Freedom of the City for the Upper Warden’s Consort
Our first engagement of the week was to join Maureen Saminaden, Consort of our Upper Warden, for the Ceremony installing her as a Freeman of the City of London. I was delighted to be her first sponsor, and David Cole-Adams her second.
The party included Upper Warden, Michel Saminaden, Renter Warden Simon Martin, Deputy Master David Szymanski and Hilary, and Past Master Ian Grimshaw.
The Ceremony was conducted by Deputy Clerk Laura Miller. No matter how many times I attend this special Ceremony each is different. After swearing the oath, Laura talked about previous American Presidents who had been made Freemen, this was because Donald Trump was on a State Visit at the time, and showed us some of the very ornate certificate holders made for past Freemen. One for Margaret Thatcher had the image of Number 10 on 1 end and Guildhall on the other.
After pausing for photos, we repaired to the Trading House for a most convivial lunch.
A Musical Evening with the Mercers
World renowned Endellion String Quartet along with Guy Johnston (cello) played for the Livery Masters and Consorts in in the marvellously acoustic Livery Hall at Mercers Hall. On their own the Quartet played Haydn’s String Quartet Opus 20 No. 6, and with Guy Johnston Schubert’s Quintet for String Quartet and extra cello. The music was a joy to listen to and fully held the audience’s attention.
Afterwards Mercer’s hosted a supper for the guests and we had the chance to dine with Master Mariner and his consort Liz, and Prime Warden Dyer and his consort Helga. It was a pleasure to meet all as we had not met them before and within a few minutes we were firm friends, discussion on the upcoming Ironbridge weekend and how to put the world to rights made the evening complete!
Partners Visit to Charterhouse
The Charterhouse played host to the 2019 Partners Visit. Originally a cemetery for victims of the Black Death, the Charterhouse became one of the most important monasteries in London until it was dissolved by agents of Henry VIII. A grand mansion was built from the ruin. Suttons Hospital in Charterhouse was established in 1611 to provide a home and care to a community of elderly brethren and schooling for poor scholars which has been doing since. In modern times Charterhouse is a home for elderly people with financial constraints, and provides a community service of full board in some beautiful surroundings.
Ts&Bs will have noted the beautiful Elizabethan brickwork along with monastic stones in all the buildings that make up Charterhouse.
After the visit the group repaired to Carluccio’s for a most convivial lunch.
Masters visit to Ironbridge
All 110 Masters and Consorts are invited to attend the Livery weekend at Ironbridge in Shropshire and on this occasion over 90 Masters attended along with the Lord and Lady Mayoress, the Sheriffs and members of Livery Companies from Glasgow, Chester and Shrewsbury.
Although I had visited Ironbridge many times during my working life, we took the decision to drive up to Ironbridge a day early so that we could visit the RAF Museum at Cosford. It turned out that the decision to leave early was correct as many of those driving on the Friday had awful journeys in the rain.
The Group stayed at the Holiday Inn in Telford and were bussed in to Ironbridge over the weekend. On the Friday afternoon the Masters and Consorts attended a work shop intended to talk about the future of the Livery movement in the 21st Century. The workshop came up with a number of ideas for the Livery Committee to take forward which included improved communications with the world outside the Livery Movement via websites, social media etc, inter-livery collaboration, more informality. After the workshop we stayed at Enginuity for dinner before heading back to the hotel.
As we looked out of the window on Saturday morning it was obvious that umbrellas would be the order of the day and no need for the summer clothing either as it was quite cold. Our first port of call of the day was Jackfield Tile Museum, and for yours truly this was very much a pilgrimage to see the beautiful tiles in the Museum and John Scott Collection. After that it was a short visit to the newly restored Iron Bridge and then to Coalbrookdale for the Museum of Iron. Thankfully the rain eased off in the afternoon so we had a short visit in the dry to Blists Hill Village and Coalport. In the evening it was back to Coalbrookdale for the Presidents Dinner.
On the Sunday morning there was a short meeting where the Masters and Consorts agreed two separate Past Masters and Past Consorts organisations to be named Apollo 19 and Saturn respectively to commemorate the 50 years since the first moon landing, and then it was off to the Darby Houses and to see the collection of historic costumes.
One of the joys of attending this weekend is the opportunity to meet Masters and Consorts that we would not necessarily come across during the course of the year, and to make new friends.