer to lead and manage the Cadets.  The Marketors were represented by the Master, Consort and Senior Warden  as well as Past Master Sir Paul Judge, Chairman of the School's governing body. Great credit is due to the Contingent Commander, Major Richard Davies, and also to Gemma Davies, who heads the Naval Cadets. All girls and boys have the opportunity to join the CCF, which has Royal Navy and Army sections. The ethos of the CCF is to give cadets the chance to learn more about themselves and the world around them through activities which are challenging, worthwhile and fun.  Even more importantly the activities undertaken are designed to develop qualities of leadership, endurance, resourcefulness, self-reliance, responsibility, and a sense of public service. Most of the challenging training is done at weekends and in the school holidays at camps. These take place at sea, on HM ships, or service establishments all over the country. In addition cadets can attend Service courses ranging from submarining to gliding. Typically, cadets join the CCF in Year 9 and by Year 11, having successfully completed all training ,will have achieved a promotion and become responsible for training younger cadets. The CCF is extremely popular with St. Dunstan’s students. There are currently over 200 cadets on the roll, most choosing to stay with the CCF until they leave College for university.

I was pleased to note the enthusiasm and pride of the cadets as they received their awards from the Guest of Honour, Brigadier Mike Wharmby, OBE.  On this occasion Court Assistant David Williams presented the Naval Sword to the best Cadet.  This was David's own sword that he had previously presented to the school. In his speech the Brigadier praised the commitment and determination of the officers coupled with the very strong support of the Headmistress. The Contingent, who provided a Guard of Honour at my Installation Dinner in January at which the First Sea Lord inspected them all, will also be providing a Carpet Guard for our Mansion House luncheon in July. In addition, the marching band will be playing at the Lord Mayor's Show in November, a special year for Alderman Sir Paul Judge.

The Contingent continues to provide outstanding opportunities for cadets to develop their powers of leadership, responsibility and self-reliance which enables them to enter the adult world with an enviable additional skills set.  I am positive that includes Marketing!

Friday, 28 June 2013

Marketing Week Live at Olympia Thursday June 27th

And now for something completely different. Needing to undertake our CPD annually to retain our Chartered Marketer Status, it is by the end of July that all us Members and Fellows must send in our return.  Marketing Week Live is always interesting, informative and imaginative, just what marketing should be.  I attended a great seminar given by Felicity McCarthy, Head of SMB Marketing Communications for Facebook.  Sadly I missed a reputedly legendary session on social networking skills for Marketers given by our own, our very own Liveryman Annmarie Hanlon, author and digital marketing Tutor.  Needless to say, a few of us met up at Annmarie's stand, including the Immediate Past Master, and had a good discussion.  Next door was the CIM area with the wonderful Lynn McBain, CIM's Director of Sales and Marketing. Lynn assured me there was no longer any need for me to have my CPD card stamped! All in all a very well presented showcase for our profession and well worthwhile to visit and learn what really is going on in the world of marketing.

Merchant Taylors' Company, The Billesden Award Dinner, Monday 24 June

Hot on the heels of the day's Election, it was off to Merchant Taylors, with our Learned Clerk, returning to the Hall where my Installation dinner had taken place in January.  This time all the guests assembled in the gardens, which were delightful. The Billesden Dinner, with a full hall, celebrates the 10th April 1484 when processions by land and river were a feature of London life.  The order of precedence on these occasions was a matter of keen rivalry between the various Companies, leading at times to violence.  At length, in the first year of the reign of King Richard III, the Master, Wardens and fellowship of the Skinners and the Merchant Taylors, tired of quarrelling among themselves, set a good example by agreeing to submit their dispute to arbitration by the Lord Mayor, Sir Robert Billesden, and the Aldermen.

