Monday, 20 June 2011


On Wednesday Alastair and I, despite the title of the dinner without our wives, were invited to the Carpenters.

The Carpenters are our closest neighbours.  They have occupied the northern end of Throgmorton Avenue, we are at the southern end. for about the same length of time but I think they may have bought the site just ahead of our forced purchase of part of Thomas Cromwell's estate in 1543.  Our local property holdings still abut each other.

When our Hall was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 we were taken in by the Carpenters whose Hall, no more than 200 meters to the north of ours, had been just outside the area of extensive fire damage.  We reciporocated in 1941 when the Carpenters' Hall was lost in the Blitz and ours miraculously escaped unscathed.

The Carpenters Company continues to play a leading part in its trade and is particularly active in East London.  Most notably they sponsor the Building Crafts College in Stratford and Carpenters' and Docklands Centre, also in Stratford.  In the inevitable way that property and philanthropy seem to be linked in the London livery companies this focus derives from a 63 acre farm in West Ham bought by the Company in 1767.  For more details go to

The current Master is Giles Downes CVO, a noted architect who played a major part in the imaginative restoration of Windsor Castle after the fire in the annus horribilis of 1992. He and his wardens made us most welcome.

It was an opportunity to meet with our close neighbours and the short walk back to the Masters' flat in the Hall presented just the right time for a modest constitutional before turning in.

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