It is a pleasant annual tradition that, usually in June, the Master and Livery should entertain the Masters and Clerks of companies that represent some of our related crafts. These annual lunches are comparatively informal and give us the chance to thank those Masters and Clerks for their support of our Master during his year of office as well as confirming to them that we remain in good, hospitable health.
On Thursday 8th June, this year’s lunch was held in Cutlers’ Hall, a pleasant and welcoming late-Victorian building that is attractive and impressive without being as formal as some of the larger Halls. Its red-brick construction and the liberal use of carved wood inside are complemented outside by a fascinating frieze of carved terracotta on the main façade, depicting the various skills required of a cutler, undertaken by a young Sheffield sculptor who was a protégé of John Ruskin.
65 sat down to lunch. The delicious meal was, as always, complemented by some of the fine wines selected for us by our wine committee; it was a particular pleasure to welcome as our guests Max Sichel (a member of one of the best-known French wine-producing families) and Francis Flavin, a London wine merchant who has given great help to us in recent years. Being a fairly informal occasion, the speeches after lunch were brief but gave our Master the chance to welcome our guests from a number of other companies, and for the Master Painter-Stainer to offer a well-balanced reply of thanks from the guests who included the Masters and Clerks from the Masons, the Plumbers, the Plaisterers and the Information Technologists.
We also welcomed Mr & Mrs David Kendall to our table. David had served an apprenticeship in bricklaying in the 1960s under the overall supervision of our Company and still had his diploma to prove it, possibly one of the last to have qualified under that scheme. When he retired recently, he got in touch to explain his connection and the Master invited him to join us on this occasion so that he could show us what has become a document from our history.
Colin Menzies