The Mayor and Aldermen decreed, with the assent of both Companies, that each should entertain the Master and Wardens of the other once a year, the Skinners welcoming the Merchant Taylors on the Vigil of Corpus Christi and the Merchant Taylors the Skinners on the Feast of Nativity of St John the Baptist; and as to precedence, each Company should forever rank before the other in alternate years, save that during the year of office of a Mayor belonging to either, his (or her!) Company should take precedence.  For the fostering of love and peace between the Companies this has been faithfully observed since 1484.  This, of course, is the origin of the phrase 'at sixes and sevens',

In the words of Samuel Pepys (Clothworker) in 1665 'It is strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody'.  The Clerk and I were naturally totally reconciled in every way after a really excellent dinner and stirrup cup, leaving the Hall and its hospitality much later than usual!

Common Hall: Election of Sheriffs 24 June 2013

Common Hall took place at Guildhall at noon in order to elect the Sheriffs and other officers for the ensuing year.  Fully robed Masters, Prime Wardens and the Upper Bailiffs of the several Livery Companies were in the procession that started at 1150 with the Livery Committee, followed by the Masters of the twelve senior Companies (known as the Great Twelve) who were seated on the Hustings. We others sat in the front rows in the Hall.  The next procession consisted of the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and officers.  Officers include the Ceremonial Remembrancer, the Chief Commoner, the Sheriffs Chaplains, the Comptroller & City Solicitor, Recorder, Chamberlain, Town Clerk, Aldermen above and below the Chair, and the Lord Mayor.  The Common Cryer asks all those who are not Liverymen to leave the hall immediately 'on pain of death', then opens proceedings.  Details of what is to take place is given by the Assistant Town Clerk.  This year there was no contest for the Shrievalty and no contest for Bridge Masters, Ale Connors and Auditors.  I do know what the role of an Ale Conner consists of! Do you?!

We all say 'Ay' with a show of hands to the election and the two Sheriffs advance to the front of the Hustings to declare their consent to take upon themselves their office.  The Common Serjeant declares the Sheriffs to be elected.  Those elected this year are our own Sir Paul Judge, Alderman and Marketor, and Adrian Waddingham, Citizen and Actuary.  Both gave excellent short acceptance speeches.  The dates of the election of the Lord Mayor on 30 September is confirmed.  We are asked to note through  the Livery, Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff, the Court of Aldermen has expressed its support for Alderman Fiona Woolf for the Mayoralty in 2013/14, Alderman Alan Yarrow for 2014/15 and Dr Andrew Parmley for the Shrievalty in that year. Good news indeed.

The Common Cryer then dissolves Common Hall with the words 'God Save the Queen'.  We all depart, Masters disrobe, and some forty-five Marketors left for an excellent lunch at Clothworkers Hall.  Our host was the Master, Robin Booth, and we were joined by the Educators. All in all it was a fine morning.  Many of us then went on to the Annual Flag Raising in Guildhall Yard, afterwards joining the Armed Forces for tea.  It was a splendid occasion in the life of the Livery!


Thursday, 27 June 2013

Visit to The Worshipful Company of Firefighters Friday 21 June

Off to Borough underground to visit the former Headquarter's of the LCC Fire Brigade. The Master welcomed us and talked about the history of fire fighting in the City. There was a fascinating tour of the museum illustrating the history of the equipment used and the techniques developed to quell the fires that raged in London in the substandard and very vulnerable homes of many Londoners over the years, especially during the second World War and in more recent times, at King's Cross and other tragic occurrences, saving lives while risking their own.  The Museum contained a wonderful collection of Insurance plates, as displayed on houses and business properties to identify that you had paid to have your fire put out!  Otherwise your property would be left to burn.  Interestingly, the original firefighters were all ex Royal Navy - if you had served on a ship you would certainly be familiar with the techniques required.

The Mercers' Company Concert Thursday 20 June at Mercers Hall

I had met the present Master Mercer, The Hon Timothy Palmer, at Ironbridge at the beginning of June when the Masters had gathered together for the weekend. The history of the Mercers' Company at Number One in the roll of precedence is obviously the longest and most distinguished in the Livery and the Company's Hall matches that distinction. The concert featured musicians from the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove that runs two seminars each year and fifteen annual concerts annually on tour in Cornwall.  It provides the opportunity for talented new musicians to play to a wide range of audiences culminating in a concert at Wigmore Hall.  Stephen Isserlis is the Artistic Director.  The audience of Masters at Mercers certainly had a wonderful experience of this initiative, hearing Mozart's Sonata in D Major for Piano and Violin as well as Beethoven's Piano Trio in B flat.  After the concert we all enjoyed an excellent supper and much animated conversation. It was a very memorable evening for myself and my Consort. 

