Date: 17th June 2019
Venue: Farmers & Fletchers' Hall
2019 City & Livery Familiarisation Day
Following the success of the first City & Livery Familiarisation Day in 2018 expectations for the 2019 event were high. It didn't disappoint. Attendance was excellent with 35 members, guests and those interested in and perhaps even joining, the Livery, attending.
The format remained similar to 2018. This year the event was hosted by Fellowship and Communications committee member Hugh Wykes who did a splendid job chairing the event on the day. And with the help of fellow committee member, Hilary Russel and Assistant Clerk Duncan Couper, organising and championing the event and drumming up support.
Our first guest speaker was Alderman William Russel, who is likely, subject to election to be the next Lord Mayor. William talked about the role and history of the Livery movement and the role it once and now plays in the life of the City.
The Master, Rosie Carne, the 67th Master of the Worshipful Company of Farmers, followed William and gave a potted history of the Company and of the Farmers & Fletcher's Hall and described the tortuous path that led to its initial construction and to the most recent refurbishment. She also gave an excellent and insightful description of the purpose and activities of the Company and talked about the many charitable and philanthropic works the Company is engaged in. The Deputy Master then spoke about the structures and processes by which the Company's many and varied activities are delivered and about the role of Liverymen, Court members and the Company's hierarchy.
Our wonderful Beadle Ted Prior completed the mornings presentations. Speaking from what he described as his position as a Gypsy Beadle - that is to say a beadle not permanently attached to a hall, although Ted said he is very attached to ours, he entertained with not just his enormous knowledge of City formalities but told out-of-school tales of his experiences.
A light lunch was served and the ceremony of the Loving Cup explored, explained and experienced. Altogether an excellent and very informative morning.
The afternoon was given over to a Blue Badge led, walking tour of some local highlights within the area around the Company's Barbican located hall. A tour that meant that even those who professed some considerable knowledge of the City of London found eye opening and entertaining.
And as a special treat and one not likely to be repeated easily Honorary Freeman of the Company Liz Green hosted the Company's party to a tour of her home, during her year as non-aldermanic Sheriff, the Old Bailey. Whilst this was fascinating it was also hard to overcome the feeling of being in a place of not just considerable history but also misery. This was particularly so as we visited the cells beneath the docks of there Old bailey's court. Tiny, almost windowless and decidedly unprepossessing - it was very hard not to imagine how awful these temporary residences must have been and continue to be for those standing rial in the courts above.