The annual cycle of Company events, functions and visits begins with the installation of the Master for the year which takes place in early October each year. The events in the Master's year will be a blend of formal dinners, lunches and other Company functions, which form fixed points in the annual calendar, and a number of additional events and visits arranged by the Master, with support from the Clerk and the Communications Committee.
The Master will have had several years to prepare for his or her year in office, having been first nominated and then serving for a year as Renter Warden and Upper Warden before finally becoming Master.
The installation of the Master and Wardens for the year takes place in the Church of St Margaret Lothbury, the Company's Church, which is just behind the Bank of England in the City of London. The Installation is witnessed by family and friends as well as by members of the Livery and is followed immediately by a service of thanksgiving known as the Annual service . Following the Installation and Annual service, the Livery walks to a nearby Livery Hall for lunch followed by speeches from the Master and a distinguished guest invited by the Master.
The next event in the Company year is the annual carol service which, like the Annual service, is held at St Margaret Lothbury. The singing of the Livery is greatly enhanced by the participation of the choir, the Lothbury Singers, led by Honorary Freeman Richard Townend. Following the carol service there is an informal Christmas supper which has been held for the last few years at the City University Club.
The next formal event in the Company's year is Common Hall which is held in February. As the Tylers and Bricklayers no longer have our own hall, we have the pleasure of visiting some of the ancient and splendid halls belonging to other Livery companies over the course of the year. Common Hall is restricted to Liverymen (in other words, those who are still Freemen are not eligible to attend). It is an occasion when the Master and Wardens report to the Livery on the Company's affairs and financial position and take questions from the Livery. It is fair to say that much more information is available now to members of the Livery than would have been the case even 5 years ago but Common Hall is still a valuable opportunity for questions to be raised and debated. Common Hall is followed by dinner at which places are drawn at random so that the Master, Wardens and members of the Court are spread amongst the Livery, giving an excellent opportunity to make new friends.
In March, the Company hosts the annual Craft Awards lunch to which the prize winners and their tutors are invited as well as other guests of the Company. It is customary for the prizes to be awarded by a senior representative of the City of London: occasionally the Lord Mayor but more usually one of the Sheriffs or senior Aldermen.
In every third year, in addition to the annual Craft awards, the Company also awards the Triennial Awards which are given to the best examples of tiling (both roof tiling and slating and ceramic tiling) and brickwork undertaken in buildings within the M25 within the preceding three years. The next Triennial Awards will be made in 2017. The prize winners are invited to the awards lunch, held at a Livery Hall within the City.
Further information about the Craft Awards and Triennial Awards can be found in the Awards section.
The most significant formal event in the Company year is the Annual Guest Banquet which is held in May. In past times, this would have been the only occasion to which members of the Livery could bring guests and was therefore a grand dinner with one more distinguished guests. The splendour of the dinner and eminence of the principal guests is still apparent but guests are now happily welcomed to almost all Company dinners and other functions. Every 5 or so years the Annual Guest Banquet is held at the Mansion House, the Lord Mayor's official residence and the Lord Mayor will be our guest of honour (even though we are dining in his home!). The Tylers & bricklayers last dined at the Mansion House in 2013.
Alongside the formal events in the year, the Master will arrange a variety of visits and events to which members of the Company and their guests are invited. These events range from overseas trips (we have travelled in the last few years to France, Spain and Portugal) of two or three nights duration to a visit to a building or institution in London, typically with an expert guide, and a chance to see behind the scenes. Members of the Company also have the opportunity to participate in some of the civic events organised by the City of London which are as diverse as Pancake races in the Guildhall yard, magnificent services in St Paul's and the age old ceremonies for the election of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of the City of London.
There are two further formal events in the Company's calendar. The first is a lunch hosted by the Tylers & Bricklayers for the Masters and Clerks of our sister Companies (the Masons, the Constructors and the Carpenters). The lunch is called (unsurprisingly) the Masters & Clerks Lunch and is held in June. The final formal dinner in the Company's year is the Court and Livery Dinner which is usually held in the first week of September. Traditionally this would have been restricted to members of the Court and Livery but now guests are most welcome and many members of the Company find this an excellent occasion at which to entertain friends and colleagues, some of whom may wish themselves to join the Worshipful Company of Tylers & Bricklayers.