On Friday, 12th July the very “first” Embroidery Day for the Livery Company was held at the Royal School of Needlework. Everyone who attended had a fabulous time in their Goldwork Class working on their Bees!! It gave them all a far greater insight into the wonderful work of the School and the Students’ talent. The Master thanked Natalie Thew for coordinating the event and the fine tutors, Helen and Anita, for their understanding and patience.
On Monday, 1st July at Skinners’ Hall the Court Meeting was followed by a maximum attended Dinner. Liveryman Nigel Vaughan was installed as an Assistant on the Court. Sheila Eastman, Phillip Egerton, Brendan Minahan, Sanjay Mody, Kristanand Nathoo and Bradley Humphreys were admitted to the Freedom of the Company. Lucie Gledhill - Jeweller and Harriet Stiles - Embroiderer were admitted to the Freedom of the Company by redemption via the Trade Route. Bertie Troughton and Bradley Humphreys were clothed in the Livery. Liveryman Lesley Balding was admitted as a Steward. A delicious dinner followed the reception. Sabina Lima -RSN was congratulated on her prizewinning entry and presented with her award. The gathering was entertained (by kind permission of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama) by the beautiful singing of American classical soprano Alexandria Wreggelsworth, who was accompanied on the piano by the talented Jack Wu. The Guests were Proposed by Second Warden Brian Turner with the Response by Mr Mark Smith, Principal Guest. The Master then presented the following cheques:- £15,000 to Major Pete Norton GC RLC for BLESMA, £15,000 to Simon Halliday for CRY, £7,000 to Major Craig Hallet for SSAFA and to Mark Smith a cheque for the War Graves Commission.
Liveryman Jeremy Ray organised a very different GSWD two days. On Sunday, 16th June a fascinating tour was arranged to visit the ‘Mary Rose’ as well as the Historic Dockyard where the Victory and the Warrior are. Our very special guide for the two ‘Mary Rose’ tours was Alezandra Hildred, who is Head of Research and Curator of Ordnance and Human Remains at the Mary Rose Trust. Alex joined the Project in 1979 as a graduate archaeologist. An archaeological supervisor during the 1979-1982 excavations and has since directed the site monitoring survey and excavations which culminated in recovering the stem in 2005. There was nothing that Alex does not know about the Mary Rose and we were treated to the most detailed and fascinating tour. The next day, called the Summer Sailstice, involved one group of 14 sailing on the 19th century Thames Sailing Barge ‘Alice, which is over 75 feet in length and 6 other members sailing on Liveryman John Everitt’s Swan 37 yacht ‘La Belle Aventure’ over to Trinity Wharft on the Isle of Wight where they enjoyed lunch in Cowes at the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
The annual Court Dinner was this year held at Langham’s Brasserie in Mayfair on Friday, 14th June. The Master arranged mystery entertainment for us. The first was a brilliant Peruvian Puppet Show by the Jose Navarro Theatre. Our Trade Freeman Bella Lane embroidered all the magnificent costumes and her partner Jose Navarro danced superbly to Peruvian music, which was then followed by their performance with puppets. After dinner The Bowfins Trio (Leader Adrian Garrett - Violin, with Rhiannon Lock - Cello and Sam Kennedy - Viola), who we had enjoyed during the reception, entertained us with amazing playing which was coupled with a twist of humour. Past Mistress Hannah Constantinidi gave an excellent speech after dinner thanking the Master for the consort’s gift of a beautiful shawl which had the GSWD coat of arms on it. The Master then thanked her with a bouquet of flowers. He then presented another bouquet to Past Master George Constantinidi and his wife Sheila who were celebrating their 67th wedding anniversary.
18 members and their visitors had a great day of golf followed by a meal at the Beaconsfield Golf Club on Wednesday, 29th May, with the rain just holding off for them. The Sir George Wilkinson Trophy was retained by Paul Day (with a gross score of 84), and the Company Rose Bowl was won by Luis Hui (with a net score of 72, pipping Nigel Vaughan by just 1 point).
