Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Festival of Saint Cecilia: 21 November 2013

It was worth the swim from Euston, the high winds, the road works and the wretched students marching all over the place - actually it was interesting to find any students up and around at that time of the day - St Paul's was as imposing as ever, I got to wave to Mervyn - and if he persists in referring to me as Consort Ann again I will start addressing him as Master Mervyn [with the stress being on the Master bit] - the music moving and the innocent faces of the little choirboys leaving one with a belief in today's youth. In fact there cannot be much wrong with the world when you can go and hear a service like that on a wet Wednesday morning.

the choir of St. Paul's Cathedral

Lunch was great as well despite Mervyn going a bit white when the bill arrived.

Getting home was a nightmare. I think that I paid a deposit on the purchase of a black taxi, two trains were cancelled due to flooding, [I knew they should never have allowed Milton Keynes to be built] then arrival in Birmingham during the height of a storm and in the rush hour. Such is life. A memorable day yet again.
Stalwart consort of the Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects

Friday, 23 November 2012

A 'Test' remote hand-held blog post

Hello! from my i-pod touch

this post was made from my hand held i-pod touch, through my broadband connection, via wi-fi, using the official Blogger app(lication) on the hand-held, downloaded as described in the previous post.

Note the attached photograph of the office machine with the download window displayed!

YOU TOO could do this (and perhaps have more interesting content than this....)!

e-mail the webmaster if you would like to do this on the move too.

Blogger app for PC android, Apple i-phone & i-pad

The webmaster has been experimenting with an 'app' for i-phone which permits one to read the WCCA blog on a mobile phone.  It seems to work very well and the WCCA site is eminently readable on such a smart phone, as the blog automatically adapts itself for reading on a small screen.  

Maybe this app would suit i-pads large or small too...

Maybe you're getting one for Christmas ...?

to download the Blogger app for PC android

to download the Blogger app for Apple products

The WCCA web-site

The WCCA web-site has been improved… 

The Company is at present (23/11/2012) mid-way through the task of improving our web-site. We think that all the City Livery companies should make every effort to make their activities visible and their workings ‘transparent’. The Company’s web-site is an important aspect of this strategy. 

Until recently, the WCCA has had three separate locations for finding data that serves both the membership and the general public interest. 

They were: 
  1. The static web site http://www.architects-livery-company.org 
  2. The blog site http://architects-livery-company.blogspot.co.uk 
  3. The A6 paper Red Book issued to members annually 
1 - The first of these, a web-site created in about 2005 with the programme ‘Dreamweaver’, was then innovative but now seems modest in ambition. It transpired to be hard to edit on a frequent basis. It fell to neglect and omission. 

2 - The second, a newer experiment, allowed Company events to be easily recorded as they occurred by WCCA members themselves, and so give visitors some sense of the vitality of the Company. It used the Google ‘Blogger’ service – a ‘free’ service to the users. 

3 - The third location, a paper booklet that has been accurately up-dated annually, contains the private contact data of all the Company’s members and committees with other general information about the company’s history and Articles. 

These three elements have now been combined into a fully digital single web-site at a new (and simpler) web address:

All private access data has been redacted from the Virtual Red Book 

On entering this new web-site, a new ‘splash page’ appears - one that holds no data but acts only as an preface. You can click a button to choose the area that responds to the enquiry: 
  • Home 
  • The WCCA blog site 
  • The virtual Red Book 
  • The WCCA charities 
  • The WCCA students 
  • The WCCA travel award 
  • The WCCA newsletters 
  • The WCCA Facebook page 
The splash page will display a large photo of the winning design for the WCCA New City Building Award.  Maybe you have a suitable image for us to use? 

We hope that all members of the Company will experiment between the various pages of this new site and learn to navigate easily between them. Members should also consider making a contribution to the blog page, which is eloquent testimony to the activities and events that we all enjoy. At least put a ‘bookmark’ on your computers and i-phones. The site is re-formatted automatically for use on handheld devices and tablets.

Most of the pages and posts allow readers react and to make comments - click on the small 'comments' button at the foot of each entry.  After 'moderation' - checking the authenticity of the contribution made - these comments will appear to subsequent readers who are similarly interested in that particular topic.

