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.
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.
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.
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!
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.