Welcome to the March newsletter. The month started with the Melluish Lecture at St Lawrence Jewry, organised by the Guild of City Guides. The speaker was the Archivist from the Middle Temple, who told us all about the revels and the turmoil in the Inns of Court, and London generally, during the Commonwealth and then after the Restoration. It was a dangerous time to be a prominent person, although some of the senior lawyers managed to transfer successfully from the Parliamentary faction to the King’s party when they saw the way the wind was blowing. He told some interesting stories about the contested ground which was the Temple in those days – numerous Lords Mayor were physically attacked by Middle and Inner Temple students when they tried to assert control over the Inn! Generally the Lord Mayor retired to a tavern to dust himself down.

The following morning, the Learned Clerk, the Chair of the Craft Committee and I made a quick visit to Goldsmiths’ Hall to plan the physical arrangements for the Craft Awards luncheon. You need to walk the floors to work out where to station the Stewards and the reception line, where to robe before the Court meeting and, in this case, the flow of people collecting awards and returning to their seats. We also sorted out where we needed lecterns and microphones. Ian and I then made our way to Worship Street for a meeting of the Craft Committee.

On 7 March, we interviewed three prospective Freemen and two of them managed to be ready for the Court meeting and lunch on 19 March, so that was all very efficient!

On 12 March I went to the beautiful Dutch Church in Austin Friars, to visit the exhibition of basket making organised by the Basketmakers’ Company. That company has a number of Yeomen who are professional makers, not just of baskets but also of furniture, fishing creels, rush matting and even coffins (willow coffins are totally biodegradable). The church was full of these makers and their works, and the Livery guests were able to sip a glass of wine as they admired the craftwork for sale. Numerous Masters invested in a new fishing creel or fancy basket, so it was a successful day for the Yeomen.

On the following day, I drove to Treloar School and College near Alton in Hampshire. This is a school/college for students who are severely physically disabled. Almost all the students are in wheelchairs and the mainstream education system is unable to give them all the support they require. Treloar’s is named after the Lord Mayor of London who founded the school in 1908. This was their Open Day, attended by the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress, plus twenty or so Masters of Livery companies. We were shown round the very impressive establishment, which offers education and training at primary, secondary and sixth form levels. The college relies on charitable funding, especially from the City of London, to fund the very high level of staffing and the expensive equipment required, such as electric hoists to get students in and out of bed or a bath, or electrically adjustable standing frames to enable them to work, read or watch television in a standing posture. These standing frames are very popular, because otherwise the students spend 18 hours a day sitting in a wheelchair. The Lady Mayoress is organising a fund raising tea party at the Mansion House on 26 June, with Alan Titchmarsh running a Gardeners’ Question Time, for anyone who would like to support this amazing institution.

I then headed for Carpenters’ Hall, where the Mistress and I were guests of the Company for the evening. We enjoyed some fine food and wine, and the Master, who is South African, had invited a bass singer from that country to entertain us. He sang arias from opera and also two songs in Xhosa (his first language). Lots of clicking. It was a very enjoyable evening and we will look out for the singer, Msido Mbali, on the opera stage in London. Currently he is based in Geneva.


We stayed overnight in London and joined Liveryman and Commander (good idea for a novel, perhaps even a series) Ed Rolls and the HMS Magpie Liaison Group at HMS President in the morning. Our affiliated vessel had made the trip up the Thames specially and was moored on the pontoon ready to go. After introductions by the Commanding Officer, Lt Cdr Nick Radue, we cast off and did a quick underwater survey of the channel next to the pontoon – all fine – before proceeding down river. The crew members were enthusiastic about explaining the very complex electronic kit on board and demonstrating its use. Freeman Radiah Ford, who works at the MoD sometimes on naval matters, was able to take the helm for a bit and said the photos would astonish her colleagues in the office! The ship has diesel engines but no propellers, with propulsion coming from jets underneath the hull which can fire in any direction, making her very manoeuvrable. When we returned to the pontoon, the CO made the vessel move smoothly sideways, completely parallel to the dock. The T&B team then had a sandwich lunch with the whole crew of Magpie, before awarding the first of our annual prizes, to LET Dennis Taylor. We hope to see both Nick and Dennis at our Annual Banquet in May.

