I hope you have all had a wonderful seasonal break with friends and family.
It is a very special privilege to be presiding over the 30th anniversary year since our company received the Livery. The brief lull in Livery activity gives me an opportunity to look back over my and Jane’s first four months as Master and Mistress and look forward to the many good things which will be happening in 2019.
My chosen theme for the year is “The Culture of the City” in which I aim to celebrate the rich and diverse range of history, art, drama, music and architecture offered by the Square Mile within the world’s greatest city.
The installation back in September seems a long while ago but the service in St Lawrence Jewry followed by the installation luncheon at Stationers’ Hall will live long in the memory. Publica director Lucy Musgrave, my special guest and speaker, gave a personal and heartfelt view of the City and its culture, in keeping with my chosen theme for the year.
The first few months have been packed with activity. My Master’s Reception at St Ethelburga’s in October was very enjoyable with jazz from the Guildhall School of Music and an inspirational speech by Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London.
The very next day my Kensington Safari was somewhat dampened by the only wet weather for weeks but none the less we managed to have a very full and informative day exploring the cultural highlights of Kensington followed by a convivial dinner at the Polish Hearth Club.
In November, The Lord Mayor’s Show was very special, not least because the sun shone, and the streets were lined with happy smiling faces. It is remarkable that this event has continued to draw huge crowds for over 800 years.
The diversity of Livery activity is extraordinary as witnessed by the many lectures which I have attended on subjects as diverse as Lutyens and Jekyll, the concept of “luxury goods” and improving life expectancy in Scotland (though I probably now know more about the history of the Barbers’ Pole than strictly necessary).
I also attended the unveiling of the London Stone at its new location in Cannon Street, The Lord Mayor’s briefing, the Remembrance Day service at St Paul’s and a reception and prize giving for the City of London Boys’ School.
2018 ended with our traditional Carol Service at St Lawrence Jewry which this year was shared with the Constructors and the Entrepreneurs. This was one of 5 carol services attended by Jane and me and we have been amazed by the excellence of the choral music at each of them.
So, as you can see, it’s not all about grand dinners, pleasant as they are.
30th Year Celebrations
We are celebrating this landmark year in several ways. First of these has been our publication of “The Livery Halls of the City of London”. Two years in the making, this glorious 280-page lavishly illustrated volume was launched by the Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Charles Bowman, at Mansion House on 31st October. The reaction has been superb, both from the Livery and the City, and leading reviewers. It will, I am sure, be the standard work on this remarkable and under-published group of buildings for many years to come. Many thanks to all of you who have supported the project. If you have not yet obtained a copy, I do urge you to do so. It is a wonderful read and the writing, photography and publishing team led by Liveryman Hugh Merrell all deserve huge praise. In line with our strategic aim, it will do much to raise our profile in the City.
As first proposed by Upper Warden, Valerie Owen Le Vaillant, our next batch of “light touch” celebrations are all based on the number 30. We invited members to nominate 30 people to whom we should offer special expressions of gratitude for their contributions to the company since its formation. We also asked you to nominate a further 30 members who are exemplars in the practice of architecture. The response has been excellent, and Master and Wardens have had the difficult task of reaching a conclusion. The results will be announced at the banquet in Drapers Hall on the 12th February. I do urge you all to attend on this special year to celebrate our multiple achievements.
We are also launching a 30th Anniversary Appeal. We will be inviting members to contribute £30 to our Charitable Trust to create a special fund to support architectural apprenticeships. More details to follow.
Our final 30th celebration will be in the form of a Company history, written by our estimable Clerk Emeritus, David Cole-Adams. His aim is to have this ready for publication by the end of the year and I know that he has already made considerable progress.
But there is much else to look forward to.
Stop Press: Royal Charter
I am delighted to confirm that our petition for a Royal Charter has passed through all the necessary stages of approval and we have begun the process of planning its presentation by a member of the Royal Family at a special event in June. Further details will be provided as soon as they are available. Many thanks to Past Masters David Cole-Adams and Richard Brindley for their hard work and persistence in achieving this very prestigious landmark.
Annual Banquet 12th February
The annual banquet will take place in the wonderful surroundings of Drapers Hall (beautifully captured by photographer Andreas von Einsiedel in our Livery Halls book). As mentioned above, this year we will be celebrating our achievements and the honouring the people who have made it all happen as well as the wealth of architectural talent amongst our membership. My special guest and speaker will be Tony Wheeler AO, travel writer and co-founder with his wife Maureen of the Lonely Planet guidebooks. Please make sure you book early for this prestigious event.
Annual Lecture 11th April
his year’s lecture will be delivered by Sir David Chipperfield RA. His work within the cultural sector includes the recent re-modelling of the Royal Academy, the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield and the Turner Contemporary in Margate. In Europe, his work includes the Neues Gallery in Berlin and the Museum of Modern Literature, Marbach. In 2011 he received the RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. The provisional date for the lecture is Thursday 11th April, subject to final confirmation from Sir David’s office.
Master’s Visit to Hamburg 16th – 19th May 19
Take up for this trip has been excellent and plans are well advanced. They will include architectural tours of the City centre including the Rathaus, Chilehaus and Kunsthalle as well as the World Heritage-listed Speicherstadt warehouses and new Hafen City. Eric Parry, a weekend resident of Hamburg, will be joining us to show us his Hamburg highlights. A special and rare treat will be a Sunday morning concert at the Herzog + de Meuron designed Elbphilharmonie (now sold out).
Architecture of London Exhibition
at Guildhall Art Gallery,
31st May 2019 – 1st December 2019
We have been invited by the City of London Corporation to assist with sponsorship of this major new exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery. Having canvassed senior colleagues there is much enthusiasm for doing so. Indeed, it would be rather remiss of us not to.
Curator Elizabeth Scott, Head of Guildhall Art Gallery & London’s Roman Amphitheatre Architecture of London, will explore how London’s buildings have been depicted and have served as a source of inspiration to artists for centuries. The exhibition will provide an insight into the city’s ever evolving architecture and topography, exploring over 400 years of London’s changing landscape, streets and buildings through the eyes of resident and visiting artists. The exhibition will feature many works from the Gallery’s permanent collection which have never been displayed before, as well as key loans from major British collections. Featuring artworks spanning from the early 17th century through to the 21st.
Celebrating 50 years of the Barbican
The Barbican will be 50 years old this year. I have been in discussion with Sir Nicholas Kenyon as to whether we might be involved in their plans to celebrate this at a special event. Planning is at an early stage, but I will keep you informed.