September began with the Court Meeting at Wax Chandlers’ Hall followed by a Court Luncheon with the Stewards and consorts which was a most enjoyable event and a good opportunity for me to extend my thanks for the support of the Court and Stewards and all their hard work over the course of my year and also to thank the Learned Clerk and the other Officers of the Company. It was a particular pleasure to be able to use the wonderful port decanters given to the Company by my Father and Past Master Hugh Fuller. As ever Mark Grove’s food and service were superb and I very much hope that this luncheon will become a more regular event.

After interviewing four more prospective new members in the first 12 days of September membership continues to grow and it is good to see Liverymen wishing to bring friends and colleagues into the Company in such numbers. I am also delighted to advise that the outgoing Chief Royal Engineer is to transfer his Honorary Liveryman status into full membership at the December Court.

A flurry of events followed with two trips to St Paul’s for Evensong including processing at the Musicians’ Company Evensong both services were followed by Receptions in the evocative Nelson Room in the crypt. Next came the Painter Stainers’ Dinner in their newly decorated Hall. This was a most enjoyable evening where the Master Painter Stainer welcomed the principal guests by comparing them to characters from Alexander Dumas’ The Three Musketeers – I was somewhat flattered to have been selected as D’Artagnan!

Another busy week followed beginning with welcoming the Sheriffs and their consorts back to dry land after their row from Chelsea Pier to HMS President at St Katherine’s Dock which raised an excellent £14,000 for the Sheriff and Recorder’s Fund. That evening Catherine and I found ourselves at Guildhall for the Vintry and Dowgate Ward Club AGM and Dinner. 

A hectic day next with a Reception to celebrate the presentation of the Hon Liz Green’s Shrieval Badge and Chain of Office before heading off to Essendon Golf Club for the Company’s Golf Day. Many congratulations and thanks to our joint Golf Captains Court Assistant Simon Martin and Deputy Master David Szymanski for arranging such an excellent day and congratulations too to all the golfers who braved the windy conditions.

Sadly the following Monday saw the funeral for Past Master Michael Christopher and it was a testament to the high esteem in which he was held that so many Tylers and Bricklayers were in attendance and thank you to all those who travelled to Essex to be there. This was the start of an extremely busy week as I headed to Glaziers Hall that evening for the Glaziers’ Autumn Dinner and Catherine and I then had an early start for Heathrow as we headed to Bologna at the kind invitation of the Tile Association. We visited the Cersaie exhibition and met representatives from the US Tiling industry before attending the European Tile Fixers’ Board Meeting where it was not only a pleasure to catch up with some old friends but also to learn of the challenges facing the European industry which amongst others include the difficulty of encouraging people into the profession. Huge thanks to the Tile Association for their hospitality and we managed to enjoy two excellent dinners amongst the work in what is rightly regarded as the food capital of Italy.

On returning to London I attended the Admission of The Sheriffs at Guildhall and was privileged to be invited to the Sheriffs’ Breakfast which followed. Congratulations to the Hon. Liz Green and Alderman Vincent Keaveny and their consorts Peter and Amanda who will I’m sure make an excellent Shrieval team. Congratulations also to outgoing Sheriffs Tim Hailes and Neil Redcliffe and their consorts Fiona and Emma with whom we have had so much fun this year.

More civic events on the following Monday with the supporters Breakfast and Election of the Lord Mayor followed by lunch at Stationers’ Hall where I was mistakenly seated with the Framework Knitters! However as their table was next to ours it mattered little. After a day’s respite Catherine and I attended the Fit for the Future Conference at the University of East London. This was one of a series of ongoing consultations about how to deliver better training and education in the post GCSE age groups and to encourage vocational training. The Master Builders Merchant and Past Master Educator were also in attendance and it is good that the Livery movement now have a voice on this body which is already seeing results - not least in construction with two East London colleges now actively seeking input from micro businesses and designing courses to suit their specific requirements incorporating day release courses as opposed to the Government’s standard two year full time training. The three of us intend to continue to attend these events and will report progress back to the Livery movement in due course.

After the conference we headed to St Paul’s for the Musicians’ Company Evensong and Reception which was a fabulous event with which to end my year in office as the following morning saw the Installation Court and Service and the election of our first lady Master. Congratulations to Lesley and together with Malcolm I hope you both have as enjoyable a year as Catherine and I although hopefully it will not go quite as quickly as ours seems to have!

Not that this was an end to events as aside of my role as Deputy Master and attending the Company’s excellent 450thanniversary Dinner at Tallow Chandlers’ Hall, I received a number of other invitations and the 1stNovember saw us at Mansion House for the Lady Mayoress’ Reception and the 5than invitation to join the Master Cook for a moving Remembrance Luncheon - the last event in Mark Grove’s Mastership year. Catherine and I were also privileged to receive an invitation to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at Guildhall with all the associated ceremony and splendour. It was a particular delight to hear the Archbishop of Canterbury speak with some passion on the need for vocational training and the importance of ‘T’ levels.