At the foot of the ‘splash page’, there are two clickable ‘buttons’ that allow one to e-mail either the Clerk or the Company’s Web-Master. 

The project is underway and the bones of the new system are operational – now to the larger task of getting every detail up-to-date. Comments, corrections and contributions please!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Master's month of November - 5

On Tuesday 13 November Professor Robert Hill’s Horners’ Company Ralph Anderson Memorial Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine addressed Polymers in hip replacement, spinal osteoporosis and dentistry – the very matters which those of us of a certain age might expect to encounter so it was good to be briefed in advance. Poly-this and that, poly-everything, except polyfilla, which was what the spinal injections actually looked like!  A hearty supper hastened recovery mode.  After a business meeting on the afternoon of the 14th I hurried to Mansion House to hear the new Lord Mayor, Roger Gifford, present his Annual Address to Masters and Clerks. Would he mention the hiatus with the coach the previous Saturday? He did. Rescued by the Pageant Master, he stood in the review vehicle, feeling like the Pope in the Popemobile ‘only not so holy’.  The address proper was concerned with his determination to retain the City in pole position as the World’s leading Financial Centre.  I can’t recall him mentioning the imminent performance of a ‘trading opera’ in the Egyptian Hall, which received publicity later.  And I only remembered that I should have asked him whether, as a musician, he would hold a performance of Walton’s  ‘A song of the Lord Mayor’s table’, (originally commissioned by the Goldsmiths Company about 50 years ago) when homeward bound to attend a virtuoso piano recital at Letchworth Music Club, in the Arts and Crafts Friends Meeting House.

Next day, 15 November, I had a train journey north to attend the Annual Dinner of the YORK GUILD OF BUILDING, with Consort Ann, at the 15th century Merchant Taylors’ Hall.  We met up at the station, then checked into our riverside hotel and enjoyed a late bar lunch looking out over the Ouse.  Waylaid by Stephen and Deidre, our initial plan of pithering around the mediaeval streets got no further that Yates’s Wine Lodge on the north bank.  The Dinner was a friendly occasion although someone slipped in referring to me as ‘Governor’ of WCCA.  The reply to the toast to the Guests was given by the property manager of York University – earnest and lengthy – I was tempted to ask for a CPD Certificate.  As the original master plan and buildings on campus were a sophisticated variant of the CLASP system and by Robert Matthew/Johnson Marshall it is not inconceivable that they might get listed… Pevsner’s verdict was ‘the best of the new (1960s) universities visually and structurally’.  So in its day was Merchant Taylor’s Hall, and still is, an enduring masterpiece of skilled carpentry.  

A brush with the complexity of present-day construction procurement came with a bang at the Annual TEAMBUILD WEEKEND, at Lane End Conference Centre, High Wycombe.  WCCA awards a prize and the Master is one of the judges (as is the peer contemporary Master of the Constructors Company). I arrived at 0930 on Saturday 17 November to the initial presentations by groups of young construction professionals across the construction piste as they launched into their site masterplanning proposals for a key block in the centre of King’s Cross Regeneration Area.  Had I known in advance I could have walked the site as I am to and fro the station several times a week.  As it was there was little time for briefing (advance material had been opaque) and I learned on the job, a hive of hyperactivity for the ten teams (as also for the judges with almost instant rating, following interviews with the teams, and feedback by the judges).  The exercises grew in complexity, with the wild card of redesign to accommodate a modified client brief; procurement, contract and risk (the phase of the WCCA prize); and on Sunday a detailed design of public realm; reaction to disasters on site, and finally a pitch for another project following successful completion of the first project!  The intricacies of BIM figured throughout, and those who had has some experience of this were sceptical.  

Sandwiched between two days was Saturday Night – the course formal dinner.  I had been allocated the Loyal Toast, which is not an onerous task and I relaxed with some serious imbibing.  Then came the cabaret by the three-room teams, all rivalry set aside.  And of course there was judging of three anarchic lunatic extravaganzas, with the judges line dancing (yes!) after announcing the result.  Things also hotted up on Sunday afternoon, with the finalists presentations, more judging, and the Awards Ceremony.  I got away at 6.30pm and mercifully the M40, M25 and A1 were all blissfully traffic free.  Even so I collapsed in a heap when I reached home.    

