Dear Fellow Lightmongers
Like many of my contemporary Masters we all thought things were going to be quieter in July. This proved not to be the case! One of the highlights of the year is of course our Annual Summer Banquet at Mansion House. An occasion when, as Master, you have that once in a lifetime chance to be center stage in the famous Egyptian Room. I was pleased that all my family and close friends were able to join me and a chance to say a personal thanks for their support this year. It was also the finale of the Lord Mayors Luminaire Design Competition. We had the chance to meet the finalists who at the ages of 18 and 21 were bowled over by the event and the chance to be met by the Lord Mayor. The official photographs tell their own story so I have included a couple of my own. This year the Lord Mayor made a special request for the main doors to be left open. The result is that from the center of the top table you have a wonderful view of chandeliers going right through into the parlor. The other photo is what is becoming a personal tradition of having your photo taken outside Mansion House station on the way back to the hotel.
I attended the Cart Marking ceremony organized by the Worshipful Company of Carmen. This was our first invitation as Lightmongers so we weren’t sure what to expect. All was soon revealed. For centuries the Corporation of the City of London exercised its rights over carts and carriers, limiting the number of ‘carts and carrs’ plying for hire within the City. To achieve this each cart was marked with each year, distinguished by a letter. We were treated to a parade of vehicles from handcarts to the latest tractor cab. Each was carrying a wooden plaque that was in turn marked with a branding iron. The ‘marking’ was followed by a splendid lunch in Guildhall to celebrate the Carmen’s 500th anniversary.
Yes, Corporal Jones “Dads Army” van being marked
I was pleased to perform the official opening of DES contracting’s London office on behalf of fellow Lightmonger Richard Walker. Another first for the year, I haven’t performed a ribbon cutting ceremony before.
Ribbon cutting at DES
Now in its second year was the Portsmouth Flotilla award, given to the outstanding crew member on each of the flotilla ships. The ceremony took place on the deck of HMS Victory with 22 of the award winners available to attend. All Livery companies with an affiliation were invited and I was one of 12 Masters who attended. It was with some pride that when asked which ship ours was I was able to say it was the Queen Elizabeth. There is much interest and excitement in the Navy about the arrival of the carriers and it is generally accepted they will be the most advances carriers afloat. After a traditional Mess dinner we retired to the Commodore’s house and together with other Masters and the fleet Admiral we did stay up quite late putting the world to right. The Commodore particularly emphasised how important they see the links with the livery are. We were all presented with a souvenir piece of steel from the QE personalized for our livery company.
Souvenir from HMS Queen Elizabeth
Prize winners and their officers on board Victory
Still with the military theme we were invited our affiliated Army unit at Wimbish for the ceremony of Beating the retreat, with a program of music from the band of the Parachute Regiment. It’s on these occasions you get a real insight into our armed forces.
Beating the Retreat at Wimbish Barracks
Having now spent several months walking around the City we took the chance to join in the church walk organized by the Paviors and Constructors. We discovered some hidden gems but all the Masters agreed the best find were the churches with coffee shops inside, providing the perfect place to drop in between events.
Taking a rest in the remains of St Dunstan-in-the-East
There have been some interesting challenges in my year as Master, but tasting spirits was not one I anticipated. To round off the month and head towards a quiet August was the opportunity to taste 199 of the finest spirits in the world, some of which will be retailing for several thousands of pounds. These were principally Gold Medallists, together with selected Silver Medallists, in the International Wine and Spirit Competition. The trick, I discovered, was
to look for the bottles that were already half empty by the time I got to the table. These were the best! Although I was introduced to a surprisingly good whisky from Taiwan. Towards the end of the evening you could see the room had split into the Gin drinkers on one side and the Whisky drinkers on the other.
The Whisky challenge
Also during the month I was a guest at the Paviors Court Dinner, and the annual service of dedication for the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor held in St Faith’s Chapel in the crypt of St Paul’s.
Finally I will mention the 4 Liveries Lecture given by the Astronomer Royal at Painters Hall. This year it was the turn of the Clockmakers to organize. Our turn next year. An excellent lecture followed by supper.
As August will be quiet in Livery circles I will return with my next blog at the end of September. May I wish you all a good summer and enjoyable holiday if you are taking one.
A reminder on the 8th September I will be abseiling 200m down London’s Cheesegrater building in support of the Lord Mayors Appeal. 100 absailers will be led by the Lord Mayor himself followed by 99 other supporters. I have met 2 other Masters who are also joining in and we collectively agreed that some training should take place but so far nothing!
My target is to raise £1000 towards the appeal and if every Lightmonger sponsored me for just £10 we would soon reach that target. Giving is easy by following the link below.
24th September – Sheep Drive on London Bridge – Details sent – Application details via https://sheepdrive.london/book/
29th September – Election of Lord Mayor – invitations out – LIVERYMAN ONLY
5th October – Music Hall Extravaganza – Applications open – only 9 places available apply asap
3rd November Members Only Dinner – Tallow Chandlers’ Hall – save the date
11th November – Lord Mayor’s Show – Save the Date
6th December – Lightmonger’s Carol Service – St Botolph’s Without Aldgate – Save the Date