October 2023:  Master and Wardens committee meeting was the first event of October. After the meeting I was delighted welcome Graham Roberts as our newest Freeman. Graham is involved in running the Laundry for an NHS TRUST and is a graduate of the TSA Laundry Management Course that we   sponsor.


10th October:  I was Honoured to attend the Installation of the new Master of the Worshipful Company of Farmers.  There was a Service of Harvest Thanksgiving following immediately by the Installation all at the Priory Church of St Barthlomew the Great.  The church is well known in the City and is situated close to Smithfield Market. It was originally founded in 1123 and more recently has featured in a number of films including Four Weddings and a Funeral and Shakespear in Love.  It is a splendid building.

The service was followed by a Luncheon at Haberdashers Hall, a short walk away.

On The morning of 11th October Gill and I were at St. James’ Palace to view the work of the Queen Mother’s Clothing Guild.   Deputy Master Sarah Lancaster joined this charity as Friend.

QMCG is one of the UK’s oldest charities and, from its foundation in 1882, its purpose has been to support those most in need.  We were very impressed with the range and number of items that were on display.  They respond to requests from charities right across the UK for clothing and bedding items that they have difficulty in sourcing or funding themselves.  We know that the gift of new clothing and bedding provides warmth and comfort, helping to restore dignity and self-respect.

In the evening of the same day, I attended the Worshipful Company of Dyers’ Swan Dinner.  This was held in Merchant Taylors’ Hall.  I had the pleasure of sitting next to Mr. Allan Crockatt. Allan’s family were very well known in the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Business having a chain of dry cleaning branches and a number of commercial laundries, and he ran large parts of that business.  The Company is now part of the Johnson Services Group.

A spectacular event held in magnificent surroundings.

16th October following the Court I was delighted to Clothe two new Liverymen.  Major John Nevitt of 165 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC and Mr. Justin Kerslake of Christeyns.

In the evening we had our Autumn Livery Dinner.  Despite the, now usual, problems with trains we had a good attendance.  It was a very enjoyable event where it was a pleasure for me to host Lieutenant Colonel Georgina Symonds the Commanding Officer of 165 Maritime and Port Regiment and Clive Osborne now Master Glazier. We also had a number of other military guests including Major Gary Thompson C/O 710 (OH) Sqn RLC.  The highlight of the evening was awarding the WCL ‘Soldier of the Year’ Silver Medal to Private David Cresswell.  The citation was very impressive including volunteering to support UK Border Force for 12 months and rapidly deploying within 24 hours to support his unit.  It was pleasure to present him with the medal and to see Lt. Colonel Symmonds announce he was to be promoted to Lance Corporal.

18th October  Dinner at Masion House to mark the contribution of the civic institutions of the City of London to the Coronation of Their Majesties The King and Queen. Security was tight with photo ID and a formal official invitation having to be shown along with airport style bag checks. This was a marvellous event with the principal guests being Their Majesties.  It was very special to see The King deliver his speech in person and to be so close him and The Queen.  It was a fantastic event with The Honourable Artillery Company Band, the State Trumpeters of The Household Cavalry and, of course, the Mayor’s bodyguard provided by the Pikemen and Musketeers of the Honourable Artillery Company.   A High point of the year so far

25th October: I was honoured to accompany Gill along with Past Master Jack Strachan and Liveryman Helen Demosthenou to attend the Ceremony of The Keys at the Tower of London with the City Consorts association.  This ceremony started in 1340 and has been conducted every day, without a break since then.  We enjoyed a guided tour of parts of the ‘Tower’ including the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula built in the reign of Heny VIII.  We were offered some welcome refreshments prior to the ceremony in the Yeoman Warders’ pub ‘The Keys’ situated within castle walls.  The Ceremony itself was suitably solemn but with a hearty shouting ‘God Save The King’ at the end.  We retired to The Keys for further refreshment.

2nd November saw a large contingent from WCL at the LADA awards in the Grand Hotel at Brighton.  This year the Company sponsored the Laundry Manager of the Year Award.  It was a big event with over 350 attendees and I was proud to present the award to Aiste Stankeviciute of TDS Commercial LTD.  The whole event was a marvellous celebration of the fantastic industry that we are all involved in.

