Welcome to the April newsletter. The month started with a return to Carpenters’ Hall for the Learned Clerk and me. Grayson Perry gave their annual ‘craft’ lecture on 3 April and as you can imagine the room was full! He kept us all entertained by a stream of personal reminiscences, comments on the art world and life in general and glimpses of his personal philosophy. He is an original thinker and very impressive. He then joined us for a drink afterwards.


On 11 April I headed back to the Chamberlain’s Court in the Guildhall, to witness the Freedom Ceremony for Freeman Dean Degun. Dean had assembled a big group of supporters and we then went on to the Ned (fine piece of Lutyens
architecture, formerly the head office of the Midland Bank) for a very enjoyable lunch. Some of his guests will be attending our Annual Banquet next week.

The following day I drove to Ludlow to attend the English Song Weekend. Not an ‘official’ engagement but Betjeman called Ludlow the most beautiful small town in England and there is much fine brickwork and roofing to see.

On 15 April the Chartered Accountants had arranged a lunch with the Lord Mayor in their hall just off Moorgate. Many Masters attended, it being billed as a ‘catch up’ with the Lord Mayor’s programme at the half way point in his year. Wisely in my view, the LM was more interested in hearing from the Masters, so we got through a range of questions from the vitally important (‘what exactly is planned for the Masters’ Weekend?’) to the intriguing – the LM’s experience of trying to influence the Government and the Opposition.


Thursday of that week saw 46 or so members of the Company converging on Guildhall for the Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch. This must surely be one of the largest Livery company delegations to this event. We met up over champagne, proceeded in threes and fours into the main hall for our curry lunch, worked out how to access the free bars and generally had a very good time, knowing that our entrance money and bids for special prizes were going towards Armed Forces charities. I was pleased to see a good number of guests from outside the Company, all experiencing a very unusual event which raises a huge sum in one day – last year’s lunch raised £437,000.

My thanks to DM Simon Martin for organising our participation this year.

On 24 April the Architects, whose hall is the old Temple Bar which once stood outside the Royal Courts of Justice, hosted a presentation by Homewards. This is a charity sponsored by the Prince of Wales, which currently has programmes in eight cities or regions designed to reduce homelessness. The definition of homeless includes those sofa surfing or staying for periods with friends and family – it is not just rough sleepers. The purpose of the evening was to explore how the Livery companies could use their pro bono expertise to help one or more Homewards projects. At first sight, the architects and chartered surveyors seem to be the best placed, because many Homewards developments require advice on planning and design and experience of negotiating with local authorities. But training opportunities or ‘taster days’ in skills such as bricklaying or roofing would be very welcome, to introduce those currently without a job to a source of employment.


On 29 April Heather and I were guests of the Glaziers for their stained glass competition and then dinner in Glaziers’ Hall. This year, the competition was to produce designs for stained glass panels to be installed in the dining room of the Oriental Club. The Club has roots in India so the panels featured references to tea and elephants, which already feature throughout the Club. We inspected the designs and applauded the winners – one chosen by the judges and a second whose designs will be installed in the Club. This one, pictured, won the commission. Apparently it is quite normal for the commercial client and the judges to disagree! Two artists benefit.

The guest speaker was the architect Ptolemy Dean, who looks after Westminster Abbey and Christ Church, Oxford amongst other buildings. He gave an excellent speech and included some amusing stories about David Hockney and his (iPad) designs for the new window in the Abbey.

Heather and I had another event on the following day – the Masters and Clerks lunch for the Plumbers’ Company. This went very cheerfully (we even saw the sun that day) and the Clerk to the Plumbers, who will be playing the organ for us next week, made an amusing speech on behalf of the Clerks.

Finally, there is exciting news: entries are open for the Triennial Awards! The nomination forms are up on the website HERE:

And you are encouraged to drum up some entries, so do consider your own projects (if in the construction business) or tell your contacts about it. I got the Immediate Past Master Architect to agree to submit four projects, by talking about the Triennials and their long history over the Big Curry Lunch. Since we have the Lord Mayor presenting the prizes, it would be good to have some distinguished buildings on the short list.

Christopher Causer