Dining with the Painter Stainers

I am sure every Mater approaches their final Court and Livery Dinner with a sense of sadness that a wonderful year is coming to an end. I had been invited to join Master Painter Stainer along with some 10 other Masters for his final dinner.

Painters Hall is one of the most beautiful halls in the City with its main hall adorned with some stunning portraits and stained glass windows.

We dined on some mouth melting lamb along with some delightful wines and I had the pleasure of sitting next to two Past Masters who were excellent company. One had a home in Barra and he regaled me with many stories of that lovely part of Scotland. The other had had a most interesting life and had retired to Suffolk.

Master Painter Stainer was a delightful host and I shall look back on the evening with pleasure.


It was a beautiful sunny day as we drove round the M25 to Burnham Beeches Golf Club for the Annual Tylers and Bricklayers Golf Day, where we were to be joined by the Actuaries.

Being a golf widow I had decided to go camera in hand to take photos, one of which hopefully would be my “photo of the week” for my photographic group, and to walk the course.

It turns out that Past Master Nick Carter had been born less than ½ a mile from the Club and his father’s name was on the board for two competitions!

I walked part of the course with the last Group, having photographed all the golfers as they tee’d off from the first, and then walked over to the 8th to meet the first group (taking time out to check us in for our trip to Glasgow the following morning – such is the life of a Livery Master!).

Burnham Beeches GC is a very well cared for course and, according to the Consort, not too narrow! Having said that there were a couple of lost balls on the way round, not only by hubby!

Having completed the course it was time for a wash and brush up and a long drink of something cold and then a very pleasant meal.

I had the honour of presenting the prizes for nearest the pin, nearest the pin in 2, longest drive, and for the best golfers on the day. It was good to see that our visitors and Ts&Bs received some well deserved awards!

The Incorporation of Masons of Glasgow

Earlier in the year David Maclaren, a past Deacon of the Incorporation of Masons got in touch with an invitation to attend the Choosing Dinner for the new Deacon, John Brown, to take place at Trades Hall in Glasgow. Trades Hall is the home of 14 crafts and was established in 1605 and has a very similar ethos to the Livery Companies of London.

Both David MacLaren and John Brown are bricklayers by trade having both been lecturers at the City of Glasgow College, and both had attended our Craft Awards and the invitation came with a wish that the Tylers and Bricklayers Company and the Incorporation could open a channel of communication.

Malcolm and I had travelled to Glasgow the evening before with the intention of spending a little time seeing the Merchant City (where Trades Hall is based), Kelvingrove Museum and some of the designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The sun shone for the whole day which made for a most enjoyable visit.

Glasgow is fortunate that so many of its lovely buildings avoided Mr Hitler’s bombs and so we could see the splendour of Trades Hall at its best. We were welcomed by the Deacon and taken for pre-dinner drinks with other members of the “chain gang” ie other craft members of Trades Hall. Everyone was very welcoming and it did not take long to learn about the work of all the Crafts, which was so similar to the ethos of London livery companies. Also attending was Master Mason and his Consort.

Top table guests were piped into the Hall and I had the pleasure of sitting next to Paul Little, Principal of the City of Glasgow College. The College is now home to 40,000 students aged from 10 to 80, and learning a myriad of skills. I had a long talk with Paul about the matter of training the next generation of craftsmen and it would seem to me that the College is doing very well in this respect.

After an enjoyable meal it was time for toasts and prize giving. The Incorporation awarded 19 prizes to stonemasons, bricklayers, tilers, roofers, plumbers and plasterers as well as Army Cadets. Amongst the winners was Mark Scott, the wall and floor tiler who had represented the UK at World Skills, Kazan. It was a pleasure to see Mark again and he told me that he is now helping to train the next tiler from his Company who is heading to WorldSkills UK in November. I also met his employer who happily takes on apprentices to ensure the future of his Company.

Much to my surprise and delight I was honoured to become a member of the Incorporation of Masons and to become a Freeman Citizen of Glasgow at the end of the evening.

I do hope that the Tylers and Bricklayers will begin a formal “friendship” with the Incorporation of Masons; I am sure there is much we can learn and help each other with.