On Wednesday 21 November the Musicians Benevolent Society St. Cecilia Service was held at St Paul’s Cathedral; as with the Musicians Company evensong, another inspiring event.  I processed and waved to my Consort, who had been delayed by a late train.  Every St Cecilia service features a newly commissioned composition:  Alan Roth’s Jubilate Deo ‘Rejoice in the Lord all peoples on earth’ was as joyful as its title, with sharp fanfares from the trebles ringing out and reverberant in the long echo across the dome.  However, Walton’s ‘Coronation’ Te Deum was not eclipsed, even though I missed the tone colour of the original orchestral accompaniment.  After the service we processed out with Elgar’s noble Organ Sonata roaring out!  Having (probably due to the changeover of Clerks) missed out booking luncheon at Merchant Taylor’s Hall, Upper Warden Jaki joined consort Ann and I for a light lunch in the Paternoster Square Chop House.  It was raining hard as we left.  Sadly this disrupted Ann’s journey home through the sodden fields of Northamptonshire. 

written by Master Mervyn Miller

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Teambuild 2012

Team Prizes were sponsored by;
  • The Worshipful Company of Constructors 
  • The Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects 
  • Saint-Gobain

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The City's stone bench competition on You-Tube

The short movie below, published recently on You-Tube, shows the unveiling of the winner of this recent design competition, which was sponsored by the WCCA and the Worshipful Company of Masons.  The bench is located behind St. Paul's Cathedral at the head of Cheapside, where it meets New Change (actually on the north side of the road intersection).

Chris Dove and Craig Mitchell, architectural students from Liverpool John Moores University, had been declared winners of the City of London Corporation’s Stone Bench Competition 2012. 

click below for more information

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Mistress* Ann Y visits Mrs.* Lord Mayor at the Mansion House - Ladies* who lunch

downstairs - the Egyptian Hall
I do not know why the Lord Mayor has a keep-fit rowing machine in his bedroom - if my bed was that high off the ground, a flying leap from the other side of the room would be sufficient to keep me fit.

Mind you, a previous Lady* Mayoress* suggested another way - she had photographs of her neices and nephews scaling the bedposts!

Oh! the disadvantages of the priviledged life!

There were eighteen guests and we all had a wonderful time. Not only the tour of the private apartments - a bathroom each; a separate kitchen and a robing room with easy access to the Banqueting Room balcony; this latter being about the size of the ground floor of my house - but delicious food and great company.

What a lovely luncheon. I will be dining out on the experience for many months to come.

Thank you Elizabeth Lady* Mayoress*.


[Mrs*] A Yorke

Stalwart companion* of the 2012-3 Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects

* difficult to know how to keep this 'politically correct' in gender terms - advice plz.
your blog-master

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Master Mervyn's meanderings - 4

In late October and November things got really busy. On Tuesday 23 I attended the Art Scholars’ Mithras lecture at the Dutch Reform Church in Austin Friars, given by Professor David Watkin on ‘The classical country house’. Watkin is nothing if not thorough and he presented the influence of Palladianism running as a consistent narrative thread from Inigo Jones and Colen Campbell, through to Edwin Lutyens and the ‘modern’ classicists including Raymond Erith, Quinlan Terry and Robert Adam. A pity he used scanned double pages from his recent book on the subject to illustrate his talk.

The following day, Wednesday 23 witnessed the unveiling of the prizewinning Stone Bench, from the student competition, which packs the experience of implementing a commission, visiting the quarry and working alongside the masons to achieve a notable addition to the public realm of the City, this year on a prominent corner of Foster Lane and Cheapside, overlooked by the Jean Nouvel development opposite, and more importantly by St Paul’s Cathedral. A sinuous curve of rising stone blocks created an admirable urban sculpture, if not the most responsive resting place for the tired anatomy (but proved a useful impromptu stand from which to view the Lord Mayor’s Show – see below). 

