Inter-Livery Clay Pigeon Shooting Competition 2017

Well, it poured with rain on the day of the Inter-Livery Clay Pigeon Shooting Competition last year, and after a prolonged dry spell we had our first really wet day for this year’s May 17 shoot at Holland and Holland’s grounds in Northwood, Middlesex. Undaunted, the brave Feltmakers’ team slushed off round the 10 stand plus flush course soon after an early breakfast.

Regular team member, Peter Winfield took over the team captaincy this year, in the absence of our Clerk, Jollyon, who was unavailable. Other team members were Bill Gammell, Peter Shirley and new Feltmaker, Mark Williams.

Mark Williams, Bill Gammell, Peter Winfield and Peter Shirley

The usual mix of good and less good performances were diligently recorded, by the ever cheerful Holland and Holland staff. The team’s score card was approaching the consistency of papier maché from repeated exposure to the weather, by the end of the shoot. At time of writing, the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners, who organise this annual event for charity, have not published the results on their website, but we know that we are likely to be somewhere in the middle of the 180 teams that competed.

Mark blazes away

This is a very light-hearted affair with everyone in good spirits despite the rain, and culminates in a very welcome substantial lunch featuring a hog roast, in the main marquee. During the day, we remembered our former Feltmaker team colleague, William Battersby, who died so tragically in a light aircraft crash in October last year.

Peter Winfield

Let’s hope the weather treats us more kindly next year, but at least our gardens received a much needed soak while we were away shooting, this time.


Peter Shirley

Spring Livery Dinner 2017

Master & Wardens receive Liverymen and Guests

The dinner on April 3rd was held in the wonderful surroundings of the Vinters Hall, which I imagine is one of the few original ones left standing after the last Great War. It dates from the 17th century and was actually rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666. It is filled with beautiful silver and gold pieces.

The dinner was very well attended and the menu was very special and delicious, starting with guinea hen, followed by shoulder of lamb and finishing with blackcurrant charlotte, all beautifully garnished.

After toasting the Queen and the Royal Family, an Assistant proposed the guests. She did it well and elegantly.

Lt. Col. Robin Matthews

Lieutenant Colonel Robin Matthews then proposed the Livery. He was very interesting and contrasted service life (he was stationed in Afganistan) with civilian life – not an easy transition.

The Master, Jeremy Brassington

Finally the Master Jeremy Brassington gave us an update on Feltmakers’ activity including visits to various functions. He mentioned the Hat competition and other events including the annual Summer Banquet. He particularly emphasized that he would be concentrating on charitable giving.

There was the usual stirrup cup after the dinner and I am sure everyone felt it was a most enjoyable evening.

Gerald Bodmer

The Livery Society Dinner 2017

I was delighted to be invited to this dinner on Tuesday 30 January held in the unfamiliar, at least to me as an ex-RN officer, surroundings of the RAF Club on Piccadilly. Originally gifted as the Royal Air Force Club in 1918 by Lord Cowdray, it was finally opened to all RAF (and Royal Flying Corp) officers in 1922.

The Master

On entering the club one was ‘greeted’ by busts of two of the more well known Second World War Officers, Lord Dowding and Sir Keith Park. Then on the first floor corridor are the emblems of all RAF squadrons past & present. Not only was the venue fascinating and full of memorabilia of the RAF, the company too was enchanting.

There were some 30 of us, plus the Master and Clerk. We first had pre-dinner drinks in the Victoria bar of the main stairway and then promptly at 20:00 were ushered through by Jeremy Bedford, Chair of the Livery Committee and acting MC, into the President’s room. This room is so-called as it houses portraits of past Presidents of the club, all of whom it appeared to me were Air Marshals and thus had obtained the highest rank open to them.

Somehow the efficient staff had managed to get all of us around the one table. This was excellent for discourse of course but I did feel for the serving staff who started at one end and progressed either side of this long table, serving until they met at the other end, trying to ensure all food stayed hot, let alone fresh.

