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Let Us Love One Another

The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers

2012 - 2013 Events

1st October - Election of the Lord Mayor

Once again the Liverymen of the City claimed their ancient right to elect their Lord Mayor. Even with the dreadful weather there was a full house at Guildhall to welcome the current Lord Mayor, Alderman David Wootton who lead the ceremony. After due deliberation Alderman Roger Gifford was elected as the new Lord Mayor and he will take up his role at the Silent Ceremony on 9th November. A number of Basketmakers were present and after the election they retired to the Salters' Hall where they had another splendid lunch with the Salters' Company. This is always a great occasion and one much appreciated by all the Basketmakers who attend.

17th October - Installation Day

The day commenced with a special meeting of the Court to ratify the appointment of the new Clerk. The Court were unanimous in their decision and Mrs Julie Fox was elected to succeed the current Clerk on his retirement at the end of the year.The remainder of the day commenced as usual with a church service at St Margaret Pattens, lead for the first time by our Honorary Chaplain, Rev Hugh Thomas. Together with the church's own choir, under the leadership of Rupert Perkins, it was a memorable and stirring service.

After the service the congregation made their way back to Skinners' Hall for the Installation of the new Prime Warden, Alderman Neil Redcliffe, together with his new Wardens, Richard Gillis as Upper Warden and Graham Aslet as Under Warden. After a welcome drink of champagne, dinner was served and the evening ended with the Prime Warden's welcome and outline of his year to come.

31st October - Stewards Club Dinner

The Stewards returned once again to the Imperial Hotel for their annual dinner. The President, PPW Richard Walduck hosted the evening and the assembled Stewards enjoyed an excellent dinner and good company. At the end of the evening the President, on behalf of all the Stewards, presented a cheque to the Immediate Past Prime Warden, Deputy John Barker OBE, with grateful thanks for a memorable year. He also presented a beautiful basket made by Yeoman John Galloway, together with a specially made photo album by Assistant Christine Daniels, to the retiring Clerk, Roger de Pilkyngton.To complete the evening it was agreed to make him an Honorary Steward of the Company

10th November -  Lord Mayor's Show

Once again the City put on its best display for the Lord Mayor's Show, the largest unrehearsed parade in the world. The weather was kind and the rain held off. Leading the procession as usual were Gog & Magog accompanied by the Society of Young Freemen and 100 Regiment. Also noticed with it were PPS Peter Yarker, our Trade Adviser, Mary Butcher MBE and Yeoman Sandra Barker. Later in the procession came PPW John Barker riding along in suitable state with the Master of the Guild of freemen, Liveryman Anne Holden and Liveryman Judy Taylor-Smith, President of the City Livery Club.Another carriage was occupied by the Prime Warden, Alderman Neil Redcliffe It seemed that there were Basketmakers everywhere!

After the parade went by a group of Basketmakers went off to Founders' Hall for a delicious lunch and a well earned rest.

20th November - Visit to the National Gallery

Basketmakers became enthusiastic “basket spotters” when a group led by Prime Warden Alderman Neil Redcliffe visited the National Gallery on the afternoon of Tuesday November 20 (as it happens on the way in waving to “national treasure” actor Sir Derek Jacobi (“I Claudius” and now “Last Tango in Halifax”) who happened to be visiting at the same time.

 By good fortune we had City Freeman and Blue Badge Guide Sue King to show us round. She put us on our mettle at once by challenging: “Do any of you really make baskets?” Emboldened by the presence with us of Liveryman Kay Johnson and Yeoman Sandra Barker, both noted teachers on the subject, we chorused back “All” and then tried our best to be the first to “spot-the-basket” in the Hogarths, Gainsboroughs or Rembrandts.

Sue, with her deep knowledge and degrees in History of Art, made us all feel a little prouder of our craft by pointing out how frequently the Master artists would use a well-placed basket as a means of giving the illusion of depth or perspective. Or sometimes to give a subtle message.

Such messages would have been more clearly understood at the time when the master piece was produced. For example we saw Rubens work “Minerva defending Peace from Mars” painted during a period when he was negotiating between England and Spain as envoy to Philip IV (1629-30. Lucky us saw this masterpiece only because Rubens had presented it to Charles I as a gift.   Charles, before he lost his head, was a passionate supporter of the arts, although not always a quick payer, and his portrait on horseback by Anthony van Dyck is another of the treasures we saw. Sue told us that Charles had given Van Dyck a house by the river at Blackfriars to use as his own while he was over here. At that time Blackfriars, or at least that part of it on the other side of the Fleet River, was outside the City and therefore Van Dyck was outside the reach of the Painter Stainers Company which, like the Baskemakers in that era, kept a watch for foreigners stealing their business.     

