Coming into office on the 16th July means that the number of events is small coupled with the slowdown of the calendar as the summer arrives.
The first out of London event was to honour the sailors of the Portsmouth Flotilla that includes HMS Dragon – affiliated to the Plaisterers Livery. The Award for Dragon of the year was given to Ben Miller-Glentworth for his exceptional dedication in mentoring and helping others. Alongside this he used his photography skills to relay via social media the exceptional work of Dragon over the last few months recording their record breaking haul of illegal drugs seizures in the war against drug smuggling. He has been fast tracked for officer training and a degree course and it was a pleasure to meet and congratulate him. The Plaisterers share the link with Dragon with the Welsh Guild and the Merchant Adventurers of York and so it was good to meet their Master and Governor respectively and see how important the naval links are across the UK.
I have attended two special dinners in the two weeks of the Mastership so far. The Marketors held their civic banquet at Mansion House and the Founders held a Court dinner for many Masters and Clerks at their own Hall. I know that I will attend many such dinners over the year but I expect that the first two will be the most memorable simply because they are the first. I think that such events are marked by the conversations at the table and the interesting insights gained into how different Livery Companies operate, what their aims are and how they support charities or their trade and professions in some way. The Marketors welcomed two students whom they had just supported through business school. This is only one small part of their dedication to training and education in the business field and I was pleased to see that both scholars were female.
The Founders were celebrating their links with other Livery Companies and I noted that I was no longer the newest Master in the house – the Master Draper, Tim Orchard, was installed on 23 July and had to make the speech on behalf of the guests – which he did perfectly. The Master Founder made some interesting references to the earliest work of many of the companies present in regulating trade and ensuring fair value. In particular the Founders who created standard weights and measures and the Drapers who controlled the sale of cloth and set the “Drapers’ ell” or measure by which cloth was sold. Whilst the Plaisterers did not set measures they certainly regulated the trade to ensure good craftsmanship and professional work was provided by Liverymen. Thus the origins of the Companies were recognised as a reminder of our close links to matters of fair trade and good value – marks of the City’s honest trading.