Thursday 31 March – Dinner to the Masters, Prime Wardens & Upper Bailiff at Mansion House.
This is the one event of the year for Masters and the above mentioned when Mansion House puts on all the bells and whistles for a white tie banquet. Each Lord Mayor hosts this event to celebrate and cement their partnership with the Livery Companies of the City of London, and to return some of the hospitality received during the Mayoral year.
As we slowly ascended the stairs, flanked by two Musketeers, we were given a moment to admire their attire, and my Consort Dave was given the opportunity to lift the musket, which was very heavy! Having reached the top of the stairs, we entered the reception hall took in the magnificent sight of The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor Alderman Vincent Keaveny, The Lady Mayoress, the Sheriffs and their Consorts, The Sergeant-at-Arms, Sword Bearer and the Lord Mayors Bodyguard (along with the Musketeers) the Pikemen of the Household Artillery Company. I will never forget that moment. Having been announced to and greeted by the Lord Mayor and his reception line, we moved to the area behind for refreshment. It soon became apparent that standing too close to the Pikemen can be a little dangerous as myself and another lady tripped over the end of a pike! We recovered ourselves most graciously, blushes spared.
Soon the (very loud) gong sounded the call to dinner and I found myself positioned in front of the door as it opened to reveal a magical sight, that of a beautifully presented room. So many sprigs! Tall silver candelabras adorned with seasonal flowers and wax candles. A colourful sea of event programmes by each place, the Artwork designed by Maha Hussari aged 24, a volunteer of St Josephs Hospice, Hackney, who wants to give back to the Hospice through her art. Following the fanfare of the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry , and the grace, there followed dinner, each course of which was a work of art, and in wonderful Company. Our seating gave the opportunity to meet Master Tin Plate worker and her Consort along with Master Scientific Instrument Maker, added to our very own PM Sravan Joshi, we all enjoyed lively debate and friendly discussions to the backdrop of The Salon Orchestra of the Honourable Artillery Company Band.
My father has aways told me that on occasions such as this, you should take a moment to quietly sit back, take in everything around you and make an everlasting memory. Such wise words.
Soon it was time to hear from the Lord Mayor, Master Mercer and Master Grocer. The Lord Mayor spoke twice, Firstly in acknowledging the events in Ukraine and sharing that President Zalinski had been a guest at Mansion House a few years earlier, thanking all those Livery Companies who had made financial donations to the Humanitarian Aid both on their own behalf and through the City Livery. Speaking again a short while later he also highlighted Murray Craig, Clerk of the Chamberlains Court having performed his last duties that day before starting his retirement. Also the news that the Lady Mayoress had slept in the Courtyard of Guildhall the night before with fellow fundraisers including the Lady Carmen to raise funds for the Lord Mayors Appeal and its beneficiary charities. In total they raised over £95,000 and somehow were still awake at this point in the evening after an average of 2 hours sleep in the cold and discomfort that many homeless people suffer every night.
After dinner, we adjourned to the reception hall to partake of a nightcap and mingle with follow Masters and Livery acquaintances. Before long it was time for or carriages and, no doubt for the Lady Mayoress and her follow charitable colleagues, a very welcome soft bed!