Tonight Maureen and I attended a fascinating lecture about the influence of the Caribbean in the City of London. The lecture was organised by the City of London Guides Association and held at the beautiful St Lawrence Jewry Church in Guildhall Yard.
Proceedings commenced with a warm welcome by the Vicar, Canon David Parrott who reminded us that this was the best church to visit in the City of London whilst warning us to not sit near the buckets strategically placed to catch the drops of rainwater slowly dripping through some holes in the roof!
The lecture was given by Blondel Cluff CBE, the Chief Executive of the West India Committee. Blondel is also the representative of Anguilla to the UK and EU, Chair of the London branch of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Member of the Advice Committee on the Royal Mint, Trustee of Princes Trust, Freeman of the City of London and co-author of several works on the Caribbean.
The audience was entertained for 75 minutes by Blondel's wonderful illustrated talk covering the Caribbean's history from long before Columbus 'discovered' the lands in 1492. It was fascinating and very thought provoking to understand the full extent of the involvement of the beautiful Caribbean Islands in the growth and wealth of the City of London.
Following the talk there were several questions from the animated audience which Blondel answered brilliantly.
The evening ended with refreshments, including wine and a fine buffet which Canon David Parrott allowed us to eat in the church. Another wonderful educational evening.
It was a great pleasure to attend the Joint Master Certificate and City & Guilds Livery Company Prizes Ceremony today at Mansion House. The ceremony was presided over by the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs, with the Lord Mayor presenting certificates to the worthy winners, each individually. It was great to see all the Masters of Companies who were participating, all dressed in their gowns and chains - a magnificent colourful vision.
There were three categories of awards, Apprentice, Journeyman and Master, plus some awards for outstanding contributions as well. Each award winner was called to the stage and made their declaration to their own Master as appropriate, after which the Lord Mayor handed the recipient their well earned certificate. This year, due to the Covid19 virus, it was quite comical to see the Lord Mayor touching elbows with all the winners rather than shaking hands!
Following the ceremony we all joined the award winners for refreshments, giving us the opportunity to meet and find out more about them.
A thoroughly enjoyable morning.
Today I attended another meeting of the Treasures Committee, chaired by Court Assistant Tom Christopherson. The venue for the meeting was, once again, the home of Past Master Roger Westbrook, a beautiful appartement in the environs of the Palace of Westminster and we are very grateful to Roger for his kindness in letting us use his home for this purpose.
There was a very full agenda and discussions were held about the arrangements for transporting the new centrepiece to different venues and the cleaning of the Company silverware. We also discussed the proposal from Doerr Valuation to value the various Masters and Wardens Medals (Jewels) and other items of value belonging to the Company and the logistics of accomplishing this rather complex task. Past Master Roger Westbrook revealed the replacement Renter Warden's Medal, which looked rather splendid. It was agreed that this would be presented to the Company at the next meeting of the Court. Upper Warden Simon Martin informed the Committee that he and Past Master David Szymanski had visited the family of Past Master Moreland Percival who had generously agreed to allow the Company to have the Past Master's Badge of Office on a long term loan. The family members have been invited to the Annual Dinner to present the badge to the Master. The Chairman updated members about the blue plaque and the proposal to have a T&B cabinet at the Guildhall Members' Club to display some of our best silverware.
Our host, Past Master Roger Westbrook ended the meeting by opening an excellent bottle of white wine supplied generously by the Chairman, which the committee members enjoyed whilst continuing discussions.
Another very productive T&B meeting.
Maureen and I were delighted to be invited to join the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs and many other Masters to visit the wonderful Treloar's School and College today.
Treloar's is one of the UK's leading centres of excellence for children and young people with complex physical disabilities. They offer outstanding teaching, professional care, therapy, advice and guidance so that every individual can live, learn, achieve and work towards a future that is as independent as possible. There are some 170 students aged 2 to 25 years and they are cared for and supported by around 800 staff, including teachers, support and care staff, therapists, medical staff, dietitians, visual impairment advisers, counsellors, transition staff, assistive technology technicians and engineers.
