Held at Apothecaries’ Hall on Monday, 7th April, 2014.
It is not clear to what extent the Apothecaries were involved in supplying the Feltmakers with mercury for the treatment of furs to make felt.
However, what is certain is that they provided us with an excellent venue for our Spring Livery Dinner on Monday the 7th April. The word ‘Apothecary’ is derived from ‘apotheca’, meaning a place where wine, spices and herbs were stored. At Apothecaries’ Hall we were treated to fine wine and delicately spiced and herbed food.
The Great Hall has oak panelling that dates from 1671, and a large carved Apothecaries’ crest stands at the south end behind the Master’s chair and high table. There are three fine candelabra; the central one, and the grandest, was presented to the Society by Sir Benjamin Rawling, who was Sheriff of London and Master in 1736. The windows on the east and west sides of the Hall contain stained glass Coats of Arms of Past Masters and former Officers of the Society, and portraits hang on the walls.
The Master’s Principal Guest was the Dean of St Paul’s (and Feltmaker), The Very Reverend David Ison. The other main guests were: the Master Glover, Alderman Alison Gowan, the Master Framework Knitter, Stephen Woolfe, the Master Gunmaker, Simon Grant-Rennick, the Master Solicitor, David McIntosh and Professor Harry Duckworth.
Our Chaplain, The Very Reverend Colin Semper, offered grace before the meal, and during the meal the Master took wine with our three newly sworn in Liverymen: Mrs Kay Meldrum, Mr Gareth Cole and Mr Tim Lambert.
After the toasts to the Queen and the Royal Family, Assistant Simon Millar proposed the toast to all our guests. He likened the Dean to the starter, the four visiting Masters to the main course, and anxious about not likening anyone to a pudding he compared the Company Clerks and the other guests to coffee and chocolates, saying that they were all “stimulating and sweet”.
The Dean then stood to speak, and started by saying that it was now time for a ‘mental digestive‘. He told us that he had failed his O Level History, but after that he had then gone on to study History at A level and acquire a History degree. He also told us of his career, how he had found a wife and how he had once told one of his keen but unhygienic students, “If you want to be an evangelist you’ve got to discover deodorant”. The Dean quoted some words from a song sung by Supertramp, “When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, it was beautiful, magical”. He followed on from this to say how it is his vision at St Paul’s to help others in life to find wonder, vision and hope for the future.
Our Master thanked Simon for his innovative words and thanked the Dean for his candid and truthful speech. He also told us of his personal connections with the Apothecaries’ Hall and that he would cease to be Master Feltmaker on the 1st October of this year, while Christine his partner would be installed as Master Spectacle Maker on the 3rd October, in the same magnificent Hall in which we were dining. We were told that the Livery is in good health and good heart. Our finances are in good shape and that the spirit and conversation in the court are healthy too.
The Feltmakers’ Lodge was thanked for their generous contribution to the Feltmaker charities and we were told the latest news of the Clerk and Masters’ charity fundraising event, ‘The Great Glen row and walk‘.