Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

The Temple Bar - Etching by Andrew Ingamells
reproduced by kind permission of Guinness Flight Hambro Asset Management Ltd.
scanned from the Master's christmas card

Season's greetings and best wishes
from the Master


Monday, 25 November 2013

The Master Masters BLOGGER!

Watch the action unfold!

Mrs. Lord Mayor salutes Mrs. Master's bravura

Jaki's first step(?)s...

Monday, 18 November 2013

Laurie Chetwood's 10 x 10 picture

“The area formed part of the walls of Londinium (Barbican is from the LatinBarbecana meaning fortified outpost or tower). The site was used as a burial ground during Anglo-Saxon times, later becoming a Jewish cemetery and finally an un-consecrated burial ground for non-conformists.  In the 17th century the City fathers refused permission for theatrical productions within the City.  As the Barbican lay outside the walls it became the centre for amateur theatricals and entertainment, alongside a warren of slum housing and impoverished dwellings.  The site was destroyed by German bombs during WWII, brutally revealing much of the area’s history.The present-day development commenced in 1958, taking 20 years to complete, and is Europe’s largest arts centre. The picture shows The Barbican as a graveyard - the residential towers as tombstones.  Contemporary dancers perform whilst being watched by ghost-like figures of evacuees who lived there and were never to return”.


Peter Murray and his 10 x 10 sketch

Exchange House, designed by SOM, which spans the railway tracks coming out of Liverpool Street station is one of the city's most dynamic pieces of architecture. The grand arch which springs from granite plinths at either end of the building signals its bridge-like function. The Square is host to regular events and the drawing shows a game of croquet in progress, watched by a lunchtime audience of local workers and, to the left, Stuart Lipton who was responsible for the original development. The drawing attempts to reflect the dynamic nature of the building and the public space it encloses.


David Assael and his 10 X 10 sketch

Please find below the drawing given to 10x10 for their auction by a new Freeman to the Company, John Assael.

"Each year, 100 participants come together in the summer to create 100 pieces of work, giving 100 perspectives of London, which are then exhibited and auctioned in November. Previous participants have included Lord Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid and Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud. The project is a unique concept, with the designers and artists producing wonderful pieces of artwork inspired by the environment they help to create and shape, as well as providing a commentary and critique on the constantly changing landscape of central London.

Every year 10×10 captures a different area of the city. This year the project will focus on East London, an area encompassing striking and innovative examples of architecture, both traditional and modern. In the shadow of the ‘Gherkin’, this area encompasses modern developments, many associated with the ‘Silicon roundabout’, to historic landmarks such as Brick Lane and the Boundary estate – one of the city’s earliest social housing schemes. East London is a truly diverse area, both culturally and creatively, where our 10×10 artists will have no problem seeking influence for their work.
During mid November, a public exhibition of the work will be held, followed by an auction of the artwork by Sotheby’s. This auction will be an exclusive event taking place during the week of the 18th of November at a central London location. All proceeds of the sale go to Article 25, the charity that builds solutions to global problems.
This year’s 10×10 will raise money for Article 25’s Street Children Centers, starting with projects in Ghana and Kenya. Over the next year, we will be helping to provide the necessary infrastructure for enabling children who live on the streets to get back to their families or foster families, schools and communities."

Mark Street - Mark Square London EC2A


+ David Barclay +

Reminder Notice.cwk (WP)

Lord Mayor's Day procession - pictures by Geoffrey Purves

The Master steps out

The Master, the Upper Warden and a volunteer 'student' placard holder
The Master, Sam (student) and I picked up our robes, Masters Chain, Tricorn hat, two berets, placard and leather holster  from Painter’s Stainer’s Hall at 9.00am and we proceeded to our assembly point in London Wall.  We joined a group of other representatives from Modern Livery Companies and waited in the queue of highly organised and well marshalled displays until about 10.30.  The atmosphere was happy and jovial with lots of banter about the uniforms, costumes and ambitiously designed floats.  We had been warned that the weather forecast was not favourable and to come prepared with umbrellas.  As the procession got underway so the rain began to fall – and continued to fall continuously and more heavily for the next two hours and yet the spirit of the event was not dampened.  As my first experience of taking part in this event I was delighted to see so many people lining the route despite the adverse conditions.  From the Guildhall we processed through the city via St Pauls and onwards to the Royal Courts of Justice.   We continued to the Embankment where a glass of champagne was enjoyed with a picnic lunch – by then it was unimportant that most of us were soaked to the skin. We resumed our place in the procession after lunch proceeding along the Embankment.  However, perhaps with a rebel streak, we peeled off early to return our robes to Painter’s Stainer’s Hall but not before we had watched the new Lord Mayor in her coach pass by giving a wave to our Master.  We then made a hasty retreat to our newly acquired flat for a welcome gin and tonic.  A marvellous day was had by all.
Re-homing large yellow dogs

The pretty costumes of the 1600s

'Leaves on the line'; back up service?

