October has been a busy time starting on the 4th with an invitation from the Plumbers’ Company to attend a lecture at Regent’s Park, in the home of the Royal College of Physicians as the guest of Master Plumber, Dr Peter Rumley, who gave the lecture on the water supply and effluent drainage of the City of London. Of interest was the comment on Joseph Bazalgette, the famous civil engineer and Chief Engineer of the Metropolitan Board of Works, who was given responsibility for the upgrade of the sewerage system. He and his colleagues, including William Haywood, designed an extensive underground sewerage system that diverted waste to the Thames Estuary, downstream of the main centre of population on either side of the River Thames, but meeting downstream near to the estuary. Adrian advised us that, unfortunately, a miscalculation was made and the effluent just stayed in the estuary simply moving up and down stream with the movements of the sea tides; this later resulted in deaths when two ships on the river collided and passengers ingested sewerage and died as a result.
On the 6th I was the guest of the Musicians’ Company at St Paul’s Cathedral, which was another occasion to wear the Master’s new gown acquired in August and generously donated by Deputy Master, Major Jack Strachan. Along with most other City Livery Company Masters, I processed into the Cathedral for a Service and a recital by musicians and then a wine and canapé reception in the Crypt following the procession back. During the reception I met up with our own Past Master John Shonfeld, at that time Master of the Environmental Cleaners, and we joined over a hundred other Masters, or their representatives.
On Friday, 8th October we were at the Mansion House celebrating our long-overdue, many times postponed Banquet. It was a splendid affair, and very well attended, with the presence of the Lord Mayor Locum Tenens, Alderman Sir David Wootton and the two Aldermanic Sheriffs. This link will show more photographs taken at the banquet https://www.launderers.co.uk/home/annual-banquet-friday-8-october-2021/. Alderman and Sheriff Alison Gowman and I have met up at many City functions since my term in office started, one being in honour of her receiving her Aldermanic chain of office, which the Company of Launderers had donated towards.
On the 12th of October I was at Carpenters’ Hall as the guest of the Worshipful Company of Turners, and their Master Malissa Scott, for a private viewing of Wizardry in Wood which is an exhibition, normally only held every 4 years and postponed from last year. Wizardry in Wood is acclaimed for the outstanding work on show from the UK’s most skilled and creative wood turners showing their finest contemporary work including a display of turning in music, magic, and some prehistoric turning, as well as the results of Turning Competitions. I was welcomed at the entrance by our own account’s auditor David Batchelor as he is himself a member of the Turners’ Company.
On Monday the 18th we had our Autumn Court meeting followed by the Autumn Livery luncheon at our Hall with my special guest David Stevens, CEO of the TSA. David addressed members and guests gathered after lunch advising us of his plans following which we had a discussion on how we could support each other and co-operate more in the years to come. It is possible that we could be of great help to the industry by forging closer communication links with the Government and its civil servants with the poor response over recent national closures being an example of how our industry is misunderstood in its value to the well-being of the country.
The following day, Tuesday 19th, I was the guest of Michael Dalton Master Glazier at their Annual Banquet at Drapers’ Hall. This must be the grandest Livery Hall after the Mansion House in the City and its recent refurbishments have enhanced its beauty. This was once the London home of King Henry VIII’s advisor Thomas Cromwell until he lost his head after losing the King’s pleasure.
Thursday 21st I was the guest of the Worship Company of Scientific Instrument Makers (SIM) at their Admission Court Dinner. This was held at Glaziers’ Hall. I have been flattered to have been positioned on the top table at most events since my term of office commenced which I think shows the respect that we Launderers are held in the City and it complements the work of our previous Masters, as well as of our Clerk, in the esteem held for us. I was made to feel most welcome by SIM members, as I have at all previous functions.
Friday 22nd I was off to Blackpool for our industry celebration marking the end of the Covid lock downs and the restoring of near normal business here in the UK. My chosen Hotel, The Grand on the North Shore Promenade, was very quiet on the Friday of my arrival with an almost empty dining room in the evening. However, leaving later to catch a passing tram to visit the town centre it was very different because every tram was full and not taking more passengers which just left walking because traffic was building up to go through the six and half miles of Blackpool Illuminations. I met Launderers and Dry cleaners along the way but my journey to the Lake District and Bowness on Windermere on the Saturday morning proved to be a solitary affair with others wishing to make their own way or deciding to make their destination sleeping arrangements in the Lake District. Saturday was overcast but I found car parking easy as I parked up before my shipboard trip across Windermere to Lakeside. I was early for the boarding time which allowed some town sight-seeing and shopping experience meeting up with Launderers who had come on a camping or caravan holiday weekend. Then my 40 minute ship board journey across the lake on the steamer Teal to the small town of Lakeside where I was to board the steam train to Haverthwaite which is a distant memory of bygone years for some and new experience for others, but a unique day out for all. Following this, it was the steam ship Tern for the return journey across the lake to Bowness before the journey back to Blackpool.
I had dinner that evening with Kathy Bowry, editor of the Laundry and Cleaning News magazine, who was with her New Zealand friend Carol. The Hotel was full of people spending their weekend and half term school holiday at the resort. After the meal as we left the Hotel to visit the Tower Ballroom, made even more famous because of Strictly Come Dancing on BBC TV. Again, no trams available to travel on, all full before reaching the Hotel, and Taxis reluctant to get into the traffic on the Promenade because it was not moving even at walking pace. The town officials had put on a firework’s display and I had a place booked to go up the famous Tower and be there to view the display from the platform way up high. At 158 metres tall, the Tower Eye viewing deck gives you panoramic views of the Blackpool seafront, and on a clear day, as far as the Lake District, the Isle of Man and North Wales, but my trip was very delayed by those already up there not wishing to come down until after the display, which left a lot of disappointed visitors queuing below waiting for the lifts to operate again.
Sunday morning trams were running as normal as I made my way to the town centre to join others queuing to get into Madame Tussauds on the South Shore Promenade where I met a wide variety of people although only wax effigies, amongst them Her Majesty the Queen and their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but only after seeing a wide variety from TV programmes and famous film screen actors.
Wednesday 27th I was invited along with our Clerk, Margaret as guests of the Glass Sellers’ Company to attend their Annual Banquet at Drapers’ Hall at which we were served a delicious four-course meal. The guest speaker was the Rt Hon Sir Peter Bottomley MP. Sir Peter James Bottomley is a British Conservative Party politician who has served as a Member of Parliament since 1975, and he has represented the Worthing West constituency since 1997, following the 2019 general election he became the Father of the House of Commons then at the age of 75. Sir Peter was accompanied by his wife, Baroness Virginia Bottomley of Nettlestone who is a member of the House of Lords. Again seated at the top table I was sitting next to Master Farmer, Karen Mercer and Mistress Glass Seller Mrs Bimala Chesshyre, two delightful companions for the dinner and an excellent evening with the Glass Sellers who rank number 80th against our 89.