Sunday, 17 July 2011


Coat of arms of the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers
On Thursday I went to the last company dinner outside the Hall in my year as Master - there are still two more to go at the Hall before I stand down on midnight 23/24 July. 

I was particularly pleased that this dinner was that held by the Leathersellers.  They are a very active Company with a wide interest in education - particularly Colfe's School and the Leathersellers' Schools Federation in the London Borough of Lewisham - and care of the elderly, as well as support to their trade.  For more details go to

Currently the Company is redeveloping their Bishopsgate site and in the process the existing hall is being demolished and will re-open in 2015 on the same site.  This will be the first purpose-built City livery hall in the twenty-first century; a most interesting challenge.  In the meantime the Company is pursuing a peripatetic existence and on Thursday we dined at Saddlers' Hall.

The current Master, Nigel Pullman, is a very active participant in the livery movement and has been a welcome companion throughout my Master's year.  The Leathersellers were most hospitable and my last outside company dinner as Master was just as it should be.


At Edmanson's Close I explain the story of the medal before making presentations.  The room is the combined social club and chapel.  Photograph with thanks to Herry Lawford.
On Thursday I presented Drapers' Company Medals at the Company's three almshouses.  Alastair Ross, the Clerk, came with me.  We visited Queen Elizabeth College and Walter's Close in the morning and Edmanson's Close in the afternoon.  Readers of this blog will know that residents of the almshouses over 85 and who have lived in a Drapers' almshouse for five years are eligible to receive the medal.

At each site I explained about the decision to reinstitute the medal after a hundred years or so and the further decision to present it to residents.  I then presented the medals to those who were well enough to receive them.  I also made special visits to those who felt they could no leave their cottages or flats.

At each almshouse we were given excellent tea and cakes and it was good to catch up with the residents' stories.  Past Master Sir Nicholas Jackson was with us at Queen Elizabeth College and Liveryman Herry Lawford at Edmanson's Close.

I sensed the presentations were popular.  The medals are individually named and are thus a real link between the Company and the individual recipient.  They are also a token of the Company's ongoing commitment as trustees of the various almshouses.
Alastair and myself just about to leave Edmanson's Close.  Photograph with thanks to Herry Lawford.


We held our final Governors' meeting of the first year of Drapers' Academy on 12 July.  Still lots of challenges but we all thought that not only were we making progress but the future looked most promising.

After the holidays the highlights of next term will be:

The largest entry for some time for the school on the site with some 110 children entering Year 7.  This is over twenty up on last year.

Work starting in setting up the exciting sixth form that will open in September 2012. 

A topping out ceremony for the new buildings within the next eight weeks.  This is a major step forward with the project.  The shape and size of the building will become increasingly evident over the next few months.

Selling the Academy to the local community for Year 7 and sixth form entry in September 2012 in the Autumn schools round.

Lots of improvements to the curriculum, including more music teaching for Year 7s.

Matthew Slater, the Principal, and his team have put in a huge amount of work this year and the results of this will become increasingly evident over the next few terms.

Now it is time for the staff and pupils to have a well-earned break and my best wishes to Year 11 leavers who were, unfortunately, the only year group at the Academy not to benefit from our new sixth form..


Coat of Arms of the Carmen's Company
Each year the Carmen hold a cartmarking ceremony in Guildhall Yard to maintain an ancient tradition that required the Company to licence carts that plied for trade in the City.  This was both to regulate numbers in the crowded streets of the City and to ensure that owners 'heeded the rules of the day.'

One of the cart marking boards that are attached to the vehicles.  This one shows that the vehicle has been recorded at the cartmarking ceremony every year for the last decade or so.  I am indebted for this and the subsequent picture to my fellow Master Marketor blogger.
The cart marking ceremony has now metamorphosed into a parade of vehicles, the majority owned and in some cases operated by Carmen, that are each driven into Guildhall Yard and ceremonially marked on a wooden board with a hot branding iron.  This year the letter was T.

A horse drawn pantechnicon that was designed to travel by rail, the top boards can be folded down for this purpose.  The vehicle is owned by the Gerson family still active in the business, but now operating as ICM Gerson, and on the livery.  Again thanks to the Master Marketor for this picture.
I have been a member of the Company since 1997 but this was only the third cartmarking ceremony I have attended.  It seems to get larger each year and there were 48 entrants ranging from handcarts to large modern tractor units and including horse, diesel, petrol and steam powered vehicles.

It was a most interesting morning with some splendid vehicles on display.

For more details about the Carmen's Company go to

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


On Monday the final vote for the election of sheriffs was received.  In alphabetical order they were:

Nicholas Bonham- Citizen and Pewterer - 549 votes
Wendy Mead- Citizen and Glover - 693 votes
Andrew Stephen Whitton - Citizen and Needlemaker - 40 votes: although Andrew appeared on the ballot paper readers of this blog will know that he had withdrawn from the race.  It was thus a most quixotic gesture from those who voted for him.
Alan Colin Drake Yarrow - Alderman and Fishmonger - 1044 votes

The end result exactly mirrors the Common Hall voting but with a clearer margin for Wendy Mead over Nick Bonham.  On balance I think this was the best outcome.  So next year's Aldermanic Sheriff will be Alan Yarrow with Wendy Mead as Lay Sheriff.


Gareth Clutton's (1960-2011) memorial service was held at St Sepulchre without Newgate in Friday.  St Sepulchre's is the largest City parish church and a centre for music as the National Musicians' Church (For more details go to ). It is linked to St Michael's Cornhill as Rev Peter Mullen holds both benefices.

As predicted by the Evening Standard (See earlier blog) there was a very substantial turnout drawn from Gareth's family and wide circle of friends.  The church was full.  Moving the service from the smaller St Michael's to St Sepulchre's was the right decision.

Fiona gave a most moving, yet beautifully constructed, personal tribute to her husband and two of their children, Anna and Rafe, read.  Richard Jonas, who until very recently was Master Clothworker and a fellow partner of Gareth's at Cluttons, also contributed a reading.

Richard Lay, in his capacity as Chairman of the Portman Estate, gave the professional address.  He painted a picture of Gareth that many of us knew along with insights that many of us were not aware.  He described Gareth's life before becoming a surveyor where he had initially tried almost everything to avoid becoming the seventh generation Clutton in his family firm and finished with his appointment to be Chief Executive of the Portman Estate.  Garetth had remarked to Richard that he felt more at ease in a boardroom furnished with portraits of Portmans rather than one where past generations of Cluttons looked down.

Afterwards a very well-attended reception was held at the Hall.  It was a day of emotion but also one of pleasure in seeing so many who respected, admired and liked Gareth coming together to remember him. 

Sunday, 10 July 2011


In general conversations with friends and acquaintances, many of whom I have known for many years, I discover they have links with the Company that they had never mentioned to me before I told them I was Master Draper.

One particular meeting is as good example as any.  I was on the Bakerloo coming in from Paddington when I bumped into a very senior civil servant, now retired.  On mentioning the Drapers' Company his immediately recounted, with evident enthusiasm, that his best economics lecturer at Oxford, and one who had stimulated his interest in the subject, was a Drapers' Fellow from Hertford College.

It just goes to show how Drapers' benefactions reach out in the most interesting directions.