Over the last two weeks, I have had the great pleasure of attending three award ceremonies, celebrating the skills of young people in pursuit of excellence in building crafts.

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Together with Chairman of the Craft committee, Court Assistant David White, I visited the SkillBuild competition finals in Edinburgh. The roofing competition took place in a marquee in the college car park, and competitors showed significant resilience in overcoming the adverse weather conditions. In contrast, the bricklayers and wall and floor tilers had rather better locations inside the main Edinburgh college building.

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I was honoured to be asked to present the stretch award for bricklaying, and there were also stretch awards for roof slating and tiling and wall and floor tiling. The winners will be invited to our Craft Awards in March 2023 at Trinity House.

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We will welcome back Jordan Maley (on the right), an apprentice at South Lanarkshire College, who was awarded the gold medal in roof slating and tiling for a second consecutive year.

The next week, I was delighted to be invited to the Plaisterers’ Training awards luncheon with a wide range of awards in eight different categories, championing skills in plastering and internal systems.

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A few days later, together with Craft Committee chairman David White, I attended the Building Craft College awards ceremony at Carpenters Hall. Presenting the prizes was Guest of Honour and Liveryman of our company, Emma Simpson MBE. The Tylers and Bricklayers award for best bricklayer went to Sam Widdop (centre). Many great young craftsmen were present, and I was delighted to be able to acknowledge the excellence of their achievements.

 

The Lord Mayor's Show

2022 Blog Nov4 1 For the first time in many years, the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers participated in the Lord Mayor’s show by marching in the Senior Livery Companies’ float. Our walking party comprised The Master, Upper Warden Chris Causer, Renter Warden Jenny Rolls and standard bearer Liveryman Martin Reading. We were waved off by The Clerk, Heather Smith, who with her husband, Robert, had assembled and transported our large white and red placard bearing the legend “We Built London”.

We started with a light breakfast at Ironmongers’ Hall, and emerged to see the procession starting to line up. Luckily we ended up marching at the front of the Senior Livery Companies’ float, striding out along the processional route, past the Bank of England, where staff were waving from the rooftop, past Mansion House where we waved to the Lord Mayor and the Mayoral party in their grandstand. We were cheered along the way by members of the Company who had turned up in support.

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 We eventually arrived at Carmens’ Hall on Fleet Steet, right next to the Royal Courts of Justice and opposite our bankers, Hoares and Company. The Carmen kindly hosted us for lunch in their upstairs hall which contains a great collection of transport-related memorabilia.

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After a leisurely lunch, we regrouped on the Embankment for the walk back to London Wall, to be joined by Past Master Ian Mitchell Grimshaw who had been lunching nearby on HQS Wellington. We set off on our way back with the sun beating down on us. The combination of heavy ceremonial robes, a cracking pace and unseasonally warm weather meant we didn’t get cold at any stage!

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 On the return leg, there were still plenty of spectators cheering our float, and was a real pleasure to be able to support the Lord Mayor’s show as well as represent the Company. We were blessed with perfect weather, which always helps! Hopefully there will be a similar opportunity next year, and I would encourage everyone to come to a really enjoyable day out. 

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On Thursday 10 November, Helen and I attended the Brick Awards as the guest of Court Assistant Keith Aldis, CEO of the Brick Development Association. The event was introduced by Keith, and compered by Hugh Dennis, comedian from Radio 4’s “The Now Show” and “Mock the Week”. Hugh explained the importance of clay bricks (hurray) with a history of 9000 years over concrete bricks (boo). He was supported by Peter Dickson, the famous voice-overartist, who is instantly recognisable. There was a strong sustainability theme emphasised by a forest green backdrop.

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Awards was given in 14 categories, ranging from individual housing development to urban regeneration, with special categories for innovation, craftsmanship and specialist brickwork contactor, and this year for the first time two awards for sustainability. Radley College Chapel extension in Abingdon, designed by Purcell Architecture limited, brickwork manufacturer Northcot Brick, and brickwork contactor OG Stonemasonry Contactors limited, drew particular praise and won in several categories finally being declared the Supreme winner.

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A particular favourite of the judging panel, which included Past Master David Cole Adams and Liveryman Ian Wilson, was the restoration of Holy Trinity Church in Sunderland, where mentorship of local contractors was an integral part of the process.

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 It was wonderful to see several Tylers and Bricklayers in the audience, including Past Mater David Szymanski, and perhaps some future members of the Company too!

 

 

 

The Silent Ceremony 
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On Friday 11 November 2022, together with the Mistress and Liverymen Diana Malzer and Martin Reading, I attended the Silent Ceremony at Guildhall. This is is the occasion during which the new Lord Mayor of London is sworn into office, and it takes place on the day before the Lord Mayor’s Show (usually second Saturday in November). As the name implies, no speeches are given, and the actions are performed in total silence apart from the swearing of the oath.

Guildhall was packed with City and Livery representatives to witness this historic occasion. Television screens around the perimeter of the hall allowed a better view of the ceremony which lasted about half an hour. After a long line of civic dignitaries have processed into the hall, there is a passage of the badges of office between the outgoing and the new Lord Mayor, including the ceremonial sword and sceptre of office.

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After the ceremony was over, the new Lord Mayor, Alderman Nicholas Lyons and Lady Mayoress Felicity Lyons remained in Guildhall Yard for a series of photographs

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It was a wonderful ceremony, and Guildhall yard was packed with well-wishers waving to the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress as they left for the short journey by car to Mansion house. The Company wishes them both an enjoyable and productive year in these important and historic roles supporting the City of London and the Corporation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Monday 7 November, the Clerk and I attended the Garden of Remembrance service at St Paul’s Cathedral. This special service of remembrance took place outside the cathedral in the churchyard gardens where members of the Livery Companies placed 140 wooden crosses to commemorate lost comrades. A very moving service, led by the new Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, in the presence of the Right Honourable The Lord Mayor Alderman Vincent Keaveny and the Lady Mayoress, Mrs Amanda Keaveny.

We were supported by cadets from the City of London Academy Islington (Honourable Artillery Company) Combined Cadet Force. After the Last Post, two minutes silence and Reveille, the epitaph was delivered by Lieutenant General James Bushell, National President of the Royal Legion. The Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress placed the first crosses, followed by the Sheriffs and representatives of the City, HM forces and other service organisations.

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The service was followed by The service was followed by luncheon at Plaisterers’ Hall, and walking past Guildhall we were able to view the Lord Mayor’s carriage fully restored and ready to be used later in the week.

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That afternoon, I attended the service of thanksgiving for the Lord Mayor at his “local” church, St Stephen Walbrook. It was conducted by the Priest-in Charge, The Reverend Stephen Baxter together with the Chaplain to the Lord Mayor, Reverend Monsignor James Curry. Together, today’s events represent some of the last official duties of the Lord Mayor prior to the silent ceremony to admit the new Lord Mayor.