The Mistress and I then re-grouped and donned white tie for an evening at the Mansion House. Roughly halfway through his year, the Lord Mayor entertains all the Masters of Livery companies to dinner and gives a report on progress. It was a lovely evening and we got to meet Butcher and Bowyer, who I had not really come across before. The Lord Mayor made an amusing speech and there are a couple of new ideas we will pick up and discuss in committee.

The same cast then assembled the following day for the United Guilds Service at St Paul’s Cathedral. This service celebrates the contribution of the Guilds and Livery companies and their charities to the City and was a mix of some fine music and a very thoughtful sermon from the Dean, who did not shrink from addressing the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.

After the service, the T&B party walked to Carpenters’ Hall, where we lunched with the Carpenters and three other companies. An enjoyable end to a busy week.


19 March was a nice dry day, so I set off for Goldsmiths’ in good spirits, ready for a Court meeting and then the Craft Awards luncheon. At the Court meeting we welcomed three new Freemen and clothed three new Liverymen, so there were some bright new ribbons on display at lunch time. The lunch itself was a great occasion, with 160 people enjoying the delights of Goldsmiths’ Hall and applauding our prize winners. Liveryman Sir Mark Mans presented the awards and gave an excellent speech bringing us up to date with developments in the Royal Engineers, ready for the 25th anniversary next year. Our thanks to Court Assistant Ian Wilson for the huge amount of preparatory work done to set up the awards ceremony.


The following day was the Vernal Equinox and also the Lightmongers’ Dinner, held this year at Painters’ Hall. The Lightmongers are electricians and a relatively modern company, with close links to the Tallow Chandlers and Wax Chandlers whose products were made redundant by electricity! As I pointed out to Master Lightmonger, they have the largest ship in the fleet (HMS Queen Elizabeth) and we have the smallest. But there are of course a lot of electricians on an aircraft carrier and not much tiling or bricklaying on any RN vessel.

My final engagement in March was another dinner at Painters’ Hall, this time hosted by Master Painter-Stainer. Like the Lightmongers, we are all part of the Construction Liveries Group. The Painter-Stainers represent both commercial painting (I sat next to a Past Master who painted the bridge for the Dartford Crossing) and fine art painting, and they have had some famous painters as members. The hall is full of pictures. The current Master personally decorated the ground floor reception rooms, some years ago, and took pleasure in showing me some ‘wood’ panels that were actually painted.

A busy month, with a great deal of variety. The next major events for us are the Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch on 18 April, where we are attending in force, and the Annual Dinner at Merchant Taylors’ Hall on 8 May. We have a fine speaker for the latter event, the new Dean of Southwark, and will be joined by a party from the Stockholm Guild of Masons, so the evening will have an intriguing international flavour! Do bring along some guests.


Welcome to the February newsletter. The last day of January saw me in Eastleigh, attending a Speed Awareness Course, following which I drove (very slowly) back home to prepare for the Nominations Committee on 1 February and the Members’ Dinner at Cutlers’ Hall. At Nominations we discuss the more senior appointments, such as who should become Renter Warden in Nomination and who should join the Court. Our recommendations are then considered by the Court in March and take effect in October.


The dinner in Cutlers’ Hall is always a highlight of the year, since it is the only event where we mix amongst ourselves with no guests, principal or otherwise. The speeches are kept to a minimum too.

Seating by lottery means you get to know new people in the Company. For many years the catering has been provided by the Beadle to the Cutlers and his wife, who live in the Hall. They have given us excellent food at a very reasonable cost. Alas the Beadle is retiring this year, so we expressed our thanks to them for looking after us so well and presented David with some malt whisky and Shirley with some flowers. I also handed over champagne to the artistic winners of our Photographic Competition, namely Lesley Day, Ian Harmond and Frank Clarke.

