The Installation of David Szymanski as the new Master of the Worshipful Company of Tylers & Bricklayers took place at St Margaret Lothbury, in the heart of the City of London, on Thursday 6 October 2016. At the same time, Jeff Fuller was installed as Upper Warden and Lesley Day as Renter Warden. The ceremony was observed by a large gathering of Liverymen, Freemen, family and friends.
The Installation was followed by the Annual Service, lead by the Honorary Chaplin to the Company, the Reverend John Cook. We were welcomed to the service by the Rector of St Margaret Lothbury, the Reverend Prebendary Jeremy Crossley, in his inimitable style, who also gave a thoughtful and thought provoking address. The Rector noted that the past year had seen a number of significant anniversaries including the Agincourt, the Battle of the Somme, the Queen’s 90th birthday as well as the 600th anniversary of the first recorded Master of the Tylers & Bricklayers. This perspective, said the Rector, gives us a heightened sense of awe at the significance of the moment, as a new Master is installed. We look back, with gratitude, at the illustrious year of immediate Past Master Tom Rider, and look forward with anticipation to the coming year in office of our new Master, David Szymanski.
Following the service, the Master and Wardens lead the Company and their guests in procession back to Carpenters’ Hall for a champagne reception and lunch.
After an excellent lunch and the customary toasts, the Master welcomed the guests. He started by announcing that Peter Fuller had recently been appointed as Father of the Company and presented Peter with the Father’s medal. The Master noted that Peter had been admitted to the Livery in 1954, the year the Master was born, and had served as Master in 1981. The Master then went on to welcome the other principal guests: the Master Carpenter, Alistair Gregory-Smith, Mrs Angela Yeoman OBE DL, former chairman of Foster Yeoman Limited which was the largest privately owned quarrying company in Europe, and Sir Neville Simms, the Chairman of the Thames Tideway Tunnel project and former CEO at Tarmac and then Chairman at Carillion.
Sir Neville replied to the Master’s welcome on behalf of the guests. He noted that the Master had a long and distinguished career in the brick industry and there had been a point when Tarmac had considered a possible move to consolidate the UK brick industry, before eventually selling its brick making business. Sir Neville went on to outline the massive scale of the Thames Tideway Tunnel (or “super sewer”) which is urgently required to help tackle the discharge into the River Thames of untreated sewage from London’s overstretched Victorian sewerage network. The Victorian sewage system was the master work of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, who designed and oversaw the construction five major brick lined sewers, some 82 miles in length. Sir Neville noted the skills and craftsmanship of the Victorian engineers, tylers and bricklayers and praised the Company’s present day support for the crafts. Sir Neville concluded by pledging that 1 in 50 jobs created by the Tideway Tunnel project would be apprentices with the ambition that this would create the nucleus of a skilled infrastructure workforce for generations to come.
The Toast to the Company was given by Liveryman Gerald Classey. The Master acknowledged the good wishes of the Company and the guests. He paid tribute to Tom Rider for leading us for the past 12 months, ably supported by Caroline. The Master then outlined some of his plans for the next year, which will include a visit to a brickworks, the Triennial Awards, the annual guest banquet which will take place at Haberdashers Hall, a sponsored cycle ride (any volunteers most welcome) and a trip in June 2017 to the wine producing Languedoc region of Southern France where the Master has a holiday home.
The anticipation of an enjoyable and varied year ahead, that Jeremy Crossley noted in his address at the Installation service, is surely fully justified.