On 14 June, the Mistress attended a “Mudlarking” lecture and luncheon for Consorts at Cutlers’ Hall. Mudlarking is scouring the riverbed at low tide looking for long lost items, with history dating back to Victorian times. Today, mudlarking is a hobby rather than an occupation, with participants looking for items of archaeological rather than monetary value. It could be addictive!
Then, on 16 June, the Mistress and I flew BA from London City to Glasgow for the London Livery Weekend. 107 London Livery and other companies were represented. On our plane were the Lord Mayor, Lady Mayoress, both Sheriffs and their consorts, and a number of Masters and Mistresses. We must have represented their largest group on the plane, and thank goodness there was no mishap – it would have been a civic disaster!
In Glasgow we had an action-packed programme including a formal dinner at the Trades Hall on the first evening, travelling from the hotel by coach. We were delayed because of a collision between two cars which closed the main road for about 20 minutes. Finally we reached the Robert Adam designed venue for a reception and dinner hosted by the Deacon Convener and the Incorporations of the City.
The next day, we were entertained by a visit to the only Charles Rennie Mackintosh church in existence, Mackintosh Queens Cross. The architecture is extraordinary, with every detail designed by the architect. Almost filling the interior was a travelling installation, Gaia, a huge inflatable globe which had previously been placed in the Painted Hall in Greenwich amongst other venues.
On the way to visit the tall ship Glenlee, we managed to stop off in the Riverside transport museum. A 1930s Lagonda with the initials of the Mistress made her day.
The tall ships, made in the shipyards of Glasgow were central to the development of international trade and financial success of the city. The Glenlee has been used as a training ship by the Spanish navy for many years before being repatriated. It is in remarkably good condition after extensive restoration, but maintenance is an ongoing issue. We had a light sandwich lunch on board before re-joining our coach to set off for the Burrell Collection.
The Burrell collection is remarkable. Situated just outside Glasgow in a purpose-built modern museum building, it is the legacy of one man. Sir William Burrell was an eclectic collector with great taste and the money to indulge in buying the best art and artefacts available. He had certain favorites, and Auguste Rodin was a much-loved sculptor leading to the acquisition of a large number of bronze casts. The massive roman Warwick vase from Hadrian’s Villa, made in the 2nd century and placed centrally in the entrance lobby gives a flavour of the ambition expressed in this collection! There was not enough time to do it justice, so we will have to go back.
After a short coach ride back to the city, we got ready for the main reception and dinner which was held in the spectacular City Chambers. We were all amazed by the grandeur of the location, and equally surprised that the Prosecco ran dry before the end of the reception! Beer and whisky were provided and proved fine alternatives.
The Lord Mayor gave a fascinating speech on the links between the 18 Incorporations of the Trades House of Glasgow and the London Livery Companies. Our Company is most closely associated with the Wrights whose number have included Sir William Burrell, founder of the Burrell Collection, Sir William Arrol, who built the Forth Railway Bridge and London’s Tower Bridge, and John Keppie, mentor to Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The next day we went by coach to Glasgow Cathedral for a morning service and sandwich luncheon, before taxiing back to the airport and a flight home. Our flight was delayed because of poor weather earlier in the day, and the cancellation of some of earlier flights, but we eventually reached London City ready for a few hours of down time! It was a very busy and exhilarating weekend.