All in all a superb way in which to finish an exhausting but hugely enjoyable year.

Lest we forget!

Eleven o’clock on 11thNovember 2018 marked the 100thanniversary of the end of the first World War, and as part of the commemorations, Masters of the Livery Companies were invited, for the first time, to take part in the Service of Remembrance at St. Pauls Cathedral, London.   Michel Saminaden, Upper Warden, and our Consorts Maureen and Malcolm joined me to attend the Service.

The Upper Warden and I wearing our gowns joined other Masters in the North Transept, whilst Malcolm and Maureen sat in the West Transept.  The Service was attended by the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, Aldermen and Common Councillors, together with many from the Armed Service and the Royal British Legion.

A few minutes before 11 a.m. the Dean remembered the Fallen and the Last Post was sounded.  There followed a two-minute silence and then Reveille was sounded.  In those two minutes I remembered my own Grandfathers George and Frank, both of whom had served in the “war to end all wars” but I had never met, and all those who had fought for us, many of whom never came home.  

Following the Service, we marched to the Royal Exchange Building for the wreath laying ceremony. As well as wreaths laid by the Lord Mayor, wreaths were laid by the Armed Services, local cubs and scouts and other organisations.  A wreath was laid on behalf of the City of London Livery Companies, by Master Fruiterer, the first time this had ever happened.

Following the Ceremony, the Masters moved to Mansion House to salute and applaud the Old Comrades as they marched past.

Celebrating our 450thCharter Anniversary

On All Hallows Eve, Tylers and Bricklayers and their guests dined at Tallow Chandlers Hall as part of the 450thCharter Anniversary celebrations.  

It is particularly appropriate that this dinner was held at Tallow Chandlers Hall.  The Tylers and Bricklayers coat of arms in the window in the Livery Hall demonstrated the connection between the two Companies. The Hall was built by Master Tyler and Bricklayer Master Captain John Caine in the late seventeenth century and from 1948 to 1960 the Tylers and Bricklayers used Tallow Chandlers as a refuge whilst post war rebuilding of the City was undertaken.  

During the Evening we welcomed a new Companion to the Company, Diana Christopher.  Five years ago, it had been agreed that widows and widowers of Past Masters and Wardens should be invited to become Companions to continue their association with the Tylers and Bricklayers.    Diana Christopher had been a part of the Tylers and Bricklayers family for many years supporting Michael.  Sadly Michael had passed away earlier this year Diana had accepted our invitation to become a Companion and it gave me great pleasure in presenting a Certificate to her.  


Much research had been undertaken into the food eaten at Elizabethan banquets and whilst it was not appropriate to have a boar’s head on the table, we dined on Ham Hock Terrine, Quenelle of Pike, Venison and Lemon Posset, and enjoyed some superb wines arranged by the Wine Committee.

After the meal the Loving Cup was passed round and speeches were given by Liveryman Professor John Schofield and the Master.

This was the final element of the Anniversary Celebrations and all Liverymen who attended thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Off to the Reform Club

The Consort and I attended a Livery Banquet at the Reform Club as guests of Liveryman Professor John Schofield, who is Chairman of the Reform Club.  Guests of honour for the evening were the two Sheriffs of the City of London, Alderman Vincent Keaveny and Non-aldermanic Sheriff Liz Green along with her consort Peter.

The Reform Club is one of the most beautiful buildings on Pall Mall, having survived the London Blitz intact.  The Library was the perfect situation for the diners and we had a wonderful evening chatting with guests.  Liz Green gave a most entertaining speech explaining the role of the City and the work the Sheriffs in the modern era.

Professor Schofield presented Liz with gifts to mark the occasion.

The Garden of Remembrance

Today marked the opening of the Garden of Remembrance at St Pauls Cathedral. The Civic Team, Masters and representatives from City organisations attended a Service to mark the opening of the Garden of Remembrance in the centennial year of the end of World War 1.

Not only was every Master present, but also Yeomen Warders from the Tower of London, Chelsea Pensioners, the Standards of the Royal British Legion, choirs from the City of London Boys and Girls Schools and members of the City of London Police and First Responders.  

The Service was led by the Dean of St Pauls, Dr David Ison and began with the singing of Praise my Soul, the King of Heaven.  This was followed by an Address by the Lord Mayor and prayers.

The Exhortation was followed by the Last Post and the Two Minute Silence, then Reveille.

The cross laying was led by the Lord and Lady Mayoress, the Sheriffs, City representatives and then Livery Masters.  We had been briefed by a Sergeant Major of the Grenadier Guards who had instructed us to march, in sixes, to our place, lay the cross and then move away.  As number 37 in the order of precedence I had the “privilege” of leading my group of Masters and thankfully all went well!

After the National Anthem, we all dispersed.  Many to take photographs of the crosses as a memory of this special occasion.

After the service I joined other Tylers and Bricklayers at the Civic Lunch of Vintry and Dowgate Ward for a convivial lunch.