Pictures taken by Debbie Dickens during the Musical Fundraising Dinner and Concert
A very special charity evening was arranged by the Master and sponsored by Engle Martin & Associates, Inc. supporting both The Orpheus Centre, which focuses on developing independence skills through performing and visual arts making dramatic improvements to young disabled adults’ lives and SSAFA – The Armed Forces Charity. During the reception The Bowfins Trio performed with Adrian Garratt on Violin, Brooke Day on Viola and Flora Allison on Cello. Musicians of Household Cavalry directed by Major Craig Hallat BA (Mus) and by kind permission of Maj Gen Ben Bathurst CBE, played from the gallery. The evening was hosted by Sean Rafferty MBE. By kind permission of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama the Lakeside Singers, Kayleigh McEvoy, Eleanor Dann, William Searle and Alex Jones accompanied by pianist Chavdar Mazgolov, sang a selection of songs. On their international debut the ‘Choir Drawers’ (Hannah Constantinidi, Judy Gunston, Cynthia Fowler, June Warren, Julia Craig, Lesley Blundell, Karen Brewer, Catherine Carr, Alexa Carter, Malcolm Craig, Gordon Warren, Roger Carter & Robin House) together with the Master sang three songs. Major Craig Hallat took it upon himself to be their choirmaster and they were accompanied by Lance Corporal of Horse Emma Wright. Following this, under the direction and accompaniment of Sir Richard Stilgoe OBE DL, there was a wonderful performance by the Orpheus Centre Students Angus Morton, Thomas Puttock and Charlotte Rowling. Everyone taking part in this amazing evening received rapturous applause.
Trade Freeman Matt Powell is very keen to become a Trade Liveryman and in April received the Freedom of the City of London, which was attended by the Master. He is seen in the picture with his wife Jade, who with her sighted guide won three silver and a bronze in the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi. and was the British flag bearer at the closing ceremony. Also in the picture is Matt’s mother Kathy who had recently retired from Tiffany’s, the UK’s luxury jewellers.
The Master’s Dinner was held on Monday, 1st April at Skinners’ Hall. At the Court Meeting Liveryman Luis Hui was installed as an Assistant on the Court and Liveryman Karen Brewer as a Steward. Freeman David Hedderwick was clothed in the Livery and Bertie Troughton was admitted to the Freedom of the Company. Past Master Vernon Knapper was accorded the status of Past Master Emeritus. After the meeting the annual Church Service took place at St James’s Garlickhythe by kind permission of the Reverend Tim Handley who welcomed the Company and the address was given by our Honorary Chaplain The Right Reverend Dr Richard Fenwick. The music was supplied by organist - Mr Andrew Baars and the Choir of St James Garlickhythe. At the dinner The Guests were Proposed by Third Warden Rev Gordon Warren and the Response was given by Simon Halliday, Principal Guest who then proposed the toast to the Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers.
Common Hall and Installation were held at Skinners Hall on Monday, 14th January 2019. Liveryman Luis Hui was elected as an Assistant onto the Court. The Master John Walsham admitted Kyosun Jung to the Freedom of the Company by redemption via the Trade route. He then handed over the reins to First Warden Malcolm Craig who was then installed as The Master for 2019-20. Cynthia Fowler was sworn in as Fourth Warden, The Rev. Gordon Warren as Third Warden, Brian Turner as Second Warden and Michael Gunston as First Warden. Masters of the following Companies were guests - Spectacle Makers, Pattenmakers, Gunmakers, Carmen, Haberdashers and Makers of Playing Cards. Grace was given by Honorary Liveryman The Rt Rev. Dr R D Fenwick. The Guest Toast was Proposed by Past Master Tim Fitzgerald-O’Connor with the Reponse by Mr David McElhiney, Principal Guest. He then Proposed the Toast to the Company with the Response by the Master Malcolm Craig.
The annual Livery Banquet was held at the Mansion House by kind permission of the Lord Mayor Alderman Peter Estlin who attended with the Lady Mayoress Lindy Estlin, Aldermanic Sheriff Vincent Keaveny, Mrs Amanda Keaveny and Sheriff The Hon. Elizabeth Green. The Master proposed the Civic Toast which was responsed by the Lord Mayor. The First Warden, Malcolm Craig proposed The Guests with the response by General Sir Roger Walker GCB CBE. The Master presented to the Livery the beautiful silver vase with magnetic gold frog made by our 2018 prize winner Kyosun Jung. The Master also presented our 2018 Royal School of Needlework prize winner Alex Standring her certificate. An Honour Guard on the stairs was formed by the Sea Cadets from TS Barrosa and St John Ambulance Cadets from Chislehurst and Sidcup. The music was beautifully played by the London Banqueting Ensemble (director Steve Fletcher) which included a marvellous rendition of the post horn gallop.
On Friday, 26th October Wing Commander Peter Thorbjornsen, Officer Commanding 101 Squadron was delighted to invite the Master and members of the Livery to his Squadron based at Brize Norton. The highlight of the day was a flight in the Voyager aircraft, an A320 airframe with A340 wings, on an air to air refueling sortie. The pilot was Flt Lt. Jim Cornish and his co-pilot, who organised the event, was Flt Lt Steve Caryer. Flt Lt Dan Jones was the liaison officer for the day.