1st February was a busy day since I attended at lunch time a meeting of Masters from the Construction Liveries Group, to discuss how the CLG should develop going forward.

More on this when we reach a consensus. At present the Chair of our Craft Committee attends quarterly CLG meetings, which does mean we have some continuity of input.

The next event was a meeting on Teams of our Livery Climate Action Group working group, chaired by Freeman Kate Oldridge. This group meets regularly and we are preparing an action plan for the Company in the field of climate change and sustainability. There is still room on the working group for volunteers who have a strong interest in this field, with Deputy Master Simon Martin the newest recruit.

The Mistress and I headed off to Hyderabad in mid month, to attend a wedding. The groom was the elder son of our principal guest at the Installation Luncheon, Sir David Bean. The wedding extended over two days and we were invited by our hosts to buy or borrow traditional costumes

The photo above shows the central, most religious, part of the two days when the priests preside in the stone building and a sacred fire is lit. The groom is far left, with a white turban, and his bride next to him. They walk clockwise round the fire seven times. I am wearing a rajah’s coat which was given to Gilly’s grandmother over a hundred years ago. The Rajasthani turbans are tied for each guest on the morning! Green for the groom’s side and red for the bride’s side on this occasion. It was a great experience

Normally the Master would compete in the Pancake Races on Shrove Tuesday, but the Poulters, who organise the event, graciously allowed our Upper Warden to compete instead. This proved an inspired move, since the actual races were rained off (Health & Safety!) and the contest took the form of competitive pancake flipping against the clock. Jenny is much better equipped for this than most Masters, and has nerves of steel, so claimed outright victory, beating all other Livery companies. Master Skinner was second.


Liveryman Michael Ash organised, as usual, his generous sponsorship scheme for those attending the Pancake Races and this raised £359 for our Charitable Trust. Thank you, Michael.

On 22 February I caught the train to Gillingham for the Royal Engineers’ Corps Guest Night at Brompton Barracks. This proved to be a splendid occasion, with the RE officers wearing scarlet mess kit, a smattering of guests from other regiments, the Royal Navy and the RAF, plus civilians in black tie. A Rear Admiral asked whether we had a Navy affiliation and when I said it was the smallest ship in the fleet he responded ‘Magpie!’. He said he always wanted to be a hydrographer but ended up flying fast jets…. I was able to talk to the Chief Royal Engineer, Lt Gen Sir Christopher Tickell, about our plans for celebrating the 25th anniversary of the affiliation between the Company and the Corps. He sounded enthusiastic so let’s hope he can attend one of the events being planned for next year. The Upper Warden and Ian Ogden are leading on this.

It was a lovely evening and a privilege to dine in the Officers’ Mess at Brompton, which in the past has seen young officers like Gordon (of Khartoum) and Kitchener enjoying their breakfast. We were there last summer too, at the Bricklaying Day organised by the Craft Committee, and are lucky to have such an active link to the Royal Engineers.

There are some good events coming up, including the Craft Awards luncheon on 19 March and the Big Curry Lunch on 18 April, so I look forward to seeing you then.

Christopher Causer

Welcome to the November newsletter. October and November are the start of the new ‘school year’ in the City, with the incoming Lord Mayor taking office and many Livery companies installing new principals. It is a strange school because most students are there for a year and then move on.

The new arrivals create a buzz and there is a rich collation of church services, drinks receptions, lunches and dinners to be enjoyed.

The week beginning 30 October was comparatively quiet, with just two working lunches. The Hon Chaplain and I discussed carols for the Carol Service over a delightful lunch at the Royal Ocean Racing Club – you will be pleased to hear that there are very few nautical carols. And then I attended lunch at Davy’s in St James’s with our wine adviser Francis Flavin and the full Wine Committee. The theme was Rhone grape varieties, whether in wine made there or elsewhere, and with the dedication of a very professional committee we sampled seven or eight qualifying bottles, plus some champagne which did not qualify. Francis was in charge of the bottles so we took very small amounts of each wine!

