For her Senior Warden’s event on 10th June 2021, Margaret Fitzsimons organized an evening of insightful conversation between Reverend Richard Coles and incoming Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Vincent Keaveny, who was her special guest.  It was also an opportunity to hear from four Lightmongers who are heading up key activities on behalf of the company.

Senior Warden, Margaret Fitzsimons (top left), with guests Stephen Thomas, Deputy Master, Stuart Mucklejohn, Court Assistant and Chair of the Education Committee, Phill Hyde, Clerk Emeritus with responsibility for military affiliations and Master Peter Harris and special guests, Reverend Richard Coles and Alderman, Vincent Keaveny.

After introducing herself and giving a brief overview of her career, Margaret handed over to Rev Richard Coles well known Broadcaster, Cleric and former Communard to converse with her special guests.

Rev Coles is familiar with the history and traditions of Livery Companies being honorary Chaplain to the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers.  This inside knowledge informed his probing questions to all Margaret’s guests.


A chat with the Master …

In his first interview with Master Peter Harris, he explored the attributes required to make a good Master and the relationship between the Lightmongers and the other Companies with their roots in Lighting.  The Master explained that, as a Modern Livery Company, Lightmongers had to seek permission from the longstanding Tallow and Wax Chandlers to form a new company.  Both of these ancient companies warmly welcomed the Lightmongers and we have made the Tallow Chandlers Hall our home in the city with our Court meetings and many events held there.

Master Peter Harris, talks about the role of Master with Rev Richard Coles, watched by Senior Warden, Margaret Fitzsimons.


The importance of Education and Training …

Rev Coles than spoke to Stuart Mucklejohn who Chairs the Education Committee (EdComm). Stuart highlighted the Lightmongers Journeyman Scheme that supports young people for three years as they grapple with the complexities of the highly regulated world of lighting design, manufacture, distribution and installation.  Stuart stressed the importance of the role of the mentor and urged members to come forward and volunteer their support.  This can be a very rewarding role that enriches both mentor and journeyman.

Court Assistant, Stuart Mucklejohn, Head of the Education Committee, answers questions about the work of the EdComm.


Not a penny of charitable donation wasted on administration ….

Deputy Master, Stephen Thomas, has recently taken over chairmanship of the Lightmongers’ Charitable Trust and spoke with great passion about the positive impact that Lightmongers’ contributions can have on the many charities they support.

He thanked his predecessor, Eddie Taylor, for his many years of service to the Charitable Trust and said proudly, “Every single penny donated by members is converted into charitable grants and we make 50 grants a year to various charities including homeless charities and food banks and of course the Lord Mayor’s Charity.”  He explained about the special relationship with New College, Worcester and Mary Hare School and the great work done to encourage people with sight and hearing difficulties to prepare for life.  He cited a recent example of charitable giving by a Lightmonger to New College Worcester’s Art Department:  Students with sight impairment were struggling to see their work so the generous donor not only re-designed the lighting scheme in the art room but also provided the lamps.  Now each student can adjust the lighting to their own needs.  A great example of Lightmonger generosity.


The final interviewee from the Company was Clerk Emeritus, Phill Hyde, who is responsible for Lightmonger military affiliations and awards.

Clerk Emeritus, Phill Hyde, watched by Gill Hyde, talks about the Company’s three important military affiliations.


It’s a matter of pride ..

The pride that Clerk Emeritus, Phill Hyde, takes in being the link to our affiliated regiments from the Army, Navy and Airforce is clear for all to see.  He explained our historical affiliation with an Army Searchlight Unit (hence the link to the Lightmongers). When searchlights were decommissioned, the affiliation was transferred to 579 Field Squadron (a bomb disposal unit), which is part of 101 (City of London) Engineers Regiment.   He described how overwhelmed he was when HMS Queen Elizabeth agreed to affiliate with the Lightmongers while it was still being commissioned and the wonderful relationships that have built up with the various Commanders of Royal Navy vessels over the years.

Historical ties between military and the city of London go back a very long way and the military is just as proud to be associated with the City as the City is to be associated with the capable men and women who do such a fine job looking after us all.  This includes their current role supporting the Covid response and providing security for the G7 summit in Cornwall this summer.

Alderman Vincent Keaveny provides insight into the role of Lord Mayor and answers questions about his forthcoming year as Lord Mayor.

Alderman Keaveny, a capital market lawyer originally from Dublin, will be the first Irish Lord Mayor in the long history of the livery.  On the role of the Lord Mayor, he explained that the ceremonial aspects account for only around 5% of activity.  The real purpose is to act as Ambassador for the UK’s financial services sector that generates over £75 billion in tax revenue each year.  Over 100 days are spent overseas representing the City while the remainder of the time he is receiving visits from the major financial players in the world who want to come to the Mansion House to take the temperature of the City of London.

When in office, Vincent Keaveny will continue the work of the current Lord Mayor in pushing the green agenda that will get a major boost because of COP26 later this year.   However, in his year, his focus will be on the “Social” element of Corporate Social Responsibility. He says that CSR is now top of the agenda in boardrooms, driven by the changing requirements of younger generations of employees and customers who want to work in and purchase from companies that share their values.  There is economic proof that more diverse businesses make better decisions.

You can see the full interview here and it is well worth a listen.

The evening was rounded off by the Learned Clerk, Victoria McKay, who reminded Lightmongers of the forthcoming events:

17th June   William Wright Lecture presented by Dr Peter Boyce on the subject of Lighting and Human Health.
23rd June   Interlivery Clay Pigeon Shoot – now fully subscribed
22nd July   Junior Warden’s event. Jamie Berry has organised a fabulous cruise down the Thames with entertainment, fine dining and other surprises.
10th September   Masters’ Garden Party, Saffron Walden, including buffet lunch and afternoon tea in beautiful surroundings
30th September   Livery Dinner at Tallow Chandlers Hall
5th November   Common Hall and installation dinner


Victoria reminded Liverymen about the Lord Mayor’s election on 29th September – only liverymen can vote.

How wonderful it will be to see each other again in person!

For information on any of the event, please contact