July commenced ‘without passing home’ as John and I arrived in Wales immediately after leaving Blackpool.  Here we enjoyed the second of the regional visits of the year, a ‘Mini Out of Town’ (MOOT) to Cardiff organised by Liveryman Windsor Coles and his partner Sue. En-route we enjoyed a light lunch at the Celtic Manor Hotel, with its impressive golf club.  This was followed by an excellent visit to the Nantgawr China works and museum where they have recently re-discovered the lost formula for the finest porcelain in the world.  That evening we enjoyed a (dry) black tie dinner in the Cardiff Clink restaurant with the Master and Company of the Welsh Livery.   A delightful evening and a worthwhile charity to support. 

Nantgwar China works and museum

Saturday we were up early for an industrial heritage walk along the Taff Valley and a talk by Liveryman Dr Keith Williams on the history and technology of the Melingriffith Tin Plate works.  The talk was illustrated with anecdotes and photographs from his family’s archives.  Our thanks go to Keith and Janet for their care in preparing and delivering the excellent lecture.

The afternoon saw us enjoying a private tour of Cardiff Bay, fuelled by Prosecco, as far as the Barrage.  The visit concluded with a superb meal in the centre of Cardiff.  It was a delight to see so many new members and their partners attending the MOOT, and selecting from the different activities as suited their interests.  Very warm thanks go to Windsor and Sue for such a successful and action-packed series of linked events. 

The start of the following week saw me back in London attending the Livery Climate Action Group AGM with several other members of our Livery.  Later the same week the Master and Wardens met with representatives from the Court to initiate a review of the Worshipful Company of Engineers strategy, with a view to how we see our Livery developing over the next ten years.  A week later I had the privilege of visiting the Goldsmith’s Centre to hear about their apprenticeships and discuss professional registration.  There is much synergy between the methods and techniques used in modern manufacturing and those used in the gold and silversmith industries, albeit with a difference in scale.   

July featured one of the most important events of the Company’s year – the Awards Dinner.  This year the presentation of the awards took place in the Guildhall Livery Hall, followed by a dinner in the spectacular Old Library. Our Principal Guest and Speaker was Sheriff-Elect Andrew Marsden, who after stepping in at very short notice (again a Covid ‘incident’) delivered an excellent speech on the importance of education in enabling change, and the importance of the engineering profession to the UK economy (see separate report).  This was a truly inspiring event and congratulations go especially to our award winners whose achievements were universally agreed to be outstanding.  Many thanks are also due to Clerk David Swann and the Assistant Clerk Sandra for the huge amount work that goes on behind the scenes to make the events run smoothly – an eye opener for me.  Thanks also go to our many Livery members and supporters who gave their time freely to co-ordinate and judge the nominees. 

The third of our regional visits took place towards the end of July, this time to the Midlands.  43 members of the Livery and their partners gathered at Nuthurst Grange for a delicious private dinner, very ably organised by Junior Warden Penny Taylor.  The following morning saw a slightly different set of attendees (37) undertake the industrial heritage walk from Packwood House to the Lapworth Link Canal, with sites of interest conveniently arranged to allow transport access. 

At the Canal we were given a fascinating bankside lecture by Senior Warden Raymond Joyce who pointed out the many unique architectural features of the Canal.  Hence to the Navigation Inn for a delicious pub lunch, before completing the circuit back to Packwood House, narrowly in time for a short guided tour of the house.  Again it was a pleasure to meet many Liverymen and their partners in a relaxing informal event.

Images courtesy of John Canning

Audrey Canning

Master, Worshipful Company of Engineers