The following week was more solemn, with Remembrance Day the focus. On the Monday I planted a cross on behalf of our Company in the Garden of Remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral, as part of an outdoors service attended by many Livery companies and other City bodies. The Dean led the service. In the evening the Learned Clerk and I went to St Stephen Walbrook for a service celebrating the year of the outgoing Lord Mayor, Nicholas Lyons. Although I worked in the City for some forty years, I had never gone inside this Wren church, which is very beautiful.

On 8 November the Mistress and I changed gear and attended the Brick Awards at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, presented by the Brick Development Association. CA Keith Aldis was the host for the night and CA Ian Wilson was there as one of the judges. The TV presenter George Clarke did a good job of controlling a ballroom full of construction professionals out for a night in London. Gilly and I had a great time and I presented the award for Refurbishment. Thank you BDA for entertaining us.

The following morning I reported to the Chamberlain’s Court in Guildhall to witness the Freedom ceremony for three of our Freemen – Phil Pinto, Debby Burman and Ed Renwick. As always, it was a fascinating morning with the presiding officer giving an entertaining survey of Freemen of the City over the centuries. That evening, after two committee meetings on Zoom, I felt I had earned a glass of wine so set off for Freemasons’ Hall to attend the reception for London Air Ambulance. This is one of the charities we support and in the summer I visited their base on the helipad at the London Hospital. Whilst there I saw one of their helicopters come in to land and was able to talk to the medical staff. They are truly world leading in some of the medical procedures they carry out (at street level – the helicopter is vital in getting the medics to the patient in the shortest time possible). They are raising money for two new helicopters which are being built in Germany and the London Freemasons have kicked off the campaign with a gift of £3 million. Truly inspiring, and there is a construction link because some of their patients have suffered major injuries on building sites.


Then on Saturday it was the Lord Mayor’s Show. Once more the Master and Wardens, preceded by CA Martin Reading carrying our placard, walked briskly from Mansion House to the Royal Courts of Justice and back, wearing gowns and bonnets. The Renter Warden threw himself into greeting the crowd with high fives and seemed to be launching an early election campaign. As we passed Mansion House we saluted not just the Mayoral party but also John and Helen Schofield who were distinguished guests in the stands. It is amazing that in an age of electronic entertainment on demand, so many people take to the streets to wave theprocession on. A very special day. 

The following day I attended the Remembrance Service at St Paul’s, together with all the other Livery Masters. We occupied the South Transept in gowns and badges. It was a moving service with lovely music. The Dean gave a very balanced address against the background of the fighting in Gaza. Afterwards we walked down Cheapside and formed up near the Royal Exchange for the laying of wreaths at the war memorial. As the Grenadier Guards played Elgar I reflected that the City is still a village – we moved in ten minutes from ‘our’ cathedral to a war memorial right outside the Bank of England, passing the Lord Mayor’s house on the way.

The following week opened with a new venture – an informal Members’ Lunch at Ironmongers’ Hall. Liverymen brought along guests and we had a table of a dozen or so people for lunch in a fine hall. We hope that introducing people in this way will lead to some of them deciding to join the Company.

On 16 November I made my way to the Royal Society of Medicine for the annual lecture sponsored by the Horners. The Horners, who used to make drinking horns, have transitioned to sponsoring the plastics industry and the lecture was about the increasing use of plastic in making horse shoes. Plastic shoes offer many advantages (lighter weight, ability to flex, less risk of injury to other horses) and are increasingly being used in high end equitation, such as race-horses and polo ponies. The speaker was a master farrier, but as he pointed out, not Master Farrier.

On 21 November I was a guest at the Plaisterers’ Awards Luncheon, which is similar to our Craft Awards luncheon. I was placed next to the Lord Mayor and we had the chance to talk about a range of subjects. He is a keen sailor, a member of RORC, and used to own a Thames sailing barge, Lady Daphne. Some of you will remember his very amusing speech at Barber Surgeons’ Hall in Michel’s year, just about our first proper event after the covid closedown. It will be a stimulating year with Prof Mainelli in the Mansion House.