The October dinner this year was held at Grocers’ Hall (by kind permission of the Grocers’ Company). Karen Watts and Peter O’Malley were installed as Assistants on the Court. Michael Carver and Alistair Marshall were admitted to the Freedom of the Company as well as being Clothed in the Livery. Ramji Chauhan and Xavier Walker were also Clothed in the Livery of the Company. Elisavet Messi and Matt Powell were admitted to the Freedom of the Company by redemption via the Trade Route. Apprentice Christopher Edgcumbe was unbound and admitted to the Freedom by servitude (master Past Master Emeritus JC Edgcumbe). Fourth Warden Brian Turner Proposed ‘The Guests’ which was Responded by The Rt Hon Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Principal Guest. The musical interlude was provided by Jack Holton (Tenor) and Michelle Santiago (Piano) (by kind permission of the Principal, Guildhall School of Music and Drama)
Our Mistress Amanda Walsham held a wonderful Consorts’ Luncheon at the Bulgari Hotel, Knightsbridge on Monday 17th September. The Lady Mayoress Samantha Bowman and journalist Eve Pollard OBE, Vice-Chairman of the Wellbeing of Women Charity’s Board of Trustee attended. Assistant Karen Watts gave another of her very interesting talks on the history of the Livery.
A great day’s golf was had by all at the GSWD’s Captain’s Day on Tuesday, 11th September. It was held at Ashridge Golf Club where Assistant Cynthia Fowler is the current Golf Captain. Gregory Wright and his team retained the Trower Trophy by just one single stroke.
On Sunday 2nd September we were privileged to have a private tour of the RAF Centenary Exhibition celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the RAF. Following this we went to the Haven Bistro for a delicious 4 course lunch given by its owner, Assistant Julius Oberegger, with all the proceeds being donated by him to the GSWD Second Charitable Trust.
The pictures were taken by Debbie Dickens of the GSWD visit to the Kent and East Sussex Locomotive Trust which was formed in 1963 and over the past 50 years has built up a collection of locomotives, coaches and wagons dating from the 1880’s to the 1950’s.
The Kent and East Sussex Locomotive Trust was formed in 1963 and over the past 50 years has built up a collection of locomotives, coaches and wagons dating from the 1880’s to the 1950’s. The engine that pulled the coaches of our train was designed in Glasgow, built in Sweden and ran in Norway before coming to the UK. Our Pullman Car Theodora took us back in time with its plush red upholstery. We enjoyed a silver service traditional roast lunch with superb deserts served by liveried attendants. We were amazed that the food was cooked on the train as it gently wound its way from Northiam, along the Rother Valley to Bodiam, then Tenterden and back to Northiam. Pictures taken by Ken Blundell
On 2nd July the Court Meeting and Dinner were held at Skinners’ Hall. Xavier Walker, Stuart Finn RN, Ramji Chauhan, and David Hedderwick were admitted into the Freedom of the Company. Patrick Davison was admitted to the Freedom of the Company by Redemption via the Trade Route. Sebastian Budd, James Howarth and Stuart Finn RN were clothed in the Livery. Liveryman Dorothy Rochester piped in the Master, Wardens and Principal Guests. Third Warden, Gordon Warren, welcomed and Proposed - The Guests with Principal Guest, Mr Jeremy Swan, Responding on their behalf with a very amusing speech.
On 1st July the Captain’s Charity Day was held at The Grove Golf Course in Hertfordshire. Various fund raising activities took place (Captain’s Challenge, Par 3 Competition, Champagne Draw) resulting in nearly £700 being raised for the Livery Charities. Peter Griggs - Nearest Pin in 2 Winner; Paul Day - Longest Drive Winner, Paul Hughesdon - Nearest Pin; Winning Team - Martin, Harvey, Paul Day and Alistair Whitehead; Paul Day - Individual Runner-up; Peter Griggs - Individual Winner. On the Thursday preceding this the annual Triangular match between the GSWD, Carmen LC and Royal Logistical Corps took place. The Carmen were third - 183, The RLC second - 196 and The GSWD first -197. The RLC will want revenge next year!!