One of the key elements of such Company dinners is the variety of experience within our Livery. The conversations I heard, or was part of, ranged from 17th century steam engines, the benefits of one helicopter over its predecessor, the architecture of Kazakhstan and of St Petersburg to running marathons and fitness regimes, or lack of them.

Toward the end Jeremy asked the Master to speak “a few words”, which the Master did, literally. He then went on to talk about the Company’s history and some thoughts the Court is discussing regarding the future of the Company. Like most of the newer Liverymen I assume, having read the history of the Company, it was nice to put additional colour and context on my understanding. It was also very agreeable to be made aware of the Court’s thoughts and deliberations about the sustainable future of the Company.

Personally I would urge all Liverymen who have joined in the last five years or so, and who have not attended one of these less formal Livery dinners, to do so. For me it was not only enjoyable and entertaining, it was enlightening and uplifting.

Graeme Gordon

The Luton Lunch 2017

The annual Luton Lunch was held on February 9 2017, in the grand setting of the Hotel at Luton Hoo. It had been decided to try a new venue and  thanks to the good offices of Past Master William Horsman and Vivianne Vayssieres who were closely involved with the domestic arrangements, we were given sole use of The Sitting Room for Lunch; elegant but intimate and with beautiful views of the park through the windows.

A good number of 44 Liverymen and guests sat down to a delicious three course lunch with a main of lamb and some well chosen wines.

Our guest speaker was Zena Dickinson, the House Historian, who gave us a fascinating history of the House and surrounding park.

Zena Dickinson

The house was designed in the 1760’s by Robert Adam for the Earl of Bute, then Prime Minister, and the park by Capability Brown. The house was extensively remodelled in 1903 for the diamond magnate  Sir Julius Wernher and has since had close connections with the Russian and British Royal Families. It fell into sad disrepair following the tragic  premature death of Nicholas Phillips but following purchase by Elite Hotels has been restored to its’former glory  and now provides dining facilities, hotel bedrooms and a golf course and health spa as well as housing the legendary Fabergé collection. As Zena has worked at the Hoo for many years, she was able to provide us with personal insights into the more recent history of the  estate.

The Master brought  proceedings to a close by thanking our speaker, the organisers and the catering staff.

It was widely felt that the ”experiment” of a change of venue had been a triumphant success. In addition to the usual conviviality provided at a Feltmakers’event, the opulent surroundings had provided a large bonus and a majority of those attending would be happy to repeat the experience next year. We hope for an even larger attendance on that occasion.

David Siegler

And we welcome to the Livery in 2017 ….

At the Plough Monday dinner held at Armourers’ Hall we welcomed…

Dr Anthony (Tony) Rollins

Dr. Tony Rollins

Tony graduated with a BSc from Reading University and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Dundee. After graduation he joined the Patent Department of Beecham Group and has worked for forty years in the patent profession in the life science sector being a Vice President and the head of the intellectual property group at Amersham plc. and Managing Counsel European and Japanese Patents of Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD). He has represented and led BusinessEuope delegations in patent harmonisation discussions, including to China and Japan. He currently runs his own consultancy business.

Tony has been involved in a number of professional bodies in relation to intellectual property and is on Council and currently the President of the UK Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.

He is a keen gardener and enjoys wine and whisky tasting!

Louisa Vincent

Louisa Vincent

Louisa was born and grew up in rural mid-Wales, the youngest of three children.  She had a somewhat unconventional education, including being a year at a boys’ boarding prep school aged 7, and a year in Canada during her A Levels.  After working in London for a few years, she went travelling. She fell in love with Australia, so stayed, moving to Sydney and joining a financial advisory firm. She has worked in different parts of the investment industry ever since.

In 2002, Louisa completed an MBA (Exec), and two years later was transferred to London.  In 2007, she joined Lazard Asset Management as Head of Institutions, with overall responsibility for everything client facing for institutional investors across the UK, Benelux, Nordics and Middle East.

