Saturday, 9 April 2011


The Company hosts two major livery dinners a year.  The first in the Spring is the one where traditionally our links with the City are celebrated.  In recent years we have also taken the opportunity to invite the military units to which  we are affiliated.

The second livery dinner in July (see some of my earliest posts) is when the newly appointed Master and senior Wardens take over and the election of the Junior Warden is made public. 

The Livery Dinner is an opportunity for all liverymen to dine at the Hall and for the more senior members of the Livery to bring guests.  Additionally there are a number of Company guests

The Dinner on 23 March was a sell-out and over half the livery were present.  We were delighted to welcome Sheriff Richard Sermon MBE as a guest.  Unfortunately the Lord Mayor and the Aldermanic Sheriff were out of the country in South East Asia carrying out their vital job of selling the City across the world.

Alderman Sir David Lewis responded on behalf of the guests. He is Alderman for the Ward of Broad Street in which the hall stands. In fact Drapers' freeholds count for some 25% of the ward's area. Alderman Sir David neatly meshed with our Welsh Guards link as he is the eighth Welsh Lord Mayor (2007/8) in the City of London's history.  His Welsh roots also links with our work undertaken in North Wales through the Thomas Howell’s Education Fund for North Wales.

Howell was a most successful Welshman who virtually controlled the Anglo-Spanish trade in the early fifteenth century and subsequently endowed a great charity that survives to this day.  He also kept meticulous records of his commercial activities, these survive in our archives.  Accontants may be interested to know that he used an early form of double-entry book-keeping which is the earliest use of this accounting method known in England.

Sir David gave an impassioned plea to protect our armed services from the effects of overzealous reductions while so many are on active service and where the world situation is so uncertain.

I concluded my speech with a short message to the Livery:

'Many of you have made a significant contribution to the work of the Company over recent years. By every measure our collective efforts have been most successful; be it significantly improving our investment position, overseeing the wide range of Company business and our broader charitable activity. In the latter field more specifically education and almshouses. All-in-all there is a great sense of vitality in the Company and this vitality is maintaining our great traditions. But a number of initiatives we have, such as the new Drapers' Academy, will be asking even more of the livery. You have much to give and your huge experience and success in life make you potentially superb mentors to influence, for the better, the lives of others or to contribute your skills and professionalism towards Company projects.

We are living in times where I think we can all see the demand for our charitable activity will only increase. I hesitate to mention the overworked phrase 'The Big Society', it seems to mean everything and nothing, but if it at its heart it's about wanting to give something to others we've been doing this for centuries. One thing I am certain we will be doing it for many more centuries to come.'

The programme of the evening included a musical evening featuring some great baroque music by Handel and Bach on trumpet, strings and harpsichord.  Finally the evening saw a major change with new style chocolates prepared by Paul A Young, one of London's leading edge choclatiers, see for further details.  They seem to have been well received.

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