Basketwise the undoubted star of the visit was Joachim Beuckelaer’s massive “Four Elements” in which Earth, Water, Air and Fire are each separately depicted in paintings of market scenes, with produce tumbling out of baskets of all types. This was a reminder that not only were baskets once the only form of “packaging” (before cardboard and plastic took over) but also, before the days of weighing machines, served as rough and ready methods of measurement as different sized-baskets were used for different items. Joachim’s bravura depiction of bustling scenes (the fish market for example for the element of water) has a subtle message of good and evil being found in all and one can spot the wastrel and the scoundrel in the background in one and in another you can be fairly certain it was the head cook’s day off if you study the behaviour of the servants.

Our chairmaker colleagues were not forgotten and, after giving a cursory glance at one of his  “Sunflowers” we focussed on Van Gogh’s chair, a plain plaited affair like the man himself. Vincent was a “what you see is what you get” type with whom some of us Basketmakers could empathise as it is said that during his lifetime he was only paid cash for one painting.   But he kept his sense of humour and painted Gauguin’s “Armchair” as a none-too-subtle way of depicting the difference in character between himself and his rival and sometimes friend.  But you will have to go to Holland to see that.

We concluded the day by toddling off, courtesy of Past Prime Warden Peter Yarker, to his club, the Naval and Military (also known as “The In and Out) in St James’s Square for a splendid tea with scones laden with cream and jam. Can’t wait for the coming visit to the Tate.

13th December - Carol Service

A full house at St Margaret Pattens again this year for the annual Carol Service held with the Pattenmakers' Company. The church was looking especially festive with candles and winter foliage in addition to the traditional Christmas Manger and Tree. This was the first time that Rev Hugh Thomas had lead the Carol Service but with the church's own choir we were in very safe hands. A great, jolly and moving evening. As usual the congregation enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies after the service and then 70 intrepid Basketmakers & Pattenmakers went down St Mary at Hill to Waterman's Hall for an excellent and convivial buffet supper. A great start to the festive season

January - Court Meeting and Livery Dinner

The first Court meeting of the year saw a very full agenda.  Before the main business began Mrs. Julie Fox was installed as the new Clerk to succeed Roger de Pilkyngton and clothed with the Clerk's robe.  The major item of discussion was an initiative of the Prime Warden to conduct a Strategic Review of the Company's affairs to ensure that the Company was 'fit for purpose' going forward, whilst having due regard to its Royal Charter.  A Working Party was set up to undertake the review with a view to submitting its findings and recommendations to the July Court Meeting.  The Court was keen to ensure that the process was comprehensive and holistic, addressing all the areas with which the Company was involved and providing a long-term, sustainable strategy.  In order to be successful it was essential that the procedure was inclusive and contributions and input invited from all members.  The Court also received full reports of our wide range of affiliations with the Armed Forces and with other organisations.

After the Court meeting there was a Livery dinner which, despite the inclement weather, was a well-supported event.  Amongst our guests were the Masters of the Bakers, Butchers and Gardeners' Companies and their Clerks together with representatives from HMS Richmond, No 5 Squadron RAF and 100 Regiment.  The Toast to the Guests was proposed by Assistant Edward Donaldson and the response was made by His Honour Judge Peter Beaumont QC CBE, Recorder of London.  In an insightful and informative speech he outlined the valuable work of the Sheriffs' & Recorder's Fund which was founded in 1808 and provides small grants to support the rehabilitation of ex-offenders and their families.  On behalf of the Charitable Trust, the Prime Warden presented a cheque for £5,000 to His Honour Judge Peter Beaumont to support the work of the Fund.  A further cheque for £5,000 was presented to Michael Kenny, Director of the St Mary Le Bow Homeless Charity, a small City charity that has been working with young, homeless people since 1990 helping them develop confidence, budget, live with others, get a job and keep it and take part in society without depending on the State.  The Prime Warden ended the evening and presented baskets to His Honour Judge Peter Beaumont and the visiting Masters and invited all those present to join him in a stirrup cup.

