John Dance was installed as the Master of the Worshipful Company of Paviors at a ceremony in St Martin-within-Ludgate on 7 March 2013.

John was born in North West London in 1947 and educated in the local schools of Willesden. He later swapped the London boroughs for the Chiltern Hills, where he lives with Dorian, his partner of 18 years. John has a daughter, Alex, and a son, Matt. He became a Liveryman in 1991.

Following completion of his education at Willesden School of Building, John’s career in construction started when he joined Trollope and Colls in 1964, working in the City of London as an indentured management trainee. He continued with the company, eventually serving at board level: 24 years of challenges from architects, engineers and property developers. He continued in corporate life in construction with Walter Lawrence, Morgan Sindall and Rok until 2006, when he formed his own interim management consultancy, working with companies at board level. John is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building.

Sport has always played a large part in John’s life. His first love is cricket and now, with his playing days over, he shares other people’s sporting stories. He is a Past President and an Honorary Life Member of Kew Cricket Club, a member of Middlesex County Cricket Club and a Lord’s Taverner, his chosen charity for his year as Master. John’s exercise routine now consists of tennis at Great Missenden and golf at Burnham Beeches.

Master’s Message

One of the great things about our Livery is its friendliness and sociability. I can promise you that it is my intention to enjoy the experience of being Master and have fun, sharing it with you. I do hope to attend as many events as possible and to meet as many of you as I can, listening to your ideas and sharing a few of mine with you. I would just add that I cannot remember everybody’s name, so please remind me of yours if I look a little blank. I have had tremendous support from Dorian, the Mistress Pavior. I know she is looking forward to supporting me throughout the year and has already started planning a Mistress event or two.

I would like to welcome Canon Hugh Williams, who has kindly accepted our invitation to become Chaplain to our Company. We wish him a long and enjoyable association with the Paviors. May I record the Company’s thanks to the retiring Chaplain, Bernard Metcalfe, and offer my best wishes to him and Penny in their new home. In cricketing terms: a great innings, well-played.

A number of things are already planned for the coming year. Paviors’ House can no longer be called our ‘new home’ and things are changing. I would like to record my thanks to the Clerk, John Freestone, who has brought alive our home and encouraged its greater use by members. The Company is currently in discussions with The Charterhouse to bring our archives and wine there during the coming year. I am hopeful we can also negotiate for the Master’s Midsummer Event to be held at The Charterhouse for a less formal gathering in the grounds, providing a chance to mix without sitting around the dinner table – weather permitting.

The four strands of the livery movement are: charity, education, fellowship and maintaining the traditions of the City. I am determined that, through my year, we try to do our best to live up to these objectives.

We are re-planning our charity golf day, with proceeds going both to the Paviors’ charitable funds and to the Master’s chosen charity, the Lord’s Taverners ‘giving young people a sporting chance’, with the funds raised being used to purchase specialized wheelchairs to provide more sporting opportunity for youngsters. I dedicate this choice to the memory of my father, who suffered with polio at the age of three. He was lucky to survive, and did not have the sporting opportunity I was given due to his disability. I hope I can count on your support for all our charity events. The Charity Committee is also looking at expanding our educational-giving and will make an outline proposal for this. One area being considered is the provision of apprenticeships in the paving profession.

I am pleased that, in the coming year, we will meet at livery halls that the Company has not recently visited. In the City, we expect to see Pavior Fiona Woolf elected as the next Lord Mayor. I am sure we shall have many opportunities to support her during her year in office.

I would like to thank and pay tribute to Alderman Sir Michael Bear: Lord Mayor of London one year and, without drawing breath, taking office as Master of the Paviors Company. Sir Michael’s profile has helped our Company considerably: we are now recognized as a modern, successful livery company, addressing issues and continuing to go from strength-to-strength in what have been very difficult times. Through Barbara Bear’s connection with the arts, those attending dinners have been provided with musical accompaniments that will be remembered for many years. Barbara’s support of Michael and the enjoyment she brought to ladies’ events has been greatly appreciated. May I wish them both a very well-earned break; although we look forward to seeing them on many future occasions.

Although somewhat daunted by the honour that the Company has bestowed on me, I am looking forward to the coming year, confident that I will have your support.

From the Past Master

My congratulations to our new Master and Wardens: I know you have plans to challenge the status quo and move the Company forward, continuing to grow from strength to strength. I hope you enjoy every minute. Having retired from the role, here is some feedback on my year as your Master. I attended as many events as possible and, I hope, listened to your ideas and shared a few of mine with you. It added up to 129 days of activity, all of which were fantastic, except the rain at the Lord Mayor’s Show. Highlights were:

  • The Queen’s Garden Party with the Mistress Pavior and my daughter, one on each arm
  • Being guests of the Royal Navy at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, with seats in the Royal Box
  • Lunch in the private quarters of the Mansion House as the guest of Nicholas Woolf, the Lord Mayor’s Consort
  • Visiting St Paul’s Cathedral, attending numerous services, and meeting and sharing time with other livery masters
  • Great times with our affiliates HMS Argyll and 29(R) Squadron,.
  • Joining the Third Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment for dinner at their Kent Barracks, Christmas carols at Canterbury Cathedral, an evening of regimental boxing in London and dinner with the Colonel at the Tower of London
  • Sutton Sea Cadets’ music at the April Dinner

I would like to give my sincere thanks:

  • To you all for your support at our dinners and events, for increasing your charitable giving, and for raising over £13,000 for my charity the Lords’ Taverners
  • To our committee chairman and the members, together with the Chaplain, Almoner, Cellarer, societies and, particularly, to John White for organizing the Charity Golf Day
  • Importantly, to the Learned Clerk: I could not have done it without you
  • Last, but not least, to the Mistress Dorian – who I would also like to congratulate on becoming a Freeman of the City of London

John Dance