The theme of prizegiving was reiterated of Monday 29 October at Guildhall for The City of London School: the winner of the WCCA Prize was a personable young man who is already looking towards a career in architecture. Youth was literally at the helm on Tuesday 30 October, when Past Master Michael Wilkey and I attended a training day on HMT Iveson, at Tilbury Docks, where our ‘regiment’ the Orpington Sea Cadets were being put through their paces, many working on engines which would count towards a Technical apprenticeship. The Iveston was commissioned as a minesweeper in 1955, and saw service in the ‘cod war’ in Icelandic waters. Now permanently moored the ship provides leadership and life skills for the cadets under the watchful eye of CPO Mike Dickson. 

The Red Cross Charity Bluff Wine Tasting, at Glaziers’ Hall on the evening of 2 November was not the finest hour of the joint endeavour by the Architects and Tylers and Bricklayers Companies, but some of the wines were bizarre, including Indian and Turkish vintages. Better fun by far was the Ladies’ Luncheon at Mansion House, hosted by the Lady Mayoress, so my Consort Ann reported – highlight a tour of their apartment viewing the Lord Mayor’s bed, exercise machine, and goodness knows what else! 

Monday 5th saw the outdoor SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE at ST PAULS in the Garden of Remembrance, sombre yet splendid as we lined up to plant individual crosses, after the two minutes’ silence, when the massed standard bearers dipped their flags as The Last Post sounded. That evening I attended a most enjoyable Lecture and Reception at Glaziers’ Hall, given by Stephan Trumpter of the Swiss Stained Glass Research Centre: what was most fascinating was the link with many English glass artists of the 19th century who worked in Switzerland and added to the nation’s fine heritage of mediaeval glass. 

The Company visit to the Royal Courts of Justice on 6 November was a most successful sell-out, hosted by my cousin Mr Justice (Sir Gary) Hickinbottom, a man who relishes the quirky eccentricities of George Edmund Street’s icon of the Gothic Revival. The Great Hall is now used for badminton out of hours, while the basement incudes extra carving by Belgian masons who were practically imprisoned in the building as ‘blackleg’ labour during a vicious trade dispute, and had nothing else to do on their Sundays off! After a drink in Gary’s office, where I presented him with a framed reproduction of a painting of Temple Bar c.1798, demolished for the building of RCJ, and a cheque for the charity Personal Support Unit, it was across the road with Gary and his wife Caroline for a buffet and wine reception at El Vino; a convivial evening all round. 

The Silent Ceremony at GUILDHALL, on Friday 9 November was an oddball occasion, the passing of governance of the City from the incumbent Lord Mayor to his successor. The pageantry was present but muted: the only words spoken were the swearing in of the new man, Michael Roger Gifford, then lights were dimmed and presentation of the Sword, Mace and Shield occurred in dumb-show, virtually invisible – rumour has it that the power failed and microphones went dead during the 1973 Miners’ strike and we have been kept in the dark ever since. 

On Saturday 10 November, The LORD MAYOR’S SHOW was a highlight of the Civic Calendar. The Architects were somewhere near the tail with other modern companies. I was joined by Upper Warden Jaki Howes and Student Jenni White, and the procession was preceded by seemingly unending waiting on London Wall while the juggernaut was marshalled into place. Happily the forecast rain never materialised in full strength as we advanced towards Mansion House, where the Lord Mayor greeted us from the balcony, before going down to his coach to join the line. Not as many elaborate sponsored floats as before, but an impressive array of military hardware and uniforms. Somehow everything speeded up as we approached St Paul’s and we were practically running to keep up – at least it kept out the cold. We finished near the Royal Courts of Justice, where the Lord Mayor lunched – lesser mortals made do with cardboard sandwiches and crisps, washes down with champagne, aboard the Wellington, the Mariners Company floating livery hall. Then return via the embankment and Queen Victoria Street where the crowds were jubilant. Standing down at Guildhall yard, we headed towards Painter-Stainers Hall where the regalia is kept, to find that The Lord Mayors’ return had been delayed by a fault with his coach – beyond even the resources of the AA whose own hiatus in the procession was hardly the best advertisement for their breakdown service.

written by Master Mervyn Miller