The Masters Blog

May 2018


May finally saw the beginning of good weather and this month the Mistress and I were privileged to attend three wonderful events.


May 12th  the Rt Revd & Rt Hon Sarah Mullally, was installed as the 133rd Bishop of London in St Paul’s.  The service was attended by clergy, and representatives from the Diocese of Exeter and London as well as Masters and Mistresses of the Livery companies and other ecumenical guests. The service began with Bishop Sarah striking the Great West door three times with her pastoral staff and she swore her oaths on the 1526 Tyndale Bible.


The second event was of course, our own Banquet and I hope that all of you who came enjoyed the evening. We had the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress and the two Sheriffs and their Consorts. The novelist Anthony Horowitz was our guest speaker and the saxophone quartet, Marici provided some wonderful, foot tapping music. As usual it was well organised by the Clerk and Ali.


The third event was the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. Despite doom and gloom from the BBC there was not a drop of rain and everyone very much enjoyed wandering through the gardens and admiring the trees and flowers of which, thanks to David Attenborough, we know the Queen is very proud of! Afterwards the Mistress, the Clerk, Angela and I were the guests of the Royal Marines at their Beating of the Retreat on Horseguards Parade followed by a Reception at Lancaster House. The soldiers who play their instruments whilst marching displayed the professionalism that is the hallmark of the Royal Marines. Their Commandant General told the Clerk how much he has enjoyed the Banquet at Plaisterers’ Hall!

April 2018


April was a strange month weather wise, hot one week and then very cold the next but Livery life carried on!. April saw our Spring Livery Dinner with our Peterborough choir boy, George Lestrange entertaining us with his wonderful voice. I throughly enjoyed the event and hope everyone else did too!


It was followed by the Guildhall’s Big Curry Lunch which raises money for military charities and is always well intended by Masters and Liverymen.


I attended the The Trial of Pyx at the Worshipful Company of Goldsmith’s Assay’s Office  where approx 25,000 coins, produced by the Royal Mint, are counted and scrutinised by a jury. This is one of the  longest established judicial procedures in the world and is presided over by the Queen’s Remembrancer.


I was the guest of the Worshipful Company of Carmen at their Spring dinner in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal who I greeted and escorted through the hall.


I have received a number of letters from Liverymen who are unable to attend our forthcoming banquet. Happily, as I write this blog, numbers are steadily increasing. I am looking forward to welcoming the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs and the distinguished writer, Anthony Horowitz.


I hope you are all enjoying the good weather.

March 2018


March may have come in cold and at times snowy but Livery life goes on!  The Mistress and I attended the Old Bailey’s satirical revue written by Judge Peter Rook with Sheriff’s Consort Fiona Adler appearing as a green faced witch and Alderman Roger Gifford belting out Money, money, money! This event raised significant money for the Sheriffs’ and Recorders’ funds.


On March 18th, the worst weekend, cold, snowy and slippery the Plaisterers’ team, led by the Master, well for the first 10 yards, took off round Clapham Common on a 10k run, dressed as Wally, in aid of the National Literacy Trust. We all finished with no broken bones and we raised more than £3000. A very good achievement by everyone and my thanks to all who left their warm beds including the Clerk and the Mistress who spent a lot of time clapping the runners to keep warm!


The Mistress, the Clerk and I and several members of the Livery attended the United  Guilds Service in St Paul’s and afterwards we hosted a lunch at the Hall for eleven Livery companies comprising 170 guests.


We were also delighted to host the NLT’s fund raising dinner at Plaisterers’s Hall with Honorary Plaisterer,  HRH the Duchess of Cornwall attending for the cocktail hour. It was a very good event and well attended by many famous authors and distinguished guests. An incredible £178,000 was raised by the NLT who have expressed their gratitude to the Plaisterers’ Company.

February 2018



This month started off very sadly with the funeral of Ian Gavin Brown who many will remember. The funeral was in Hampshire and several Liverymen were able to attend to pay their respects.


The following week was the annual Lord Mayor’s visit to Trelors. This is a very special school for severely disabled children aged from 5 to 18. We  had a wonderful day. The children are all  upbeat and positive and the staff very enthusiastic. We spoke to teenagers who were going to university, we saw photos of their skiing trip and visit to a chocolate factory.


The Mistress were guests of the Worshipful Company of Butchers for their annual civic dinner. i responded on behalf of the guests to the formal toast.


Shrove Tuesday saw the Inter Livery Pancake Race at Guildhall. However due to very adverse weather conditions, and the fear of broken limbs, there was no running just tossing which the Master Poulter won!


At the end of the month I was at Glaziers Hall, with the Clerk, for the Master Certificate Awards. There were fourteen Livery Masters present as was the Lord Mayor, Lady Mayoress and Sheriff Neil Redcliffe. Each Master presented certificates to their award winners. I awarded a certificate to John Cronin.