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Drapers' Company Court Luncheon Thursday 20 June

It was to Drapers Hall that the Assistant Clerk and I departed, leaving our Learned Clerk to prepare for the Business Court at 4.30pm and a Marketors Trust meeting due to take place beforehand.  The Master, Lady Victoria Leatham DL, was hosting her final luncheon for several Masters and Clerks and it was good to see so many now familiar faces. The Master gave a splendid speech about her enjoyment at attending Ironbridge and how her year had been full of fellowship and fun.  However, the Master also spoke of the need for greater diversity in the Company, an issue she had worked hard at improving in her year and one she felt was probably very evident to those at the luncheon today. I appreciated how hard it is for a Company that is No 3 in the order of precedence to amend and update its very long lasting traditions.  However, the Drapers has a very modern feel to it with its stunning hall dating from 1668.  The next Master Draper is to be Admiral the Lord Boyce, Lord Warden and Admiral of the Cinque Ports and also Constable of Dover Castle.  We shall be visiting both locations, as well as his residence at Walmer Castle on my Master's visit to the South Coast in September from 6 - 9 September.

Returning to Plaisterers for our own Business Court, I am pleased to report that it was a very successful meeting, approving three new Court Assistants as well as a number to be progressed to Livery and others to be admitted to the Freedom.  A major Ceremonial Court will be held on Thursday 25 July at Mansion House, prior to luncheon to the Lord Mayor.

Marketors visit to Royal Ascot Wednesday 19 June

It was perfect weather in the beautiful grounds of Englemere Wood at Ascot for over forty Marketors and guests to park and picnic together elegantly prior to Her Majesty the Queen’s arrival at the racecourse.  The inclement weather was obviously averted by the fact that my Consort and I had erected our own large marquee, replete with a large banner proclaiming that the Marketors were present! 
Englemere Wood, a short walk from the racecourse, is the lovely home of one of my alumni group who studied for our MBA at Henley Management College some years ago. We still get together there for Henley Regatta but this year it was the racing that lured us all to Ascot and the gracious hospitality of our hosts.  Liveryman Brian Smith, well known in racing circles, kindly provided us with tips as to how to bet and win.  Later in the afternoon his wife, Valerie, provided us all with a wonderful cream tea. The Grandstand was packed and the racing great fun.  Her Majesty the Queen, not accompanied this year by Prince Philip, arrived appropriately by carriage promptly at two o’clock and we all agreed that the atmosphere was wonderful in the glorious afternoon sunshine.  Winning was second place to the fun and fellowship that we all experienced. 
One extraordinary aspect of the day was to be eating our picnic surrounded by a fantastic array of rhododendrons, never knowingly in bloom in mid June and certainly not for Ascot!  

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Spitalfield Music's Summer Festival 2013 Thursday 13th June

A number of Masters and guests had been invited to a special concert of contemporary music by a young Benjamin Brittain and other composers at St Leonards Church Shoreditch.

Unlike Christ Church Spitalfields down the road, a famous Hawksmoor masterpiece and also hosting events in the Spitalfield Music Festival, St Leonards is a bit of a poor relation and in need of some serious restoration work - with time whilst listening to sadly see damp penetrating through the plaster in many places.

St Leonards, famous to us all for being mentioned in the song "Oranges and Lemons" is medieval but was rebuilt by George Dance the Elder - who also of course built Mansion House.  It used to be an actors church with a medieval theatre nearby. In the entrance the church still has stocks and a whipping post.
Let's hope someone "grows rich" enough to spend some money on this church situated in a relatively unmodernised area of London which the expanding City has not yet quite reached.

A famous church that has seen better days - by the builder of Mansion House

Monday, 17 June 2013

Tylers and Bricklayers Court and Livery Luncheon Thursday 13th June 2013

Another busy week!  This luncheon took place at Dyers Hall with the Masters of the Carpenters, Masons, Plumbers, Paviors, Pattenmakers and Constructors also in attendance, hosted by the Master of the Tylers & Bricklayers.