Click to see more photos from the event

Friday 15th February - Royal Artillery Steeplechase Meeting, Sandown Park

Fourteen Basketmakers and guests attended Sandown Park racecourse to see the running of the Royal Artillery Gold Cup, which was first run in 1863 and moved to its present venue in 1878 where it has been staged every year since 1921. The race is somewhat unique as it is restricted to horses that are owned or have been leased to those who have served in the Royal Artillery or military reserves and is for amateur jockeys. It is an important event in the calendar being the largest gathering of serving and retired Gunners of all ranks and is a fun day out. The presence of the regimental tents is a unique and important feature of the day providing an excellent opportunity to entertain families and guests not to mention a great afternoon of racing.

The day started at 10.30am with a parade in Esher High Street of returning troops from Afghanistan, who were accompanied by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Royal Artillery band. The Guard of Honour was formed by the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers of the HAC with our Liveryman, Roger Davenport, as the elder Drumbeat. We then moved on to the racecourse where we enjoyed a roast beef lunch before beginning the serious business of the afternoon with seven races to scrutinize in the vain hope of selecting a winner!

15.00 hrs saw the running of the Royal Artillery Gold Cup. Due to the heavy going a small field of only eight runners set off on the three mile race.  The eventual winner was Gwanako, at 7/4, ridden by Lbdr Jody Sole and trained by top National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls, followed by Fine Parchment in second place and Lord Tomnoddy in third. The trophy was presented by former HAC Col Commandant General Sir Timothy Greville-Chapman, assisted by the current Commandant, Lt General Sir Barney White-Spunner.

During the afternoon racegoers were entertained to a guest appearance by the Military Wives Choir who, amongst other ballads, sang 'Wherever You Are' which had been the fastest selling single in 2011 and the Christmas number 1. As usual, the event was tremendous fun and we were royally entertained in the 100 Regiment's private marquee and our grateful thanks go to Lt Col Andy Brown and his colleagues for a great afternoon.   

2nd March - Basketmaking Day at the Royal National Hotel

A band of intrepid Members and their families once again met to have fun and make baskets. The day was led by Sandra

Barker, one of our Yeoman members who was assisted by Betty Grace - another regular Yeoman instructor. The group met at the Royal National Hotel, just off Russell Square and thanks go to PPW Richard Walduck for generously providing the venue and an excellent lunch.  Everyone completed a willow basket which they took home - although some were rather interesting shapes! People left the day tired and with sore hands, but with a great sense of satisfaction.

12th February - Inter-Livery Pancake Race

Shrove Tuesday this year saw the ninth running of this keenly fought event.  This annual spectacle is run by the Poulter's Company in conjunction with The Cook and Butler with a number of other Livery Companies offering their skills and expertise including the Clockmakers who time the event; the Gunmakers who provide the starting cannon and the Fruiterers the lemons.

This year there were over 25 teams competing in races for Masters, Liverymen, Ladies and the Novelty Race, culminating in the Victor Ludorum which was won by the Tylers and Bricklayers Company. The Company did not have a team in the event this year, but our Prime Warden Alderman Neil Redcliffe competed in the Masters' Qualifying Race and successfully secured the Company a place in next year's event.  If you go to the following link you can see his performance captured on u-tube.  There is no truth in the rumour that there will be a gruelling selection process and training regime for our team next year!  

A number of loyal supporters braved the inclement weather to cheer on their teams grateful for the hot coffee and pancakes to sustain them.  Following the event the competitors and their supporters retired to the Crypt in Guildhall for a much needed mug of hot soup, a buffet lunch ending with - yes you've guessed it - pancakes! This is a wonderful inter-livery event and as we have a team competing next year I urge you to put the date in your diary - 4th March 2014 and come along to support the Company's team or perhaps consider being part of our team - your Company needs you!

14th November - Court meeting & Masters & Clerks Dinner

The Court met for their November meeting. The proceedings began with the Installation of 4 new Stewards, Mrs Valerie Carroll, Roy Nottage Esq, Michael Osborne Esq and Mrs Yvonne Young. Amongst the other items covered was the approval of the Annual Accounts and the establishment of a Special Reserve within those accounts for future projects. It was noted that Gog & Magog had again headed up the procession for the Lord Mayor's Show and thanks were offered to 100 Regiment for their great help on the day. The Prime Warden explained his plan to improve the Fellowship within the Company especially as regards new Members joining. To this end the new Freemen and Liverymen would be invited to have drinks with the Court after their installation in order to meet the members of Court. Then Mrs Mary-Jane Donaldson was Installed as a Freeman of the Company. Andrew Ford, Captain Richard Martin, Steven Tamcken and Mrs Aileen Wells-Martin were Clothed in the Livery of the Company.

