The Master’s Diary 2016/17

April 2017

The month’s functions began in the Old Library of the Guildhall and with a panel discussion chaired by Professor Nicholas Vincent relating to the 950 year old King William Charter, then on exhibition in the Guildhall Art Gallery. This Charter must rank as the smallest known, being a little over four lines of text. Notwithstanding its size it remains one of the major charters of the City of London. Still on the history trail I attended the Charterhouse where Paul Jagger talked about ‘Heraldry of the City of London and its Livery Companies’. A most enthusiastic talk giving some fascinating insights as to how some livery companies have their heraldic motifs and nearly didn’t have them! As the speaker said there was nothing like having a former Clarenceux King of Arms in the audience to keep a heraldic lay speaker on this toes! A book is being published this summer about Livery Company armorial bearings. One to look out for.

A different tone was set at the Wilton Music Hall where Silver Electra Opera gave a matinee performance of a new opera by Russell Hepplewhite about Amelia Earhart. The event was organised by the Management Consultants’ Company. No sooner was that over but it was time to cross London to the Royal Geographical Society for the Gardeners’ Company’s lecture, the principle speaker being Loyd Grosman OBE on the theme of the Royal Parks and public open spaces.

A follow up debate to the World Traders’ Company’s annual Tacitus Lecture was chaired by Lord Tim Clement Jones. The underlying difference between the lecture and the debate was that the panel were addressing the situation now that Article 50 had been triggered. As ever for some it was a glass half full and for others a glass half empty.

After Easter saw the launch at the Mansion House of the Institute for Apprentices, the Government lead initiative to provide the structure with financing from large employers to pay for apprentices to be trained for tomorrow’s work place needs. It was back to the Mansion House the next morning for the presentation by Frank Curtis, President of the UKRIAT division of ICSA, accompanied by Simon Osborne, Chief Executive and myself of Fellowship of the ICSA to the Lord Mayor, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley.

Liverymen David Quinn, a member of the LLG committtee, organised a visit to the College of Arms which was very well attended. The talk and tour was given by the York Herald.

The month’s activities concluded with the April Court at which two new liverymen were admitted, following which they joined us for supper.

l to r Senior Warden, Viscountess Mackintosh, the Master, Graham Campbell and Junior Warden.
l to r Senior Warden, Viscountess Mackintosh, the Master, Graham Campbell and Junior Warden.

March 2017

The month’s events began with the Glass Sellers’ Company lecture in Barclays’ atrium at Canary Wharf. To the backdrop of illuminated roads and buildings a talk was given by Barclays staff about the role the bank is taking in provide its Digital Eagles program. Other lectures which I attended included the City Guides of London in St Lawrence Jewry presented by Dr Simon Thurley whose address was about the medieval guildhall of London. The ‘True and Fair’ lecture was hosted by the Chartered Accountants’ Company in the Chartered Accountants’ Hall. Over at the City University I was one of the few Livery Masters to attend the inaugural Sir Richard Olver Engineering lecture given by Professor Dame Ann Dowling. Our own lecture, this year held for the first time under the name of the Tutt Rivers Lecture, was held in Pewterers’ Hall where Steve Holliday, formerly the Chief Executive of National Grid, spoke about diversity and its impact on business and corporate management. His talk obviously made an impact as a reference to it was made by the Lord Mayor a week later at a banquet in the Mansion House.

The WCCSA Charitable Trust is a donor to London Youth, a charity which champions outstanding youth work across the capital; its origins go back 130 years and this year is the 70th anniversary of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, K.G., K T. as its patron. A sponsored reception and lunch was held at Armourers’ Hall where HRH and the CEO of London Youth spoke.

Dinners included the Modern Companies’ Spring Dinner in Brewers’ Hall where Sir Peter Gershon KBE spoke about developments in computing and cyber security, then there was dinner at the Wheelwrights’ Easter Court and lastly the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at Mansion House.

Over at the Old Bailey the Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund with Pan Intercultural Arts presented ‘ Forever Trial and Error’ where the solemnity of No 1 Court was taken over for the evening with enacted extracts of famous cases including those of Marshall Hall KC and Jeremy Hutchins QC interspersed with music and song. A most entertaining evening.

A quaint and fascinating event was to attend the Quit Rents ceremony. This was held at St George the Martyr in the historic Borough district of south London. A church service of thanksgiving preceded the rents and exchequer ceremony after which lunch was taken in the crypt with Livery Masters each reading a rule from Sir John Barnard’s ‘Some Rules for the Conduct of Life’.

