As my year draws to an end on 16th September I am pleased to say that I have overseen long-term changes to the governance of the Company which have been approved by the Court that will keep it in good heart over the coming years.
My experience as Master of a Livery Company has been a tremendous privilege and hugely enjoyable. I have enjoyed many, many unique experiences, met innumerable interesting people and learnt so much about the rich heritage of Livery Companies and the enormous contribution they make to City life and collectively contribute over £40 million per annum to charitable causes.
I believe that the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects is well placed as a Modern Company to take its place in contributing to these traditions as we expand our Membership and build our charitable resources over future generations.
My Master’s Reception at Lambeth Palace was over-subscribed. I used a photograph from this event for my Christmas card.
The Lord Mayor’s Show is a dazzling display of exuberant energy celebrating the start of the new Lord Mayor of London’s year in office. It’s great fun to take part in this parade.
A happy band of intrepid explorers ventured north for a weekend visit to Newcastle. Exploring Tyneside and a taste Northumberland we were fortunate to have superb weather. An eclectic mix of architecture at the Newcastle University campus was described by the Upper Warden as a zoo of buildings – a contrast to the splendour of Sir John Vanburgh’s Seaton Delaval Hall and the Duchess of Northumberland’s latest attempts to create a spectacular water garden feature at Alnwick Castle. (see photographs on the blog http://architects-livery-company.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Master)
The Annual Banquet was held in Vintners’ Hall, one of the many splendid architectural spaces used by Livery Companies in the City. The Thames Fanfare Brass Ensemble providing a lively and sparkling musical interlude and Lord Shipley gave a thought-provoking and challenging speech on behalf of the guests.
I have enjoyed attending a number of civic functions at the Mansion House, St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral as well as Prize-Giving Ceremonies at City of London Schools, where the WCCA donate student prizes.
The WCCA also enjoys excellent relationships with the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architects Benevolent Society. These three bodies bring together different aspects of the architecture profession and I hope this warm co-operation will continue for many years to come.
The Milo Lecture was given this year by Sir Terry Farrell who hails from the North East and trained at Newcastle University. His easy communication skills were applauded by a number of Masters outside of the construction industry who found his approach to the design of public spaces between buildings very accessible and interesting. A significant aspect of this Lecture was the support given by the Lugano Property Group who provided a sponsorship for the event.
Other significant events include my Study Tour to Madrid. The tour was organised in liaison with COAM (Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid). We saw historic and modern buildings in the City Centre as well as visiting Toledo, a World Heritage site. After my year ends I may find time to practice the castanets the group presented to me at the end our tour!
The Master enjoys the privilege of an invitation to a Royal Garden Party which this year was held early on 20th May. We were fortunate with the weather, which remained dry, enjoyed a splendid afternoon tea, met a number of other Masters and some guests we knew from the North East.
A highlight of my year was the joint RIBA/CAA/WCCA Dinner at Drapers’ Hall celebrating the 50th anniversary of the formation of the CAA. A spectacular evening with nearly 250 people attending including representatives from 18 commonwealth countries, many of them in national costume, making it a very colourful occasion. The speeches by the 2015 RIBA Royal Gold Medalists, John Tuomey and Sheila O’Donnell were powerful personal statements about their architectural philosophy as a husband and wife team and were very well received by those attending.
Before the Dinner the WCCA held their Court meeting in Drapers’ Hall.
The Annual Masters’ Livery Weekend was held, as usual, at Ironbridge. It was very well attended, and included a full day tour of the historic sites on the Saturday, followed by a Banquet in the museum attended by the Lord and Lady Mayoress.
This year Ann has enjoyed varied events, and the programme organised by the Mistresses and Consorts of many Companies has helped to consolidate friendships and linkages across the Livery movement. During this year Ann has become a Freeman of the City of London.
During the year a successful Dinner was arranged at Temple Bar and the forthcoming interviews for prospective new members will also be held here. Using Sir Christopher Wren’s building, adopted as our logo, seems a fitting venue for events which I hope we will continue to develop in future.
The year has seen the development of a campaign to encourage new members to join the WCCA. Led by the Upper Warden, Peter Murray, a significant number of new members are in the pipeline. Meanwhile, I am pleased to report that the following new members have been admitted during my year in office: Tim Godsmark; Leif Martinez; Andrew Reynolds; Sadie Morgan; Jane Jones-Warner; Philip Coffey; Roger Hawkins; Audrey Hesse; Deborah Saunt and Michael Stiff.
Under the supervision of our Master of Students, Ann Markey, a judging panel met and awarded prizes to Leon Donald and Ashleigh James. The Lawrence King Award was given to Lorenzo Minissale, a student at Ardingley College, Sussex.
As the assets of our Charitable Trust Fund increase we can look forward to developing our support for architectural education.
I managed to find time to go sailing in Scotland during August, when City activities in London quietened down. This included rounding Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly point of mainland Britain. It was a strong breeze and a lumpy sea but great fun!
I am now back behind my desk looking forward to my final couple of weeks as Master with a series of Dinners, Committee Meetings and a Court Meeting before I hand over to my successor Peter Murray on 16th September 2015. I know his sails are well trimmed for an exciting year ahead …!
Finally, thank you to our Clerk, Ian, and all the team who have supported me during my year in office.
Canon Dr Geoffrey Purves
26 August 2015