Livery Collaboration

The Upper Warden and I attended a briefing on the Pan Livery Collaboration initiative which began nearly two years ago.

Whilst any work on Philanthropy has been halted, the Communications Working Group have been busy undertaking surveys.  The most positive news is that just under £67m is given away by the Liveries annually in charitable giving.

Beyond the Deepening Shadow

After the Briefing the Upper Warden, our Consorts and I visited the Tower of London to see the 10,000 flames alight in the Moat, which forms part of the commemorations of the centenary of Armistice Day in 1918.

The Inner Workings of the Company

As Master it is important that the inner workings of the Company run smoothly, and this week I attended meetings of the Finance Committee and Communications Committee. It is important also that Liverymen from the finance sector play an active role in advising us the state of the stock market and that our finances are in good order.  Our Learned Clerk runs the Company with absolute efficiency and is to be thanked for all his hard work on our behalf.

The Communications Committee’s remit includes events, membership and promotion of the Company via its newsletters, website and social media.  During our meeting plans were made for the next newsletter, a review of the website and events over the current Livery year.

After the meeting closed, the Wardens, Clerk and I interviewed two potential candidates for the Freedom of the Company.

Brick Awards

Malcolm and I were invited to attend the annual Brick Awards organised by the Brick Development Association at the Hilton on Park Lane.

This was very much an industry occasion and I was delighted to catch up with a colleague from the trade association world and to meet many people from the brick industry.

Jon Culshaw was the MC for the evening and his professional approach ensured a successful evening.

We were delighted that Liveryman Ian Wilson, from Anglian Brickworks Ltd won four awards, including the Supreme Award for work at Storey’s Community Centre in Cambridge.

A new Lord Mayor of the City of London

On Friday, 9 November the City was preparing for the Lord Mayor’s Show, but before that the Installation of the new Lord Mayor Peter Estlin took place in a Silent Ceremony in Guildhall.

The ceremony dates back over 800 years and follows the same time table year after year.  I was fortunate to be sitting directly behind the new Lord Mayor’s chair so was able to see the hand over process.

The only words spoken are those of the new Lord Mayor as he swears an oath of office.  The outgoing mayor removes his tricorn hat and seconds later the new Lord Mayor places his hat on his head, signalling the transfer of mayoralty.

There follows a transfer of all the elements of the City by touching of symbols reflecting all elements of the Corporation before the new Lord Mayor leaves to the sound of heralds playing.

A square within a square within a square!

 I was delighted to be able to attend the inaugural Gilder Lecture organised by the Worshipful Company of Masons.

Named after Mr James Gilder, Master Mason 1620-1621, the lecture entitled Stone and the City was presented by Liveryman Adrian Paye from Paye Stonework and Restoration, who had recently been involved in the preservation of the Temple of Mithras which is underneath the Bloomberg Building in the City.

The lecture began with a history lesson on how the Romans had perfected the technique of building with stone in Rome and around their empire.  Using stone from Caen the Romans had constructed buildings in Londinium, as it was known then.  They were somewhat protective of their craft as they did not pass on their skills to English Masons!  

After the Romans left it was the time that the Vikings invaded England and no stone buildings were constructed again until the Middle Ages.  Using skills learned in France Masons began constructing Cathedrals and Castles.  For a time, men could be conscripted into masonry as the Kings of England built more and more with stone.

Geometry plays a role in stone masonry, and we were shown how a square within a square within a square was the basis for calculating many aspects of stone masonry.

This was an altogether fascinating lecture and a mental note has been made to visit to Temple of Mithras very soon!

A newly installed Master Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants

In the beautiful surroundings of Merchant Taylors Hall Pippa Latham was installed as the new Master of the Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants.  The Consort and I joined other Masters to celebrate the occasion. 

During the evening we listened to the beautiful soprano Natalya Romaniw singing l’amour est un oiseau rebelle from Carmen, Donde lieta usci from La Boheme and Meine Lippen, sie kussen so heib from Guiditta.

I was seated next to Alderman Sir Roger Gifford and Immediate Past Master Brian Blanchard and had interested discussions on music, encouraging entrants into the crafts and life post-Brexit.

A lesson in wine tasting

The Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers is known for the wine it provides at our lunches and dinners.  The Wine Committee meet once a year to select the wines for forthcoming occasions taking advice offered by Francis Flavin from Davy & Co.

As Master I was invited to join the Wine Committee for lunch (which incidentally we all paid for) and to bring along some wine for the occasion.  For this lunch, Chairman Philip Parris had asked diners to bring wines using grapes from Bordeaux but not produced in this beautiful area of France.

With permission from the Chairman, I took some English Sparkling wine from Elham Valley Vineyard home to T&B supported charity, the Fifth Trust and to my relief it was declared a good wine!

Frances talked us through each of the wines as we ate and asked us to compare one against another. As a non-wine specialist, I learned much about the wines we drank and had a most convivial afternoon!