John Price was born in Twickenham in 1951 and went to the local school until after 11+ when he attended Spring Grove Central School in Hounslow. He represented the school at football, cricket, swimming and cross-country running. After ‘A’ levels, he decided on a career in architecture.

However, his father who ran the family building business suggested that, to be of any use as an architect, he should be trained by a builder! So, in September 1970, John found himself starting work as a professional trainee in the architecture department of George Wimpey & Co Ltd.

A great advantage of working for Wimpey was that trainees had to work in all departments, including structural engineering, estimating and surveying. One summer was even spent acting as assistant site engineer on Brunel University Halls of Residence. The experience of levelling-in floor decks using a dumpy and sopwith staff with a brigade of carpenters, under the control of a fearsome ganger, will never be forgotten: hanging on John’s every finger-movement whilst they wound up acrows, they discovered, after considerable effort had been expended, that he was asking them to wind in the wrong direction! The memory still haunts him.

He qualified and became a chartered member of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1978. By this time, he was working for George Trew Dunn Beckles-Willson Bowes and Partners in Richmond on projects as varied as the first supermarket to be built in Amman, Jordan, and South Tees District Hospital. In 1980, he formed his own business with his friend from Wimpey days, Andrew Hunter. The practice, Hunter Price Ltd, is still going strong as it enters its fourth decade.

Between 1996 and 1998, John studied law and passed the Common Professional Examination of the Law Society/Bar Council, with commendation, and was awarded a place to read for the bar at Bristol University. Unfortunately, family circumstances prevented him from taking up the place.

John now lives in Twickenham with his long-term partner Danielle. He has two step-daughters: Nathalie, who lives in Sydney with her partner Paddy and six-year-old son Oliver, and Maxine, who is a head chef and lives in London. For recreation, he loves mucking about in anything that floats, especially motorboats, although he still enjoys sailing. He shoots, belongs to Paviors’ Lodge and watches cricket and football (the mighty Arsenal!).

2012 Master’s Message

My predecessor, Tom Barton and his wife, Mary, gave us a great year and, before setting out my views for the coming year, I would like to thank them for the efforts they made on behalf of the Company.

It is probably something of an understatement to suggest that the economy is in a fragile condition. As someone who is old enough for this to be his fifth recession, I am fairly certain that the construction industry will continue to struggle and remain in the doldrums for some time yet. But, enough of the gloom; the question is ‘what are we going to do about it’? The Company has achieved a great deal in 2010, especially with the provision of Paviors’ House and with Alderman and Pavior Michael Bear becoming Lord Mayor. The foundations have therefore been laid for another bumper year, and this is certainly my aim, along with my partner Dani. I intend to proceed on the basis that, if we cannot change the economy, we can at least anaesthetise ourselves to its effects through good company, food and drink.

We commence this crusade on 21 April with our Spring Livery Dinner to be held at Stationers’ Hall. The only slight problem is the date being adjacent to the Easter holidays. However, as Paviors, I know that you will not let that stop you supporting the evening and enjoying a good party. The Master’s Jolly departs on 19 May for Bordeaux. I am sure that we shall find something to do in this city! Our Midsummer event will be at the Charterhouse on 28 June. This will be a musical evening and, hopefully, we shall raise a lot more money for the Lord Mayor’s Charities and for my charity, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society. The rest of the year will continue in a similar vein, so please keep a check on Stephen Winspear’s email notices so that you do not miss out on any of the events.

Past Master’s Reflections

Time flies fast as Master of the Paviors. Undoubtedly my year was made all the more interesting because two-thirds of it overlapped with our new Master’s year as Lord Mayor. The year was great fun: Dani and I have been to some wonderful events and met many interesting people. It is difficult to choose the highlights, but these would include our ‘jolly’ to Bordeaux and the Masters’ and Clerks’ Weekend at Ironbridge. Attending a Buckingham Palace garden party is also high on the list. Another event that, for me, was a great experience was proposing the vote of thanks from the City’s livery companies to the outgoing Lord Mayor, our new Master, at the Guildhall in October. We now look forward to continuing friendships made at Ironbridge with other livery companies through our Past Masters’ Association, ‘The First XI’.

Our own dinners were very successful, with each one being sold out, and this is a clear indication that the Company remains in the rudest of health.

However, I think one of the main achievements this year has been the recruitment of John Freestone as successor to our Learned Clerk, ‘Blanco’. John White will be a difficult act to follow, but I do believe we have the right man in JF. I would also like to thank JW once more for all his wonderful efforts over the past 14 years.

When I reflect on our year, a key feature has been the support given by all the Paviors to Dani and myself. Thank you all for making us feel a genuine belief in us and the Livery. Finally, we both wish the new Master and Mistress a successful and enjoyable year: I know the Livery could not be in better hands.

John Price