November was a month of representing the Company.  The start of the month was dominated by two key City Year landmarks, Acts of Remembrance and the succession of Lord Mayor.

The start of the first full week of November saw the Livery Companies gather for a service in the Garden of Remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral.  Laying a cross on behalf of the Worshipful Company of Engineers was a very proud moment.

Garden of Remembrance

The end of the week saw the Livery Companies gather once again for a Service of Remembrance in St Paul’s Cathedral, followed by wreath laying on the steps of the Royal Exchange. 

In between there were services of thanksgiving for the work of the outgoing Lord Mayor, attendance at the Silent Ceremony in the Guildhall where the new Lord Mayor is installed and walking in a very joyful Lord Mayor’s parade with the Clerk, Middle Warden and Liveryman John Chandler as part of the Modern Livery Companies’ ‘float’.

And of course the first full week of November also saw two key Company events, delivery of a ‘barn storming’ lecture on the challenges of embracing diversity in engineering by Junior Warden Penny Taylor and the annual Past Masters’ dinner, an opportunity for the current Master to present the ‘State of the Company’ and to reflect on future plans. 

After a short break to gather breath, it was time to represent the Company at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s MacRobert Award Winner’s evening, followed the very next evening by our 3rd on-line soiree of the year (our 28th since April 2020) ‘Turning New Manufacturing Technologies into Commercial Reality’ .  I seem to have been uniquely blessed as a Master, having not one, but two Wardens’ lectures, two MacRobert conversations, as well as maintaining our, now well established, ‘soirees’ on a roughly quarterly basis.

The end of November saw two more important civic events, a briefing from the Lord Mayor on his theme for the year, ‘Financing Our Future’, with its four pillars of increasing capital growth, innovating asset management and developing green finance and financial inclusivity initiatives.  This was followed by the launch of ‘The Big Curry Lunch’ a City fund raising event to support members of His Majesty’s Armed Forces and veterans through the three National Service Charities.  The Lunch itself will be held on 30th March 2023 in the Guildhall and I would be very pleased to hear from members who might like to help me form a ‘WCE table’ to support this event. 

Last, but not least, November brought a very welcome invitation from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers to attend their 175th Anniversary at the Library of Birmingham.  It was a pleasure to share a common heritage with engineers from a range of backgrounds, as well as to find that our joint engineering heritage goes back such a long way. 

By contrast December has been a very quiet month, with only two major events, made even quieter (for me) by an unwelcome attack of Covid.

As a guest of Liveryman Mark Jefferies, I was in Derby to celebrate the Rolls Royce Annual Schools Awards, presented by Warren East CEO.  This award celebrates initiatives by the schools themselves to develop hands on teaching projects to interest children of all ages in STEM subjects. 

The other major December event, our Carol Service at the Tower of London followed by dinner at Clothworkers Hall, was unfortunately for me, experienced only at second hand. Nevertheless, I was delighted that more than 100 members and their guests did attend, despite train strikes, adverse weather, rising prices and a growing variety of infectious diseases. 

My Principal Guest, Dr Christine Rigden, Past Sheriff of the City of London, Past Master Constructor, Past Master Mason and, for the last 15 years, one of the four annually elected Ale Connors of the City of London, provided a humorous demonstration of the practice of ale conning, whilst explaining how it had once been essential to the health and well-being of citizens. 

We also took the opportunity to present a retirement present of a silver candelabra to Colonel David Swan in recognition of his service as Clerk to the Company. 

Last, but not least, The London Fanfare Trumpets provided excellent musical entertainment including the post horn gallop and a rendition of Christmas tunes.  A first for the Company was a ‘sing-a-long’ to the tune of ‘White Christmas’ which resonated throughout Clothworkers Hall.  You can hear us singing in very fine fettle here.

It just remains for me to wish all members of the Company a very happy and peaceful Christmas and I look forward to seeing you again in the New Year.