A visit took place on Thursday, 31st January to the Military School of Music at Kneller Hall, which has a long history. It was first built in 1635 by Sir Godfrey Kneller, court painter to British Monarchs. It was rebuilt after a fire in 1848. In 1857 it was taken over by the War Office as a base for Army Bandsmen and shortly after became the Royal Military School of Music. The rooms are extraordinary and the GSWD group were allowed access to the whole house. They were accompanied by Esther Mann, Curator of the Museum of Army Music and Father David Loftus, the Chaplain of Kneller Hall. The Hall has a beautiful small chapel and our Honorary Chaplain, Richard Fenwick, late Bishop of St Helena, superbly played its organ for us. After the visit an early supper was enjoyed at the Marriott Hotel.
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 Worshipful Companies of Needlemakers - Master Anthony de Lacey Esq and Gold & Silver Wyre Drawers - Master John Walsham 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 was Paul Gobey. The congregation bought presents to be distributed to deserving children in the East End of London by the Salvation Army on Christmas Eve.
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.
Kyosun Jung has made two medals ‘Endangered Rainforest’ and ‘Life’s Destiny’ which are now in the permanent collection of The British Museum. Her medals are now in the museum’s “Witnessess: emigre medalists in Britain”, an exhibition featuring a range of medals from the country created by artists from foreign lands. The exhibition is on view until April 7, 2019.
This is the third year that GSWD has awarded a prize, for the entry 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 is London’s oldest embroidery house and its chairman is Alastair Macleod who is responsible for the Prize-Giving and Exhibition. The GSWD prize was awarded to Alex Standring. She also won the Student Category, Textile Art by creating a large, sculptural, byzantine halo inspired headdresses to represent the many transient emotions that people in the modern world experience. The GSWD prize was presented by The Master. GSWD Liverymen Elizabeth Elvin and Jean Scott-Moncrieff were on the judging panel.
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.
On Friday, 19th October a tour of the Royal Opera House, Purfleet was arranged. The party was divided into three groups. Each group was given an illustrated talk by the organiser Barry Steward, Tour Manager of ROH Covent Garden and Purfleet prior to each of the tours which took them through the workshops. Graham Rinaldi was one of the two guides. After the visit the party departed for a three course dinner in Woody’s Restaurant at the Thurrock Garden Centre.
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.
The Master and Assistant Air Cdre Paul Hughesdon attended the Royal Air Force Northolt Annual Reception held at RAF Northolt Officers’ Mess on 6th September. They were greeted by Group Captain Mike Carver, Commander of RAF Northolt, and Squadron Leader Ben Alcock, of the Queen’s Colour Squadron. During the evening they watched a Hurricane Aircraft take off as the Band played.
We were privileged to enjoy a private visit to the RAF Museum which was celebrating the RAF’s 100th Anniversary with a Centenary Exhibition. We were greeted by Malcolm White - Trustee since 2004, Former RAF and Master Elect for the Honorary Company of Air Pilots; Vanessa White - PA to CEO RAF Museum and Malcolm’s wife, Karen Whitting - CEO’s deputy, Director of Content and Programmes, Seb Cox - Head of RAF Historcial Branch and an outstanding military historian, David Keen - Former Head of Access and Learning at the Museum, Nick Goodwin - Warden to Air Pilots who has a strong RAF background. We were really well looked after with David Keen giving us a fascinating tour of the WW1 aircraft. After the visit we went to the Haven Bistro where we were treated to a delicious 4 course lunch by Assistant Julius Oberegger who donated all the proceeds to the GSWD Second Charitable Trust.
The Master and Mistress attended the end of year performance given by the very talented Royal Ballet School students which took place at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in July 2018. 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 Gearoid Solan and Amelia Townsend.
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.
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.