Friday, 18 November 2011

After the Silent Ceremony, the Noisy One

The Master, supported by his Upper and Renter Wardens and Student member Michael Bailey took part in the Lord Mayor's Show on Saturday 12 November. As is customary for the Company they were part of a gathering  of Modern Livery Companies who formed up in a more or less orderly  formation behind a vintage auto bus. They managed a brief appearance on the televised  cover of the event but only the most eagle eyed observer would have been able to spot them among the crowd. 

The Company's duty photographer - Past Master Alan Downing (watching the procession from adjacent Guildhall Yard)  was able to get a couple of images - one is shown here recording Michael Bailey (cunningly showing the Company banner to those following), the Master and Jaki Howes (cunningly trying to snuff out the Chartered Accountsnts' banner). The Upper Warden, Mervyn Miller, may have been taking a breather on the bus at this stage - possibly conducting the band.

They were favoured with reasonable weather and joined with their marching colleagues to receive a welcome glass of something containing bubbles (courtesy of the Master Mariners' Company) and a lunch bag kindly sponsored by a local sandwich emporium. This was enjoyed on the HQS Wellington while the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs enjoyed the hospitality of the judges at the Royal Courts of Justice prior to commencing the return journey to Mansion House.

Again, the protesters camped outside St Paul's Cathedral had little effect on the proceedings and, hopefully, enjoyed the show and the early evening fireworks display.

A moment of silence

The transfer of power from the incumbent Lord Mayor to his elected successor traditionally takes place at The Silent Ceremony which is held in Guildhall on the afternoon before the Lord Mayor's Show - on 11 November this year. The Master and his lady and the Clerk attended to witness what is a most dignified and stirring event. It is not strictly true to say that the whole proceedings are conducted in silence as the incoming Lord Mayor does have to make his declaration. Apart from that, the only sound is the reassuring clinking of the City Marshall's spurs as he leads the procession to and from the dais. The remaining proceedings - involving much making of reverences, removing and donning of hats, the transferring of Sceptres, Seals of Office, Maces, Purses, Collars of Office etc - are carried out in extreme silence..

Happily all present - many a fair distance from the scene of all this activity - were given an order of proceedings to enable them to keep up with the activities.

It is not clear why Stephen Fry had a seat at the front but, as surely as he is on the telly most evenings of the week, he was there and in the thick of things later in Guildhall Yard before the mayoral motorcade moved off to the Mansion House. You can't keep a good man down.

In these difficult times, the City Civic

Almost unaffected by the presence of the tent dwellers outside the Cathedral (pictured below), the annual Festival of Remembrance in St Paul's Churchyard took place on Monday 7 November. The tangible effect of the anti-capitalist protesters (who, it is understood, moved some tents to clear the way for access for those taking part in the ceremony) was that access to the Crypt for the pre-service tea and bacon and sausage butties and receipt of a welcome and marching orders from the President of the Royal British Legion needed to be directed through the north door of the Cathedral. 

Once assembled in the appointed area, a Regimental Sergeant Major from the Scots Guards took on the formidable task of getting the assembled Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff  of the Livery Companies into strict numerical order. It is doubted, as they were, corralled, placed in their positions and told to stay put and be quiet, if they had been treated in quite this way for many years. The RSM got a good natured round of applause on completion of his task and was seen to smirk! He was probably not used to being applauded.
The service followed its usual course, the crosses were planted by Masters etc as well as by representatives of the city civic and a range of other participants. There was no protest from the protesters and you would have been able to hear a pin drop during the two minute silence and the playing of the Last Post.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Book - early for Christmas

With the very recent publication of 'A Passion to Build', Liveryman Peter Murray has added to the impressive armoury of talents those of a novelist.

The book, available from the book shop at the building centre in Store street, as an E book or down loadable onto your Kindle is illustrated here and Peter suggests that you might like to purchase copies for your friends and families with a view to spotting the role models for the characters portrayed.

To quote from the back cover:

'A Passion to Build follows the meteoric careers and tangled love lives of two leading architects and their iconic designs for a major international athletics event - the EuroGames' which is to take place in the fading northern city of Frampton-on- Tees. Fampton's energetic and scheming Mayor believes the investment and legacy of the Games will restore some vitality to the once booming economy of the area.

The design teams struggle to create great buildings and have to fend off critics like the conservationist Duke of Frampton who would prefer to see the stadia designed in the traditional style.

The lives of the architects unravel as they compete to design the best building and to win the much-vaunted Frazer Prize. Their struggle reaches a dramatic climax at the spectacular opening ceremony of the EuroGames watched by millions around the world'.

The Blog Master will welcome authoritative reviews of this book.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


10 November 2011

The WCCA blog has been reconfigured using the system's Dynamic option.

This allows the back pages to be seen and accessed in a way that is practical and easy.
Use the buttons along the dark-grey bar at the top to access other aspects or connect with the 
WCCA 'static' web-site. On this site is found general information on the Company, that does not change very much over time.
Use the search facility on the top right to sieve the WCCA blog's data for any topic you choose.


Wednesday, 9 November 2011



Tuesday, 8 November 2011

On being received by the Master and getting brownie points for CPD

The Master's Reception was held in McMorran and Whitby's celebrated 1963-66 Wood Street Police Station in the City of London and was attended by over 40 members of the Company and guests. The 'modernist' building with distinct stylistic references to the work of Louis Khan was not, it is understood, much loved in the City when it was completed but found itself listed in relatively short time. It was a strange visit taking the form of a talk on police firearms and body protection, a visit to the Police Museum (a facility in need of some expansion space) and an inspection of the stable block from which most of the horses were absent - presumably on active service or rehearsing their roles in the forthcoming Lord Mayor's Show. There was also a talk on the interesting if ever so sordid exploits of Jack the Ripper.

The cultural content took a turn for the better with a couple of short talks from Mark Whitby - the engineer son of one of the original architects and Edward Dennison - an architectural historian McMorran grandson and author of a recent book on the practice. These gave an interesting insight into the relations between client (The City Corporation) and the architects - particularly in respect of the later addition of the tower block.

On completion of the visit the group repaired to the nearby City Pipe wine bar for drinks, food and further chat. The Master expressed his gratitude to Mark Whitby and Edward Dennison for their contributions. He also thanked stdent member Alex Scott-Whitby (son of Mark) for arranging for them both to be present.