The Tylers & Bricklayers have an excellent tradition whereby the Junior Liveryman ( often just clothed at the Court prior to the event) gives a Toast to the Company - and to the Master.  Always a test for a new liveryman to get it absolutely right and a good way of making one's presence felt in new company.

Whilst another Master, I was there principally this time as a guest of my husband David, a liveryman in the Company and we were both hosted by the Company at Mansion House in May.

Luncheon with the Past Masters Wednesday 12th June

It is an annual tradition for the Master to lunch with the Past Masters in June each year where all aspects concerning the progress of the Company is discussed in confidence. We lunched in a private dining room at Guildhall with the Senior Past Master present taking the chair and acting as host.

Dinner with the Livery Committee Tuesday 11th June

At the invitation of Deputy William Fraser OBE, Chairman of the Livery Committee, this took place at Cutlers Hall with many Masters and Clerks in attendance.

Dinner with City of London's branch of the Chartered Management Institute Monday 10th June

This year's Chartered Management Institute's Management Champion is Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE, Sheriff to the City of London 2010/11 and President of the Law Society 2006/7, also a member of the Competition Commission and a partner at electricity reform and infrastructure projects specialist CMS Cameron McKenna. On board HQS Wellington at Temple Stairs on the Embankment, home of the Master Mariners, Fiona delivered a superb lecture on the theme of 'Tomorrow's City', exploring how we can continue the tradition the City has for innovation and how it can best be harnessed to tackle the major sustainability challenges ahead and The Triple Bottom Line (Profit, People and Planet). My question on this topic of Cities of the future was, Fiona advised me over supper afterwards, apparently very challenging.  I thought her answer was brilliant! Following supper an on board workshop took place with author Carole Railton on the subject of personal branding and body language. Under Carole's stewardship we walked around the splendid Livery Hall, the former engine room of the ship and under the waterline, with our heads held up majestically high to show us how to walk tall towards better business success.  Before disembarking I briefly viewed the excellent exhibition on board celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Arctic Convoys in which many Merchant Ships and their crews were lost in terrible weather and sea conditions.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Ironbridge Gorge Museums Master's Livery Weekend 2013 Friday 7th June to Sunday 9th June

The first bridge built of cast iron over the River Severn- showing the potential of the "new" material for all types of construction
The Masters of Livery Companies have been gathering together at Ironbridge in June for thirty years.  The tradition was initiated by the late Sir Peter Gadsden, Lord Mayor in 1979-80.   Having grown up in Shropshire Sir Peter undertook a visit to the county as part of his Mayoral Year including a visit to the Museum.  He was fascinated by the story of Ironbridge as the birthplace of the Indistrial Revolution.
He subsequently founded the London Committee of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Development Trust which aimed to fundraise and support the Museum through City and livery connections.  He became President of the Development Trust in 1983 and started the Livery Day that year as a one day visit to the Museums on a Saturday in June.  Word spread and this developed over the years as more Companies started to attend and the event expanded to become the full weekend of activities that it is today.
Ironbridge in 2013 is a key event in the year of all Master’s of Livery Companies and attendance this year was at a record number.   Connections between Ironbridge and the City of London date back much further than the 30 years that the Companies have been visiting.  Abraham Darby, the Quaker Ironmaster built the actual iconic Ironbridge itself and was given the Freedom of the City in 1775.
The Industrial Revolution took place in Britain due to the stable social and political conditions, the raw materials, merchantile power and available capital.  To this could be added the genius of invention and an abundance of skills nurtured by the Guilds and Livery Companies.
Since the institution of Livery Weekends, the Livery Companies have donated approximately £500,000 to Ironbridge in cash or in-kind donations, supporting many of the projects and education programmes.
Part of the working exhibits in Blists Hill Victorian Town
For the Masters attending this year it was a very full programme, kicking off with a Black Tie dinner at Coalbrookdale on the Friday evening after driving up directly from our Canterbury visit.  The Saturday was a full-on tour of the many separate museums, including the Jackfield Tile Museum, Blists Hill Victorian Town, the Ironbridge itself, the Old Furnace,  the Museum of Iron, and the Enginuity workshops and dare I say, playspace for adults.    There is a vast amount to see and to learn and plainly a whistle-stop tour cannot do justice to what Ironbridge offers the visitor.  At best it was a taster of the attraction of this venue which should really be on everyone’s holiday itinerary at some point in life.   What also struck me is that Ironbridge today is a very attractive area, lying as it does in a wooded valley offering glimpses of our industrial heritage.  It was not always like this – gone is the polluting smoke and smells and the ravages of industry on countryside.   The trip was also better for us in 2013 with three days of unbroken sunshine – this is also different to previous years when it has rained.
With the Consort on the Ironbridge itself
On the Saturday night we had the President’s Summer Ball in the Engine Shop at Coalbrookdale – another Black Tie affair with dancing afterwards.  The Lord Mayor Roger Gifford and the Lady Mayoress Clare Gifford were in attendance, along with Sheriff Nigel Pullman.  These events have been invaluable in enabling Masters and partners of different companies to get to know each other better.
On Sunday we returned again to Coalbrookdale to view the Darby Houses and the Costume Project and had the pleasure of seeing the Lady Mayoress try on a Victorian Dress – together with the requite bustle.  The weekend ended with a light lunch and refreshments before we all hit the road.
For my husband and I the weekend was not finished – we were off to a Cliff Richard “Still Rocking and Reeling”  Concert at Hatfield House on Sunday night on the way back to London.  My thought was that Sir Cliff is somewhat older than the majority of livery masters but showing a lot more energy than we had after a busy few days of non stop activity. And next week looks equally full!

