On Thursday 27 January 2022, the Company held Common Hall on Zoom. Common Hall is the Company’s annual general meeting. We decided that we would meet on Zoom rather than in person because of continuing concerns about the omicron covid variant so that many people were reluctant to use public transport or attend crowded events. Using Zoom also enabled us to reach many more people than would have been the case, even without the uncertainty caused by covid.
The accounts of the Company for the year ended 29 September 2021 were presented by the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Court Assistant Keith Cawdell, and Court Assistant Alan Dodd, the Honorary Secretary to the charitable trusts gave a financial update on the charities. I am pleased to report that both the Company and the charities are in a strong financial position.

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Common Hall on Zoom – 27 January 2022

There was also an interesting discussion at Common Hall prompted by a question from Liveryman William Fuller: “Why does the construction industry struggle to recruit new bricklaying apprentices, and what measures can be adopted to alleviate the problem?”. Court Assistant David White, Chairman of the Craft Committee gave an initial response, which was followed by contributions from several members with craft experience. The Craft Committee will discuss the question further and will consider what steps, if any, the Company can realistically take to highlight and address this issue. One option might be to bring together relevant stakeholders (employers, training establishments, industry training bodies and others) to see if there is common ground on the scale of the problem and the possible solutions.


Court and Livery Dinner

We held our annual Court & Livery Dinner at Cutlers’ Hall on Thursday 3 February. This is always an enjoyable and popular event in the Company calendar – the only occasion in the year when we dine without guests so there is an opportunity to spend more time chatting to old friends and new.
Dinner was served in the intimate surroundings of the Court Room and Dining Room at Cutlers’ Hall – one long table, candlelit, with gleaming silver. The Master, Wardens and Clerk have fixed places at the table and all other members draw seats at random. Upper Warden Professor John Schofield introduced the wines: a Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa, tasted blind, which baffled most of those round the table, and two glorious clarets served with the main course – a Chateau Lagrange St Julien 2005 from the Master’s cellar and a Chateau Tour St. Bonnet 2010.

I said in my speech of welcome that, after two years of lockdowns and social distancing, we have all realised that there are some things that can only be done in person and many activities that are better done face to face – and dining together, enjoying good fellowship with friends, is certainly one of those activities. In short, we need to get back into the habit of attending Livery events and functions. The Court & Livery dinner was a good first step.

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The Court & Livery dinner at Cutlers’ Hall on 3 February 2022


Wapping Group of Artists exhibition and lunch at the Athenaeum

The Wapping Group of Artists meet each Wednesday evening between April and September to paint “en plein air” anywhere between Henley and the Thames Estuary. Membership is limited to 25 artists at any given time. Liveryman Karl Terry has been a member of the Wapping Group since 2011 and is a talented artist as well as a Master Craftsman roof tiler.

On Friday 11 February 2022, a group of about 25 members and guests visited the 75th annual exhibition of the Wapping Group at the Mall Galleries. We were welcomed by the President of the Group, Roger Dellar. Roger and fellow artists, Geoff Hunt (Chairman) and John Killens (Secretary), as well as Karl, introduced us to their works, explaining when, where and how the paintings were executed.

2022 Masters Blog Feb 3The Wapping Group of Artists exhibition at the Mall Galleries

After an hour or so, we walked the short distance to the Athenaeum Club where we had an excellent lunch in the appropriately named Picture Room. A full report of this enjoyable and relaxed event can be found in the Events reports elsewhere on the website.

Simon Martin
Master 2021-22