Following the Court meeting the Company held its annual dinner for Masters & Clerks entertaining some 28 Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiffs of other Companies together with their Clerks. As always this proved to be one of the most enjoyable evenings of the year and Party Ingredients produced a very special meal . Following the Prime Warden's words of welcome and toast to the guests there was a response from the Prime Warden of the Dyers' Company who thanked all the Basketmakers for their generous hospitality and warm welcome.

24th November - Basketmaking Day

Once more an intrepid band of Basketmakers gathered to do what our Livery Company is founded on - making baskets! Lead by our own Honorary Trade Adviser, Mrs Mary Butcher MBE, they spent the day making a Christmas Platter. This particular design has its origins in Catalonia, although the weaving technique has now spread throughout Europe.

The Royal National Hotel again provided the setting, courtesy of PPW Richard Walduck and at least one Christmas present was solved for all those attending.

4th March - Inter-Livery Bridge Competition

Once again the Company was ably represented by Liveryman Basil Cohen and his son in the 31st Inter-Livery Bridge Competition which is organised by the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and held in Drapers' Hall. There was a full house this year with 64 pairs competing and I am delighted to report that the Company came a creditable ninth. A most enjoyable evening was had by all and thanks go to Liveryman

Basil Cohen and his son for all their efforts.

15th March - United Guilds Service and lunch at Skinners’ Hall

One of the highlights of the City Year when Liverymen from all of the 108 Livery Companies gather together at St Paul’s Cathedral for the United Guilds Service.  It is a fantastic sight to see the cathedral packed to capacity, listening intently to the address given by the Dean of St Pauls and the Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford.  Following the service the Basketmakers made their way over to Skinners’ Hall for lunch to join with the Skinners’, Fanmakers’ and Turners’ Companies to round off a most enjoyable day.  

15th April - Visit to Zurich for Sechselauten 2013
Following an invitation from our friends in the Zunft zur Letzi of Zürich, I attended this year’s Sechseläuten as the guest of Zunftmeister (the equivalent of Prime Warden), Urs Weilenmann.    I had the honour of representing the Prime Warden who was unable to attend and, as always when Basketmakers visit Zürich, was treated to some of their best “Gastfreundschaft” (hospitality).

PPW Norman Woolley and his wife Julie were already staying at the Leoneck Hotel in Zürich to visit their son Andrew, a Liveryman of our Company, and his family who live in a village not far from Zürich.   I joined them at the Leoneck the day before Sechseläuten.   We were met by Urs Weilenmann and his wife Bea at the hotel and they kindly invited us to join them for drinks at their lovely house nearby which has amazing views across Zürich.

The following morning, Monday 15th April, saw the start of the Sechseläuten itself, which can perhaps best be described as a combination of the Lord Mayor’s Show, Guy Fawkes’ Night and our Livery Banquet, but with three meals involved spread throughout the day.

Festivities commence at 9.15am at the Zunfthaus (guildhall) with drinks – a tad early under normal circumstances both for Norman and for me, but “when in Zürich...”.   This was followed by a lunch that started mid-morning and contained a mixture of a three course meal and speeches from the Zunftmeister and their honoured guests who this year included the Mayor of Zürich, the Surgeon General of the Swiss Army and the leader of the council of Bern.

After this, we gathered outside to join the procession through Zürich which leads all 26 guilds to gather at the square to see the burning of the Böögg.   This is a traditional ceremony to celebrate the end of winter and coming of spring and involves a vast bonfire upon which is burned the effigy of a snowman.   The snowman is filled with fireworks and the time taken for the fire to work its way up from ground level until it sets fire to the Böögg and his head explodes is measured, the shorter the time, the better the summer is meant to be.   The shortest time on record was in 1974 with just over five minutes but this year we witnessed a different record being broken – that for the longest, at just over 35 minutes.

