Common Hall and Installation was held at Skinners' Hall on 8th January 2018. The Master, Paul Constantinidi witnessed the unbinding of Apprentice William Colgate and then admitted him to the Freedom by servitude (master Liveryman JRL Nuttall). The Master then welcomed into the Company new Liverymen Karen Brewer, Sean Eley, Ronald Ng, Laura Warren and Alistair Whitehead before handing over the reins to First Warden John Walsham who was then installed as The Master for the coming year. Brian Turner was sworn in as Fourth Warden, The Rev. Gordon Warren - Third Warden, Michael Gunston - Second Warden and Malcolm Craig - First Warden. The Guests Toast was Proposed by Assistant Nick Sillitoe with the Response by Nigel French, Principal Guest. He then Proposed the Toast to the Company with the Response by The Master, John Walsham.
The Worshipful Companies of Needlemakers - Master Colin Tiffin Esq and Gold & Silver Wyre Drawers - Master Paul Constantinidi Esq held a combined Carol Service at St James Garlickhythe by kind permission of the Reverend Tim Handley. Honorary Chaplains were The Rt Rev Christopher Chessun The Bishop of Southwark - Needlemakers and The Rev Gordon Warren and Fourth Warden - GSWD. The Organist & Director of Music was Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley. The congregation bought presents to be distributed to deserving children by the Salvation Army on Christmas Eve.
The Mansion House Livery Banquet was held on 24 November 2017. The Lord Mayor Alderman Charles Bowman and the Lady Mayoress attended accompanied by both Sheriffs and their wives. The Guest Speaker was Major General Tim Hyams OBE Royal Dragoon Guards. A stair guard was formed by Sea Cadets and St John Ambulance Cadets from our affiliated cadet units. The music was provided by the pipes and drums of the band of the Royal Dragoon Guards.
This is the second year that GSWD has awarded a prize, for the submission featuring the best use of Goldwork, at the Hand & Lock event held annually at the Bishopsgate Institute for Hand Embroidery – Fashion and Textile Art, Wilcom Digital Embroidery – Fashion and Textile Art, plus the GSWD Award. Hand & Lock, in celebration of their 250th anniversary, presented an additional Chairman’s Award. This competition takes place to encourage the use of embroidery in fashion and textile and now welcomes in excess of 500 entries annually from all around the world. Liverymen Liz Elvin and Jean Scott-Moncrieff were on the panel of judges.
The Post Office Railway, known as Mail Rail since 1987, is a 2ft (610mm) narrow gauge, driverless underground railway in London to move mail between sorting offices. It operated from 1927 until 2003. The museum within the former railway was opened in September 2017. The line ran from Paddington in the west to Whitechapel in the east, a distance of 6.5 miles and had eight stations. Special tourist trains were installed in late 2016 and the circular route was opened on 5th September 2017. Our group found the visit both interesting and enjoyable.
The Meeting and Court Dinner was held in the beautiful and prestigious Mercers' Hall. Mark Hyde, Ronald Ng, Alistair Whitehead, Robert Whittingham were admitted to the Freedom of the Company by redemption and Sebastian Budd was admitted to the Freedom by patronage. Andrew Lamb was admitted to the Freedom of the Company by redemption (Trade route). Mark Russell and Robert Whittingham were clothed in the Livery. Third Warden Michael Gunston proposed The Guests and Alderman The Rt Hon, The Lord Mountevans of Chelsea (Lord Mayor 2015-16) responded. The musical interlude was superbly given by Nardus Williams (Soprano - GSWD Bursary Student) and Chad Vindin (Piano) by kind permission of the Principal, Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
The Master arranged for 71 members and their guests to participate in a Blue Badge Walk on 13th September meeting at The Leadenhall Building aka The Cheesegrater. For the walk the party was split into 4 groups with excellent Tour de Force London guides. This was followed by a Drinks Reception with canapes hosted by Aon in their Clients Suite. Charles Bowman, who is the Alderman for Lime Ward, attended and responded to the Master's speech.
