Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Master's Stalwart Consort reports...

Dear WCCA Webmaster,

How could you use the word cheeky in relation to my wonderful factual accounts of the travels of the Master and the Stalwart Consort?

I am at the moment lying down in a darkened room with the telephone switched off and dire messages being sent to my clients and contractors not to try and contact me unless the foundations have been condemned anywhere!! And even then, only if the Building Inspector is stuck down the trench.

It all started on - this could take some time so do collect a cup of coffee and a few buns before you continue reading - 13 May when we went to the Diamond Wedding celebrations of Alastair and Patricia at the Ironmongers' Hall. All went well and I managed the Circle Line on my own to Barbican having persuaded the reception clerk at Travelodge Euston that I needed to get into a room to put on my shoes and jacket. It was after this that everything started to whirl around - we got back to Euston and I insisted on retiring to the nearest pub [for coffee of course] whilst the Master used my room to change into his white tie and tails. The rain was heaving down and the sight of Mervyn formally attired in a pub at 5.30 pm was something to be remembered. After I had then changed, we went on to Mansion House for a formal dinner with Mervyns cousin - a High Court Judge no less - the music alone will remain with us for ever - the Post Horn Gallop played in echo from one end of the Egyptian Hall to the other.

That was the 13 May.

The next event was again at Mansion House on Thursday 16 May, the Tilers and Bricklayers. By this time the cloakroom staff were starting to recognise me. I had had lunch with the Lady Mayoress, when we were entertained by a talk given by Michael Hall about the Mansion House paintings, ten days previously. One of the paintings is a copy but I have yet to discover which one it was.

Then Mervyn took me to Finland. I left home on 22 May and got back at 10.15 pm on 30 May. I will leave Mervyn to do the architectural bits, but thought that the attached photographs may give a flavour of the trip.
See the photos referred to in the text below, at the foot of the post...

  • Mervyn in his blue boottees [1] is apparently attempting to break into a cupboard, he did however recover enough to be found in characteristic pose [2] [not sure whether this is better or worse than the Spirella trip] all over the place [3] He did find time to fuel up occassionally [4] leaving him with the energy to delare UDI in the nearest church [5] where he did one of his characteristic paintings of St Christopher [6] to ensure our safe return - but apparently too late for Sibellius [7].
  • Strange place Finland - these were the only cats which we saw [8 and 9] although the bears were out in the woods. [10].

Don't go away yet.

The following Thursday, we went to the Royal Garden Party after lunching at the RAC Club!!!!! [see attached - no! that is not Mervyn's car] and the day after that, Mervyn drove to Birmingham and we went on to Ironbridge for the Lord Mayor's Livery Weekend. With a formal dinner on Friday evening and a Ball on Saturday evening and visits to several museums and sites later, do you wonder that I am lying down in a darkened room? I won't describe the sight of the Master in various hats, nor record the fact that I made the steam engine move; and as for the dancing - words fail me.

Virgin Trains have called me to know if I am alright, as they have not supplied me with any train tickets this week, the cats have refused to speak to me for days and my granddaughter regards me as a source of constant presents from all over the world.

Having a lovely time, wish you were here.


The Stalwart Consort

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Peter Murray's cycling trip across the USA

to see the U-tube posts about Peter's cycle trip across the American continent. At present he is in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

the crew in a pub 

Keep on  trucking  pedaling

Here are a few more details

Tom-the-Almoner's endorsements of the master-elects visit to Leeds

From our Almoner:

The WCCA's Yorkshire Visit to Leeds and Wakefield

As a Yorkshireman I would like to encourage others to make the commitment to this visit - you will not be disappointed.

I know Wakefield as a school resident for 10 years and at a time when Barbara Hepworth was a local star and Henry Moore was not an unknown visitor. The local countryside is as good as any to say the least, and abounds with country mansions; Nostell Priory (Mansion) close to Wakefield, has the finest collection of Chippendale Furniture, all with their original receipts, anywhere in the country. Leeds City Hall is the venue for the internationally renowned annual pianist competition; and of course The Huddersfield Choral Society has a wonderful history, and only one of the many choirs around the County producing The Messiah  every Christmas time. Opera North and Yorkshire Ballet are of a very high standard too - then there are the shopping arcades ......

I attach a cutting from the Times which tells more about the Sculpture .

Best wishes
Tom B

Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Master's report of 1 June 2013

As April dawned, I reflected on the fact that I was beyond the half-way tenure of the Master’s post.  However there was still a lot to come, and some weeks would be crammed with must-do’s.  Concurrently I pondered that work seemed to be easing off, only to have a shedload of new projects confirmed a few days later.  The only constant was the eternal background of unseasonally foul weather.  On WED 3 April it was déjà vu for the Carpenters' Lecture, given at Carpenters’ Hall. This was given by Dan Kelley of the Carpenters’ Company of Philadelphia (We visited them in 2010).  The lecture was not a technical exposition, but a pageant of American history related to Federal Courthouses; an unusual perspective but a reminder that in 1968-70 I was resident in the Midwest during a key period – Civil Rights, Vietnam and draft dodging.  Nothing until TUE 9, the pre-Accounts Court WCCA Committees, which revealed the difficulties of budgeting: doing more with less is ever-pressing.  On the positive side Richard Brindley’s WCCA-RIBA promotion of London as a World Architecture Hub through the Lord Mayor’ Office was evolving well, and Tom Ball had made a creative link with the Royal Academy’s ‘Attract’ project for young people.

