Saturday, 17 December 2011
The church is rightly famous for its choir, ( all professional singers) which was established in 1957 for the church's re dedication and which has remained more or less the same ever since. For a carol service they are in their element.
The service included many of the old favourite Christmas carols and seasonal readings. The Christmas message was delivered by Boris's sister, Rachel Johnson, erstwhile editor of the Lady magazine.
Afterwards 42 of us walked up Fetter Lane to the Grappalo Restaurant where we refreshed our throats and had a thoroughly enjoyable and convivial meal
Saturday, 10 December 2011
I quote now short extracts from an interesting paper Hugh wrote about their experiences on board.
''Each department took us through a very detailed explanation of their role and many exercises were carried out to keep the crew on top form. This included fire drills, sea boat launches and firing salvoes from the main 4.5” gun managed by our excellent and patient host, the Principal Weapons Officer, Lt Cdr James Robey RN, as well as allowing us to fire their Gatling type mini gun and the general purpose machine guns personally. I declined the strong invitation to take part in the man overboard exercise which showed how efficient the crew handled emergencies.''
''The ship was over manned with additional crew and a Royal Marines detachment making accommodation rather tight. We were billeted with the Chief Petty Officers (they are very large!) and slept in a tier of three narrow steel bunks within a few inches of the raging Atlantic swell though the single-skinned hull. Showers and heads (toilets) were the deck above which proved a difficult passage when only dressed in a towel at 0600 hours!''''After a final night we anchored in Spithead and the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery CBE RN, visited the ship and made a speech to the whole crew, with us at attention, and then we weigh anchor and gently glide into sunny Portsmouth harbour to be greeted with columns of water from the fireboats and the emotional sight of hundreds of excited family members on the quay waiting to welcome home their loved-ones after their six month deployment accompanied by a Royal Marine Band.
''The experience was wonderful but it is the officers and crew that makes St Albans such an outstanding ship and I hope the Marketors’ affiliation with HMS St Albans will be of long-lasting mutual benefit and being in Home Waters, until her refit in 2013, there will be plenty of opportunities for us to reciprocate their hospitality.''
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
The launch was an ancillary event to the main event which was a presentation by Dr Simon Thurley on the history of Guildhall. From it's origins in 1411, built on an even older Roman site, Dr Thurley used very fine slides to compare London's Guildhall with other Guildhalls in European Cities and even old Guildhalls elsewhere in England (Norwich being the biggest one outside London) He is a masterly speaker and held captive a very large audience as he talked through the history of the Guildhall up to the present day.
He was followed by David Pearson who touched on a minute percentage of the City's enormous historical collection--70 kilometres of archive shelving just to hold what is not on display. The Corporation looks after collections on national importance going back to the Norman conquest. It even includes an original copy of Magna Carta, an original First Folio of Shakespeare and more records, paintings, books, manuscripts, gold and silver than one can easily get one's brain round. The book is a delight and a pictorial treasure trove. I would unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone.
Sunday, 4 December 2011
Pre lecture drinks led on to a stunning presentation, using digital slides and video, from the guest speaker Jeannette Liendo. As Sir Paul Judge said in introducing her, she is Brazilian, was educated in Switzerland and lives in Paris. She is the Global Marketing Director, Corporate, for Microsoft. As I explained when I opened the evening it is impossible to have a year themed, as mine is, on the subject of Innovation without having a major speaker to talk on the subject which is the most innovative in our life time -the digital revolution. And who better than Jeannette.
An accomplishes presenter she explained how Microsoft approach innovation both in process and culturally. She then showed a video on the future of digital--the innovations that exist today but are not yet, as she put it, 'distributed' i.e in general circulation. What looked like science fiction actually now exists and will in time be rolled out for public consumption. Whether everyone in the audience fully grasped all that she said I don't know but it certainly left a terrific impression.
After a virtuoso performance we retired from the main hall to the outer rooms for a delightful supper.
The after dinner speaker was Lady Justice Hallet, Vice President, High Court, Queen's Bench Division. She was, unsurprisingly, eloquent and spoke of the potential hazards facing the profession from the lowering of standards, due to three emerging factors : firstly the rise of conditional fees where fees are related to outcome (ambulance chasing as us non-lawyers describe it); secondly education and the watering down of qualifications (very serious if true); and lastly Regulation, where lay regulators are applying a 'light touch'. As she herself made clear at the beginning of her speech this was not an after dinner speech full of jokes but even for non-lawyers it was very interesting.However talking defensively to her own kind one was reminded of Mandy Rice Davis's famous comment ''well he would say that wouldn't he''.
On Monday evening there was live music, endless champagne and canapes and Julian Fellows, the writer behind Downton Abbey, giving the welcome.