After lunch it was time for a short break, then a trip to a Livery hall outside the City of London (the only one – pub quiz answer). Having blown up two previous halls, the Gunmakers’ Company were required to relocate to a spot 20 minutes outside the walls – now the Commercial Road! There they continue to carry out their legal responsibility of ‘proofing’ guns, in other words testing them to ensure they are safe to use. So the hall is called the Proof House. All guns need a proof mark before they can be sold and even the rifles used by the Army undergo testing in either London or Birmingham. The Proof Master spent an hour explaining his role, which is technical, scientific and legal at the same time, and we were shown the small dining room used by the Gunmakers. The 15 Ts and Bs present (that is the maximum number permitted per tour) then headed off for an informal curry in Brick Lane.



The Mistress and I set off the following morning for Milton Keynes, to attend the finals of SkillBuild as guests of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors. Our hotel was built wrapped around the MK Dons football stadium, which means some public rooms have great views on to the pitch. We had an enjoyable dinner with NFRC on the Wednesday, with CA Ian Wilson, CA Andy Rowlands, Liveryman Bob Richardson and Freeman Bob Coutts all present, and toured SkillBuild on Thursday morning, visiting the stands for all three of our crafts.

We talked to many of the competitors and presented the eight roofing finalists with certificates. You will meet the winners in our three crafts next March at the Craft Awards in Goldsmiths’ Hall.

To the station then, and a train to London for a change of clothes and the Paviors’ dinner at Merchant Taylors’ Hall. The Learned Clerk and I enjoyed an excellent meal and the first speech to a Livery company of the Lady Mayoress, Elisabeth Mainelli. She made a fine debut and no doubt will speak on many more occasions this year.

The very busy month then ended the following week with the Building Crafts College prizegiving – we fund the prize for Bricklaying – and two drinks receptions, for the Big Curry Lunch and Barts Charity.

CA Ian Wilson and I met the new Principal of the BCC and the winner of the Bricklaying prize, Daniel Riley. To our delight Daniel won the overall ‘Best Student’ award, which is an achievement given that the BCC is heavily committed to wood related trades, being founded by the Carpenters.

This year’s Big Curry Lunch raised an incredible £437,000 for services charities (all three services) and the Lord Mayor announced at the reception, held in the City of London Club, his target of £450,000 for next year’s lunch. We will again be taking a large party to this fabulous event.

Barts Charity announced a new Breast Cancer programme at the Royal London Hospital and we donated £900 this year to support their Barts 900 appeal.

My apologies for this extended newsletter, but November is probably the busiest month for the T&B Master and next month’s will be shorter!

I would just add two items of AOB: first, we are using Instagram as the main channel of news in between the monthly newsletters, so if you use Instagram follow #tylersandbricklayers to see what we are up to.

Second, there is important news about our participation in the Livery Climate Action Group or LCAG. LCAG aims to assist City of London Livery companies and guilds to manage their impact on climate change and the environment by reducing carbon emissions and making responsible use of resources. I acted as our Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for LCAG but have now passed on the baton to Freeman Kate Oldridge. In this week of COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference, Kate would like to invite anyone who has an interest in this area to get involved and play a part in creating a safer, more stable world by joining our LCAG Working Group. All skills welcome. If you would like to join up or find out more, please email Kate on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

See you at the Carol Service!

Christopher Causer


Welcome to the December Newsletter. Livery activity comes to a halt after each Company has held its carol service, so there are fewer events to report this month.

For the first few days of the month I escaped to the north Lakes, near Keswick, and so managed to miss the foot of snow that paralysed the Windermere area for a couple of days. In the north we had a centimetre on the ground, making the landscape look beautiful without stopping the traffic. I got up in the hills and then came down very carefully, with icy conditions and no crampons.

The next T&B engagement was on 6 December when I had planned to attend the Masons’ Awards – similar to our Craft Awards – being presented by the Duke of Gloucester. Aslef intervened and I was stuck in Hampshire so made a quick phone call to Deputy Master John Schofield. John lives in Blackheath and has several options for travel to London, so he deputised at short notice and enjoyed a visit to Mercers’ Hall. I am grateful to John for moving so fast.

