Early November is the time when the Master Glover is installed and by tradition the lunch for Glovers, their partners and guests, following a service at St Margaret's, Lothbury is held at Drapers' Hall. I was very kindly invited to attend. It is always a pleasant experience for me to be entertained in my own Hall. The first reason for this is that I am not in charge, the second is to observe yet again John Freestone, the Beadle, and his team's excellent management of such events and lastly to receive compliments about the Hall and the way we, as a Company, look after our heritage.
Roderick Morris had just been elected Master of the Glovers' Company. For more details of the Company go to http://www.thegloverscompany.org/ It is a Company representing a great British craft tradition but sadly today it is yet another aspect of our manufacturing heritage that is facing stiff competition from overseas. However as part of the ceremonies I was very generously presented with a superb pair of black leather lined gloves by Chester Jeffries (http://www.chesterjeffries.co.uk/ ) that fit me perfectly and will be just the thing when I am waiting for a delayed First Great Western train service to London at Pewsey station this winter. I can recommend them to anyone who wants a pair of warm, stylish and comfortable gloves.
While waiting to be introduced to the Master I met Richard Morris a liveryman of the Company who is also an Old Bancroftian- see earlier posts. He is another survivor of the very rigorous boarding regime at the school before the boarding house was closed in the late seventies. He reminded me, as all Old Bancroftian boarders do without the slightest prompting, as to the extraordinarily Spartan regime of the time. Most of the boarders seemed to have lived in a huge open dormitory in the attic of the main building that was baking hot in summer and icily cold in winter. It seems on retelling like something out Mervyn Peake's fertile imagination and if he had but known about it I am sure it would have been included in the plot of Gormengast. I have to say that Richard seemed to have survived the experience remarkably well.
Richard told me he had, in his capacity as Secretary of the Loughton and District Historical Society, become a very active local historian. Earlier this year Pen and Sword had published his book The Man who Ran London about Lieutenant General Sir Francis Lloyd who was the ebullient and forceful General Officer Commanding London Disterict during the First World War. His north-east London connection was that he lived in Chigwell. He was an extraordinarly good public speaker and was a great crowd puller at patriotic rallies. Richard told me he spoke at such events held at Drapers' Hall between 1914 and 1918.
Around 3.00pm the lunch began to draw to a close. It had been a most interesting and enjoyable event and I had been looked after very well and received many compliments about the the Company, our Hall and our staff. The warm glow ensuing was not entirely due the port.