I realised at the end of March that I was exactly halfway through my year as Master. Previous Masters had told me that the year would fly by and that certainly has been my experience over the first 6 months and there is so much still look forward to.

Membership and Diversity

I am also increasingly aware that a Master has to work in close harmony with his or her predecessors, the Wardens and, of course, the Clerk as there is only so much that can be achieved within the compass of an individual Master’s year. By way of example, I have focussed this year on our membership, seeking to build on the recommendations of the 2020 strategic review. There are three related challenges: attracting new members, retaining new and existing members and ensuring that all members are informed about and engaged with the life and work of the Company (attending events, participating on committees and working groups and supporting our charities). This work will continue long after I step down as Master, and rightly so, but initiatives that we start this year clearly need to be (and are) supported by those who follow me.

We also participated in a discussion on equality, diversity and inclusion led by Sheriff Alison Gowman and Erica Stary, the Upper Warden of the Tin Plate Workers, at which about 30 Livery Companies were represented. Equality, diversity and inclusion (“EDI”) is a challenge for all Livery Companies but we were pleased (but not, I hope, complacent) to find that we had made more progress than many other Companies in both discussing the issues and taking some practical steps. There is much more to be done but I encourage you to read the Company’s EDI statement which can be accessed via the home page of the website.

Climate Change

Another important initiative which we have started this year has been to consider in what ways the Company might support the aims of the Livery Climate Action Group (“LCAG”). The LCAG was formed by Sheriff Alison Gowman on the back of the City of London’s climate action strategy. The declared aim of the LCAG is to provide practical guidance on net zero emissions and climate resilience measures that are appropriate for Livery Companies. We established a LCAG working group which made recommendations to the Court in March.

I was pleased that the Court adopted almost all of the recommendations made by the working group. Some of the main recommendations and agreed actions were:

  • the Company has joined the LCAG and the Renter Warden will be the Company’s representative and report to the Court periodically on the Company’s progress against the agreed actions and other initiatives proposed by LCAG members;
  • we will add a section on the LCAG and climate change on our website, with a link to the LCAG website, and a suggestion box for members;
  • the Clerk will obtain sustainability statements from our caterers. Our aim will be to reduce the climate impact of the menus that we choose (so, for example, eating vegetables grown in the UK in season, rather than those imported by air from overseas). We also had an interesting debate as to whether the Master might choose a menu with a vegetarian main course, with an option for meat eaters to choose a meat alternative;
  • the Craft Committee will work up plans for new awards at the Craft Awards and/or the Triennial Awards, to recognise environmentally friendly design and construction;
  • the Finance Committee will request an update on ESG issues from our investment advisors when they next present to the Committee; and
  • we will seek to organise one or more lectures, to be held on Zoom, on the topic of sustainable building and the challenges of climate change within the building industry, to which members of the Company and members of other Companies within the Construction Group of Livery Companies might be invited.

This represents a good start but there is undoubtedly more that we can do individually and collectively. For example, we need to think about the impact of the way we run the Company: should Committees continue to meet on Zoom to reduce the need to travel or do the benefits of meeting in person outweigh the climate impact?


This blog might give the impression that the Master’s role is all work and no play. This would be misleading! There have been a number of excellent and enjoyable Company and City events in the last month.

On 28 March 2022, a group of members and guests enjoyed a private visit to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane to see the spectacular £60 million restoration, completed last year. The visit was organised by Jacqueline Wheeler from the architects Haworth Tompkins who worked on the project for the owners, LW Theatre Group. It was a privilege to be able to see the theatre “out of hours” and hear about some of the challenges of the restoration from one of the architects who worked on the project.

2022 Masters Blog April 1

Patrick Hayman from architects Haworth Tompkins

The United Guilds Service was held at St Paul’s on 1 April 2022. This is one of the great City occasions with all the Masters present in gowns, chains and badges, the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, Aldermen, Bishop of London and Dean of St Paul’s. Wonderful singing from the choir and lunch afterwards at Carpenters’ Hall, where I was asked to reply on behalf of guests.

2022 Masters Blog April 2

The Master, Upper Warden and Clerk, windswept on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral

Finally, on 7 April 2022, a group of 25 members and guests attended the Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch at Guildhall. This is an annual lunch for some 1,200 guests to raise funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and the other two principal service charities - the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity – with the funds being used to support veterans undertaking the Pain Management Programme at King Edward VII Hospital and the RBLI Lifeworks programme. We were joined by Sean Bonnington, the Director of National Fundraising at ABF TSC, who outlined the work of the charity and the importance of helping injured veterans back into employment.

2022 Masters Blog April 3

Full reports on all three events can be found in the events section of the website.