The GSWD held a special dinner at the London Zoo on Saturday 16th June 2018, exactly 325 years to the day that we received our Royal Charter from King William and Queen Mary. That year was 1693, although some 70 years earlier in 1623 the Company had initially been incorporated in the reign of James 1. The evening commenced with a Sparkling Reception on the wonderful Penguin Beach. One of the Zoo Keepers gave a great insight into Penguins, after which they were fed their evening fish dinner. Our dinner, in the regally decorated Prince Albert Suite, built in the 1830s, began with the Master welcoming GSWD Livery members and all guests as well as 12 Masters from other Liveries who were invited to join our celebrations:- Cooper, Engineer, Fruiterer, Glover, Hackney Carriage Driver, International Banker, Management Consultant, Marketor, Plaisterer, Playing Cards, Tax Advisor and Turner. This was followed by Karen Watts, our Company Archivist giving a short talk on the history of the Anniversary which included a very amusing anecdote. After dinner dancing took place to the music of David McTea and the Swinging Magpies.
On Friday 25th May the Brigantes City of London Liverymen in the North held their Breakfast at The Royal Armouries Leeds. This year the attendance of the City of London, the North Liverymen and guests increased to 400. Our Master and Mistress with PME Ken Blundell, PM Vernon Knapper, PM Michael Powell, Lesley Blundell and Christina Knapper represented the GSWD together with our Archivist, Dr Karen Watts, a professor at Leeds University, who, in the Royal Armouries Museum, gave 160 of us a fascinating, amusing and excellent lecture on the history of Armour. At the Breakfast the Speakers were Nick Gale, Past Master Plumber; Sheriff Neil Redcliffe, Past Prime Warden Basketmaker, World Trader, Pavior; Adrian Waddingham CBE, Sheriff 2013/14, Past Master Actuary, Haberdasher; General the Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL, Chairmain - The Royal Armouries, Security Professional, Builders Merchant and David Bently Past Master Baker.
The Court Dinner was held at The Farmers’ Club, which was established in 1842, on Friday, 18th May. It is a special evening for the Court with very little formality. The Master’s speech was eclipsed by his eloquent Mistress Amanda whose speech finished with a very amusing poem. Gillian Tillotson replied on behalf of the guests with a very interesting speech and she thanked the Master on behalf of the guests for his gift. She finished by proposing the ‘Toast to the Company’. A wonderful music interlude was given by Maxyne Ryan, an established, exciting and dynamic jazz singer who has performed at many prestigious venues and is currently studying a Masters in Jazz Voice at GSM&D. Accompanying Maxyne was jazz pianist Edward Rice who completed a BA in music at Leeds University and then at the GSM&D where he took a postgraduate Artist Masters’ degree. He has performed at various Jazz Festivals.
The Master’s Weekend this year was a Riviera Travel Four Night Amsterdam River Cruise on the excellent Jane Austin. The boat was first class with a wonderful staff and everyone really enjoyed life on and off the boat. The first stop was Enkhuisen, which is a quaint fishing port at the edge of the Zuidersee. Day three started with a visit to historic Rotterdam followed by a visit to the stunning windmills at Kinderdijk. In the evening The Master and Mistress gave a private reception for us in the Lido Bar prior to dinner. Day four was the cruise highlight with a visit to the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens with their world-famous floral displays. After this we returned to Amsterdam for a tour by boat of the canals. In the evening we had a delicious five course Captains dinner. Everyone thanked the Master and Mistress for all the hard work they had done which had made this trip so memorable for us all.
On Monday 9th April the Court Meeting and Master's Dinner was held at Skinners Hall. The dinner was preceded by the annual Church Service at St James Garlickhythe by kind permission of the Reverend Tim Handley Parish Priest and the Church Wardens. The service was taken by our Honorary Chaplain and Third Warden The Reverend Gordon Warren. Alderman Sir Andrew Parmley was clothed in the Livery as an Honorary Liveryman. Admitted into the Freedom of the Company by redemption were Michael Whitson and James Howarth. Admitted into the Freedom of the Company by redemption via the Trade Route were Chen Cheng and Hazel Thorn. Clothed in the Livery were Andrew Brown, Mark Hythe, Lewis Speke and Michael Whitson. Second Warden Michael Gunston proposed the Guests which was responded by Andrew Morgan, Principal Guest who proposed the toast to the Company. The Master presented a cheque to Miss Melanie Moughton CEO Felix Fund.
On Wednesday, 31 January the GSWD were treated to a private visit at the Charles Dickens Museum, Doughty Street. We had three excellent guides who uncovered for us the private world behind the author's public image. We explored his study, reception rooms and family bedchambers. We saw Dickens's desk, handwritten drafts from the novels he wrote there and his young wife's engagement ring along with furniture, portraits, etc. The event was organised by our Clerk, Mark Charles Dickens, who is the author's great great grandson. Prior to our tour he told us personal stories about the great man .
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 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.