The run up to Christmas
As anticipated, this was somewhat hectic but nevertheless most enjoyable. On 12th December, the Clerk and I attended the Lord Mayor’s 800th Anniversary Awards Trust presentations at the Mansion House. The Trust was established with the future of many young people in mind. Awards are made each year with sums ranging between £50 and £1,000, depending on the type of project involved. It was interesting to hear what the two major prizewinners had achieved whilst undertaking their project and inspiring to talk to a number of the young people attending the ceremony.
During December, I enjoyed the hospitality of the Broderers Company in the magnificent surroundings of Mercers’ Hall and the Clerk and I were invited as guests to the Apothecaries Court Dinner a week later. Their Hall is well known to the Curriers as we have held several Midsummer Dinners there in recent years. Amongst the Apothecaries welcoming us was one of our Liverymen, Robert Bethel, a former Master of that Company.
I am delighted that so many Liverymen and their guests attended our Carol Service this year. Whilst we were sorry not to welcome the children from the Aerodrome School on this occasion, we were privileged to hear a solo from Luisa Boselli, the Curriers Scholar from the London Youth Choir. I feel sure that she has a promising career ahead of her. Our own home grown choir performed magnificently and the new format of the reception afterwards, involving pre dinner mulled wine followed by a simple meal seemed to be welcomed and was felt to be a good model for future years.
2017 – Here we go!
Accompanied by the Clerk and our ladies, I attended the Cordwainers Twelfth Night Dinner on 5th January. I was told by a number of Past Masters that this was one of the highlights of their years, although one was likely to be asked to do rather silly things! I think I was let off rather lightly in comparison with others, but we all had a most convivial and enjoyable evening at Clothworkers Hall with our friends the Cordwainers, and we look forward to entertaining them at HMS President after the United Guilds Service later this year.
A highlight of my Mastership so far was the visit I paid to the Aerodrome School in Croydon, accompanied by Liveryman Piers Williamson, who has done so much to foster and develop our relationship there.
The School has improved enormously in recent years and I was so impressed with the conduct and behaviour of the pupils, under the leadership of Zoe, a truly inspirational and committed Head teacher. I gave a talk at Assembly, dressed in my Master’s gown and it was so encouraging to get so many spontaneous questions from the pupils about the Curriers and Livery companies in general. The work that the Curriers do, with the aim of broadening the horizons of these children, who live in a somewhat deprived area of Croydon is invaluable. Piers plans this year to organise another trip to Cambridge during the Summer and possibly a visit to the House of Commons. We hope, too, to welcome the children back to our Carol Service this December.
On 13th January the Clerk and I attended the City New Year Service at St Michaels, Cornhill, attended by the Lord Mayor. We enjoyed a thought provoking address from the Dean of Canterbury and this was followed by a most enjoyable reception and lunch at Drapers Hall in the company of other Masters.
Closer Relations with the Leather Industry
The Company has been very fortunate in recent years to have recruited several new Liverymen who are involved in the industry, namely Richard Archer, Ian Michel, Christine Powley- Williams and Simon Yarwood. At a meeting in December, various initiatives were agreed to enhance our involvement with the industry , including arranging a Livery trip to Walsall, one of the centres of the leather industry in the UK and inviting some key players within the industry to attend Court dinners during the course of the year. More plans are being formulated and further information will be circulated as they develop. A trip to Capel Manor is also planned for Sunday 4th June.
Dates for your Diary
★ Thursday 23rd February
Lecture by Oliver Everett on Buckingham Palace and its Contents.
Book now and bring your friends
★ Friday 24th March
Lady Day Quarter Court for all Liverymen and personal guests (on payment).
Tallow Chandlers Hall.
Guest speaker, Robert Lacey, Historian, author and broadcaster. Some of you may have read his books on the Royal Family or Saudi Arabia.
★ Wednesday 19th April
Young Livery walk for all young Liverymen, Freemen, Children of Curriers and their guests.
Further details to follow.
★ Thursday 20th April
History Essay Prize Reception at the Guildhall attended by the Lord Mayor.
★ Wednesday 26th April
St George’s Day Lunch at Tallow Chandlers Hall for Liverymen and Freemen and their guests.
An ideal opportunity to entertain spouses, guests and business associates.
★ Tuesday 27th June
Midsummer Livery Dinner at Barber-Surgeons Hall. Liverymen, spouses and partners and other guests.
Principal Guests: Alderman and Sheriff Peter Estlin who will respond to the Civic Toast.
Baroness Dean of Poulton-le-Fylde (Brenda Dean) who will respond to the Toast to the guests.
★ Saturday 7th October
Curriers and Loriners Charity Ball at Drapers Hall.
I am very grateful to the Events Committee, under the Chairmanship of Liveryman Nick Bryant for all their hard work in organising these events.
Spouses and Partners Event(s)
A number of Liverymen and spouses have told me that they would welcome more activities being provided for spouses. Accordingly, the Mistress Currier has kindly agreed to organise an event, which is likely to be a visit and a lunch in London for the Spring. Further details will be provided in due course.
This year, I shall not be providing a gift for spouses at the Midsummer Dinner. We have undertaken a limited survey of other Companies and fewer than previously are now providing such gifts. Instead, I intend to provide some financial support for whatever event(s) is/ are arranged for spouses.
AND FINALLY – AN APPEAL
Several of you have spoken to me regarding possible candidates for the Livery.
As far as I know, there is virtually no-one in the pipeline at present and it is crucial that we keep refreshing the Company and that we bear in mind the target of 125 agreed by the Strategy Review a few years ago.
If you have someone in mind, please approach them as soon as possible and then advise Past Master Gavin Simmonds, Chairman of the Livery Committee if they wish to proceed.