Despite the cold wet weather, March has been full of celebrations, ranging from the City of London Corporation’s networking Breakfast Reception and Panel Discussion to mark International Women’s Day,

to the CIBSE Building Performance Awards, which recognises the people, products and projects that demonstrate engineering excellence in the built environment (following on the theme of International Womens Day, the team with four women, seen here with host Angela Barnes, was particularly striking),

to the Annual United Guilds’ Service in St Pauls Cathedral, held annually since February 1943 as a coordinated Livery response to the challenges faced by the City of London following the Blitz of 1940-41,

followed of course by an invitation to our Company members to join several other Companies for a celebratory lunch at Stationers Hall, resplendent after its recent refurbishment.

Our main event in March is of course the Election Court, once again held in Saddlers Hall and proceeded by a service at the Company Church of St Vedast. On this occasion we were joined by the Prime Warden Saddler who expressed her admiration for the vibrancy of our Livery Programme.

Of course, the main business of the Election Court is to appoint the incoming Officers for the year ensuing. This was duly achieved with Mr Raymond Joyce being appointed to Master-elect, Dr Dolores Byrne becoming Senior Warden-elect and Eur Ing Penny Taylor becoming Middle Warden-elect.  Court Assistant, Professor Andrew McNaughton was appointed to Junior Warden-elect, and you can hear his inaugural Lecture on 29th June at Brewers Hall.

We were also privileged to welcome four new Liverymen, Sir Julian Young, Julie Wood, Steve Harridge and David Payne.

The fourth and final regional event of my year, expertly organised by Liveryman Jean Billingsley, was held at the end of March/start April when we visited Jodrell Bank, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to learn about the history, construction and capability of the first radio astronomy observatory in the world.  It is also home to the Lovell Telescope, still the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world.

Following a delightful evening dinner at the Cranage Estate, we set out the following morning to visit the Anderton Boat Lift, followed by a six mile walk along the Cheshire Ring Canal.  Sadly, the lift itself was under maintenance, but again its construction (capable of lifting 252 tons a distance of 50 ft), its failures, mothballing and upgrades throughout its 150 year life were fascinating. 

The last event of my Master’s year was to host an Inter-livery Invited Lecture, returning hospitality to 29 Masters and Immediate Past Masters with whom I have formed friendships over the past year. With Aldermen Alison Gowman and Robert Hughes-Penny in attendance, the lecture, entitled ‘Geopolitical Challenges, International Competition and Trade : The Role of the UK Armed Forces’, was given by Captain and Barrister Ian Park, a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School, a Hudson Fellow at Oxford University, a Mountbatten Fellow at Cambridge University and a First Sea Lord’s Fellow. 

Ian’s talk, covering the profound geopolitical challenges faced by our interconnected world and the way in which the armed forces are mitigating the effect on UK trading relationships, takes me full circle, back to my Installation Court guest’s after dinner speech on the importance of a healthy international trade to the UK economy. 

With just six days left in Office this will be my last blog.  I am deeply grateful for the support of more than 157 members of our Livery, together with their many personal guests, in organising and attending events, judging awards, helping with charitable fund-raising, reaching out to new members and those in difficulties, and encouraging and advising me throughout the year.  I look forward to having more time to enjoy your company as we move forward into a new Master’s Year.  My very best wishes for your health and happiness.

Master 2022-23
The Worshipful Company of Engineers
Audrey Canning

Image 2 credit: CIBSE Building Performance Awards