After the Ball is over….(or at least after the Summer Banquet) – Livery Lunch and Master’s Walk on Saturday 3rd July
Getting together for the splendid Summer Banquet on 2nd July provided a way to create an alternative to the usual Master’s Weekend, which has now had to be postponed for two years running. A number of people stayed over in London on Friday evening after the Banquet and had the opportunity to come to the Livery Hall (again for the first time since the Livery Dinner in February 2020) for a ‘socially distanced’ event and lunch on the next day. For all of us it was a great opportunity to meet up again and talk, as that had been more difficult at the Summer Banquet the night before when mixing at the tables was not allowed.
One highlight of the day was an excellent lunch in the River Room, with an opportunity to see (at least on the large screens) the new Royal Charter for the Livery. Thanks to the considerable generosity of Christopher and Jane Sawyer and their work with the Privy Council over several years, we had received a splendid, illuminated Royal Charter. At lunch, Christopher explained the process by which the Charter has been granted – noting that not all Livery Companies either had such a charter or indeed were eligible for it. We look forward to receiving the actual vellum charter in due course (likely in the autumn), when it can be displayed at the Hall. Christopher also gave us advance warning of next year’s Banquet in the Summer, which will be a special ‘Charter Banquet’. We will then receive the Charter formally, likely from the Lord Mayor, at what promises to be a very special occasion, hopefully at Mansion House. I could say book now to avoid disappointment…..but as soon as the date is set, then it will be publicized and it will be a great occasion and one for all our diaries.
After lunch the Master invited those of us with some stamina left for a walk along the riverbank, to see some of the sights close by the Livery Hall. This second highlight of the day was a great opportunity to learn from Martyn of the history of the area and how it had been changed in recent years – as well as getting some much needed exercise after lunch. The Master certainly had done his homework and his commentary was packed with fascinating facts and figures as we walked along – understanding how an area that had been rundown and neglected for many years had been transformed into apartments, as well as very busy restaurants and bars filled even though the tourist season has been much affected by the travel restrictions. A few quiz questions along the way tested the knowledge of the twenty or so people of all ages that went along and enjoyed the event.
Then we were back at the Livery Hall before 4pm, packed up our bags and were on our way.
Overall, a great 24 hours and at last a feeling of something approaching normality. Yes, the numbers at the Banquet had to be limited, as were those who could attend for lunch on Saturday and then go on the walk. But above all it was an opportunity to talk, to catch up, to be thankful that so many have come through this difficult period so well and to look forward to more normal times when we can get together and look towards the next Livery year. I look forward to seeing you then.