On 20 July I was elected Master Draper of the Worshipful Company of Drapers of London for a year.
My predecessors, some 520 individuals who have been Master Drapers since the post was created in 1439, have managed to complete highly successful years without resorting to the internet or wanting to tell everyone electronically what they are doing. So, why change the habits of over five centuries? While not going out to establish a precedent for my successors I think a blog of my year as Master will be an interesting experiment. Also, despite being a Company proud of our traditions, we are never averse to trying something new
Now of course I have considered the warning of Walter Bagehot that any appointment that is the centre of ceremonial must take care ‘not let daylight in upon the magic.’ But I think this is a risk worth taking.
I am doing it for four reasons:
The Master represents the Company at dozens of occasions throughout the year. At most of these no other Draper, other than the Clerk, is present. Much of what occurs is worth communicating quickly rather than waiting for my end of year report in the Drapers’ Newsletter
The membership of the Company is a unique collection of people with a huge array of talents. But most of us only know a few of each other well and undoubtedly we have interests, connections and contributions that I hope might be stimulated by what is said in the Blog.
I think the Company has a great story to tell. In every generation we have faced difficult issues with vision, self-confidence and imagination and come through. Sometimes we have just been downright lucky. Our Hall in Throgmorton Street was barely touched in the Blitz. But really it is more than luck that keeps the Company going it is a great deal of hard work by a lot of really committed people.
But most importantly there will be some good tales to tell and it should be fun
Now just one small concern. I have a slight worry that the succession of dinners and other entertainment that forms a good part of my activities that will be described over the coming months might seem to be taking a good thing too far, especially in these straitened times. I will not give the explanation the pigs did in Orwell's Animal Farm that I need to live well otherwise my leadership potential would be put in jeopardy. But the dinners and associated events are in their own way important. They are part of the rituals of City of London that has gone on for centuries and are very much based on the principle that people knowing each other both socially and at work can be more effective in what they do when working together.
Please join in with this trail of events and observations and if you have any feedback or questions it would be great to hear from you.