MMIW#15 30 Nov:  Karol Szlichcinski: In the wake of a Tsunami
Wines for Christmas 2022 9 Dec:  Virtual Food & Wine Pairing Fun
Christmas Lunch 12 Dec:  Ironmongers' Hall
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NL July 2022

WCoMC is a collegiate forward looking Modern City Livery Company; we maintain City traditions, share expertise and information between fellow members and give back to the community through our pro bono activities.

WCoMC News


Our latest City updates

 

What’s up?

No New Admissions to report 

 

Livery Weekend in Sheffield

 

 

 

Kanan Barot in the Pageant 

 

 
 
 
 
Common Court at the
 
 
 

Other News!

Peter Hyman delivered a simply rivetting Education Lecture

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simon Davey led our team at the Livery Careers Showcase at the Guildhall

Here he demostrates "The Mace Challenge"

 

 

 

 

Handover of the Watch
 
 
... and the watch itself... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Watson reports on his visit to Gordon Stoker

 

 

More news about the Gonfalon next time 

 

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Issue 80:  July 2022

 

Our Master's Voice

Welcome to Issue 80 of the Company Newsletter. I took over as editor with Issue 61 so that's 20 editions over three years,  that have gone very fast indeed.   

I'll start by looking ahead: Why not join those many Members and guests that have already signed up for our Summer Celebration on 21st July?  It promises to be a fun event with Fizz from the Company's Wine Cellar and adventurous food.  We’re using a local caterer, and the menu will take us in a more “climate friendly” direction while being very tasty. Don’t worry we’re not going the full veg!  More details below or just simply click here to book.  I look forward to seeing you there.

There is a strong Education theme running through this Newsletter  and you will find individual reports about the excellent Education Lecture and the Livery Careers Showcase.  (I also attended a lecture by the Educators Company, on Musical Education but I have to say that our own Education Lecture was  more interesting, broader in scope and indeed more exciting).  Also, in this issue we look back 50 years…. twice!

After a break for Covid and two holidays (one deferred from 2019) I was fully back in action in May at a very enjoyable lunch hosted by the World Traders, at the IT Company’s Hall in Moorgate. This was for the “100 plus” club as they call it. (That is, those Livery Companies with an order of precedence of 100 and above - we are number 105). I particularly enjoyed the reference in after dinner speeches to the possibility of there being a “New Great 12” group of Modern Livery Companies.

16th May saw a lecture and reception by the Spectacle Makers Company – no, they do not make spectacles.  The subject was “Healthy Vision”. This was an excellent and well attended event with plenty of food for thought. One speaker made a very strong case for having regular eye checks. “Your eyes are not just the “windows to your soul” they are a “portal to your health overall”.  (I booked an eye test the following day).   It is simply astonishing what one can learn by engaging with other parts of The Livery.

On June 8th we held our Summer Court meeting which was well attended and quite lively. (Three Court meetings down and only one to go).  I have already produced a “Highlights from the Summer Court” email so I will not repeat any of that here, except to say that Quarterage letters are on their way.  The Court was followed by an informal reception at Plaisterers’ Hall and it was a pleasure to see about 40 people there including three prospective new members. Pictures below.

The high point of recent weeks has been the Livery Masters’ weekend on 10-12th June, held in Sheffield and hosted by the Cutlers’ Company.  Cathy Cant and I joined 200+ others for the full and interesting programme of events highlighting Sheffield’s industry, past, present and future, and a black tie dinner on the Saturday night at the Cutlers’ spectacular livery hall in Sheffield city centre. Overall it was an enjoyable weekend, and we were able to form our Masters’ year group, henceforth to be known as “The Platinums” – a decision which took all of 5 seconds.  I look forward to socialising with the members of this group (Masters and Consorts) over the years ahead.

More recently, several Members attended the Becket Pageant at Guildhall on Saturday 18th June. This was the first such pageant to be held in the City for hundreds of years.  Our Second Warden Kanan Barot took several roles in the production and proclaimed it to have been “hard work but huge fun”.  It was certainly a very enjoyable event, and I was pleased to then bump into several Masters that I had met in Sheffield on their Companies’ stalls at the Livery Craft Fair in Guildhall yard. See Cathy Cant’s report below.   