The next part of Sechseläuten involves a return to the Zunfthaus for more feasting and speeches then the members and guests go out on what could best be described as “raiding parties” when we visit three other guilds in their halls.   A Letzi member makes a speech to each of the the Courts of the guilds we are visiting which must tread a careful line between being very formal whilst engaging in some “our guild is better than yours” one-upmanship.   The Zunftmeister being visited then has to respond spontaneously to try to counter the accusations of inadequacy in his guild.  

Following this, the Letzi members return to base – the entire process accompanied by a brass band.   A report is given to the Zunftmeister and then another meal appears, a midnight feast of beer and sausages.   Close of play is normally in the region of 3am for those with a suitably cast-iron constitution.

Before the trip I had attended the exhibition of basketry at the Dutch Church at which a number of basketmakers had their wares on display.   Having given the Zunftmeister a traditional basket on a previous visit, a coloured, modern basket by John Galloway was selected this time.   The basket was presented to the Zunftmeister at the midnight feast and shown to all the assembled Letzi.   Urs has since contacted me to give his thanks for the basket.   He said he thought the basket was beautiful and that he uses it to bring wine from his cellar to his dining room and that it tends to make him visit the cellar a little more often as it has made the job of carrying so much easier.   This is live, unsolicited proof of the phrase used both by the Basketmakers’ Association and the Basketmakers’ Company – “useful and beautiful”…!

Our affiliation with the Letzi guild is most worthwhile and I would encourage Basketmakers who have not yet done so to get to know our Swiss guests when they attend our Banquet on 9th September this year.

17th April - Basketmakers Dinner

Our second Livery Dinner of the year saw us once more in our home hall, Skinners’ Hall. Amongst the Company guests on the evening were the Masters of the Leathersellers, Fletchers and Tax Advisors together with their clerks. We also entertained Fl Lt Benjamin Beckett-Pugh and WO1 Lindsay Ward from No 5 Squadron. The main speaker of the evening was Professor Caroline Barron, Emeritus Professor of the History of London, Royal Holloway College who gave an insightful talk on the art of basketmaking and its links with the City of London in Medieval Times. The Prime Warden presented a cheque for £5,000 to Andy Bannell, Director of the Tower Hamlets Mission, a charity established in 1870 to help the needy in the East End of London. Today the Charity provides invaluable support and guidance for men who are suffering from addiction. The Toast to the Guests was given by Under Warden Graham Aslet and the Prime Warden ended the evening by inviting all those present to join him in a stirrup cup.

Click to see more photos from the event

Monday 18th March – Basketry Arts: Useful and Beautiful

This was a new initiative for the Company when over 90 guests from other Livery Companies joined in a Basketmaking Demonstration Day at The Dutch Church, Austin Friars. The Sheriff’s Lady, Juliet Evans opened the event and welcomed everyone to a unique opportunity to see the rich diversity of basketmaking in the UK. Yeoman Members of the Company demonstrated weaving using rush, willow, cane and rush seating producing pieces ranging from traditional to more contemporary. Guests were given the opportunity to purchase pieces on the day or place orders and some visitors were inspired and keen to learn more about basketmaking expressing a desire ‘to try their hand’ at making a basket!

Thursday 2nd may - Trip to Windsor  and St George’s Chapel


The sun shone brilliantly for the Company’s outing to Windsor Castle and St George’s Chapel.  Sue King, City Guide, thrilled the 25 Members of the Company and their guests with a tour of the outside of the castle and an informative talk on the history of the castle from its founding in 1066 to the present day.  Members were then free to tour the grounds and the splendid state apartments which have been so magnificently restored since the devastating fire which took place on 20th November 1992.  Reserved seats in the Garter Stalls at St George’s Chapel for Choral Evensong were the fitting end to a wonderful day before a delightful stroll through Windsor and dinner at a local restaurant.

9th-12th May – Prime Wardens Weekend in Marrakech

Like Webster’s Dictionary the Basketmakers were Morocco bound!  Only four hours away but a very different world awaited the party of 40 Members and guests as they headed off from Gatwick to experience a unique view of this fascinating city.  

The Prime Warden, in conjunction with Honorary Assistant Stuart Redcliffe had arranged accommodation in luxury riads in the very heart of Marrakech close to souks, the monuments and the main square.  In addition to first class service, in cool, chic . contemporary riads, guests were invited to experience hammams and massage for the true Moroccan experience.  

