The perceived wisdom is that things get busier towards the end of the year and so it proved in November. The beginning was centred on the installation of the Lord Mayor and the Lord Mayor’s Show which runs side by side with the Remembrance Sunday commemorations. As an Alderman and the Master Plaisterer this was quite a testing time with conflicts galore. My role as Alderman took precedence as I took part in the Silent Ceremony – so well captured in this photo in The Times – and then riding in a carriage in the Show. However the party at the Hall did not suffer from the lack of a Master and there was a lot of jollity with a great entertainer and wonderful food. I was glad to help out with the fiendish quiz questions at the end!
The Lord Mayor summons all the Masters to the Mansion House in November in order to set out his theme for the year and engage with the current issues around the Livery and the Mansion House. William Russell told us that his theme is Global UK : Trade, Innovation and Culture. He saw the work around trade to be a continuation of the past excellent work of Lord Mayors. His own background in Fintech meant that he was keen to encourage innovation in the newer areas and take start-ups to scale-ups . He had no difficulty explaining why he is keen on culture as he is involved with family and trusteeships in the arts and saw their promotion as part of the soft diplomacy that he could engender on his overseas trips. Further, as a Past Chairman of the Pan Livery Initiative he was keen to encourage co-operation across the Livery and was going to be announcing a Livery scheme with the charity Bounceback that works with ex-offenders. This was to ensure that following training (whilst inside) they would be offered a job on the outside. He called on the Livery to engage and provide support and jobs where the professions and trades matched the skills available.
My trip out of London this month was to the Worldskills UK Live competition at Birmingham (see separate blog post about this). Birmingham was the stopping over point on the way to York to the York Guild of Builders dinner in Merchant Taylors’ Hall. There is such a rich history in York and the Guild dates back many centuries although revived in 1954. Past Master Terry Wright was my guide at the competition and in York and this led us to have a fantastic visit to York Minster. We were given privileged access to the Mason’s Loft and roof space above the Chapter House which was breath-taking and truly awe inspiring. The craftsmanship involved from the 13th century was clearly one of the exemplars of medieval carpentry. What a privilege it is to be allowed to visit such wonders.