Mark The Clerk

Coachlines - February 2021

21.02.21 The Clerk

Clerk’s notes – February 2021

On 23rd February 1940, following their return from the Battle of the River Plate fought on 13th December 1939, members of the ships’ companies of the cruisers HMS EXETER and HMS AJAX were received at the Guildhall by the Lord Mayor of London, Sir George Wilkinson 1st Baronet. The men marched from Waterloo Station via Horse Guards where they were inspected by King George VI after which he presented several decorations. On the same day, men of the Light Cruiser HMS ACHILLIES marched through Auckland to a similar civic reception.

The Battle of the River Plate was the first significant naval action of World War II and caught the attention of the world in real time. You will no doubt have seen the film made in 1957 depicting the action and the events that followed and which led up to the scuttling of the Admiral Graf Spee on 17th December 1939 just outside the harbour of Montevideo. For more details about how the events unfolded look at the Imperial War Museum archive by following this link:

Alternatively to watch a short documentary on YouTube, including period newsreel footage of the sailors of EXETER and AJAX marching through the streets of London (right at the end of the piece), follow this link:

Elsewhere in this edition there is news from Liveryman Paul Kenney who lives in New Zealand.

The late Captain Sir Thomas Moore

Like me, you will no doubt have been saddened to learn of the passing of Captain Sir Tom Moore. Regular readers will know that I often mentioned his many achievements during 2020. I did so because during the dark months of last year, which sadly continue still, his story brought a smile to my lips every time I saw him on the TV or heard about his latest achievement or accolade. He was perhaps an unlikely hero but given the circumstances he was worthy of that title and he shone a ray of light across a very dark landscape; if only there were more like him. Rest in peace Sir Tom.

Building back better – The City’s role in a green-led economic recovery

The Lord Mayor recently held a discussion with a panel of experts to find out more about how the City can help us transition to a sustainable and resilient future for all. The conversation was hosted by Dr Lloyd Grossman CBE and included The Rt. Hon The Lord Mayor William Russell, Mark Carney, Liv Garfield and Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE. Should you wish to watch the conversation unfold, follow this link.

Shiny stuff

Looking ahead to a brighter future (did you see what I did there?) the Goldsmiths’ Company is already making arrangements for its next Goldsmiths’ Fair, self-described as the primary destination to discover the finest jewellery and silversmithing in the UK today. Should you wish to browse and learn about more than 150 master craftspeople making extraordinary pieces, available to purchase directly from the craftspeople themselves then put the following dates in your diary: Goldsmiths’ Fair 2021, 28 September-10 October. More details are available here.

Fire but do not forget

The Clerk to the Worshipful Company of Firefighters has also made an invitation to all members of the Company to join the Firefighters for their Annual Lecture on 25th March 2021. Details can be found here.

It will be a serious lecture delivered by Sir Ken Knight, who following the fire at the 24 storey Grenfell Tower in West London on 14th June 2017, in which 72 people tragically lost their lives, was appointed by the government as the Chair of the Independent Expert Advisory Panel. The role of the Expert Panel, which is ongoing, is to recommend what actions are necessary to ensure people are safe in high rise residential flats. This lecture will piece together the jigsaw of what has happened since the fire and outline the proposals for the future.

Should you have any role or interest in buildings and fire safety in whatever capacity, I am informed that you will find it extremely helpful in your work.

Ready, aim, fire

My former colleagues in salt encrusted flying overalls have written to inform me about an opportunity let fly (did it again) at the Fleet Air Arm Charity Shoot; what they describe as a fabulous day of shooting, flying and fundraising in the beautiful Berkshire countryside, previously planned for 12th May 2021 and now rescheduled for Wednesday 15th September 2021. The venue will be the Royal Berkshire Shooting School, Pangbourne, RG8 8SD.

The day will be open to all and you don’t have to be an experienced shot. Professional instructors will be on hand to help you get your eye in. Team Captains are invited to enter teams of four – a team of four costs £1,600 to enter and everything is inclusive – guns, cartridges, clays, insurance, breakfast, midday refreshments in the field, Champagne reception, top lunch, fantastic prizes and a heritage flypast. An individual gun is £400, non-shooting guests are £150 and well behaved dogs are free.

The day will start at 09.00 and finish around 16.30 hrs and while the organisers don’t know yet what measures may still be in place, the safety, enjoyment and confidence of everyone will be their priority to ensure a fantastic day for all. Full details of how to book are here.

The Livery Kitchen Cookbook

In a previous edition of Coachlines, news of what the Coachmakers had done in 2020 to alleviate some of the hardship caused by the Coronavirus pandemic was published, and elsewhere in this edition is news of how much more is being done this year.

In other parts of the City other Companies were also asking themselves, ‘What can we all do to help?’ In response, primarily those Companies with halls established the Livery Kitchen Initiative. Its mission was to provide delicious and nutritious meals for NHS staff and, in partnership with City Harvest, to support deprived communities in London’s East End.

Thanks to the generosity of many of the City Livery Companies, individuals, volunteers, and to the work of the Grocers’, Drapers’, Fishmongers’ and Merchant Taylors’ Companies and Party Ingredients catering company, more than 60,000 meals have been delivered and this is going up every week.

The real heroes of this year-long project, the head chefs from each of the kitchens, have created a wonderful selection of dishes, with guidance and food photography, all now brought together in an immensely practical book. The recipes have been compiled and written by chef/cookery food writer, Peter Gladwin.

This is a working kitchen cookbook containing simple culinary ideas, easy to follow step-by-step instructions, and tips and tricks from the City’s leading chefs – and you can buy a copy by following this link.

In conclusion

Like me, you may now be feeling as though you are living through your own personalised version of Groundhog Day, trapped in a time warp of your own creation; your space invaded daily by countless little people occupying their own clearly defined space in the Zoomfish Bowl of perpetual gathering.

I sincerely hope that you are able to get outside into the fresh air and take some daily exercise, and with luck I hope that you have a pleasant vista over which to gaze as you drag the dog out for its sixth walk of the day. We are very lucky up here in the foothills and I get the added bonus of attending to the manure makers three times daily.

However, there is one thing missing in my life, and that is the sea. That said even before Lockdown 1, 2 or 3, a trip to any part of the east coast could never replace a walk along the banks of Chichester Harbour at Bosham, or a visit to my favourite pub in the universe – the Still and West in Old Portsmouth. Yet the Assistant Clerk has once more brought great solace into my life and introduced me to the webcam of HMS WARRIOR in Pompey.

Via this portal to the south coast, and from the half-moon high in the mizzen mast of the famous Victorian warship, the Warrior Cam provides fantastic views over Portsmouth, Gosport and the Isle of Wight as well as the Historic Dockyard. It is now daily viewing in this part of the world and you can check it out yourself and get some sea into your life at:

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