The students are contending with the most complex physical disabilities that make it impossible to attend mainstream schools and colleges. Treloar's offers these students the best possible life chances by giving them a wonderful educational experience and also by helping them to transition to the world of work and independent living.
The day commenced with a short talk by the Chief Executive and the Principal, after which we were split into small groups led by a staff member. Each group was taken to a classroom that was in session and we were encouraged to mix with the students and interact with them. My group was introduced to a small class of 6 /7 year olds who enthusiastically welcomed us and were eager to share their lessons with us. It was a joy to learn how to interact with these students, each in their own unique way, using amazing technology. We then went into their garden which is full of fun equipment which the students clearly love playing with.
At the end of each lesson the students earn "golden time" for 10 minutes in which they can choose their own activity. It was truly uplifting and awe inspiring to see the wonderful care and love given by every single member of staff, and it being reciprocated by the students. The whole group left the classroom feeling huge admiration for the work being carried out with these great students.
We were also taken to visit the residential accommodation and taken round by the Residential Manager who has been working for Treloar's for 32 years. She was equally enthusiastic to share her experiences with us and it was plainly obvious that she loves her job and is completely dedicated to the students.
After this amazing tour we were taken to the main hall which had been laid out beautifully for lunch which consisted of a very nice chicken cacciatore and rice with vegetables followed by a fruit tarte and coffee. The Lord Mayor made a short speech thanking the wonderful staff of Treloar's for all their dedicated work and also for the excellent lunch.
After lunch we were treated to a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream by Treloar's 6th form students which was, again, truly inspirational. The enthusiasm of the students and their teachers and helpers was brilliant and we were all entertained brilliantly.
The day ended with tea and cakes and more chatting and mingling with the staff and students. We all left having had a wonderful experience and feeling truly uplifted by the enthusiasm and dedication of both the students and staff.
Tonight Maureen and I were honoured to be guests of the Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects at their Royal Charter Banquet. This was a very splendid affair held at The Mansion House for which all guests were invited to wear formal evening attire (white tie for men and evening gowns for ladies).
We were greeted on arrival by our own Past Master David Cole-Adams, and Mary, who took us up the wonderful staircase, flanked by the Sea Cadets and Pikemen, to be introduced to the Master and Wardens and supplied with a very welcome glass of champagne.
We were delighted to be greeted by our own Beadle as well, David Wylie, who made us feel very much at home. We then met several other Past Master Architects and were delighted to be introduced to His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, The Rt. Hon The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, and the Sheriffs and their Ladies. We had some very pleasant conversation after which we were called to line up for photographs around the wonderful Royal Charter.
Following the photograph session, we proceeded to take our seats for dinner. Once again, Maureen and I were honoured to be seated at the Top Table with all the other Principal Guests.
Proceedings commenced with a short welcome to all by the Master and an official welcome to the principal guests by the Upper Warden. Grace then followed by The Reverend Canon David Parrott, The Chaplain to the Company, after which we commenced dining with a wonderful starter of treacle cured salmon, avrugar caviar and beetroot pickled quail's egg, followed by a main course of beef fillet, cottage pie croquette with vegetables, and a dessert of caramelised apple, hazelnut and mascarpone tart with apple and calvados sauce, truly delightful. The food was accompanied by Le Pionnier Blanc and Rouge with a Taylor's late-bottled vintage port.
Dinner was accompanied by beautiful music from the Elysium Brass, an award winning brass quintet formed from alumni of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Following the Loyal Toasts by the Master, the response was given by the Right Honourable The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman William Russell. His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester then officially presented the Royal Charter to the Company to the background of the Temple Bar Fanfare played by Elysium Brass.
The Master ended the evening by thanking everyone for their attendance and inviting all guests to a stirrup cup before their journeys home. Another wonderful evening, this time with a Royal touch.