Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Friday saw the first visit of a Drapers' Academy year group to the Hall.  This takes up a custom that most of the Drapers' schools, particularly those closer to London, arrange an annual visit for their entry year class to see the Hall and learn something about the Company's history, traditions and current work.

As many will recall Friday was a particularly wet day and the Drapers' Academy visitors got a little disorientated in the maze of alleys that surround the Hall.  Eventally a bedtraggled, but still remarkably cheerful bunch of eleven year olds, led by Mr Cormac Fanning, Assistant Vice Principal in charge of Year 7s (11 to 12 year olds who are just starting off in the Academy), entered the Hall having toured Copthall Avenue, Throgmorton Avenue - a near miss- Austin Friars and Old Broad Street.

I am the only one not waving and not sure why!  Lunch in the Court Dining Room.
Photgraph by Penny Fussell
They were met by me in full regalia and quickly ushered upstairs to the Court Dining Room for a fish and chip lunch.  Alastair Ross, the Clerk and Penny Fussell, the Archivist, also acted as hosts.

As I have mentioned before, see my post on London Open House of 23 September, it is all too easy for those of us involved with the Hall on a day to day basis and aware of the maintenance tasks and so on, to lose sight of the fact that it is a magnificent building.  The Year 7's were a great bunch of enthusiatic eleven year olds and there was a torrent of questions. 

'Did I have to pay to keep the Hall going?' - fortunately not.

'How much did the chandeliers - Pavlenko's portrait of HM the Queen - and many other things in the room - cost?'  - I havev to admit to have made up a few sums based on the formula 'a lot.'

Was the portrait of Sir Ernest Pooley me?'  - He may be distinguished but I hope I do not look quite as old.

The fish and chips provided by Jon Perkins, and his team went down extremely well and the prospect of tables getting extra portions of chips in turn was very popular.

The meal ended and Penny Fussell showed the children round the Hall then it was back on the coaches waiting at London Wall and back to Harold Hill.  It was a great day and during the rest of the term Years 8 to 11 will also pay a visit.  It was the start of a great tradition.

Drapers' Academy year 7s heading off up Throgmorton Avenue and through the Drapers' gates to meet the coach at London Wall.  It is raining and the new Drapers' Gardens block looks most attractive with its pallette of greys that works very well in London.
Photograph by Penny Fussell

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