Tonight it was the turn of the Master Builders' Merchant, Dame Fiona Woolf DBE DL, to be installed, and what a grand occasion it was. The celebration dinner was held at the Mansion House, a White Tie event full of pomp and ceremony.
On entering the magnificent colonnaded rooms, Maureen and I were officially greeted by the new Master and Wardens, and were then whisked away by Past Master Builders' Merchant to a special room for visiting Masters and others where we were introduced to several more Liverymen and Past Masters. Following some very interesting conversation accompanied by some wonderful champagne we were called to dinner at 7:30 pm. The Mansion House was magnificently decorated with beautiful flowers and looked quite breathtaking. I recognised many Masters from various Livery Companies taking their seats at the top table. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Immediate Past Master Pippa Latham and Clare Dwyer, wife of Colonel Brennan Dwyer of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, both immensely interesting companions for the evening. Maureen was also very fortunate to be seated between the Master Constructor, The Hon. Sir Vivian Ramsey (whose Installation we had attended two weeks previously) and Andrew Day, Past Master Builders' Merchant.
We dined on Cured Salmon and Quail Egg, Honey Glazed Duck Breast with Confit Leg Samosa and Vegetables, followed by Spiced Chocolate Mousse, Vanilla and Chocolate Sponge and Yuzu Jelly, all accompanied by fine wines and Port, and rounded off with a Martell VS Cognac.
The Ceremony of the Loving Cup followed the loyal and civic toasts given by the new Master. The Lord Mayor Locum Tenens, Alderman Sir Andrew Parmley gave the response and the Junior Warden toasted the guests. The main speaker of the evening was Karen Livingstone, Director of Masterplan & Estate at the Science Museum Group who gave an interesting speech about the work of the Science Museums.
We then had the delight of listening to the wonderful Post Horn Gallop performed very amusingly and masterfully by the London Banqueting Ensemble. To round off the evening the Master invited all guests to join her in a stirrup cup. Another wonderful evening of celebration.