During the weekend members enjoyed a guided trip out to the fabled Atlas Mountains and the Ouzoud waterfalls and lunched with a Berber family – learning how to make the traditional mint tea first hand!  A number of members were tempted by the sellers in the Djemaa el Fna, a bustling market place by day and, by night, transformed into a place for street theatre and socialising unlike anywhere else in the world.  The cultural experience was further enhanced by the fine dining offered in the Riad Adore and in some of the finest restaurants in Marrakech – certainly a trip to remember!  

Wednesday 22nd May – Court Meeting and Court Dinner, Cutlers’ Hall

The second Court meeting of the year included the submission by the Finance Committee of their proposed budget for 2013/14. This was a prudent budget incorporating a 4% increase in quarterage to achieve a break even position and was adopted by the Court. The Court was also updated on the recent visit by the Company to Zurich where they were entertained by the Letzi Guild during the Sechselauten. The Zunftmeister had been delighted with the basket that had been presented to him by the Company and he was using it regularly to bring wine up from his cellar. Eight members of the Letzi Guild would be attending the Annual Mansion House Banquet and Members were asked to consider the possibility of sponsoring their attendance at the banquet.  Admitted as Freeman at the Court meeting was David Herbert.  

Following the success last year of the dinner held at Brewers’ Hall, the Prime Warden wished once again to hold a dinner for the current members of Court, the Stewards and their partners.  Forty Members and guests had a most enjoyable evening at Cutlers’ Hall – the Company’s fifth hall – which had been the site of the Royal College of Physicians from 1674 to 1825 and subsequently a foundry.  During World War II the Hall was fortunate to survive the great fire bomb raid in December 1940, only to succumb in May 1941 to a high explosive bomb which demolished the entire north wall of the Hall.  By 1951 all the damage had been repaired and the Hall came back into full use.  Members were delighted to see many fine examples of 17th and 18th century stained glass and word art, most of which had been made by Wilkinson Sword.  

Wednesday 17th July - Court Meerting and Livery Dinner

The third Court meeting of the year saw the submission by the Strategic Review Working Party of their second interim report. A considerable amount of work had been undertaken to date on communications, marketing and membership identifying the challenges facing the Company and proposing initiatives to ensure the Company was fit for purpose going forward. PPW John Robinson reported that at the meeting of the Charitable Trust held earlier that day a request had been received to assist in funding the cost of extending the cabinet in Guildhall that housed Gogg and Magog to protect the figures from dust and further damage. The Charitable Trust had agreed to make a grant of £2,000 towards the cost of £3,200 and it was agreed that an approach be made to Members to see if they would be prepared to contribute towards outstanding amount. The Court was also updated on the arrangements for the forthcoming visit by the Letzi Guild in September when they would also be attending as guests at the Company’s Mansion House Banquet.  

Following the resignation of Upper Warden Richard Gillis, the Court elected Graham Aslet and Edward Donaldson unanimously as Upper Warden and Under Warden respectively for the remainder of the year. The Court meeting also agreed that the following be elected for the coming year - Graham Aslet, Prime Warden, Edward Donaldson, Upper Warden and Richard Boucher-Giles, Under Warden. The Court also elected Mrs Yvonne Young to serve as Chief Steward and Mrs Judy Tayler-Smith, Roger Harper, Michael Horton and David Robert-Jones to serve as Stewards. Graham Aslet indicated that in view of his election as Prime Warden he would be standing down as Almoner and a volunteer to undertake the role was sought. The Prime Warden thanked Graham for all the work he had undertaken as Almoner to support Members of the Company. The Court also admitted as Freeman Mrs Lynne Holloway and Douglas Leacy and Captain Debra Tyrrell were clothed in the Livery

The Court meeting was followed by a Livery Dinner and, as is the custom, this was to celebrate Our Trade. Prior to the dinner there was a fantastic display of basketware made by Yeoman and Livery Members which was for sale and Members and their guests were also able to place orders. Following drinks on the terrace in the sunshine the Company enjoyed a delicious meal and the guests were welcomed by the Prime Warden and the newly installed Upper Warden and Under Warden. Amongst the guests were the Masters of the Founders, Fruiterers and Pattenmakers together with representatives from No 5 Squadron RAF and 100 Regiment plus No 2 Cadet Unit who also provided a splendid Guard of Honour. Our principal speaker was Commander Nicholas Chatwin OBE RAF Naval Liaison Officer for the Naval Regional Commander Eastern England. The Prime Warden thanked him for his excellent speech and presented Commander Chatwin and the visiting Masters with baskets. He presented the award for Subaltern of the Year to Second Lieutenant Ruari-Smith-Jackson and a life time achievement award to Mrs Bunty Ball in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the art and craft of basketmaking and her continued support for the trade of basketmaking over many years. The Prime Warden ended the evening by inviting all those present to join him in a stirrup cup.

