The annual gathering of Feltmakers and their guests at the Mansion House took place on Friday, 2nd June 2017. All were warmly welcomed by the Master, Jeremy Brassington, accompanied by his wife, Pearl, and our own “Fab Four” Wardens. The civic party attending comprised the Lord Mayor Locum Tenens, Sir David Wootton and Lady Wootton, together with Sheriff William Russell and his wife, Hilary. Also present was a group of seven (wearing traditional dress) from the Zunft zur Waag, one of Zurich’s most ancient guilds.
Hats by prizewinners of the Feltmakers’ design competition (which has been held since 1989) were on display in the Salon and the winning hat this year, designed by Ms Alexandra
Thompson, was elegantly modelled throughout the evening.
A jolly and convivial affair, with drink flowing and music provided by the Brass Quartet of the Royal Marines Concert Band in the setting of the splendid Egyptian Hall. Perhaps unique to a Feltmakers’ gathering, many ladies wore adorable little cocktail hats to complement their evening gowns. Amusement was provided within some of the speeches (notably that of the Upper Warden, Nicholas Hilliard) and the ability of the post horn to play the “gallop” whilst run-walking a full circuit of the dining tables, seemingly in one breath.
And despite the provision of detailed written instructions for the ceremony of the Loving Cup,
it is wonderful to see the concentration on people’s faces as they try to get the sequence of events right. Maybe the fault lies not in a lack of comprehension of said instructions, but an acute shortage of reading spectacles….
Charity being a fundamental component of the Livery movement, both Sir David and the Master spoke of it – and the importance of change.
Sir David mentioned the good work done by the Old Bailey in its legal and community outreach project and the three music charities which are supported this year by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, for which the Master presented him with a cheque for £4,000. The Master spoke of fact that, along with many other ancient Livery companies, control over the trades has diminished and we have sought to make charitable giving a more central focus – to provide a sense of purpose and continued relevance in modern society. He referred to the recently circulated questionnaire to the Livery regarding our new charity initiative and appealed to members to take the time to complete it if they have not already done so!
A lovely evening of fellowship made poignant when one recollects that it took place between two tragic events, one in Manchester on 22nd May, then, the day after our dinner, at London Bridge and Borough Market, when many people lost their lives or were seriously injured. We continue to go about our business; they are in our thoughts, and prayers.