In each year there is at least one of the ancient companies celebrating, and this month the Carmen’s Company held a thanksgiving service for its 500th anniversary. After the service in St Paul’s, all duly robed and gowned, a reception was held in Stationers’ Hall.

The penultimate event of the month was the Lord Mayor’s banquet in Mansion House where all Livery Masters, consorts and others gathered and next day we gathered again for the last event of the month, the 75th United Guilds service in St Paul’s. The sermon was given by The Right Reverend Christopher Chessun, Lord Bishop of Southwark, and lunch was taken in the Members’ dining room at the Guildhall.

Footnote: Our website has been updated with news from Rokeby School which is in the Education folder and a new piece about Apprentices.

The Master enjoying a joke with Steve Holliday (l) and David Lock (r), before the Tutt Rivers Lecture.
The Master enjoying a joke with Steve Holliday (l) and David Lock (r), before the Tutt Rivers Lecture.

February 2017

The month began with the Clerk and I having lunch with our Hon Chaplain, Rev Andy Ryder in the crypt of Spitalfields Church and discussing events where he would be officiating. The next day The Clerk and I met Frank Curtis, President of ICSA, and Simon Osborne, Chief Executive of ICSA, and over lunch reviewed matters of common interest and how best to progress them.

Mid month there was an Apprentices Evening and Peter Speirs, Company Secretary of Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC gave an inspirational speech to aspiring company secretaries.

Another successful Networking and New Members Evening was held, preceded by admission of new freemen.

Along with many other Masters I attended an event in the Grand Hall of the Old Bailey, organised by the Sheriffs to raise monies for the Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund. Martha Kearney hosted a chat on the sofa with Helen McCrory and Damian Lewis.

The Arbitrators’ Company invited me to lunch aboard HQS Wellington which must have proved to be the coldest day of year for drinks on the Quarterdeck.

Over at City House, the Chartered Architects’ Company hosted their annual lecture and, along with many other Masters, heard from the IPM Chartered Architect, Head of Design in the City of London Palnning Departemtment and Keith Priest from Fletcher Priest Associates about how the City skyline has developed over the years, the constraints of sight lines being balanced with demand for ever increasing office space and now the growing demand for more space for pedestrians as numbers on the streets expand.

At this year’s Tacitus Lecture, organised by the World Traders’ Company and held in Guildhall, Sir Simon Fraser, GCMG, gave a talk entitled ‘ The World is Our Oyster? Britain’s Future Trade Relationships’. This is possibly the largest lecture of its type in the City

The 27th February should have seen a clutch of liverymen visiting HMS Ambush. However for operational reasons this was cancelled, so at short notice the trip to Glasgow turned into a Master’s Awayday. First there was a hop-on hop-off tour bus round the City’s landmarks, followed by a delightful lunch at the Rogano, a restaurant in original Art Deco style and the oldest in Glasgow serving seafood. Afterwards we visited Trades Hall and were given a most informative tour of the building and the Trades’ history by Jan Dobson. The Deacon Convenor met us in his panelled office and told us of his and the Trades’ links with the City of London.

The month ended with my attendance at St Lawrence Jewry for the Scriveners’ Quill Pen reception as part of its 400th Anniversay celebration of the granting of its Royal Charter. The evening included opera and a performance by members of the Scriveners’ Company of an ancient York Mystery.

January 2017

The first month of the New Year began with Management and Committee meetings. Social functions quickly followed first a lunch with Mr Alderman and Sheriff Peter Estlin and the judges of the Old Bailey and the next day I attended a New Year Service at St Margarets’ Church, Cornhill and a reception afterwards hosted by the Drapers’ Company. Along with our Clerk I attended Masters and Clerks functions hosted by the Chartered Accountants’ Company in the Accountants’ Hall and the Horners’ Company in the Painters’ Hall.

Our January Court was held in Armourers’ Hall when three new liverymen where admitted along with a new Honorary Freeman. Luncheon was very well supported and was taken in the Hall where the walls are decorated by suits of armour and a most extensive display of coats of arms. After lunch I presented the Sir Clive Martin Prize for 2016 to Sergeant Michael Borysenko and Past Master Sermon presented the Richard Sermon Prize 2016 to Flt Lt Rachel McCulloch RAF. Our guest speaker was Vicky Carroll, Head of Art at the Guildhall Gallery, who gave a most interesting talk about the history of the gallery, curating, and the administration of art collections and displays.