Click to see more photos from the event

Monday 24th June – Election of Sheriffs

Around 25 Members of the Company joined Liverymen from all 108 Companies in Guildhall to exercise their right and duty as Liverymen to vote for the next Sheriffs to serve in the City.  Elected this year were Alderman Sir Paul Judge and Adrian Waddingham.  Following the Election ten Members of the Company made the short walk to Butchers’ Hall for a delicious lunch of traditional roast beef.

Wednesday 12th June - Summer Dinner at Charterhouse

The Summer Dinner this year was enjoyed by 93 Members of the Company and their guests at The Charterhouse in the City – one of London’s lesser know but most charming historic locations.  The Charterhouse is a complex of historic buildings to the north of Charterhouse Square which was originally founded as a Carthusian Monastery in 1371.  In 1535 it was approbated by the Crown.  After passing through various hands, in 1611 it became a Charity Foundation to educate boys and care of elderly men, known as ‘Brothers’.  This is now the famous Charterhouse School which moved to Godalming in 1872.  It is still occupied by pensioners who now all live in splendid modern accommodation including their own in-house hospital.

Before a splendid dinner, which was held in the magnificent 16th Century Great Hall, guests were treated to a drinks reception in the 14th Century Norfolk Cloister and an informative tour of the buildings by the Master, Brigadier Charlie Hobson RM.  

Sunday 16th June - Livery Concert Barbican Hall

The City of London proudly ranks itself as one of the world’s major supporters of the Arts especially its support of the Barbican Centre with its Concert Hall, Art Gallery, Theatres, Cinema and Library.  In order to build on this relationship between the City, the Barbican and the Livery it has been decided to have a special concert each year aimed at Members of the Livery Companies.  A small party of Members joined the Lord Mayor, Sir Roger Gifford, for a memorable concert, the closing concert of the 2012/13 season, to mark the death of Sir Colin Davis, as a tribute to the former President, Principal Conductor and great friend to the LSO. 

23rd April - Mary Hare Foundation

On a beautiful day in April, the Chairman of the Charitable Trust, John Robinson and the Clerk travelled to Mary Hare School for deaf children in Newbury, the largest community of deaf children and young people in the UK, for the opening of their new boarding accommodation by Pippa Middleton.  The accommodation is purpose built for year 11 pupils providing an optimum environment for them to study for their GCSEs and prepare them for the more independent and self-motivated approach to study at A Level.  

The school had commissioned a willow sculpture of a hare by willow sculptor, Tom Hare, a member of the Basketmakers’ Association. The sculpture stands some 7ft tall and is mounted on a steel frame to ensure rigidity and permanency. The project was supported by the Charitable Trust and provided a wonderful opportunity for the pupils to participate in a workshop helping Tom build the hare which stands at the entrance to the new accommodation.

28th July - No 5 Squadron RAF  Centenary Celebration

5AC Squadron was formed on 26th July 1913 and on 26th July 2013 it celebrated its 100th Anniversary at RAF Waddington. The Squadron has seen action in both World Wars and in more recent times in the conflicts in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa taking on a vital surveillance and reconnaissance role in the struggle against extremists. It was against this backdrop that an evening of dining and celebration was held to mark the achievements of one of the finest flying squadrons. Three Members of the Company and the Clerk were guests of the Officer Commanding at the Dining-in-Night at the Officers’ Mess, the evening beginning with a memorable flypast and short ceremony before adjourning to dinner. Everyone was invited to a fun family day at the base the following day and enjoyed a bar-b-que and entertainment in the sun.

On Sunday 28th July a Centenary Service was held at Lincoln Cathedral to celebrate and commemorate those who had given their lives in the cause of justice, freedom and peace and to support and encourage those who served today in the Squadron.

 8th July – Basketmakers go twice the distance!

