This year’s Spring Dinner was held in the Vintners’ Hall and was, as ever, the occasion, which marks the halfway point in the Master’s year. The Vintner’s Hall, dating from the late 1600s, is one of the most attractive of the livery halls, and it was a great pleasure to be back there once again.
Following an excellent meal complemented by well-chosen wines, Liveryman Richard Farmer proposed the toast to our Guests, with great spirit and eloquence. This year’s guest speaker was Murray Craig, Clerk to the Chamberlain’s Court, whom many of us will have met for the first time when we became Freemen of the City of London, since he presides at the majority of these ceremonies. Murray is a fount of knowledge on all things to do with the Corporation, and he has a host of anecdotes, some serious, but many amusing, of his experiences in his role and of the interesting and illustrious people he has met in that capacity. As well as being knowledgeable about the Corporation, he is also a considerable expert on the City and its history, as those of us who have participated in one of his guided walks will know.
Amongst our other distinguished guests were Captain Rory Bryan, and his Executive Officer, Stephen McGlory. Captain Bryan gave us an exciting update on HMS Lancaster’s recent exploits, and immediate future plans.
The Master’s own address focused on the history, the present, and the future of our Livery Company. From a livery originally rooted firmly in its trade, it now has an outward focus in terms not only of its charitable and educational activities, but also in the developing links it has made with other liveries, particularly those which, like the Feltmakers, have a textile or wool based heritage. The Master also referred to our Clerk’s forthcoming Thames Challenge, and to the exciting programme of sporting and other events taking us through the Spring and Summer seasons.