The first week as Master Pavior has been a delight and a privilege for which I am extremely grateful to you all. It has also been a good introduction to working for you as head of the company.
Those of you who were able to be present on 8th March experienced an inspiring service conducted by our Chaplain Hugh Williams and a very cheerful dinner in a full Apothecaries’ Hall. The transfer of office from Neil Sandberg reflected his contribution to our enjoyment in the past year and the appointment of the new team to take us forward. New committees and new faces – in particular at the Liverymen’s Committee, now led by Jacqui Davis – promise renewal and reinvigoration in our activities.
After a family lunch in the upper room of Temple Bar on the following day and a dinner with friends at Mansion House, my first official duty was on Friday 10th March, to join the Lord Mayor for the opening of the gates at Temple Bar, now the base of the Architects’ Company and the smallest Livery Hall in the City. Temple Bar was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the aftermath of the Great Fire as the main ceremonial entrance to the City, it was removed in Victorian times to speed traffic flow – something local government then encouraged – and exiled to Essex. In 2003 it was brought back to the City with the assistance of the Paviors and now stands next to St Paul’s Cathedral. The ceremony was performed by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, himself an architect, with considerable pomp. At the subsequent reception the Duke was intrigued and amused by the new Paviors (pig-themed) tie.
The new week began with a breakfast at Mansion House to launch City Giving Day, to be held on 26th September and at which our charitable activities are fully recognised. Then, on the 600th anniversary of the death of Dick Whittington – the only Lord Mayor with a regular place in pantomime – to a church service to give thanks for his life and the fortune he left to the City on his death.
We now prepare for Lizette’s first duty as Mistress, a sponsored sleep-out with the Lady Mayoress in Guildhall Yard in aid of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. You will hear of this separately but for now the weather forecast has become our favourite programme.