The Hon. Artillery Company's field gun

Which guards regiment - how many buttons?

A Beefeater and two (queasy?) Watermen

La Lord Mayor, Fiona Woolf

The Lord Mayor's Pikemen

Friday, 8 November 2013

Master's Miscellany 1

Past Master Mervyn Miller and David Penning entertaining
 the Master Firefighter, Beryl Jeffery, at the curry lunch
on HQS Wellington on 30 September. after Common Hall .

Common Hall is an event, attended by Liverymen,  held at the Guildhall where the Lord Mayor is elected.

HQS Wellington is a Grimsby-Class Sloop, moored on the Thames, just below Temple Stairs. and is the "Hall" of the  Honourable Company of Master Mariners.

Beryl Jeffery is an architect by training.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The new Master's first message

The Installation Court and Lunch on the 17th September 2013 were a lively start to my year as Master and a great end to Mervyn’s splendid year. The newly installed wardens are: Upper Warden Geoffrey Purves, Renter Warden Peter Murray, and Junior Warden Richard Brindley. At the Lunch, President of the RIBA, Stephen Hodder set out his strategic priorities, and his hope for closer collaboration with WCCA. All very jolly and with plenty of spirited conversation.

Two days later, the Renter Warden, Peter Murray, and I participated in the annual livery walk. This is a speedy hike round the 40 livery halls and our main opportunity to contribute to the Lord Mayor’s Charity and to our own Charity Fund. After a fine morning’s walk, the afternoon turned to torrential rain. To see a very soggy Peter and me, have a look at Peter’s video on the blog.

On the last weekend of September there was a Company visit to Yorkshire, described by past Master Mervyn on our blog as ‘an astonishing cornucopia of architectural and artistic delights’. These included a guided tour of significant buildings in Leeds, led by John Thorp, the retired civic architect, and visits to the Hepworth Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Two members of the party even found themselves in a lock-in in the oldest pub in Leeds! Our blog has the full story, with photographs by Chris Bicknell.

Over 50 people attended my reception at the Bishopsgate Institute on 15th October. Stefan Dickers, the Library and Archives Manager gave an enthusiastic and colourful history of the Institute, enhanced by architectural details from our own Peter Luscombe.

There was also a good audience for our lecture at the RIBA the following week, “The Architecture of Nowhere”, by James Kruhly, which sparked lively debate.

These WCCA events were interspersed with company dinners with the Plumbers, City Planners, Plaisterers and Chartered Secretaries, and two school prize givings. I also attended an interfaith service at St. Paul's Cathedral to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the London Taxidrivers' Fund for Underprivileged Children, including music by the London Charity Orchestra and the New London Children's Choir.

It has been a very busy and stimulating start to my year as Master. I look forward to seeing you all at the Carol Service.


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


The weather smiled benignly on Jaki Howes’ Master’s Weekend in Leeds and West Yorkshire putting the seal on an astonishing cornucopia of architectural and artistic delights. 

Arrived at the Marriott Hotel, Leeds we were treated to an excellent dinner and an introduction to the Leeds architectural and urban scene by the last Civic Architect, John Thorp, who had nurtured the development and regeneration of the city centre since the 1970s to the current phase of ‘Renaissance’ up to 2012 and completion of the Leeds Area. And what a canvas to work on, with a basis of the mediaeval pattern of streets, alleys and narrow-fronted land subdivision into ‘burgage plots’. 

John took us round the city centre on Saturday morning, beginning at the Corn Exchange(1862) with its incredible elliptical roof in which all outward thrust had been eliminated. Cuthbert Brodrick was the architect and seemingly his own engineer. Then we walked through the City Markets, a fine iron structure within a masonry façade. Onward and upwards through the County Arcade, of which the slightly later second phase (1898) was by the theatre architect Frank Matcham (who did not surprisingly design the Grand Theatre). Out onto Briggate (now pedestrianized) and across Headrow (Reginald Blomfield’s 1920s principal road lined with classical buildings, leading axially east to the site of the Quarry Hill flats (demolished in the 1980s, Leeds City Architect’s 1930s tribute to Viennese socialist mass housing). Northwards, past St John’s Church, a remarkable Gothic survival building of the 1630s, with a remarkably exuberant late Jacobean style interior, which some of us visited in the afternoon. John Thorp’s minimalist terrace lawns were much admired.

Through the 1960s Merrion Centre we reached the Leeds Arena, a 13500-seat auditorium based on the fan-shape of a Greek theatre, contained in an a curved sheath clad with variegated green aluminium shingles with diagonally cutaway entrance and glazing. It was John Thorp’s last grand project, big, bold but somehow indeterminate, I felt. 

