Monday, 26 July 2010
Afterwards, many members will be going on holiday, although the preparations for our Charter event in October will continue throughout the summer.
If you want some light holiday reading, try C J Sansom's "Dark Fire", a mediaeval murder mystery set entirely in the City of London. I have been intrigued by the 1540 map drawn inside the front cover, showing so many of today's streets with the same names, the Fleet River, Smithfield when it was a field etc. It's one of a series but stands alone if you haven't read the others.
Your correspondent will be back in a few weeks' time.
While both displayed the common values of the Livery, at one the conversation was mostly social, at the other there was more discussion of a commercial nature. This illustrates the variety among Livery Companies. One could almost segment them into:
- the modern companies, almost entirely made up of professionals from the 'trade';
- the old and wealthy, whose members often join through patrimony, and who spend a great deal of time managing trusts and charitable works;
- the niche, perhaps with an ancient trade that has no modern equivalent;
- the ancient but modernised, who have allied themselves to a new, related trade or profession.
The marketers among you will have spotted that I have fallen into the temptation of segmentation by characteristics rather than by need, but it's only a bit of fun!
The Master Insurer, Graeme King, is a Scot so his excellent dinner was rounded off with a poem from the much-ridiculed poet, William McGonagall, and live bagpipe music.
The evening was memorable, not least because the Beadle asked my permission to use the table beside me on which to rest his block of wood. He gavelled with such energy, that the china and glass jumped and 'chinged' each time in unison, and on one occasion a chip of wood flew off the block. I purloined it (the chip) as a souvenir.
Friday, 16 July 2010
Pink is the colour - reminds me of my Installation Dinner.
And did you realise that the original Savoy Hotel was built with profits from the theatre, in the days of D'Oyly Carte?
In the Livery world, Masters are installed at different times of the year but July is a particularly busy time for handovers from one Master to another. So just as you have got the name right of the person wearing a particular badge, a stranger turns up, saying "I'm Master So and So" and you think to yourself, "No you're not, my friend N is!"
Following the Masters' visit to Ironbridge in June we have formed our year group association for 2009-10 (for all those who are Masters/Upper Bailiff/Prime Wardens in the year of Lord Mayor Nick Anstee). The committee had its first meeting on Tuesday this week to write the constitution and start planning future ways of promoting fellowship among the 100+ likely members.
These associations could be described as the Masters' methadrone - helping reduce withdrawal symptoms of losing office!
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Typically they give small grants of money to pay for retraining, new clothes for someone leaving prison in the same clothes they went in with, tools of their new "straight" trade, basic furniture etc. Last year they made more than 900 small grants and they pride themselves on turning around requests quickly.
Some stories from beneficiaries:
"JH received a grant to purchase a washing machine which has made a big difference to her life. She had previously been doing the washing for her four children and herself in the bath."
"Your generous gift enabled me to replace my lost driving licence and purchase much needed clothes. I have now gained employment and am reintegrating back into mainstream society."
We were privileged to hear the story of one beneficiary who had been in and out of jail on drug-related crimes since the age of 12, was then sent to rehab and has now been clear of drugs and crime for 18 months.
The Marketors' Trust supports this charity as one of its "regulars". I'm glad.
Monday, 12 July 2010
A large table in front of the Governors laden with books, book tokens, silver cups and military paraphernalia (including our own recently-donated Coxswain's Sword) all to be handed out to bright-eyed and confident young people, achieving across all fields. There are heroes for community service as well as for academic, sporting and musical achievements. A great school serving its pupils well.
Delighted to finish the evening with a tired hand from so much shaking and congratulating!
Numerous awards were made to civilians and military prizewinners. The citations were humbling - there are so many people doing good things for the world. Deeply impressive.
The Group also gave its support for and inputs to a draft presentation I am preparing for the course run in September for Court Assistants and Wardens by the Livery Committee. It's intended to help Liverymen understand and champion the "Business City" as well as the "Civic City". Watch this space.
The analogies between business and sport can be overplayed, with references to teamwork, achieving goals etc. But there seem to be parallels between the City of London and the game of golf.
Compared with other countries, the City has more of a principles-based framework for operations, rather than being rules-based. We all know the importance of integrity and trust e.g. "My word is my bond".
Golf is a self-managing sport. There are no referees. Players are expected to play with honesty and integrity, doing the honourable thing, declaring a penalty against oneself rather than doing what is personally advantageous.
Neither golf nor the City would claim to be perfect but, at their best, both aspire to the same enduring principles.