About 8 members watched as I processed into the Guildhall on 24th June for the Common Court election of Sheriffs - an event which is open to all Liverymen.  (Before the Common Court I learned that the 24th June was an important anniversary …. read more on that below). 

On 28th June the Livery Careers Showcase was held in person (after two virual years) – read more below - and the following day I attended a livery drinks reception at the Mercers’ Hall, and I was pleased to meet up with many other Masters who I have got to know over past months and more so at Sheffield.   July looks like being busy before the whole Livery takes August off!  I therefore expect the next Issues of the Newsletter to be in September before the Election Court.

Education Lecture

Our annual flagship event - the Education Lecture - was held on 21st June, as an online event and the 25+ people who joined were treated to something very special.   Chair of our Education Committee, Malcolm McCaig, introduced proceedings and the evening kicked off with an introductory piece from Andrew Marsden who has recently been elected Non-Aldermanic Sheriff of the City of London. 

Andrew gave us an interesting historical perspective on the relationship between education and Livery Companies, ranging from the trade apprenticeships of the 12th century through to the creation of City and Guilds in 1878, and up to date with the range of pro bono support that Livery Companies provide especially to their associated schools.  Andrew concluded with a definitive “we need to change the way we educate our young” which set the scene nicely for Peter Hyman. Peter is a proactive influencer of change in the education sector with various leadership roles across the education sector to his credit, including working as a strategist with Tony Blair in Downing Street. He is the Co-Director of Big Education, a multi-academy trust and social enterprise with a mission to change the way we do education.

Peter transfixed us from the off with his description of the 'Head, Heart and Hand curriculum' he developed as co-founder of School 21 in East London.

 

His forthright premise is that schooling has not changed materially since the 1950s with its focus on a “knowledge rich” curriculum. His belief is that education should focus on the whole child.  He outlined four distinct widely accepted reasons for education and asked the participants to express their preference. The clear majority went for “developing human potential” which put us in the same camp as thousands of others who gave the same answer to the question.  “Why then”, said Peter, “do we allow a situation to exist which is completely focused on the “transmission of information” – an outdated concept?”.

Peter maintained that this lack of change in education was "frankly mad”. He explained that the main barriers to change were the Ofsted review system (not fit for purpose) and a complete fixation with exam results that distorted everything that happened in schools. Peter then treated us to a comparison of the current system - Paradigm A - and a new Paradigm B based on a more holistic education:


This was engrossing material and Peter went on to introduce further interesting concepts such as “the learner profile”,   the concept of “crafting beautiful work” and a detailed explanation of “Oracy”: 
 
It is not possible here to do full justice to Peter’s lecture and presentation, but it was fair to say that the entire audience found it spellbinding and, in questions afterwards, it was clear that Peter had stimulated us in many ways.  Many spoke of the of their excitement at the possibility of changing the system but recognised the enormity of the task. Overall it was a splendid event, and everybody left feeling stimulated and excited. Second Warden Kanan Barot summed it up nicely when she said that she experienced “brain fizz”.  

As Master, I wrapped things up by thanking all those involved in organising such a splendid event, Andrew Marsden for his opening remarks, and in particular Peter Hyman for his extremely stimulating and captivating lecture. 

If you were unfortunate enough to have missed this excellent lecture, then fear not, for it was recorded. It will be available for a limited period and we'll send out a link separately once it is edited and available.

London's Turbulent Son...Thomas Becket

Cathy Cant reports:    Yes, that Thomas Becket… the murdered priest – who was born 900 years ago in Cheapside, died 850 years ago in Canterbury, and canonised in very short order (thus paving the way for him to become London’s patron saint) before being re-interred in a magnificent tomb in Canterbury Cathedral 800 years ago. His feast day was celebrated for well over 400 years until the Reformation put a stop to it.
The triple anniversary was all the reason needed for the splendid Becket Pageant staged in the Guildhall Yard, not far from Becket’s birthplace on a rather changeable weekend in mid-June. Based on a 16th century Guild Pageant, this spectacular affair centred around a specially written musical celebrating Becket’s life and gruesome death. Played by both professional actors and amateur thespians drawn from the City of London including various Livery companies (our own Kanan Barot playing several energetic roles), we were treated to a lively and engaging performance accompanied by some fine singing and inventive special effects. 


