The Master, Tom Rider chose Salters’ Hall as the venue for this the final Dinner of his year in office. Salters’ Hall was reopened as recently as July having undergone a refurbishment programme that had taken over two and a half years and was to update the original 1976 concept by Sir Basil Spence. The Tylers and Bricklayers enjoyed the privilege of being one of the first Livery Companies to dine in the restored elegance of the ash panelled Banqueting Hall which had been retained as part of the new development.
Seen by many Tylers and Bricklayers as an ideal opportunity to entertain guests, the Court & Livery Dinner was very well attended.
Guests of the Master and the Company included the Master of the Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars, Mr Tom Christopherson accompanied by his wife Katie; Mr Donald Hodgson, Master of the Worshipful Company of Cooks; Mr Colin Freeman, Deputy Master of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and his Clerk, Commander Andrew Gordon-Lennox; serving Sheriff and Liveryman, Dr Christine Rigden with her guest Mr Charles Henty, Secondary and Under-Sheriff at the Old Bailey; Onyinye Udokporo, Apprentice and her parents Innocent and Tochi.
In keeping with the custom of raising a toast to our guests, Court Assistant Simon Martin gave an eloquent and informed introduction to each. We learned, for example, that principal guest Tom Christopherson, was admitted to the Tylers and Bricklayers and became a Liveryman in the Company in 1986, the same year as the Master. A City lawyer by profession, Tom joined Sotheby’s Auction House where he became Senior Director and European General Counsel. Tom is now head of Art and Law Studies at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. He was a member of the original steering committee of Arts Scholars which became the 110th Livery Company of the City of London in 2014 and can boast three hundred members. As Master of the very latest Company, Tom recently had the privilege of leading Common Hall in the Election of Sheriffs.
Tom gave a witty and enlightening response as he recalled many happy memories as a Liveryman. More challenging though was the task related to setting up a new Livery Company. He retold, with some mirth, of how, on taking advice from a more “senior” Company he felt the need to repair to a pub. The one chosen was called the “Hatchet”! Nonetheless, he and his colleagues prevailed and the latest City Livery Company came to be.
The Master, Tom Rider took a few moments to thank Tom and all of the other guests. He then reflected on his year as Master. He expressed his thanks to the Master Salter and to the caterers who had served up an excellent meal and hoped everyone had enjoyed a very pleasant evening so far. He complimented Tom Christopherson on his achievements and, on behalf of the Company, wished him and the Arts Scholars every success for the future. The Master then asked that we take a moment to remember the late Kenneth Percival, Father of the Company, who died recently aged 95. Kenneth, he said, proclaimed his interest in the Company to the end. The Master also announced that Past Master and Court Assistant Emeritus Peter Fuller is Father of the Company.
The Master thanked everyone for their attendance and wished all a safe journey home.