Louisa is a trustee and a member of the finance committee for Fight for Sight, the UK’s largest charity funding pioneering eye research, and the Lazard Samaritan Fund, and has spent over 17 years as an active member of charity committees.

Louisa met her husband in Sydney (also British) and their two daughters were born there.  They live in a small village in Buckinghamshire, and life revolves around family, horses, dogs and other animals.  A keen cook including marmalade and jams, skiing, travel, entertaining and opera round out Louisa’s interests.  They regularly return to Australia every couple of years.

At the Spring dinner held at Vintners’ Hall we welcomed…

Mark Williams

Mark Williams

Mark is co-owner and director of Mansell & Co Chartered Certified Accountants in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire. The firm was established about fifty years ago and Mark has worked there for almost twenty years. He specialises in assisting owner-managed businesses and providing personal tax advice, including work for a number of clients in The City, which he visits on a regular basis.

Outside of work, Mark has a busy family life but manages to enjoy regular Clay Pigeon Shooting. He had signed up for the Feltmakers’ Team at the Annual Inter-Livery Shoot where he hopes not to embarrass himself and instead do the Company proud!


John Nicholson

John Nicholson

John was born in 1947, one of twins and the youngest of 7 children. The family lived in just 3 rooms until he was 11 years old. John failed his 11 plus and left school in 1962 with few qualifications, but attended night school, passed a basic electrical course and became an apprentice electrician for the National Coal Board at Vane Tempest Colliery. He received various promotions there, leading to his becoming the colliery electrical engineer. He then moved to Westoe Colliery and to Wearmouth Colliery after Westoe’s closure. When the last Durham colliery closed in 1994, John retired.

As an apprentice and electrician (1962-1972), he was involved with union activities, and attended Ruskin College. His higher education was through the NCB, qualifying with AMEME (Hons) in 1971.

He lost his right hand in a serious accident in 1986.

He is married to Heather and they have 2 daughters and a grandson. John was a FA referee for 30 years, mainly in the youth leagues, and has been associated with his local church for many years, serving as a choirboy in his youth and then as Church Warden, Treasurer and PCC member.

Having known poverty in childhood, he became an active young socialist in the 1960s, and he still retains these beliefs although he now leads a much more comfortable life.

Michael Jackson


Michael Jackson

I retired in 2013, after fifty working years, Thirty in Accountancy – having signed Articles with a City Firm in 1963, followed by twenty in Education Management in the Maintained and Independent sectors.

My wife, died unexpectedly in 1993. My son and daughter have provided five grandchildren, two in England, and three in Australia, all of whom who I see regularly. I now live in Guildford with my partner Eunice.

I have always been involved in my local communities, including many years as Parochial Church Council Treasurer, in two parishes. Recently I have been Governor of two local schools and am now a volunteer at the local general hospital.

My interests in Psychology, Politics and History, are sustained by my continuing studies at Birkbeck College.

At the Master and Wardens’ meeting held at the Cavalry & Guards Club on 12 September we welcomed…

Carole Denford

Carole Denford






Edwina Ibbotson

At the Installation Dinner at Haberdashers’ Hall we welcomed…

James de-Broe Ferguson

James de-Broe Ferguson

After Harrow, James joined the army and entered Sandhurst as an Army Scholar to follow his father into The Black Watch.  An unfortunate medical mishap put a stop to this and he entered The City of London in 1988, working firstly as a Marine Hull Broker at Lloyd’s, moving after a time into private client fund management.  He worked closely with Jonathan Ruffer at Ruffer LLP before joining Singer & Friedlander.  James has been in his role since 2006, migrating the business to Williams de Broë and then its takeover by Investec where he is currently a Senior Investment Director.  He is Treasurer of The Harrow Association, on the committee of The Gull’s Eggs City Luncheon in aid of Cure Parkinson’s Trust  and a member of Brooks’s.  Married to Maria he has two children, lives in Somerset and works in London.