3rd November I attended a Private Dinner for Senior Wardens by Invitation of the (at the time) Lord Mayor – elect, Professor Michael Mainelli at Chartered Accountant’s Hall.  This annual event (except during Covid!) is traditionally held under the Chatham House Rule and during the evening, Alderman Mainelli discussed what will be, subject to the normal caveats, the themes of his year as Lord Mayor, and the ways in which he hopes that the Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff will support him.  He and his Consort Elisabeth, also wished to hear how they can best support the Liveries and Guilds.

The Great Hall can hold gatherings of up to 400 people and it holds the distinction of having the largest unsupported concrete ceiling in the UK.

Monday 6th November:  I was honoured to represent our Livery Company at the Garden of Remembrance service at St Paul’s.  The service was conducted by the Dean of St. Paul’s and attended by a number of City dignitaries including the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and Military representatives.  The musical accompaniment was provided by the Band of the Grenadier Guards.

Almost all the Livery Companies were represented and, in order of precedence we all marched to the Garden of Remembrance and placed our Crosses in the allotted space.  The cross had a poppy on one side and the name of Livery Company on the other. This was such a powerful and moving occasion.

Wednesday 9th November London Air Ambulance (LAA) held an early evening presentation at Freemason’s Hall.  We are long standing supporters of London Air Ambulance and it was very good and informative to meet some of the Doctors and Pilots who gave real insight into the daily challenges they face.  Several case studies were described in the presentation and a number of people who were ‘saved’ by LAA were also present.  One in particular gave a very powerful talk detailing her story of being run over by a large vehicle, causing her multiple internal injuries and many broken bones.  It all served to underline the amazing work LAA do without any government or local authority funding.

Saturday 11th November. A highlight of the City of London Calendar is The Lord Mayor’s Show. Renter Warden Andrew Doyle and I joined the Modern Livery Companies section of the parade. The weather was sunny and bright and once again it was a lively, friendly, colourful and fun occasion.  It was lovely to see the cheering crowds enjoying themselves. This is also a good opportunity to meet and chat with other Livery Company Masters and Wardens.  A most enjoyable day!

Wednesday 22nd November: the Lord Mayor’s Annual Address to the Livery was held at the Mansion House in the afternoon. The Lord Mayor used the opportunity to expand on the shape of his forthcoming year, with business and trade priorities, as well as his Mayoral theme and his work with the Livery movement.  The address was followed by a general discussion and refreshments, it was another opportunity to spend time with fellow Masters.

In the evening I attended the City Water Debate hosted by The Worshipful Company of Water Conservators at Bakers’ Hall.

The subject was ‘Water Liquidity – How to Finance the Required Investment in the UK Water Sector to 2050’,  The speakers ranged from Water Company CEOs to water infrastructure specialists and academics.  A fascinating debate with real insight into the challenges including massive investment in infostructure and work to reduce per capita water consumption from 145 to 110 litres per day.

Thursday 30th November:  I attended the Glaziers’ Installation Dinner where I had the great pleasure of catching up with Andrew Marsden, a past Sheriff and meeting the Worshipful Mayor of Southwark Councillor Michael Situ among many others.  It was a well-attended event made all the more memorable by the dinner being piped in as it was St. Andrew’s Day.

4th December we had our Carol Service followed by supper at the Hall and what a splendid occasion it was.  We were blessed to have Timothy West reading again this year, he did extraordinarily well particularly when you consider he left his reading glasses at home!  We were so grateful to our Chaplain for organising and conducting the service, as ever it was good to catch up with him and Mark.  The service was well attended and we had over 100 at the supper despite the, what now seems normal, problems with the trains. We were honoured to have Tim and Pru join us for supper along with other honoured guests including the Madam Consul General from the Turkish Embassy, Alderman Professor Emma Edham, Master of the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators Professor Martin Bigg and his Consort Mrs Eileen Bigg, Master of the Company HR Professionals Stephen Sidebottom and Consort Kate Walder, Deputy Master of the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners Gary Fage and the Renter Warden of The Worshipful Company of Feltmakers Simon Millar.

Tuesday 12th November l, along with a good number of Past Masters and Liverymen attended the Funeral of Past Master Dennis Hargreaves. Dennis had a long and distinguished career in our industry and was highly respected within our Livery Company.  His family were overwhelmed by the number of condolence messages they received and were comforted by the fact Dennis was held in such high esteem.