City Ale Conner Christine Rigden explaining to Masters the technicalities of the role and testing the local brew

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Master’s visit to Canterbury Thursday 6th and Friday 7th June

Our home in Kent lies on the ancient Pilgrim’s Way from St Margaret’s Bay to Canterbury, and we own an adjacent property called Pilgrim’s Cottage.  We are therefore constantly reminded of Canterbury’s role in the history of our country and particularly its international importance as a place of pilgrimage. Travel to Canterbury in the modern era is quick and speedy by high speed train or Motorway and Canterbury continues to attract huge numbers of visitors, particularly with its close proximity to France and Belgium. 
A group of us greeted each other on the platform at King’s Cross on Thursday and in just over a hour  were whisked to Canterbury, in good time to walk to the Abode Hotel, check in and prepare ourselves to meet our city guide, Philippe Lecampe.  Philippe, himself a Liveryman of the Blacksmith’s Company, gave us a most amusing and seriously educational tour of the noisy City centre and the quieter Cathedral precincts. Encouraging us to look up at the buildings atop the usual modern shops, we gained a real understanding of how Canterbury must have looked in former days, and to use to which buildings were put as pilgrim hostels.  Despite heavy bombing in the war, Canterbury has retained many interesting medieval buildings – and in some ways reflects how London must have looked prior to the Great Fire and the greater move to redevelopment.
After the tour, conducted in a rare bout of sunshine, we returrned to our hotel for a cream tea that was most welcome and went down very well.   Several of us then left for Evensong in the Cathedral Quire and listened to the boy choristers singing the responses, psalm,  anthem etc.  Always a relaxing and uplifting way to spend a half hour.   On our return we got together for drinks in the hotel bar prior to being joined for dinner by our good friends  the Rt Rev Michael Turnbull and his wife, Brenda.  Michael kindly said grace and later regaled us with some interesting aspects of the Church of England.
After dinner we walked in the gathering darkness back to the Buttermarket to meet the Very Revd Robert Willis DL, Dean of the Cathedral.  Robert was waiting for us at the Christ Gate and invited us in to the unlit Cathedral.  Presenting each of us with a candle as our only illumination the Dean eventually guided us to the place where Thomas a Becket had been murdered.  We next moved down to the atmospheric Crypt where many services are conducted and then later up into the Quire and climbing up several steps eventually reached the Chair of St Augustine into which Justin Welby was recently installed and enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury by the Dean.   It was a memorable visit into a cathedral in the peace of the night which everyone found an emotional experience.
Friday morning found us at The Tower House visiting the newly installed Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Mrs Heather Taylor.  Women power was alive and kicking in Canterbury for the Deputy Mayor and Sheriff was Mrs Ann Taylor – no relation, and the Lady Mayoress was Mrs Linda Taylor, daughter in law to Heather.  TheThree Taylors!  The Lord Mayor gave us an introduction to the regalia and treasures of the City, including a really fine sword and Mace.  The visit included coffee and later we were shown the Guildhall where the Council meets.  Our next stop was the Freemasons Museum of Kent for a quick visit and then on to the Beaney Institute where there are some fine oil paintings of cattle and sheep by Thomas Cooper.
We met for lunch at 12.30pm in a private room overlooking the exquisite 16th Century Weavers Houses on the river.   After a lunch in which we enjoyed fine fellowship I had to say my goodbyes and depart with the Consort in an effort to reach Telford by road in good time for a Black Tie Dinner.