January 2018


The New Year started with our Masters’ and Clerk’s dinner which was very well attended. Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths, Judith Cobham Lowe gave the vote of thanks. I awarded the Royal Navy Cup to Able Seaman Andrew Cartledge.


I have attended several lunches and dinners and the Mistress and I were fortunate  to be able to attend the Installation of the new Dean of Peterborough Cathedral. The music and the choir were wonderful and the rain managed to hold off! I met the new Dean briefly and congratulated him on behalf of  the Company.


The Mistress and I also attended the Lord Mayor’s New Year Service at St Michael’s , Cornhill During the service the lessons were read by the Lord Mayor and The Governor of the Bank of England. Afterwards The Worshipful Company of Drapers laid on a buffet where the Mistress and I had a chat with Mark Carney about his native Canada.


Together with the Clerk I visited Sheringham Primary School in Ilford, to see Apollo 5 teach singing and the appreciation of music to school pupils. The Company provides financial assistance to enable this teaching to take place.

December 2017


December is, of course, the month of our Carol Service. A lovely event in St Vedast with the choir of Peterborough Cathedral followed by a traditional Christmas dinner in the Hall. I always think that this starts the run up to Christmas.

The Mistress and I went, with the Clerk, to the Commando Centre in Lympstone to  present awards to the Signallers. They were very welcoming  and we had an interesting tour. We arrived the evening of the lively Officers Passing Out  celebrations!

Alderman Alison Gowman (Renter Warden) kindly invited myself, the Mistress, the Clerk and Angela to the St George’s Banquet at Mansion House. It was a very splendid event with the traditional heralding trumpet ‘contest’. This event has become one of the most prestigious evenings in Mansion House’s calendar. The Lord Mayor and both Sheriffs attended and the Plaisterers’ Renter Warden made a great speech.

Master’s November Blog


November started with two ancient ceremonies full of pomp and splendour. The Silent Ceremony in the Guildhall is when, as you may have guessed, the present Lord Mayor hands over to his successor the badges of his office. It was very impressive and the new Lord Mayor and his family were soundly cheered afterwards.


The cheers were even louder the following day for the Lord Mayor’s Show. In a break with tradition the rain actually held off during the procession and the fireworks.  It was a very colourful event with camels, bands, the military, mounted cavalry and the Lady Mayoress and her daughters riding in front of the Mayoral coach. The lunch afterwards in the Hall was well attended and I am told by several young members that the entertainer was very good!


The Mistress and I, together with Deputy Master Terry Wright and Christine went to York Guild of  Building dinner held in the Merchant Taylor’s Hall. Our hosts were very welcoming and we even got a chance to hear Evensong in the Minister.


November 22nd was a very busy day starting with breakfast at the Mercer’s to discuss the future of the Livery Companies, then the Mistress and I were at Westminster Cathedral for the Musicians’ Festival of St Cecilia. The choir was magnificent and a tribute to the patron saint of Musicians.  The Mistress then attended a Tea in the Guildhall to welcome the Lady Mayoress whilst the Masters were given a briefing by the Lord Mayor and I finished the day with a dinner at Staples Hall with the Worshipful Company of Actuaries.


October was a busy month with quite a few lunches and dinners. Although I thoroughly enjoyed all the events,  I have picked out a few for this blog.


The month started with the LCAS Presentation in Plaisterers’ Hall. The Lord Mayor presented the Certificates of Achievement to twenty two apprentices, from nine Livery Companies, who through the LCAS scheme, have completed their apprenticeships. LCAS (Livery Companies Apprenticeship Scheme) was set up in 2012 to develop an innovative apprentice training scheme and is strongly supported by the Lord Mayors.


This was followed by our Autumn Livery Dinner in the Hall. My guest speaker was Dame Julia Cleverdon, Chairman of my Charity this year, the National Literarcy Trust (NLT). She gave an excellent entertaining speech on the importance of improving literacy  in the UK. I was very pleased that Jonathan and Diana from NLT were able to join us and we were able to present a cheque to NLT for £2000.


The Royal Marines kindly invited me to their dinner at Stationers Hall and I had a very interesting lunch at the Old Bailey with the Judges including HH Judge Anthony Leonard who is a Plaisterer.


The end of the month saw the Mistress, The Clerk, PM Peter Baker and Sarah and myself visiting  St Peter’s C of E School in Whitechapel for a Communion Service and to hear their young choir. The children are very enthusiastic and Tom Duggett is doing a fine job with them. Tom is a member of St Paul’s Cathedral Outreach team. The final song was ‘When the Saints go Marching In’ and the children (and TLC) put a lot of energy into their singing! Our gift of a piano is very much appreciated. The afternoon was rounded off by a meal prepared by local Muslim ladies who are very involved in the social life of the school.