Her Honour Judge, Karen Jane Holt

Hilary Alexander

Born in New Zealand, Hilary  Alexander OBE is  the former Fashion Director of The Daily Telegraph. She retired from the Telegraph in 2011, after 26 years,  and has continued to work as a freelance stylist , fashion consultant and writer; is the editor-at-large of Hello Fashion Monthly and a regular presenter and host at The Clothes show. She appears frequently on television and has been one of the regular judges in the TV series, Britain’s Next Top Model. She works regularly with a number of charities, including the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and the British Heart Foundation, and also styles the Breast Cancer Care annual charity gala fashion show. A long-established supporter of Graduate Fashion Week, she has been a GFW Trustee since 2011.  She has been named British Fashion Journalist of the Year twice (1998 and 2003). In November, 2007, she was honoured with the title Doctor of Design by Nottingham Trent University. She was awarded the OBE  by HM The Queen, for services to fashion journalism on November 28, 2013. She is a passionate traveller, long-distance walker, gardener, cook, cat-lover and collector of tribal jewellery.

Plough Monday Dinner 2017

Inclement weather and a Rail and Tube strike could not dampen the atmosphere at the Armourers’ Hall on 9th. January 2017 as over 70 guests of the Master gathered for the annual Plough Monday Dinner. Chief among the guests were the two Sheriffs of the City of London, Alderman and Sheriff William Russell and Alderman and Sheriff Peter Estlin. They were joined by  the Masters of the Haberdashers’ Company and the International Bankers’ Company.

Master Jeremy Brassington receives one of his guests

The Company Chaplain, the Reverend Andrew Pritchard-Keens, invoked the traditional Blessing ‘God speed the Plough’ before offering an excellent Grace as we sat down to a delicious dinner complemented by fine wines chosen by the Master.

Peter Winfield

The Master took wine with the three new members of the Livery, Mrs. Louisa Vincent, Mr. Tony Rollins and Mr. James Cooke. In welcoming the Sheriffs Assistant Peter Winfield reminded the Company that the Sheriffs’ office dates back to the 7th. century and they remain responsible for the operation of the Central Criminal Court of the Old Bailey as well as supporting the Lord Mayor. In addition to a distinguished City career Alderman and Sheriff William Russell serves on the Courts of the Haberdashers and our own Feltmakers  Companies.

The Sheriffs, Alderman Russell left and Alderman Estlin right

Alderman and Sheriff Peter Estlin is the Senior Warden of the Company of International Bankers in addition to advising a number of Companies in the City, he has also advised HM Treasury.  In their combined speeches both Sheriffs gave an insight into their work at the Old Bailey. They  paid tribute to the Upper Warden, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, who in his role as Recorder of London manages the Courts as well as providing advice to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen. The Sheriffs had been weighed-in at the start of their term, and would also be weighed at the end of their term of office, which had given rise to a certain amount of spread betting in the City and the Law Courts!

The Master

In proposing the health of his Guests the Master thanked the Sheriffs for their most entertaining speeches, on their night off from attending the Lord Mayor.  He noted that the City’s Livery Companies collectively gave almost £50m. p.a. to charitable causes. In seeking ways to increase the Feltmakers’ giving the Master mentioned his upcoming Charity events. The first is a Golf day at Worplesdon Golf Club on 16th. June. The second is an Exhibition of hearing aid and assistive technology  in support of the Charity ‘Hearing Link’  at the Haberdashers’ Hall finishing with a Gala Dinner on 6th. July. Drawing on Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man, the Master welcomed his guests from his School, from Oxford,  PWC, Barings, the Wine trade, the assistive technology industry, as well as personal friends, remarking that innovation had been a core part of his business career.   A new Freeman category of members of the Livery had been instituted for working hatters and milliners. Altogether the Feltmakers’ Company was in good shape, something with which the assembled company  agreed as they rose to the Toast proposed by Alderman and Sheriff William Russell to the health of ‘The Worshipful Company of Feltmakers’ and the Master’.  They then adjourned  to the Drawing Room for a stirrup cup after a thoroughly enjoyable Plough Monday Dinner.

