Dear Fellow Lightmongers

After a quiet month in August activity in the Livery was back in top gear come September with most Masters I have met having full calendars.

I started the month by visiting the Royal Engineers’ Training School with Liveryman Dave Burns who looks after our cadet affiliations. I was also interested as the training they provide is part of an Apprenticeship. Although we were specifically interested in the electrical training, which includes lighting, it was fascinating to see all the other trades being taught. You realise that when you are in the desert and you left your spanner at home, that working things out from first principles is an essential skill. What impressed us was the way all these skills are put together to complete a whole build from brickwork through to carpentry and services.

However, of all the things I planned to do as Master, Abseiling 220m down a building wasn’t on the list, but I can’t resist a challenge. Despite all the plans to do some training and embark on a fitness regime, somehow it didn’t happen. So supported by my family who came along to watch we headed for the Cheesegrater on a drizzly September morning. On arrival things were underway with the first descent of the day being made by the Lord Mayor. After a coffee I was tightly strapped into my harness, met my buddy Carlos, and headed for the 43rd floor. Clipped onto a safety line the harness was double checked. Then I was attached to the descent rope with the breaking device. Swinging onto the outside of the platform my weight was taken on the descent rope and the safety line unclipped.

Feeding the rope through the break I started to descend with Carlos. “Keep your feet on the building” but after 2 steps the rain reduced the friction to zero and my feet slid down the glass leaving me hanging on my rope. The descent began, slowly at first then with more speed, all controlled by the rope running through my gloved hands. We passed many spectators inside the building who waved but my hands were firmly on my rope! Someone had thoughtfully stuck notices on the windows so we knew how far we had gone.

Another memorable experience as Master Lightmonger. Many thanks for all the support and the donations. I raised £1300 which will go to the Lord Mayors Appeal. The total from the day was £140,000. I have promised that there will be a Lightmonger entry again next year!


Setting off with my buddy Carlos and my specially commissioned Lightmongers clothing

It has been a month of physical activity as following on from the Abseil I joined over 50 Masters and their guests for a walk round all the Livery Halls in the city. At most we just posed for a photograph as to enter them all would have taken all week. One unscheduled visit was the Information Technologists where the Master greeted us with a glass of Port at 10am to keep us going! It was a lot of fun walking round the city in our gowns raising many questions from passers-by as to what we were up to.


Walking the Livery Halls

One of the few things that people seem to know about Liverymen is they can drive their sheep over London Bridge. This year 10 of us arranged to take part in the annual sheep drive organised by the Worshipful Company of Woolman, in aid of the Lord Mayors charity. It was a perfect sunny afternoon and the sheep were well behaved as we ushered them along our allotted stage. We did have an “unofficial” member of the team. My grandson came to watch but ended up leading the drive from the front.


London Bridge Sheep Drive

On a less energetic note I attended a private viewing at St Paul’s Cathedral of some of their historic plates and vestments. I was particularly taken by this vestment created by the cathedral needle workers for the 1977 Jubilee depicting St Paul’s and all the other city churches. All the needlework is done with wire thread and took over 8000 hours to complete.


Jubilee vestment

As a company we support the appeal for the Sheriff’s chain whose design is based on the coat of arms of the incoming sheriff together with other personal themes. This presentation was to Neil Redcliffe JP who will be sheriff 2017-2018.


Shrivel chain

The Mistress Lightmonger has also been busy supporting the company this month. We attended the annual Sheriffs’ Ball at Guildhall, a sort of end of year party for the outgoing Sheriffs. This is becoming an annual fixture in the livery calendar.


Guard of Honour at Guildhall

In recent years the Master’s Consorts have started to come into their own with a number of events throughout the year. The Mistress Lightmonger has attended several of these and in return invited 19 other consorts to a lunch in the Medal Room at the Honourable Artillery Company. Another hidden gem in the heart of the city. After lunch they were entertained by Dick Griffin, retired from Royal Protection for Prince Edward and the Queen. Dick had many stories to tell and probably many others he can’t! As Master this is one event I wasn’t invited to!


The Mistress Lightmonger and friends at the HAC

The prizes for our affiliated schools have for several years been donated by Past Master Hugh Ogus. We were pleased to hear from his son Simon who wanted to fund the prizes for a further 5 years in his father’s name. This was kept a secret from Hugh until it was announced at Court. As Simon was over from Hong Kong I was pleased to be able to join them both for lunch at Ironmongers’ Hall and explain the educational work of the company. Anyone who is looking for a lunch venue on a Monday, Ironmongers offer a reasonably priced lunch every Monday in the splendid setting of their hall.


From Left: Master Lightmonger, Simon Ogus, Past master High Ogus

I have also been a guest of the Jubilee Sailing Trust, and the Farmers and Fletchers this month. I now look forward to my final month as Master before handing over to Senior Warden Barbara Harding at our November Members Only dinner. Do come along and support us.

Future Events

Members Only Dinner – Friday 3rd November
Including the installation of our upcoming Master Barbara Harding and a rundown of the events of the past year in the life of the company – Apply Now!

Lord Mayor’s Show – Saturday 11th November
Come and take part in the parade as a walker alongside the Master in carriage and with our cadet and schools affiliates – Apply Now!

Lightmongers’ Carol Service – Wednesday 6th December
Celebrate Christmas at our annual Carol Service at St Botolph-Without-Aldgate – Applications out soon.

Manor House Garden, High Street, Wanstead, London, E11 2RU