The College Of Arms
October began with a fascinating visit to The College of Arms on 6th – actually we were locked in The College of Arms for this private tour. Heraldry, the output of the College is really the first and most recognisable form of branding; dating back to early medieval times when the Heralds arranged tournaments and kept tally on the scores of the contestants. They recognised the knights by the crests on their helmets and the arms of their shields. The College of Arms came into being as a control system and a way of keeping record of all heraldry. As the Heralds were used to organising tournaments – they have a role in ceremonial events where the processional order is important. On our visit, we saw some amazing vellum books from the 11th Century all kept in the Library/Record Room at the College of Arms. There are exquisite pieces of calligraphy created by the scriveners and heraldic painters. We were delighted to be shown around by the Windsor Herald, William Hunt who in fact in 2010 presented our Company with its Royal Charter at the Guildhall.
Addressing the Financial Services Group
The following week (13th) I was asked to address the Financial Services Group at the Brand Exchange on Birchin Lane. This livery trade group is 10 years old next year and brings together twelve of the finance and professional services Livery Companies including the Marketors. Its aim is to look at coordinated ways in which we can collectively help the Mayoralty and City with advice and information.
The Bowden Dinner
Later that week (15th) we had another spectacular Great Event, the Bowden Dinner at the Mercers’ Hall. As you all know Mercers are the Premier Livery Company of the City of London and their Hall is at the heart of the City in Ironmonger Lane. The Mercers are not only know for their magnificent Hall with its own chapel but for its generous charitable giving to many cause including educations, welfare, arts and heritage. At our Bowden Dinner the Pikemen and Musketeers of The Honourable Artillery Company resplendent in their 15th Century dress led us into the polished wood lined hall. You will be able to read amore about this event in Marketor but just to say that we were lucky enough to have Richard Eyre CBE as our main speaker – a man of many accomplishments, who gave a splendid speech.
Surveyors at Drapers
The following Monday (19th) I was invited to Drapers’ Hall – this certainly turned into a month for getting around all the greatest halls in the City – more to come! This time it was for the Installation Dinner for the New Master of the Worshipful Company of Surveyors – Jenna, Lady Davies. We were entertained by two speakers, Sir Gavyn Arthur, a former Lord Mayor of the City of London and Sir John Armitt, Chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority. We had wonderful music that evening with singers and trumpeters as well as a harpist from the Guildhall School of Music.
And even more music …
On 20th I was back at Mercers’ Hall for the Musician’s Company Dinner as guest of Master, Kathleen Duncan OBE. Not only was there fantastic music from the Kaleidoscope Quartet (a highlight as you would expect) but also a very entertaining and insightful speech from travel writer Colin Thubron CBE. Thubron is one of the great travel writers and he spoke about how he would wander around immersing himself in the culture and the language of a place then writing about it. The Musicians’ Company truly lived up to their motto ‘Preserve Harmony’ that evening.
To the Guildhall and the China State Banquet
On 21st I was delighted to accept the invitation of Keith Bottomley, Common Councilman to the full-on splendour of the China State Banquet in the presence of HRH Prince Andrew and President Xi Jinping. With everyone in white tie or state dress and the Guildhall a mass of red flowers, it really did seem like the ‘dawn of a golden era of partnership between the UK and China’. After the Lord Mayor’s welcome speech we were able to listen to the President of China translated and communicated with the aid of earpieces. It was a very impressive speech with the strength of China’s relationship with the UK and the City of London at the centre.
Then to Fishmongers’ Hall
This time it was for the Installation Dinner for Wendy Hyde as New Master of the World Traders on the 22nd. Wendy has travelled the world in her previous role at the Bank of England and is also a Common Councillor of the City of London. The guest speaker was Dr Andrew Sentance CBE who is Senior Economic Adviser at PWC. It was most interesting to listen what Dr Sentence had to say in relation to world trade and in particular about the UK. For instance 12% of our GDP is now in service exports – compared to 8% in Germany – such is the changing face of our country.
151 Regimental Royal Logistic Corps Curry Night
On 27th over 40 Marketors went off to Regent’s Park Barracks for this typically military event. It was a great opportunity to enjoy a proper Ghurkha curry, as well as having the privilege of seeing two Warrant Officers being presented with their actual Queen’s Warrants. Many thanks must go to Lt Col Michael Taylor MBE and his team for looking after us so well.
9th Mithras Lecture at Goldsmiths’ Hall
DS Claire Hutcheon of the Metropolitan Police Art & Antiques Unit based at New Scotland Yard gave this annual lecture arranged by the Worshipful Company of Art Scholars on 28th October. Claire talked to us about the ‘History of Forgery’ and entertaining us with interesting stories about famous London families and their discoveries of masterpieces in their attic. She left us with the alarming fact that the IS are licencing the theft and sale of ancient relics to fund their acts of terrorism. Watch what you buy!
Agincourt remembered at Westminster Abbey
On 29th I went to a truly spectacular event to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. HRH The Duke of Kent and HRH The Princess Michael of Kent were in attendance. The service was lead by the Bishop of London the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres KCVO. There were 700 people in the Abbey listening to readings by amongst others actor Robert Hardy CBE reading the Prologue from Act IV of Henry V and Sam Marks of the Royal Shakespeare Company appeared in full costume as Henry V, wandering through the aisles giving full vent and meaning to the famous St Crispin’s Day speech from Act IV Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s play. We sang hymns from 15th century – with a little hesitancy, I have to say.
The Bishop of London gave an interesting contextual address on Agincourt and its place in our history. Pascal Deray, President of La Communauté de Communes des 7 Vallées, read The Account of a French Soldier in the First World War to show that we are now firm friends.
And finally on the Thames
My last event for this month was as a guest of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries at their Livery Dinner on board HQS Wellington, the Master Mariners’ Hall, which is moored in the City. It was a lively evening with the Master Actuary and former choirboy Peter Thompson, joining in the singing of a number of sea shanties – including doing a solo.
The main speaker for the evening was Sir Bryan Nicholson, past Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council; he has also chaired the Manpower Services Commission, The Post Office and BUPA amongst others. Sir Bryan was very entertaining as he talked about how to deal with various Prime Ministers and politicians, as well as giving a few well chosen stories from his very distinguished career