Trip to Zurich – lively piece from Simon Wood

A visit to Zurich took place in April, following the kind invitation of Feltmaker, Rene Kalt, and the Waag Zunftmeister, Philippe Welti, to visit the annual Sechselauten. 

This is a cracking, three day cultural insight into the handcraft guilds of the city, ending with the parade and burning of the Boog on a bonfire to mark the end of the winter and, in folklore, determines the bounty of the harvest. We toured the city, enjoying the local gastronomy in the Waaghaus, which is a fine 16th century guildhall, and met members of several other guilds.  

The highlights must surely include the turning of the fountain from water into wine, which our Master, Bill Gammell, supervised very closely.

We also were guests for an amazing Ball on the Saturday evening, after which we moved on to other guild houses where Swiss techno and beat music was more the theme until the early hours.

Our experienced PM David Bentata, guided us through the niceties of Zurich etiquette and the city streets, and Gilly and Alan Yarrow led the Feltmaker contingent, along with Simon Wood and Lucy Wood and Mike and Gilly Dudgeon (Mercers Company). Assistant Wood also managed to row on the Zuricher See with the Grasshoppers Rowing Club.

We thank our hosts from the Waag, especially former Guildmaster Rene Kalt and Secretary Andreas Jaeger and his wife Suzanna for their terrific and warm Gastfreundschaft. 

We look forward to welcoming the 170 members of the Waag and their marching band to the City of London for the Lord Mayor’s Show on 9th November 2019.  

Feltmakers’ Design Award 2018

This years’ Feltmakers’ Design Award judging took place at Haberdashers Hall on 27th April. We had a good many entries from the UK as well as some European entries. There were over 35 entries in all from students, apprentices and new start-ups.

Judging the entries were milliners Rachel Trevor Morgan, Edwina Ibbotson, Eda Rose Lawson and Noel Stewart. Designer and manufacturer Ian Wright and retired manufacturer William Horsman.  Journalists Hilary Alexander OBE and Carole Denford, former editor of the Hat Magazine.


We were joined by the Lady Mayoress Mrs Samantha Bowman and the Sheriffs consorts, Fiona Adler and Emma Redcliffe, who arrived in time to witness the final judging and debate. Sadly the Master was not able to attend due to his commitments in court but we were pleased to be joined by his wife Jane, as well as the company clerk, Major Jollyon Coombs.


This years First Prize went to Elizabeth Yates who is a new start up milliner and former student of Kensington and Chelsea College. Her Design was contemporary and striking, an adaptable headpiece designed to work with different situations. Strips of grey felt edged in rainbow colours that were riveted together and fanned out to create many different looks. Elizabeth said ‘with each click of the magnets you the wearer decide how you look’ It was a very flattering and simple design, the judges agreed that they had not seen anything like it before. She will receive a cheque for £1200.

The Second Prize went to Olivia Dugmore from Northampton College. ‘Angel Wings’ was sculpted out of burnt felt and finished with gilded feathers. It was a mythical design representing good versus evil wings. She will receive a cheque for £600.


The Third Prize went to Christopher Julian Garner, also a new start-up  who formerly studied at London College of Fashion. His entry ‘Lucky Fish’ was a beautiful felt pillbox with Swarovski. This piece was well made and well balanced. He will receive a cheque for £450.

The Craftmanship prize was won by Lily Thomson from Kensington and Chelsea College. Inspired by the artwork of Georgia O’Keefe. Her sheep scull was a work of art. We all admired her incredible craftsmanship. The felt has been soldered, gilded, and stitched to make the finish so realistic that it was like looking at real bones. She will receive a cheque for £200.

The Commercial Appeal Prize was won by Elise Gustilo who created a very wearable and beautiful piece using fanned felt on a small pillbox base. This was a well balanced and flattering. She will receive a cheque for £200.

The prize for Artwork and Presentation was won by Lucy Todd from Northampton College. It was beautifully presented and well thought out. Her hat ‘Procyon’ was beautifully crafted with black and white layered laser cut petals. She will receive a cheque for £200.


The innovative use of felt prize went to Louise Clarke who has been learning millinery with Phillippa Eyland –Gentle. So much work has gone into her extraordinary ‘Autumn Headpiece’ inspired by nature and the natural world with horse chestn


ut made from needle felt and a beautiful hand embroidered butterfly.  She will receive a cheque for £200.


It was a very good day made all the better for the kind hospitality of The Haberdashers Hall and their staff. Thank you also to our model for the morning, Jelena who modelled the hats beautifully and to Carol Denford for the photography.


Rachel Trevor Morgan


Silent Ceremony 2018

On the 29th of September each year (Michaelmas Day) the Liverymen of the City of London elect a new Lord Mayor.  This year Alderman Peter Eslin was elected and became the 691st Lord Mayor of London. On the Friday before the second Sunday in November the new Lord Mayor was sworn into office, at the Guildhall, at a ceremony known as Silent because, apart from the vow of the incoming Lord Mayor, it is held in total silence. Silence that is apart from the heavy tread of the officers as they process in and out of the Guildhall.

The ceremony was witnessed by the Aldermen, the City officers, Masters of Livery Companies and hundreds of their fellow Liverymen. It was as rich in pageantry as it is ancient in history and though it only lasted some twenty minutes or so it was a great piece of theatre. It started with the procession into the hall of The Lord Mayor’s and Sheriffs’ Committee followed by the other City Officials, then the Aldermen, and finally the Lord Mayor Elect, the City Marshal, The Lord Mayor’s Chaplain and the outgoing Lord Mayor, the Rt Hon Charles Bowman.

The Lord Mayor-Elect, Alderman Peter Eslin, swore his oath of office. The outgoing Lord Mayor then moved to his left and summoned the incoming Lord Mayor to his seat. The new Lord Mayor then donned his tricorne hat and exactly simultaneously the newly late Lord Mayor removed his, thus symbolising the transfer of power. The officers then took it in turn to present their symbols of office, the Sceptre, Seal, Purse, Sword, Mace, Collar of Esses and Badge, each one taking three steps forward, then bowing, then presenting the symbol. The new Lord Mayor touched each one in turn and then the officer took the symbol and walked backwards, bowing, essentially reversing the process. Then the incoming Lord Mayor undertook to safeguard the silver and furniture at Mansion House, signing for the “plate”.

All this was watched by the huge audience in reverential silence. Both power and responsibility had been smoothly transferred. The verbosity of endless speeches of congratulation was unnecessary. Congratulations were offered but just with handshakes and smiles, but still all in silence. The processions then went out in reverse order, with the new Lord Mayor triumphantly in the lead.

He and the Lady Mayoress then took the Mayoral limousine to their new home for a year, the largest council house in London, Mansion House. Before they departed the Swordbearer removed his fur hat and took out the key to the seal of Christ’s hospital and handed it to the outgoing Lord Mayor, who passed it to the new Lord Mayor, who returned it to the Swordbearer, who promised to “keep it under his hat

Carole Denford with David Pearson, Past Master, Worshipful Company of Marketers