On Sunday 3rd September Robert Byng, owner of Wrotham Park and Assistant Julius Oberegger, owner of The Haven generously sponsored a Charity fundraising day, which started with Charles Dace's enlightening pre tour talk on the history of Wrotham Park, a magnificent neo-Palladian English country house, designed by Isaac Ware in 1754 for Admiral John Byng. After this visit we then were treated to a four course gourmet lunch at the Haven. It was the 11th year that the owner, Assistant Julius Oberegger had generously donated this with all the proceeds going to the GSWD 2nd Charitable Trust.
On 27 July The Master, Mistress, 5 Liverymen and the Clerk were royally entertained by the Commanding Officer of 814 Squadron - the Flying Tigers, at RNAS Culdrose. The group flew from Gatwick to Newquay where they were picked up by one of the Merlin's and given a stunning tour of Cornwall by air, which culminated in their arrival at RNAS Culdrose. After lunch in the Wardroom the Master's group was shown around the base with a tour of 824 Squadron, who train pilots. They then visited the Air Traffic Control Tower followed by the Met office and radar rooms. The day finished with the Master exchanging gifts with the 814 Squadron's Commanding Officer Brendan Spoors.
The Master attended in July 2017 the Royal Opera House end of year performance given by the very talented Royal Ballet School students. This was followed by the Prize Giving and Graduation of the ballet students at the attached London School in Floral Street. Our two Prize Winners were Albjon Gjorliaku (Orlando Ballet) and Nadia Mullova-Barley (The Royal Ballet - Aud Jebsen Young Dancers Programme)
The Court Meeting and Dinner was held at Skinners' Hall on 3 July. The Honour Guard was provided by The Company of Pikemen and Musketeers, Detachment Commander, Ensign Richard Ward. Julius Oberegger was installed as Assistant on the Court. Laura Williams, prizewinner 2016, admitted to the Freedom of the Company by Redemption (Trade Route). Laura Warren, Mark Russell and Sean Eley were admitted to the Freedom of the Company. Alexandra Constantinidi was clothed in the Livery. The Fourth Warden, Rev Gordon Warren, proposed the Guests and the response was by Principal Guest, Rev Canon David Parrott, Chaplain to the City of London Corporation. Elena Thornton was presented with the GSWD prize for her award winning entries which were on display. The musical interlude was performed by Oscar Pavey (Chorister) and Andrew Carwood (Director of Music - Piano) (by kind permission of the Headmaster, St Paul's Cathedral School).
Lincoln Cathedral hosted a Heritage Skills Festival in conjunction with the City of London Livery Companies. Its aim was to showcase the historic crafts that went into the construction of the Cathedral and those that support and enhance its daily life, together with demonstrating how all of these skills are kept alive today. The City of London Livery Companies comprise London's ancient and modern trade associations and have evolved from the very powerful medieval guilds. Training apprentices was an important part of their duties as it still is today. The Cathedral event was a unique opportunity to see these Companies sharing their skills, at the first event of its kind outside London. Our Company was represented by The Master & Mistress, The Clerk, Liveryman Liz Elvin, Trade Freeman Bella Lane and Nan Nan Liu, as well as one of our 2016 prize winners Hazel Thorn.
Jailed & Bailed is an annual event, which only 20 Masters are allowed to attend. They were taken from the Mansion House to the Old Bailey where they were tried and jailed by a sheriff. Amusing anecdotes were created on why they should be sent to the tower. After being chained with a plastic chain and ball they were carted off to the tower by an old route master. In the Fusiliers mess they were fed and watered. Finally after handing over £1,000 in charity money (this year for the Red Cross) they were allowed out.
On 23rd May the Master attended the opening exhibition of Anita Carnell's work as part of the celebrations for the Clerkenwell Design Week 2017. He discovered her exquisite gold embroidered leather wall hangings at the exclusive and special event for the interior design trade. Members of the Trade Committee attended on subsequent days.
The Master's Dinner was held on Monday, 3rd April at Skinners' Hall and was preceded by the church service at St James Garlickhythe, which was officiated by our Honorary Chaplain and Fourth Warden The Rev. Gordon Warren. The Guest Speaker was Mr Peter McKinley who responded to Second Warden Malcolm Craig's speech 'Welcoming the Guests'. Liveryman Julius Oberegger was elected onto the Court. Heather Woof received the Freedom by redemption (Trade Route) and Thomas Cartwright was bound as an Apprentice. Jay Bhatt and Mr Justice Rubin were Clothed in the Livery.