Richard Brumby




Carols by Candlelight 2016

On Monday, 12th December, Feltmakers, family and friends gathered in the candlelit medieval church of St Bartholomew the Great for the annual carol service.

The solo first verse of “Once in Royal David’s City” marked the start of the service as the choir, Clerk, Wardens, Master, Chaplain and Rector processed down the centre aisle.  The Bidding Prayer was read by our Chaplain, The Reverend Andrew Prichard-Keens, and this was followed by the familiar pattern of festive carols and seasonal readings, which this year were delivered by the Clerk, Liveryman Jane Way, Past Master Nicholas Heal, Assistant Sarah MacLeod, Past Master Anthony Phillips and the Master.

The choir, under the Direction of Ben Horden and accompanied by organist Charles Andrews, sang beautifully, their programme including a couple of traditional carols,  “Ding Dong Merrily on High” and “Sussex Carol”, as well as the more modern, “My Lord has Come” by Will Todd.   There was an equal amount of enthusiasm and enjoyment on our part when it was our turn to sing the congregational carols.

Andrew gave the Address, telling how from birth the child Jesus showed the greatest promise and had the greatest capability to do good and change the world.  His story speaks of the potential that has been presented to and implanted in us, providing us all with the opportunity and power to bring a better quality of life to the world in which we live, to be blessed and to bless others too.

Following the Blessing by the Rector, The Reverend Dr Martin Dudley, we made our way to Haberdashers’ Hall after stopping to inspect Damien Hirst’s gilded bronze statue “St Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain” which has recently been returned to the church.  At the conclusion of a delicious buffet supper, the Master thanked The Reverend Dr. Martin Dudley, mentioning that Dr. Dudley would shortly be retiring The Master then wished everyone present a very Happy Christmas.  Past Master Peter Keens responded, thanking the choir and echoing everyone’s feeling that this special occasion always signifies the beginning of Christmas.

Elaine Howard



St. Clement’s Day Lunch at Atherstone

Atherstone in Warwickshire was once an important hatting town, and became well known for its felt hats. The industry began in the 17th century and at its height there were seven firms employing 3,000 people. Due to cheap imports and a decline in the wearing of hats, the trade had largely died out by the 1970s with just three companies remaining, Denham & Hargrave Ltd, Vero & Everitt Ltd and Wilson & Stafford Ltd. The production of felt hats in the town ceased altogether with the closure of the Wilson & Stafford factory in 1999.

The Feltmakers Charitable foundation makes a contribution towards hatters’ pensions in Atherstone, Stockport and Luton each Christmas.

Pensioner hatters join the Master at the St. Clement's day lunch on 23 November 2016.
Pensioner hatters join the Master at the St. Clement’s day lunch on 23 November 2016.

The St Clement’s day lunch was started by Past master Geoffrey Vero some ten years ago and is attended by 90 to 100 pensioners and the Mayor and Councillor of Atherstone.  The Luton Lunch for pensioner hatters in Luton is held in February.

Saint Clement’s Day was traditionally, and in some places still is, celebrated on the 23 November, a welcome festival between Halloween and Christmas. Pope Clement I is the patron saint of metalworkers and blacksmiths, and so these workers traditionally enjoyed a holiday on his feast day.

Originally considered the saint of metalwork and blacksmiths, St Clement is also considered the patron saint of millinery, and is attributed with discovering felt.

St Clement the monk is said to have lined his sandals with wool before starting off on his pilgrimage, and the friction turned the lining into a type of felt, similar to that which we use to make our hats today!

Jeremy Brassington

Design Award 2016

The Worshipful Company of Feltmakers of London held their annual Design Awards at the beginning of April at Haberdashers’ Hall. This annual competition for European students and apprentices was extended for the first time to include those with a start-up business of less than two years. The high standard of work never ceases to amaze the judges, with innovative new designs, processes and shapes that take the traditional felt material to a far more exciting level.