The professional oversight of the production was much in evidence: for example the wardrobe – sewn by an army of volunteers – was overseen by a professional costume designer, and the huge Spirit of London puppet, also a volunteer production, by a professional puppet maker.

Around the Yard a ‘medieval’ fair was arranged, courtesy of various Guilds including the Bead Sellers, Saddlers, Masons and Wood Turners. I can attest to the quality of the demonstrations and items for sale. I’m told that the specially brewed Becket Ale was also worth queuing for!

Livery Careers Showcase

This year’s Livery Careers Showcase was held, in person, on Tuesday 28th June. We fielded a small team comprising Dr Simon Davey (lead), Ron Cruickshank and Malcolm McCaig, with essential logistics support from Julie Fox (Clerk).  We were joined and supported by two apprentices from IBM;  Victoria Sinel and Nicolaas Defaux.  I attended the official opening by Sheriff Alison Gowman along with about 15 other Livery Masters, whose Companies were supporting the event. 

Our theme was “Management Consultancy – solve problems, make the world better, travel, make money and have fun”. The aim was to engage with youngsters about our passion for and experience of management consultancy – we’re not ‘careers advisors’ but we were there to speak about why management consultancy is great! 

Nicolaas has provided some feedback on the day which also explains what we were trying to do:  “I found that the message that we were trying to convey was very straightforward and easy to deliver. Once gathering the attention of the children, either through puzzles or “the mace challenge” **, I was able to address them in a more informative manner and communicate the merits of Management Consultancy. Demonstrating to some of these children that there were avenues outside of contemporary studies was enlightening for them. I think that broadening their horizons and providing a career path that goes against the grain was effective.”

Victoria adds: "Meeting the students and explaining the world of Management Consultancy to them was wonderful! Drawing them to the table through problem solving puzzles, we were able to show the pupils an insight into how a Management Consultant works through problems they may come face to face to within their daily work. It was really rewarding to watch their excitement as they solved the puzzles". 

Nicholaas and Victoria have also provided some suggestions for improvements next year - typical Management Consultants - and we look forward to doing it all again next year. Well done to the whole team for what I think was a successful and enjoyable day.   
(** Ed: Have you ever tried to pick our Mace up?)

Reception at Plaisterers' Hall

There was a good turnout for this reception on 8th June and we all enjoyed some good Company wine and finger food.  It was great to see some new faces – several prospective members – and one old face: Sally Garratt joined us (with Bob of course) on her first outing for six months. She has been very unwell but was on good form dispensing forthright opinions and observations about the NHS care she had received. We were joined by the Master Marketor!.

Summer Common Hall at Guildhall

Your editor emerging from the Crypt at the Guildhall and meeting with Andrew Marsden, who was duly elected!

This year the Company was fortunate to have been invited by caterers The Cook & The Butler to join them for lunch in the Aldermens' Dining Room at Guildhall after the election. A dozen members and partners enjoyed a good lunch, including (Past Master) Edward and Karen Sankey.  I discovered that the 24th June was their 50th wedding anniversary, an event that I thought should be marked. I had a word with Walter, he had a word with the Caterers, and at the end of lunch they very kindly provided champagne to allow us to toast the very good health of the happy couple. 50 years is a significant milestone and I am happy to include the “now” and “then” (supplied by Karen) photos below: 

Future Events

Just looking at July, there were two events in the calendar, but...: 

MMIW with Nick Bush
Nick's talk about his work at music education charity World Heart Beat has been postponed until later in 2022 or even next year.  Nick's subject is the creation of a new reharesal and performance space in South London for the charity.  The fact is that the project is on-going and, on reflection, we took the view that there would be more value in learning about the completed projected than in work in progress. So, look out for further announcements.