Other functions I attended included the Worshipful Company of Marketors’ Installation Dinner held in Clothworkers’ Hall and the Worshipful Company of Scriveners’ Service of Thanksgiving in the church of St Martin’s within Ludgate to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the granting of their Royal Charter followed by dinner in Stationers’ Hall.

For some little time our Education Committee has recognized the growing need to provide mentoring. This finally came to fruition at the January Court when a Mentoring Scheme was adopted. This Scheme will run along side the Apprenticeship Scheme. Whereas the latter is for persons aged between 18 and 29 the Mentoring Scheme is for those 30 and above who are studying for the ICSA examinations or requiring mentoring in company secretaryship and administration. Applicants for either scheme should email clerk@wccsa.org.uk Existing applicants are in the course of being contacted.

Our Clerk, Mrs Erica Lee, wishes to retire in early 2018. The Court approved an advertisement and further particulars relating to the post. These have been circulated to liverymen and can be accessed on this website under Latest News. The deadline for applications is 28th March 2017.

My last civic function in Janaury was to attend the City University of London Degree Congregation which commenced with the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of London Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley being installed as Rector and the award of Honorary degree. After the degree ceremony concluded lunch was taken in the company of Professor Sir Paul Curran, President of the University.

Lord Mayor with Professor Sir Paul Curran and Livery Masters. Courtesy City University.
Lord Mayor with Professor Sir Paul Curran and Livery Masters. Courtesy City University.

Our website has been further updated with a new Education folder; the Charitable Activities folder now has an on-line grant application form, and a contact form has been created on the Home page to enable the emailing of short messages to the clerk without having to leave the website.

All in all a busy month.

 January 2017 Court and Luncheon

October to December 2016

In October, as Master, I attended my first lecture, it was the Art Scholars’ Mithras Lecture at Goldsmiths’ Hall presented by James Stourton, MA, FSA on the life of Kenneth Clarke entitled ‘Life, Art and Civilisation’. On consecutive days in November I attended the Sir Lionel Denny Lecture at Barber-Surgeons’ Hall presented by Dr Alice Bovey who had flown in from Canada only that morning to talk about Gog and Magog. The next evening at Staple Inn Hall was the annual Actuaries’ Company lecture by John Kay, CBE on “Risk and uncertainty in finance and business – an annotated history” which was followed a few days later by the CCLA annual lecture at Drapers’ Hall entitled ‘Power, Reputation & Influence’ given by Lord Carlile of Berriew, CBE, QC, FRSA . After that came the Educators’ Company’s annual Franklin Lecture given by the Rt. Hon Charles Clarke, a former Labour Secretary of State for Education, talking about the ‘London Challenge’ and how it turned around the capital’s schools.

Each of these lectures engaged with a diverse audience, from the academic to the lay person, and the topic was presented for appreciation by all. The audience had an opportunity to discuss issues with the speaker, and afterwards socialise over a glass of wine.

Within days of taking office I made my first presentation of awards to Army and Royal Air Force personnel at Worthy Down. Ceremonial events have included taking part in the Lord Mayor’s Show (in the rain), the planting of a poppy bearing cross in the Garden of Remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral following the open air service, and attending services of the Imperial Society of Knights Batchelor and St Cecilia, the latter at Westminster Abbey where history presses in all around.

The ICSA 2016 Awards were presented by Alexander Armstrong at the Hilton Hotel and I represented the Company as a guest of ICSA.

In connection with our educational affiliations, at the end of November along with Past Master Mike Dudding and Mrs Rosalie Richardson I attended Rokeby School for the unveiling by Mrs Richardson of a picture of her late husband who had done so much for the school and after whom the library is named.

Add into all that my attendance at convivial dinners hosted by several livery companies – and working with the Clerk in managing our Company.

December began with a Christmas Lunch at Ironmongers’ Hall hosted by the Management Consultants’ Company.

A great many Livery Company Masters including myself attended the Cutlers’ Company’s 600th Anniversary Service of Thanksgiving at the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great. Afterwards we attended a reception at the Old Bailey.

Our Company’s last event of 2016 was our annual carol service held this year with the Ward of Cheap Club and the Educators’ Company. The service was held in St Lawrence Jewry next Guildhall and conducted by Rev’d Cannon David Parrott and our Hon Chaplain Rev’d Andy Ryder. Following the service and a drinks reception in the church supper was served in the Guildhall members’ dining room.

The WCCSA Charitable Trust has updated its process for receiving and processing grant applications.  An application form has been introduced and this can be completed on-line and then forwarded to clerk@wccsa.org.uk   The form can be found under Charitable Activities.