The judging started at 10am and shortly after, the jury were joined by the Lady Mayoress, the Master Mr Peter Simeons and his wife, and the Sheriff’s Consorts Mrs Samantha Bowman and Mr Stephen Rigden, with the ladies wearing their own stylish headwear. Everyone had the opportunity to comment and give their opinion whilst the hats were modelled and thoroughly inspected. At 12 noon the winners were announced.

First Prize

1st. prize
1st. prize

Taking First Prize was Charlotte Roseman, from Kensington and Chelsea College, who had designed a felt rose headpiece, held in position by its stems and thorns that wrapped around the head. Each of the petals had been individually coloured and shaped, the outer ones being burnt and ‘aged’ to produce a sensation of foreboding. Her inspiration was taken from the illustrations created for The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, particularly the unsettling contrast of the warm central glow fading out to dark twisting branches and brambles at the outer edge, giving a feeling of dark, lurking enchantment.

Charlotte receives £1200, plus work experience with royal milliner Rachel Trevor-Morgan and with Walter Wright Ltd. Charlotte will be presented with her prize at the Feltmakers’ Banquet, held at Mansion House in June.

Second Prize

2nd. prize
2nd. prize

Second prize was awarded to Giulia Mio, of Giulia Mio Haute Couture Millinery, using a modern floral theme, and comprised a headpiece of felt lotus flowers positioned on a millinery wire, each one finished with a bright yellow stamen. Giulia was exploring graphical ideas for her entry when she came across a picture of lotus flowers on her phone that she had taken at the Botanic Gardens in Oxford. When she saw how defined and almost architectural the petals were she decided to explore their purity and geometry to create a floral crown. Giulia receives £600.

Third Prize

3rd. prize
3rd. prize

Third prize was awarded to Ania Zydron, from Kensington and Chelsea College, for her contemporary take on a felt bowler hat. Using simple mathematical shapes in primary colours in a contrast of felt, veneer and acrylic, the design was a take on the Suprematism art movement led by painters Malevich and Lissitzky in the 1920s. This saw the rejection of natural shapes in favour of the creation of geometric forms. The entry exploits felt’s rigidity and strength and features contrasts between wool and synthetics. Ania receives £450.

Prize For Commercial Appeal

Commercial Appeal prize
Commercial Appeal prize

For Commercial Appeal the prize was awarded to Paul Marcher, from the Fashion Institute Vienna, for his light blue fur felt hat with a simple quill trim. The judges commented on the classic elegance of this design, and also the fit and balance that worked well together. Paul completes his 3-year course in Vienna this year and for his entry wanted to create a hat that was elegant and modern, with clean lines and a contemporary finish. After completing college he is planning to move to England and to study costume design. Paul receives £200.

Innovative Use of Felt

Innovative Use of Felt prize
Innovative Use of Felt prize

The Prize for Innovative Use of Felt was awarded to Claire Bennett, from Kensington and Chelsea College, for her bold felt headpiece that stood high and framed the face. The headpiece was perforated, cut and hand blocked into a shape that fitted the head well. The organic shape was inspired by a walk through woodlands, with the sun glinting through the ferns, imagining when the woodland creatures come to life. Claire receives £200.

Craftsmanship Award

Craftsmanship prize
Craftsmanship prize

The Craftsmanship Award was given to Hanna Zachoval, from the Fashion Institute Vienna, for her felt beret adorned with colourful felt flowers. The leather edge on the band was perfectly finished. Hilary Alexander loved this hat and the fact that it was submitted by a 15-year-old student, and she said it was very fashion forward for A/W 2017. The design was inspired by the background music of the Yves Saint Laurent perfume commercial for Black Opium. The track ‘My Head is a Jungle’, by DJ Wankelmut and Emma Louise, was a crucial part of her inspiration in making the ‘jungle hat’. Hanna receives £200.