We made it!  By all accounts all enjoyed their 24 hour sojourn in Canterbury, which certainly looked splendid bathed in sunshine throughout the visit.
With our tour guide in Canterbury

Inside the Cathedral after our tour with the Dean and cat

Monday, 10 June 2013

Royal Chelsea Hospital Wednesday 5th June

All Livery Company Masters and Clerks were invited to the Governor’s Review, which is an annual event held by the Royal Hospital to commemorate its founding by King Charles II.  Founder’s Day is held as close as possible to the King’s birthday and the date of his restoration as King in May 1660. This day is also known as Oak Apple Day as it commemorates the escape of the future King after the battle of Worcester in 1651 when he hid in an oak tree to avoid capture by the Parliamentary forces.  The reviewing officer this year was Lord Shuttleworth KCVO, Chairman of the Association of Lord Lieutenants of the United Kingdom.
Last time I was at the Hospital was when my good friend General Lord Walker was Governor from 2006 – 2011. He will host our Court Dinner in December at the House of Lords. The present Governor is General Sir Redmond Watt. It was a stunning summer’s day and I sat and watched as the Band of the Irish Guards played and the Scots Guards gave a trumpet fanfare from the roof while the Governor and Lord Shuttleworth inspected the proud red coated and very upright In-Pensioners, also chatting to those in wheel chairs and those not able to stand for long periods.

The Chaplain, the Reverend Dick Whittington MBE, said the Royal Hospital Collect and then three cheers for the Chelsea Pensioners were requested by the Governor with the Pensioners hats raised high each time.  We were advised that a tour of the Hospital with a Chelsea Pensioner or two could elicit many fascinating stories of the Hospital and its inhabitants.
Special thanks were given for all the wonderful carers that look after the residents.  Thanks were also expressed for the many Livery Company Masters present (a record number I was advised) and we then adjourned to the South Terrace for drinks.  The building and its grounds are marvellous and I again glimpsed the interior which I have visited before.  Hip, hip Hoorah!
Mobility Scooters provide a handy vehicle for parading purposes

Monday, 3 June 2013

Visit to Guildhall Library - Monday 3rd June

We were given an interesting and informative insight into the history of Guildhall and its library in particular by Peter Ross, the Librarian.  A library was originally established using funds in the legacy of Lord Mayor and Mercer Richard Whittington but we learned that the Duke of Somerset requisitioned all the books for his new library at Somerset House.  He was executed for exceeding his duties.
The current library has 200,000 titles and has been established since 1820 - positioned in various locations around Guildhall.  It includes a first folio edition of Shakespeare, the copy of Magna Carta and the Bills of Mortality since 1665. Since 1880 it has housed the Stock Exchange collection and Lloyds of London registrations from 1740.
A display had been set out by Peter for the Marketors and guests present - some with great marketing interest and these items were introduced to us and explained.  There is certainly much to interest for anyone with the time to spend a day browsing or doing research - this has to be the most comprehensive information source on London and its history and complements the Museum of London.
Afterwards we adjourned to the Globe at Moorgate for a supper and some excellent fellowship.  The event was brilliantly conceived and organised by Laurie Young.