More to my taste was E. Vincent Harris’ Civic Hall (1930-33), late-classical, bristling with Lutyens’ details. We looked at the interior, embellished with a civic grandeur that now seems other-worldy. Finally to the Town Hall (1853-8), Cuthbert Brodrick’s masterpiece. We peeped in to the concert hall, where a choral festival of church music was in rehearsal, exploiting the acoustics to capacity. Lunch for some in the tiled hall of the Art Gallery, then an afternoon of pottering. 

Eight of us made it to the Grand Theatre in the evening for a stimulating modern production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Appropriately the weather had belied late September. 

Sunday began in Wakefield with a visit to the quirky orangery art centre. This classical 18th-century building now lurked alongside the main railway line and station. Their summer festival had included the construction of a painted fibreboard maze, unconvincingly painted in strident colours to resemble a bizarre dry stone wall. It was about to be demolished having fulfilled its function but the footfall around the intricate route to the centre could be retrieved as a more permanent and sustainable reminder.

We made our way by coach out to the Hepworth Gallery, rather forlornly sited beyond out-of-town shopping facilities, but partly redeemed by its relation to the river. Apparently a half million visitors have been attracted in its first year of opening. But given the poor relationship and lack of signage to the historic town centre not many would probably have made the effort to the what historic Wakefield has to offer. A great pity, this. 

The design by David Chipperfield split opinion. I felt that the dour grey fragmented outlines of the galleries was appropriate and contrasted with surviving 19th-century warehouses close by. The interior was distinctly minimalist giving a cool neutral background to the exhibits, which included a best of selection from the town centre art gallery which had now been closed. For me there was not enough Hepworth on display as themed exhibitions by two of her contemporaries seemed to dominate. However, there was an outstanding introductory exhibition setting the context of her work alongside her great rival Henry Moore.

We set off through the suburbs, crossed the M1 and drove into the friendly countryside below the skyline of the moors. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is now firmly established as a popular weekend venue, particularly on a sunny Sunday. After a sandwich lunch and an introductory briefing we set out to find our individual ways through the park, our routes punctuated by freestanding sculptures including Hepworth and Moore and contemporaries standing in the sweeping parkland of Bretton Hall. The landscape included a lake and overgrown picturesque landscape garden.

By diverse ways we returned to the coach and Wakefield station for the journey south. It had been warm up North and a rewarding start to Jaki’s year as Master which will long live in our collective memory. 

Mervyn Miller 

Master's walk between all the livery halls

Friday, 20 September 2013

Other installations at the Court of 18 September 2013

Christopher Nigel Bicknell (L) and Paul Weston (R)
are admitted to the Court as Assistants
Jonathan Ellis-Miller is elevated from freeman to liveryman
Michael Bailey becomes a full member of the Livery

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Installation of the new Master Jaki Howes

Jacqueline Frances Howes

The installation court that starts the new WCCA Mastership took place at Watermen's Hall, 16 St Mary-at-Hill, London EC3R8EF on 18 September 2013.

"Nice chain, Merv!"

"I found it quite weighty..."

"How's that, Madame?"

"Light as a feather!"

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Monday, 2 September 2013

If you can bear to action it, here is the last instalment of my end-of-term Master's Blog Report. I’ll add a few pictures to leaven it later this evening.....

The road to hell is paved with good intentions and it’s already September as I settle down to write my last updating to the blog.  Grateful Thanks to the untiring dedication of Chevalier Copping, who has tirelessly uploaded these musings. In the interest of sanity all I can to is to provide a list of what I’ve done since the beginning of July, and will be doing over the next two weeks before I’m airbrushed out of the front line.  Looking back, I’m not quite sure how I’ve done it all, but I know that I’ve mostly enjoyed it and there are many things which I know will never come again, and which I have been privileged to do.  And I’ve been fortunate in having the support of a Consort who has certainly made a positive impression at the many events we have attended together.  I’ve learned that the importance of a Master’s role lies not so much in personal enjoyment as in helping to raise the profile of the Company, particularly when the Older Companies are around: only time will tell whether I have succeeded, and in two weeks it will be Jaki Howes’ turn to pursue the same objective.  It’s also been a pleasure to work so positively with the Royal Institute of British Architects, whether it be their hosting and the Presidential imprimatur of Angela Brady on the Milo Lecture last February, or the commitment of Richard Brindley to further the  ‘London as a Global Design Hub’ with the City of London Corporation.  We had a very positive, and I hope productive meeting at Guildhall with Paul Sizeland and Peter Sissons of the Corporation’s Economic Development Office on 27th August, when Richard Brindley and Richard Saxon led the presentation.