It was a wonderfully atmospheric experience in a magnificent setting with a unique selection of merchandise not found on the High Street. It was interesting to see a lot of members and Masters of other Livery Companies there. Indeed many Companies had their own stalls-it would be nice to think we could arrange this in future years.
Saturday, 26 November 2011
I was there, with a number of gowned academics, sitting on the raised platform as I was to give awards from our Trust to the ''Top Worldwide Professional Post Graduate Diploma student and subsequently an award to the 'Top Worldwide Professional Diploma student.
These awards came towards the end of the graduation ceremony which saw many hundreds of students come up to receive the applause and recognition they deserved. Speeches were made, a particularly fine one by Sir Paul Judge, a Past Master and the President of the CIM
The Marketors are well represented in the upper echelons of the CIM as was evidenced on the day since, as well as Sir Paul Judge, Middle Warden Sally Muggeridge is a member of the CIM Academic Senate, as is Liveryman Professor Malcolm McDonald and both the outgoing and incoming Chairmen of the Institute,who are members, were there.
I couldn't help but notice as I left, that outside the Symphony Hall, apart from a vibrant Christmas market, were banners promoting the world Trampoline and Tumbling championships, being held in the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. Were these I wondered an analogy for the troubled Euro zone.
Saturday, 19 November 2011
The lecture was given by the Master, a man with 45 years' experience in the plastics industry and an industry titan. He explained that he was continuing the theme of last year's lecture in explaining why plastics are indeed fantastic. Too often we hear in the media headlines : ''Ban plastic bags''; ''Pacific ocean plastic waste dump''; ''Ban PVC''; Plastic feeding bottles poison babies''. The image is one of plastics wasting valuable resources and polluting the world.
In response to such claims the speaker robustly explained the advantages of plastic with its low carbon footprint and eco efficient manufacturing. The many advantages and disadvantages were discussed . For example the the green benefits of light weight bottles over heavier glass; the myriad uses of plastic from bio degradable bags to the advanced composites in used in aeroplane construction. He stressed the recyclable nature of plastic enabling it to be used over and over again in different guises. All food for thought making plastics, he said, too valuable to be thrown away.
The speaker was the hereditary peer Lord Colin Moynihan who, those with long memories will remember, won a gold medal as a rowing cox in the world championships and a silver medal at the Moscow Olympics. Now the Chairman of the British Olympic Association he was the guest speaker and spoke on the subject ''2012 An Olympic Dream-Can the Games deliver a Sporting Legacy for the UK''. The answer was unlikely to be 'no'.
He spoke widely and interestingly on the topic of the Olympics, beyond the legacy, especially on an athlete's need for fanatical attention to detail in order to win. He quoted the interesting statistic that of five gold medals we won at the last Olympics the total time taken for all five events was only a little over 12 minutes. The total time difference between Gold and Silver for all five events added together was 0.514 seconds. Just over half a second separates gold winners from silver winners across five events. Wining today is measured in hundredths of a second. A sobering thought for athletes in training.
2012 of course is the year of both the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. A great year to be Lord Mayor as he observed and one which would make this country and the City in particular a centre of world attention. Against this background he explained that he intended to raise the visibility and quality of awareness of the City not just internationally but in the UK as a whole. He wants to shine a light on the City's contribution and in addition the contribution of the Livery which in the wider world is virtually unknown. To help this cause the Mercers have just published a short paper demonstrating the contributions the Livery makes and I shall be circulating this round our Company.
Like all Lord Mayors David Wootton has his own appeal entitled (well it would be wouldn't it) 'Fit For The Future' This appeal will help five charities-the primary one being Barts and the London Charity on behalf of the Trauma Unit at the Royal London Hospital. The Rowing Foundation; London Youth Rowing; Fields in Trust and Futures for Kids will all benefit.
It sounded as though he is going to have a very full year!
The lunch was on Monday and was held in the private dining room at Guildhall, a perfect venue. 24 sat down of whom 12 were Past Masters-a good turn out.
It is traditional at this lunch that the most senior Past Master toasts absent friends and in doing so recalls some of the history of the Company. Austin Nunn did this admirably. Tony Bellm was National Chairman of the Institute of Marketing in the early seventies when Lord Mais became Lord Mayor and it was Tony Bellm who put his resources into organising the Lord Mayors show for Lord Mais. Lord Mais of course subsequently became our supporter and it is largely thanks to his good offices that we became a Livery Company.
Generous gestures such as Tony Bellm's reflect so well on the 'service to others' and fellowship ethos which underpin a successful Livery Company. He is remembered with pleasure and respect.
