Fishmongers’ Hall, the venue for this year’s Banquet, provided us with spectacular views of the Thames and beyond, wonderful paintings and candlelit chandeliers. The splendidly attired Doggett’s Men in their crimson uniforms with oars (click here for more information) welcomed us and the HAC Brass Quintet, who played during the reception in tremendous form, then serenaded the Company with the Post Horn Gallop during a delightful evening.
Drinks before dinner provided an opportunity to examine the winning entries in the Feltmakers’ Hat Competition, won this year by Isla Campbell of Kensington and Chelsea College. She was accompanied by her tutor Sarah Cant. During his speech, the Master, John Ray, paid a very warm and moving tribute to all that Past Master Bill Horsman had done in establishing, guiding and promoting this prestigious national annual competition over 20 years.
The Master’s powerful words triggered an enthusiastic standing ovation, extremely rare on an occasion like this. Bill now hands over the reins to Liveryman Rachel Trevor-Morgan. Some idea of the kudos that derives from winning the competition can be appreciated from the Kensington and Chelsea College website.
After grace by our Chaplain the Very Reverend Colin Semper, all sat down to a sumptuous dinner. The Upper Warden, Eda Rose-Lawson, introduced our principal guests, namely Lord Mayor Locum Tenens Alderman Ian Luder and Alderman and Sheriff Fiona Woolf. Ian Luder’s response to Eda’s welcome was delivered with consummate panache and poise in his customary self-deprecating and witty style. The Master, who replied on behalf of the Company in proposing the health of the guests, presented Ian Luder with a cheque for the Lord Mayor’s Charity, the Bear Necessities.
He then asked Mrs Lin Luder to present the Feltmaker Award 2011, with the winning entry modelled by Jasmine. The Master’s principal personal guest was John Bly, the well-known furniture expert who has been involved with BBC Television’s Antiques Roadshow since it started in 1978 and also a Patron of the Master’s Charity, the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home.
His very amusing speech put us in fine form when we came to echo the Master’s Toast to the Livery Companies of the City of London.
All in all, we were treated to a splendid and very enjoyable occasion, more than ample compensation for the last-minute disappointment of being denied our scheduled return to Mansion House.
All photographs taken by Gerald Sharp Photography, who have kindly allowed us to use them here. To view and order prints of these and all the other photographs taken by them at the banquet, please visit their website, then select ‘Gallery’ from the menu, and on the next page select ‘Livery Company’ and ‘Feltmakers Banquet 174D (03/06/2011)’ from the drop down lists.