On 8 December I made my way to the station and then Mansion House. The Lord Mayor hosted afternoon tea for the winners of awards from the Lord Mayor’s 800th Anniversary Awards Trust. The Trust was set up in 1989 in order to encourage young people aged 17 to 24 to travel overseas and do something challenging or worthwhile.Dec_2023_2.jpgAnyone can apply for a grant, including friends or family of Liverymen, so if you know of a young person plotting a trip or a gap year, encourage them to ask for a grant. The winners at the tea included a young woman who had climbed several challenging peaks in Kurdistan; a young man who had spent six months in Ghana, nominally teaching English but expanding his role to include maths, sciences, vegetable gardening, theatre and football coaching; and a young woman who led a team of marine biologists underwater studying how scuba diving affects the behaviour of a particular species of fish. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the conclusion was that this particular species values the variety and novelty, and the shoal clustered around each morning to greet the divers.

Dec2023_3.jpgThe next task was finalising preparations for the Court meeting, Carol Service and Supper. Each event has a different cast list and different documentation, from Court papers to orders of service and pew markers, so there is a lot to be done. At the Court meeting we advanced Phil Pinto and Ed Renwick to the Livery.

Dec_2023_5.jpgWe welcomed Rachel Malpass-Brown as a Freeman and granted the status of Honorary Liveryman to our Beadle of 14 years, David Wylie.

Dec_2023_4.jpgDavid has decided to retire from beadling for the Ts and Bs and at the Supper, I was able to thank David for all his hard work and enthusiasm since 2009. On behalf of the Company I presented David with a decanter and some glasses. David’s family were at the Supper in Armourers’ Hall and we look forward to seeing him at our events in the future as a Liveryman.

Dec_2023_6.jpgThe main business of the Court meeting was the establishment of a separate limited company to take over responsibility for organising our events. The reasons for this are explained in my attached note. My thanks to Past Masters Michel Saminaden, Tom Rider and Simon Martin, and Court Assistant Tom Christopherson, who provided a great deal of pro bono advice in order to devise a way forward and then implement it.

If any member of the Company has questions about the new arrangements, then please feel free to contact me or the Clerk.

IMG_3877.jpegThe Carol Service was well attended and the congregation sang loudly for their carols. The Lothbury Singers, directed by Richard Townend, were on excellent form and the Hon Chaplain gave a thought-provoking address. For many of us the T&B service is the official start of Christmas!

IMG_3889.jpegWe then walked to Armourers’ Hall, which has been refurbished recently and is looking magnificent, for a buffet supper and some fine wines. The hall was full to capacity and members lingered on for some time after the ‘Carriages’ hour, providing a fitting end to a very enjoyable 2023.

See you in the New Year!

Christopher Causer

PS. You still have a few days to send your photographs to Ian Wilson and win some champagne. Close of the Photographic Competition is 31 December but Ian has kindly granted a short extension to 12 January. The original notice with all the details is sent to you again


MB_Sept2023-1-1.jpgI hope you have all had a pleasant summer break! The Mistress and I together with Bertie, our cocker spaniel, are just back from a delightful week away in Lincolnshire, staying in “The House of Correction”. It is the monumental gatehouse of a former prison built in 1825, now owned by the Landmark Trust. The founder of the Trust insisted that the brick prison wall, taken down in the early 20th century, was reinstated as can be seen in the photograph.

MB_Sept2023_1-2.jpgWe visited Lincoln Cathedral and Southwell Minster as well as Belvoir and Grimsthorpe castles. It was wonderful to get away, even if only for a short time!

MB_Sept_2023-1-3.jpgFinally, through an antique dealer we know, we recently came across a small silver fob seal with the Company’s armorials, hall marked for 1792 (image shown here is reversed). I am very pleased to have now acquired it for the Company. We think it might have been used by the Clerk at the time for sealing Company letters and it remains in remarkably good condition.