Common Hall & Robing 2021
A Renewed Master and a New Livery Year
What a difference a year makes! In 2020, Common Hall and Robing was conducted in the Livery Hall, whilst our members watched by Zoom. I was grateful that my installation as Master last year took place in person, together with the installations of the new Wardens, the New Clerk and the 3 apprentices who had successfully completed their apprenticeships and gained the Freedom of the Company. That was not so for our new Freemen and New Liverymen, who took their oaths remotely on Zoom.
Knowing that our new Liverymen and Freemen had not taken part in a live ceremony, in my speech that evening, I endeavoured to describe the Robing experience for the benefit of those new members. I made that speech on zoom from the Mott Room, in isolation staring into a laptop perched on the piano.
I said our Robing Ceremony is about Legacy, Progression, Continuity and the Future. We meet in fellowship to witness the admission of the new officers who will help lead and guide us and to install new Liverymen, Freemen and Apprentices to energise and strengthen us.
For the newly elected officers it reinforces responsibility of office; for new members it reinforces the ethos of the Company and for all members it cements the bonds that unite us. It is a proud and rewarding experience. I know those who attended a LIVE/IN PERSON Common Hall, Robing, Church Service and Dinner on the 20th July, 2021 all shared that experience. The vibrancy in our Hall was palpable. It was also our first in person members livery event since January, 2020 and we were sorely in need of fellowship.
By a Special Resolution of the Court, the Master, Wardens and the Deputy Master were granted a second term of office. I am an extremely grateful Master! It meant I was privileged to install 3 New Court Assistants, 6 New Liverymen, 9 new Freemen and 3 new apprentices. 3 of our new Freemen and 2 of our new apprentices are staff and cadets from 282 (East Ham) Air Cadets.
A fantastic membership achievement in a livery year devoid of any formal livery dinners and events. History too was in the making. The Spurling family has been associated with our Company for over 200 years, producing during that time 9 Masters. At this year’s Robing, I robed Martin Spurling and admitted Sue Spurling as a Court Assistant.
I made a point of acknowledging the new Liverymen and Freemen from 2020. What a fantastic and supportive group they have been. They were regular attendees of our monthly zoom events and some took part in last September’s Livery Halls Walk in aid of my Master’s Charity, the Children’s Society.
To the new Liverymen, Freemen and Apprentices installed in 2021 and 2020, our Worshipful Company welcomes you in fellowship and with hope. We hope your membership will be a fulfilling one and that overtime you will be keen to progress within the Company, by serving on committees, becoming Stewards, going onto the Court and one day attain the office of Warden, then go on to be Master of this ancient Livery Company.
The starting point now is to share our ethos for fellowship and community, by attending events, supporting our trade, supporting the Plaisterers’ Charity, embracing our affiliates, both military and non-military and supporting and encouraging each other.
Remember we are a community, here to befriend, support and inspire each other. Our community of members brings all sorts of different people together, with different skills, professions, trades and interests. That diversity energises and strengthens us and equips us to stay relevant.
Someone who was missing from the day’s events was our Honorary Chaplain, the Very Revd Charles Taylor. Charles had been taken ill the weekend before and was in hospital. Our thoughts and prayers were very much with Charles and Catherine and their family. I am pleased to say that Charles is now back home and in good spirits and I hope being a good patient for Catherine.
I want to thank our Clerk, Col. Garth Manger and the Assistant Clerk, Ali Mackey for organising the day so magnificently. It was a marathon of a day, in heat to melt tarmac, starting with the Audit Court, Common Hall, Robing, St Vedast for the Church Service and then our Dinner. We were all on duty that day, but we were organised splendidly and with military precision. How good to see our Beadle back leading from the front and in charge of the gavel.
In a year which marks the 50th Anniversary of the Laying of the Foundation Stone of our Hall and the election of the Deputy Master, Alderman Alison Gowman as a Sheriff of the City of London, this Worshipful Company of Plaisterers has a magnificent livery year ahead of it. Let us all embrace it.
Root and branch may we flourish forever.