Friday, 18 November 2011
It was a beautifully constructed service and in his sermon, commenting on sacrifice, David Meara opened by referring to the war memorial on Platform 1 of St Pancras station. I stare at it every time I am in St Pancras and go past it. It is a quite superb sculpture of a 'Tommy'' in full kit reading a letter from home. It's probably the finest war memorial I know and worth a detour if you're in the area. It doesn't have the magnificence of Charles Sargeant Jagger's Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park corner but it generates a more immediate emotional response.
As we walked back up Ludgate Hill to St Pauls station past the tented protesters I thought of another form of sacrifice. The protesters are protesting against Mammon not God and yet ironically the damage they are doing is to God's work (the church). The job losses and revenue losses that St Paul's Cathedral has suffered reflect the fact it is the church which has made the sacrifice.
I am advised this was only the third time in history that the Company has entered a float into the Lord Mayor's Show. We had wonderful support from our affiliated school St Dunstans whose marching band and CCF preceded the float.
The float itself owed much to the school whose students designed and constructed the structure of the float. With sponsorship from the CIM, celebrating their centenary, just as st Dunstans CCF also were, and from Unilever whose products and TV ad reel added colour and movement, our entry was one to be proud of. Here below is a photo with the organising maestro Assistant, Michael Harrison whose contribution to this event was awesome.
I was on the float waving furiously together with the Senior Warden and Jane Davies, the Head Mistress of St Dunstans, and the school's Head Girl, plus four Prefects, all waving furiously.
At the halfway point outside the Royal Courts, where the Lord Mayor has to take time out from the parade to swear allegiance to the Queen in front of the judges, I had to disembark in order to get back to the Mansion House to be one of the 22 Masters chosen to form the Guard of Honour welcoming the Lord Mayor back.
Before that I managed to drop into the Wine Tun and the Capital Club to say hello to the 220 people who had accepted our invitation to join the party. The logistics of organising 220 people and their menu choices fell to Lesley Wilson who unflappably did a superb and glitch free job.
A wonderful and memorable day was completed by Marianne joining me for lunch with the new Lord Mayor in the Mansion House.
There is no doubt that like his predecessor David Wootton will meet these expectations as he gives everything he can to his role as Lord Mayor.
These are presentations of gifts of appreciation and congratulation from members representing the various Livery Companies, City Wards, or other organisations of which the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs are members. The gifts presented varied from inscribed silver trays to decanters, pens, glasses and silver photograph frames. Each gift was announced by the Remembrancer and formally presented. Adele presented a gift as President of the Aldgate Ward Club. An unusual event to be able to witness.
Thursday, 17 November 2011
The principal items passed include the sword, sceptre, seal and inventory of the Corporations possessions (for which the new Lord Mayor takes responsibility) It is a ceremony full of dignity and ritual with much bowing, or 'reverences' as they are called, as the symbols of Mayoralty pass from the old Lord Mayor to the new one.
The ceremony was filmed and Stephen Fry was a guest since this ceremony will be incorporated into a TV film about the City to be aired later and he will be the narrator. Study the TV guides!
So it was with pleasure that I handed over the Trust's cheque to Anna Baker Cresswell, the founder, at the charity's walled garden within the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. There are sites elsewhere in the UK and over the next 5 years the charity aims to open new projects in walled gardens throughout the country to bring companionship and reassurance to more traumatically stressed veterans young and not so young.
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
We gathered in the Crypt to begin and after refreshments were briefly addressed by the President of the Royal British Legion, John Kiszely. Explaining that this event was very well attended, as indeed it was, he commented wittily that there were even people camping outside to try and get in. . More seriously he told us that the annual one day collection in the stations and streets of the City had raised over £400k significantly more than the £250k raised last year.
The service in the garden was short but moving with the band of the Scots Guards and the Royal British Legion Flag Bearers adding to the occasion. The crosses on the Remembrance Garden lawn were planted by representatives of almost all the 108 Livery Companies together with representatives of of other City Organisations.
The service finished with the Kohima Prayer :
''When you go home, tell them of us and say,For your tomorrow we gave our today''
It was a ceremony that allowed all who were there to reflect and demonstrate in a small way gratitude for the sacrifices made on our behalf in the past and today
Saturday, 5 November 2011
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Monday, 31 October 2011
We also saw a more modern court, one of 18 at the Old Bailey, with its recently constructed glass screen in front of where the accused stands.Necessary he explained to prevent the accused from leaping out and rushing across the court room and punching the judge in the face as happened to an unfortunate lady judge not so long ago.
At breakfast Lady Prue Davies, Chairman of the Fund talked about the work of the charity which is focused on helping ex-prisoners get a new start in life and on relieving hardship in the families of serving offenders. It does this to help re-offending by making grants for training, tools of the trade, clothing and household equipment. One of the beneficiaries of the Trust, a reformed character, was at breakfast to pay tribute to what the Fund had done for him to help him put his life back on the straight and narrow. This is a charity not only of great efficiency but also of great compassion. I am glad the Marketors regularly support it.