Summer Celebration
Our Summer Celebration will definitely take place and will celebrate what we've achieved over the past year.  It will be a festive evening with links to the 18th Century Livery and our 21st Century philanthropy.  The Museum of the Home is in Hoxton and has an attractive terrace looking onto a stunning garden.  There is plenty of space so we can accommodate a good turnout without crowding. You can arrive early and visit the Museum in the afternoon. 

To reiterate, this event will be in a new venue, with new caterers and a tasty selction of finger food that will take us in a more “climate friendly” direction.  We are trying to repond to what Members said they wanted. 

The event proper will start at 18:00 with a welcome glass of champagne from our Company’s wine cellar. Access to the very attractive gardens will continue until 19:00 when buffet-style food will be served. Live incidental music will be provided by World Heart Beat – yes the same outfit. 
There will also be a cash bar – wines, beers, alcohol free and exotic cocktails will all be available.  Sign up here, and wear your loudest Hawaiian shirt.  I really hope to see a great turn out for this summer celebration.

A Gift for Guildhall

As I reported in the Highlights from the Summer Court,  Father of the Livery, Calvert Markham presented the Company with his stopwatch dating from 1974. This will serve as a symbolic icon of Management Consultancy and will be donated by the Company to the Guildhall. Here are a couple of photos of the Court and formal handover.  


And here, in full and for posterity, is Calvert’s “Stopwatch Dedication”:
Master, Wardens and members of the Court. I joined PA Management Consultants almost 50 years ago as a production consultant. Those of you who began practising at that time will know it was a quite different world from now – for example, it was only slightly earlier that PA’s dress code had dictated the style of trilby hat that consultants should wear.  The tools of the trade were also few. Slide rules had given way to infant calculators, but the rest of the consultant’s briefcase was taken up by forms, manuals and office supplies.
But there was a tool of the trade absolutely essential for a production consultant: the stopwatch. For much of the twentieth century work study, a major activity of management consultants, was a significant contributor to productivity, whether it was in the machine shop, refuse collection or, in the single project I did in that area, of improving the performance of forklift truck drivers working in a freezer warehouse at minus 23 degrees.
And this, Master, is the stopwatch that I was given when I joined PA and which I used in that project. The temperature variations as I left that warehouse meant that it frosted over and rendered it impossible to read it; but it still works!
We management consultants now have many tools of the trade to help us in our work, but the stopwatch I think has an iconic role in our history. I therefore now pass it to you Master, as a gift to the Company, as a manifestation of the history of our profession”.

Gordon Stoker

John Watson reports on his visit to Gordon Stoker, who was instrumental in the introduction of pro-bono mentoring, the initiation of the role of Almoner, and the development of the Quaich lunches each January to honour deserving members. Gordon also persuaded the Company to launch an outstanding service medal. 
“Some Members will remember Gordon Stoker.  Although born in Sunderland, he spent his working life in London, receiving an MBA from The City University later in life in 1989.  He joined the Company in 2001, received the Freedom of the City in 2003 and became a liveryman in 2004; his certificates are proudly displayed on the wall of his sitting room at his home in Lewisham. Gordon continues to follow Company news avidly, having been closely involved in its development during the past 20+ years.  Gordon is bed-bound, a severe restriction which he bears with patience and good humour, lovingly supported by his long term and caring partner Miranda. He sends his very best wishes to all Members of the Company and wishes us every success”.

And Finally ....

No ...that’s quite enough for one Newsletter – no room for “Get To know…”, or indeed anything else, this time around.  Thanks for reading this far. Next time…. more on the Gonfalon, and the Stopwatch I hope.

I’m hearing about fully jabbed people going down with Covid for the second time and numbers are clearly on the up!  Those vaccines are wearing off, so stay safe.

Steve

Steve Cant
Master

 

 

This newsletter is produced by the WCoMC Communications Group. Please let us know if you have any items to include in relation to any topics that come to mind! The opinions expressed in this newsletter represent those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the Company.
​WCoMC is a Chartered Charitable Organisation (Privy Council Reference C877) and a Company Incorporated by Royal Charter (Company No. RC000819).