Saturday, 9 April 2011


The nave of St Pauls looking towards the altar.
Following on from the Mansion House Dinner of the previous night the livery companies came together for the 69th Service of the United Guilds of the City of London.

As always there was a great turnout and the cathedral was packed.  The Masters and Wardens in their multicoloured robes and regalia of office, the scarlet robes of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, the ecclesiastical vestments of the clergy and a large number of other uniformed officials complemented the rich decoration of the nave.  The wives of masters sat in rows between the pews and the altar in a splendid variety of hats.

There was a good turn out of Drapers.  So many in fact that the pew allocated to the Company could not hold all those who wanted to come and some members of the Company ended up in seats at the back of the cathedral.

The Very Reverend John Hall, Dean of Westminster, gave the sermon.  Part of it included a consideration of John Donne.  This was the second time in as many weeks, see an earlier post on my visit to Hertford College, Oxford, where this most interesting man had been remembered.  The final stage of his extraordinary life was spent as Dean of St Pauls.  He died in post on 1 April 1631 so the service was on the anniversary of his death 280 years ago.

We then went back to the Hall for lunch where we entertained Gavin Ralston, one of the lay canons, and Andrew Carwood, the cathedral's director of music. 

It was also good to see Dr Bill Frankland present.  He is our oldest liveryman having passed his ninety-ninth birthday last month.  He is still working as a doctor and has led the most eventful life including being a Japanese prisoner of war and treating Saddam Hussein, but he is professionally reticent on the latter subject.  He is a role model for anyone a few decades younger who may be suffering from a temporary lack of vitality. 

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