Ironbridge - 1779

July 2013

  • MON 1: St Lawrence Jewry Annual Service 6.00pm

  • THU 4: Chartered Accountants’ Dinner, Mansion House, 6.45 for 7.30pm

  • MON 8: Sheriffs’ and Recorders Fund Reception at Old Bailey

  • TUE 9: Election Court, St Lawrence Jewry, 3.30pm

  • TUE 9:  Company Annual Service, St Lawrence Jewry, 6.00 pm  

  • TUE 9: Election Court and Dinner, Skinners’ Hall

  • FRI 12: Distillers, Glaziers and other Companies’ 375th Anniversary Reception and Dinner, Middle Temple Hall. 

  • WED 17: Actuaries’ Dinner, Fishmongers, Guest of Adrian Waddingham (Sherriff Elect)
  • THU 18: Knights Bachelor Annual Service St Paul’s Crypt, 11.00 am and Reception Apothecaries’ Hall

  • FRI 19: Lunch with Master Constructor and Wardens at Guildhall Club, 
  •    12.30 for 13.00

  • WED 24: Distillers’ Company Whisky Master Class and Tasting, Apothecaries’ Hall, 5.30 pm.

  • WED 24: The Master appears with Una Stubbs on ‘Who Do You Think You Are’, talking with her about Ebenezer Howard, founder of the Garden City Movement, her great-grandfather, 9.00pm

  • THU 25: Open Evening, Kingston University Conservation Course, 6.00pm

  • FRI 26: Michael Welbank Luncheon, Guildhall, 12.30pm

  • FRI 26: Tour of former Midland Bank HQ (Lutyens), 3-5.00 pm

August 2013

TUE 6: Court Luncheon at Carpenters’ Hall, 12.45 for 1.00pm

TUE 27: ‘London as a Global Design Hub’ presentation with Richard Brindley and Richard Saxon at City Economic Development offices, Guildhall, 11.00am

Midland Bank 1

Midland Bank 2

Midland Bank 3

Midland Bank 4

September 2013

MON 2: Michael Bailey receives City Freedom @ Chamberlain’s Office, Guildhall, 3.00pm

THU 5: HMS Belfast Charity Dinner, Constructors’ Company, 6.30pm

MON 9: Launderers’ Lecture, Glaziers’ Hall, 6.00pm

TUE 10: Ardwina Luncheon, with MM Finlandia presentation, 12.30pm

TUE 10: WCCA Committees aboard Ardwina, 2.30 pm

WED 11: Reception for Royal British Legion Poppy Factory, Drapers’ Hall, 7.00pm

THU 12: Modern Companies Dinner, Armourers and Braziers’ Hall, 7.00pm

FRI 13: Worshipful Company of Musicians, Composer’s Concert, Mansion House 6.00pm – 7.30pm

MON 16: Presentation of Adrian Waddingham’s Shrieval Chain, Saddlers’ Hall

TUE17: Installation Court and Lunch, Watermen’s Hall: MM completes year as Master

Reference to the events list above will indicate a busy few days before I am stripped of the Company’s accoutrements at the Installation Court, immediately after I install Jaki as the new Master.  She will, I am sure, plough her own distinctive furrow, and rightly too.  Before then, Ann and I are looking forward to the Constructors’ Charity Dinner on HMS Belfast on 5th September.  Tomorrow, 2nd September Freeman Michael Bailey has invited Jaki, Edward King and myself to join him and his parents at a celebratory Luncheon prior to attending the Chamberlain at Guildhall to obtain his Freedom of the City of London.  Michael has been one of our brightest students, and is rising through the ranks at MAKE, one of the most prestigious modern practices.  He was bound as a student to Edward King, under the watchful eye of Jaki (as longstanding Master of Students).  I released Michael from his indentures at the April Court, and installed him as a Freeman of the Company.  Armed with his Certificate of Freedom (written by hand on vellum), he will present himself to the Court on 17th September to be installed as a Liveryman of the Company by Jaki: wherever his career may take him he will always be a Citizen of London, with a few ancient rights and privileges (including driving sheep across London Bridge).

So now it’s time to look to the future, bid a fond farewell and Hail the New Master on 17th September.  I’ll be proud to receive my Past Master’s badge on that occasion, and to serve the Company in a more unobtrusive manner.
Grateful thanks are due to the Clerk, Ian Head (and Ann who has often been at the sharp end during Ian’s first full year in charge).  
Also to the Wardens: Jaki Howes (Upper), Geoffrey Purves (Renter) and Peter Murray (Junior); and apologies to Edward King, Deputy Master for not giving him much to do.  And, of course, it’s now full steam ahead with the ‘Great 13’ (the 2013 Masters’ clan)! 

The stalwart Ann

The Master goes potty

Mervyn Miller
Master 2012-13