On THU 11 Hawksmoor’s sublime Christ Church Spitalfields appropriately hosted a Service of Thanksgiving to commemorate the local Huguenot community, part of the tragic diaspora that followed the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV.  The service included readings and a fine address by Dr. Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, himself of Huguenot descent from a community in Dublin.  We stuttered the Lord’s Prayer in fractured French.

MON 22Jury on student entries, lunch and pm at 77 Portland Place.  This is now a collaborative effort with the London Region of RIBA, and we had seven shortlisted entries from which to choose: the winner will investigate the cultural obsession of the Japanese with reproducing historic buildings and monuments in cultural theme parks.  

TUE 23 saw the Court and Lunch aboard HQS Wellington, the unique floating Livery Hall of The Mariners’ Company.  Built in 1934 for patrolling in the Pacific ocean, she had undertaken arduous and dangerous convoy duty during the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War.  For once the weather was kind as Ann and I sipped our pre-lunch drinks gazing towards the Shard. At the Court, Michael Bayley had been released from the shackles of his indenture, and I installed him as one of our brightest young Freemen – would that we had many more but the student cell at MAKE, fostered by Jaki, is one of our most hopeful portents for the future. At Lunch I referred to ‘The Cruel Sea’ and ‘The Navy Lark’, quite appropriate as we are now consolidating relations with our new ‘regiment’, the Orpington Sea Cadets. The Guest Masters were Master Mason David Blake, Master Tin Plate Worker Andrew Balcombe and Master Environmental Cleaner Peter Robb (my first event two days after installation had been his Company’s Charity Walk around the Halls, which had included the Wellington).  Altogether a convivial and memorable event. 

TUE 23: Engineers’ Installation Court Dinner, Skinners, 7 for 7:30 pm.  It’s always difficult to know how to fill in between lunchtime and evening events.  This time I left my DJ at Painter-Stainers’ Hall, then took a bus to Tottenham and back, noting retro-clothing and charity shops for future exploration.  The Engineers’ Dinner was crowded, up to the usual standard, but without a memorable occurrence. 

THU 2 May: Ian, Jaki and I were among the Liverymen who met David Parrott at St Lawrence Jewry, to hear of his future projects and finance.  As with most City churches, there is no large congregation, so approaches to the Livery (and the Friends) are vital to secure the future, although the City of London Corporation has agreed to take responsibility for the fabric of the church. Unsurprisingly, David had an ambitious shopping list, with projects to suit all budgets from alms bags to restoration of the piano (essential for the well-established lunch-time concerts.  Surprisingly, the long history of the church has never yet been comprehensively researched and published.  Next week on WED 8 St Bartholomew’s View Day had a service in the noble austerity of St Bartholomew the Great, followed by a reception in the Great Hall of the Hospital and tour of the state-of-the-art cancer facilities.  As a personal dimension to this, my godmother was a patient there in 1972, under Hamilton Fairlie (who was killed by a terrorist bomb).  Sadly her acute leukaemia was inoperable.  I was under high pressure that day, with three site meetings, and fell flat on my face while hurrying through Smithfield.  I was lucky to incur only minor cuts and bruises, but the incident shook me up as a wake-up call.   

On MON 13 the STEWART DIAMOND WEDDING LUNCHEON at Ironmongers’ Hall was a cause for happy festivity, with two of the most generous benefactors of the Company.  Two of their daughters, Catherine and Judith attended.  The Company presented Alastair and Patricia with a turned ash wood charger, purchased from Wizardry in Wood at Carpenters’ Hall last Autumn.  That night there was no peace for the wicked as Ann and I were guests of my cousin, Sir Gary Hickinbottom at the ARBITRATORS’ CHARTER BANQUET, held at Mansion House. This was spectacular, particularly when the trumpeters of the Militaire Orchestra sounded off with the Huntsmen’s Gallop across the Gallery of the Egyptian Hall.  This was a particularly busy week, with the FESTIVAL OF THE SONS OF THE CLERGY on TUE 14 involving processing to the rotunda, and a choral spectacular with three cathedral choirs, and an address by the Bishop of Norwich. On WED 15 the Constructors Lecture at the City University was a well-structured exposition of the case for HS2 delivered by Professor Andrew McNaughton. Return to MANSION HOUSE on THU 16 for David Cole-Adams’ TYLERS & BRICKLAYERS’ BANQUET where Ann and I were official guests.  Another great occasion, with the Pikemen providing a guard of honour.  Brickbats, Flashers and Bonding were in evidence in David’s witty booklet on the historic craft and trade of the Company.  The musical interlude on the Organ to be presented to the Queen utilised the avian attachment for ‘A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square’, quality nostalgia from the time of my birth. Then a respite until WCCA Past-Master Peter Luscombe’s Past Masters’ Association’s 20th Anniversary Luncheon at Vintners’ Hall on TUE 21.  It was Peter who decided that I was a fit enough person to join the Company! The it was time to pack for the Master’s Study Tour to Finland 23-30 May
… so that’s all for now folks.

Master Mervyn Miller - 1 June 2013 - Derby Day