Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Masters at Ironbridge
What do you call a collection of Masters. Is there a collective noun? I don't know. But this annual event brings together Masters from the majority of the Livery Companies. There were 90 of us last week-end. The purpose is for Masters to become familiar with each other in a purely social environment and have the opportunity, if so inclined, to talk about mutual Livery interests and issues. Principally however it is a social week-end with partners which starts with a black tie dinner on Friday night and ends at Sunday lunch time--for those with the staying power to survive the Ball on Saturday night. I am pleased to report that this very enjoyable week-end was an innovation instituted years ago by a Marketor, Sir Peter Gadsden who was Lord Mayor 1979/1980. It is pleasing to know that our reputation for being a sociable Company has real history.
The days are spent in an organised way exploring all that the Ironbridge Gorge and its museums have to offer. Which is a great deal. It was here within the dramatic gorge of the river Severn that the great iron master Abraham Derby perfected the secret of smelting iron with cheap and plentiful coke instead of expensive and inefficient charcoal. Britain and the world was never the same again. Ironbridge was the birthplace of the industrial revolution. The iron bridge itself, the first ever of its kind was a precursor to mass production iron and subsequently steel.
The gorge houses excellent museums and historic buildings including a large and remarkable tile museum so it is easy to see why it has been designated a World Heritage Site