Artwork and Presentation

Artwork and Presentation prize
Artwork and Presentation prize

The Artwork and Presentation Prize was awarded to Millie Winson, from Northampton College. Her mood boards, descriptions and images were proficiently documented and very well presented.

The Judging Panel

Hilary Alexander – Fashion Journalist; Rachel Trevor-Morgan – Milliner and Feltmaker; Edwina Ibbotson – Milliner and Lecturer; Noel Stewart – Milliner; Carole Denford – Fashion Editor, The HAT Magazine; Ian Wright – Millinery Manufacturer and Feltmaker; Eda Rose Lawson – Milliner and Feltmaker


To take part in the 2017 Design Award please contact Rachel Trevor-Morgan, as colleges may wish to run this award as part of their 2017/18 syllabus:

Article and photographs by Carole Denford and published here by courtesy of The Hat magazine.

Installation Dinner 2016

installation-dinner-2016-diners-dsc_0199On the crisp autumn evening of 7 October, it was a delight to indulge in the warmth of friendship and conviviality in the company of Feltmakers and their guests at the beautiful Haberdashers’ Hall. installation-dinner-2016-haberdashers-flag-dsc_0135The night provided a chance to regather with old friends, welcome newcomers (hats off to the newly appointed Liverymen and Freemen of the Company!), and congratulate our new Master Jeremy Brassington on the occasion of his Installation Dinner and the beginning of his year’s term.installation-dinner-2016-fountain-dsc_0132

installation-dinner-2016-drinks-dsc_0172Proceedings began at 7 o’clock with a champagne reception in the Gallery of Haberdashers’ Hall, before we were ushered into the Dining Hall for a delicious three course meal. We savoured smoked trout, roasted partridge and a “tea and cake” ice-cream dessert; all with well-chosen wine pairings and rounded off nicely with a cup of coffee, melt-in-the-mouth chocolate truffles and a dash of port.

Simon Wilkinson
Simon Wilkinson

After dinner, as the port decanters were still slowly winding their way along the tables, we were treated to the highlight of the evening: the speeches. Lieutenant Colonel Simon Wilkinson, who proposed the Master’s guests so warmly, welcomed the Upper Bailiff of the Weavers’ Company, Richard Humphries MBE, Master Woolman Alderman Peter Hewitt, and John Salter, Master of The Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames.

David Cartwright QFSM proposed the toast to the Company, in which he entertained us with stories of his childhood, his career as Assistant Commissioner

David Cartwright
David Cartwright

in the London Fire Brigade, and even gave us a history lesson, apologising on behalf of the Brigade that they were not on hand to save our very own Feltmakers Hall when it burned down in the Great Fire of London in 1666. David echoed the sentiments of all in the room when he gave thanks for the friendly connection among the Liveries of London -which he enjoyed as Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Firefighters – and spoke of the remarkable warmth and support that each offers. This was particularly apt as we enjoyed the hospitality of the Haberdashers and their wonderful catering staff throughout the evening. I found myself thinking that perhaps we were lucky to have lost our Hall in the Great Fire, as it means we are fortunate enough to be treated to such fabulous hospitality in many other Livery Halls around London.

Our new Master, Jeremy Brassington
Our new Master, Jeremy Brassington

In his first speech as our new Master, Jeremy Brassington congratulated Past Master Peter Simeons on a hugely successful year and laid out his plans for the year to come. The Master has chosen Hearing Link as his charity for the year: an organisation which works to improve the quality of life for those with hearing loss and their families. It was a pleasure to have joining us for dinner the Chief Executive of Hearing Link, Dr Lorraine Gailey. The Master announced a charity event to be held in June 2017 in aid of Hearing Link as well as his plans to revitalise the Feltmaker Golf Day – both events to which many Feltmakers are already looking forward.

Well-fed, well-watered and well-entertained, there was just enough time to join the Master for a stirrup cup before we returned to our carriages which sped us away into the cold autumn night, our hearts warmed by yet another wonderful evening with the Feltmakers.

Sarah Wood