Monday, 24 October 2011
The dinner was preceded by a Ceremonial Court where the Company admitted seven new Freemen and where I was pleased to recognise Harpreet Sethi of Cass Business school for his dissertation on smartphone apps, particularly related to near field communications--a subject on which I am sure we will progressively hear more.
Sunday, 16 October 2011
And so it was on Thursday last that we all, including Adrian's wife, were at the ceremony in the Chamberlain's office in Guildhall for the granting of the Freedom to Adrian Lee. As ever Murray Craig, Clerk of the Chamberlain's Court, officiated and after the ceremony regaled us with anecdotes and stories of those who had received the Freedom in earlier times. Since Adrian is a military man these related to historical figures from Nelson and on through Generals who fought at Waterloo and elsewhere.
The page of the Freedom book which Adrian had to sign showed that the immediately previous entry was for the Earl of Wessex. However for a brief time Adrian had become the ''youngest Freeman''. Something we all celebrated at a jolly lunch afterwards at the Old Dr Butler's Head in Masons Avenue.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
This picture is not a fanciful one (well it is actually, look at it) but is a reproduction from the front cover of the Painter-Stainers' annual exhibition:''Art In The City'' The Company have a Fine Art Society and take over the Livery hall for an exhibition of their work. This, I suppose, should not really come as surprise given that since its institution in 1502 the Company through the centuries has included as members a host of famous artists including Joshua Reynolds, Godfrey Kneller, Peter Lely, James Thornhill, Lord Leighton, John Millais, Alfred Munnings, Hugh Casson and many more besides. There were no painters of such stature exhibiting last night when Marianne and I went.
However wandering round, glass of bubbles in hand, there was no doubt that this was an impressive exhibition with many paintings at professional level.
The hall itself has hanging on the walls some wonderful royal portraits but the finest to our eyes was a 6 footer by Sir Gerald Kelly Past President of the Royal Academy entitled Joaquina V. I have no idea who she was but it's a powerful piece of painting. Anyway it's a pleasure to see craft skills based Livery Companies demonstrating their skills to a wider audience. Whilst I was invited to this private show by virtue of position the exhibition is open to the public. It's finished now but worth looking out for next year if like us you enjoy art.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Sunday, 9 October 2011
The worry in the media now, Bob said, is that the whole hacking debacle and its ramifications has not only tarnished the press but threatens to create regulations or restrictions which will hamper a truly free press. The counter attack was to hope that the inquiries also examine the collective guilt of politicians who now say they were over-influenced by one man. (some hope!). Unsurprisingly he closed by emphasising that the Society of Editors is determined to fulfil its role as defender of the media at every level. Well he would wouldn't he.
This evening was sponsored by Kaizo PR who kindly provided endless wine and wonderful canapes at the Lutyens restaurant adjoining the church, where there was complete freedom of expression.
Thursday, 22 September 2011
Wendy Mead held her presentation in Carpenters Hall where the chain was on display. Because chains are so expensive an appeal is made to raise funds and all those who had contributed are invited to the presentation. Speeches follow and the champagne flows. Beside the chain is a beautiful hand written ledger detailing the names of all those who had contributed.
Monday, 19 September 2011
Last Friday evening the Sheriffs combined to raise money for the Lord Mayor's appeal by staging the Sheriffs' Opera - A Bear of Two Cities-in the Great Hall at Guildhall. Dickens' Tale of Two Cities was ingeniously reworked into a musical in which a man and a bear, like the famous Dick Whittington and his cat, leave the delights of Paris to travel to London through the port of Le Havre. The trials and tribulations of the journey were reflected in the music which encompassed work by Verdi, Puccini, and Donizetti. The adapted story line was amusingly narrated by Hannah Gordon as the fictional journey progressed. This 'contemporary opera' starred the the great diva soprano Nelly Miricioiou. She was accompanied by the Chelsea Opera Group Orchestra and Chorus a body of which Fiona Woolf is Chairman and on the night a participating soprano. Surprisingly good acoustics and some wonderful singing made for a splendid evening.
Sunday, 18 September 2011
Daniel Finklestein, the Executive Editor of The Times talked more directly about the issues of monetoising content-content on line being something that people have historically taken for granted as being free. The Times and The Sunday Times are pursuing a paywall approach to monetising their content. The industry looks on with great interest at what many see as an experiment.
Questions to the panel rapidly followed the speakers' presentations. With well over 100 people in the audience we were fortunate to have immediate Past Master Venetia Howes moderating the evening, not only opening proceedings with skill but controlling the questions and bringing them to a well timed conclusion. Hospitality, as it is quaintly called, followed rounding off a very informative and successful evening.