September started with an interesting talk, the Police Foundation’s John Harris Memorial Lecture given by Ms Alison Saunders, DPP.


The New Members’ Evening gave new Liverymen, Freemen and their partners a chance to informally meet each other. Everyone was very appreciative of the format.


Evensong at St Paul’s with the Clerk. St Paul’s School invited us as a thank you for supporting the Cathedral and one of its choristers. After the excellent service there was a chance to see some of the wonderful Church treasures.


The Clerk and I attended, at Carpenter’s Hall, the presentation of the chain of office to the incoming Shrieval Sheriff and a brooch to his wife who made a wonderful speech. The following day, September 14th was the Inter Livery Halls Walk, an 8-mile walk between all the Livery Halls starting at HQS Wellington. I coerced my brother to walk with me! Great fun and the chance to informally meet other Masters.


That evening the Mistress and I were guests of the British Red Cross at the Cavalry and Guards Club for a Reception and private viewing of the paintings of Jeremy Houghton, previously artist in residence at Windsor Castle. His themes are speed and motion. At the moment he is artist in residence at the All England Tennis Club.


The following week started with the Clerk and I attending lunch as guest of The Farmers’ Company at Farmers’ and Fletchers’ Hall where the Master made a plea for everyone to eat more English produce.


Wednesday I had two events, an Installation Court lunch with the Chartered Accountants at Stationer’s Hall where I was one of the principal guests. In the evening the Mistress, the LC, Angela and I attended Evensong in St Paul’s to celebrate, with the Apothecaries, the 400th anniversary of the Grant of their Royal Charter by James 1st, followed by a Reception at their Hall.


Thursday was a dinner at the Vintners Hall hosted by the Tax Advisers, people you don’t want to offend! I was delighted that Liverymen Ron (Past Master) and Peter Jordan were also guests.


Friday the Mistress and I were off to Glasgow to the Incorporation of Masons of Glasgow for the newly installed Deacon, David McLaren’s Choosing Dinner at the Trades Hall, a magnificent building. Glasgow is an interesting city with some beautiful Victorian buildings but needing a lot of TLC. The dinner was very entertaining and the hosts very welcoming. It was lovely to see PM Hall there.


282’s Wing Field Day Competition and Wing Day Parade was held at the Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich. Sadly it was outside these barracks that soldier Lee Rigby was murdered. The Mistress and I watched 282 perform banner and foot drills which they did extremely well. They came 2nd at the end of the competition.


The Clerk and I attended the Glazier’s Autumn dinner which was held at Painter’s Hall as their own hall is still being refurbished.


Wednesday night the Mistress and I were invited to the National Army Museum in Chelsea for a Reception for the Livery Companies as a tribute to the historical connections between the City and the Army.


The following night the Mistress, TLC, Angela and I were guests of the Paviors at Mansion House, a very splendid event.


The month ended with the Election of the next Lord Mayor at Guildhall, beginning with a service at St Lawrence Jewry and then the Shout in the Guildhall.


On 19th July 2017 I was the guest of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers & Contractors for the annual City of London Church Walk. It started at St Paul’s and finished at All Hallows by the Tower of London. Our own Parish Church, St Vedast was visited as well as St Stephen Walbrook, known as Wren’s masterpiece. A great day out.


20th July the Mistress and I were at a service in the Chapel of Faith in St Paul’s for the Annual Service of Dedication for the Imperial Society of Knights Batchelor followed by a Reception at the Apothecaries Hall.


On 25th July, together with the Mistress, The Clerk and Angela, Bill & Rose Mahoney, Peter Jordan, the Hon Chaplain Charles and Catherine Taylor and members of 282 led by Flt.Lt. Chris Booty and support staff  We visited our ship HMS Dragon in Portsmouth for an onboard  tour given by Lt Cmdr Stuart Fletcher. Among other places we visited the Ops Room and the Bridge.  The Royal Marines Band School was our next stop  for a very informative and entertaining visit. Part of the original building was a naval prison and the cells make excellent practice rooms. They have removed the locks!


The following evening The Worshipful Company of Distillers had a whisky and gin tasting event which was very convivial.


My next evening event was black tie, with the Clerk, at The Worshipful Company of Founders and their July dinner. The Reception was in a graveyard.


July 3rd and 4th saw myself, the Mistress, the Clerk and Angela as guests of the Royal Marines at HMS Drake, Devonport. Colonel Simon Scott entertained us extremely well with a dinner in the Falklands Room and then the following day was the Presentations at RM Tamar to the top students on the lC1 and LC2 courses. There was an excellent talk of the Chinese situation in the South China Sea, extremely informative. Col Scott expressed his gratitude for our continuing support.


My final event of this blog was a concert at The Gresham Centre to listen to VOCE8 and the final concert of their soprano Emily Dickens. A very talented Acapella group. We Plasterers are very much on the right track by extending our support to these activities at The Gresham Centre.