On Saturday 8th July five intrepid Members of the Company and Hector French, Chief Steward Hedley Frenchs’ five year old son, successfully supported the Lord Mayor’s Appeal by swimming 10Km in the City Dip Sponsored Swim – twice the required distance!  This year the Rt Hon. The Lord Mayor, Roger Gifford, is supporting five charities: City Music Foundation, Futures for Kids, Gifford Wood Appeal, The Harold Samuel Collection and The Lord Mayor’s Foundation.  With gift aid, the Company raised the fantastic sum of over £2,300 and our thanks go to all those involved – both swimmers and sponsors for all their efforts in making this such a worthwhile event.  Let’s see if we can do even better next year!

11th September - Basket  making Exhibition at the Guildhall

Seventy people joined the Company at the evening event to launch the Company’s Basketmaking Exhibition at the Guildhall Library on Wednesday 11th September.  Basketmaking was essential to both rural and urban economies and social life, baskets being used to carry everything to local and distant markets and for domestic purposes.  The trade increased steadily and dramatically with the onset of the industrial revolution, with every village having a basketmaker or workshop and even small towns having 200 or more makers supplying specialist baskets for local industries.  In recent years we have seen new traditions with skilled craftspeople serving new markets in creative and innovative ways.  

Sandra Barker, one of the Company’s Yeoman Members, provided an excellent demonstration of the art of basketmaking to entertain the guests and encouraged people to ‘have a go’! Sue King, City Guide gave an interesting and lighthearted tour of The Case for Baskets in Art – journeying from Egypt through Moses baskets via Rubens and Titian, to Van Dyke, Van Gough and Renoir, demonstrating that baskets have played an important part in art through the centuries – including confirming for all those who might have doubted it that the hat in the Rubens painting is, in fact, straw!

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9th September - Basketmakers 444th Annual Banquet

The Basketmaker’s Company was delighted once again to return to Mansion House for its annual banquet.  The Lord Mayor was unable to attend as he was in Guildhall, speaking on a panel organised by the London Standard on the City and Europe.  The Company was delighted to welcome Alderman Sir David Wootton as Representative Lord Mayor as he had been unable to attend last year when he was Lord Mayor as he was in China.  He was accompanied by his wife Lady Liz Wootton.  The Duty Officer for the evening was Jonathan Pallant.  

From our various affiliations we welcomed Group Captain Alan Marshall and his wife, Wing Commander Suraya Marshall and from 100 Regiment Lt Colonel Mike Bishop and Captain Ange Fewster.  The Guard of Honour was once again provided by the Light Cavalry, HAC and Major Keith O’Callaghan and his wife were amongst our guests at dinner.  Grace was said by Rev Hugh Thomas, the Honorary Chaplain to the Company who dined with us, together with his wife.  In addition to excellent music provided once again by Thames Fanfare Brass under the direction of Roy Bilham, the Company was fortunate to be able to hear the chamber organ, which had been commissioned by the Lord Mayor, Alderman Roger Gifford, to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee, played by Canon Claire Tillotson.  The organ will be installed in Henry VII’s Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey later in the year.  

The Mansion House provided a truly memorable meal and after Rose Water and Loving Cups it was the turn of the Prime Warden to propose the Civic Toast and ended by presenting Sir David and Lady Wootton with a beautiful picnic basket made by Yeoman Darrell Hill.  Alderman Sir David Wootton responded and presented the Prime Warden with a book on behalf of the Lord Mayor produced by the Lady Mayoress.  He also managed to take the Clerk by surprise with an additional gift of playing cards to keep her out of trouble!  The Toast to the Guests was made by Part Prime Warden Graham Redcliffe who ensured he kept everyone in order, only inviting responses when instructed to do so.  The response on behalf of the guests was made by Andrew Bailey, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England who gave an interesting insight into the role of the banking industry in the City and so ended yet another great occasion in the Company’s history.   

 Click to see  photos of the event

30th September - Election of the Lord Mayor

Once again the Liverymen of the City claimed their ancient right to elect their Lord Mayor. There was a full house at Guildhall to welcome the Rt Hon The Lord Mayor, Roger Gifford who led the ceremony. After due deliberation Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE was elected as the new Lord Mayor, only the second woman in the institution’s 800 year history. She will take up her role at the Silent Ceremony on Friday 8th November 2013 in the Great Hall, at Guildhall. A number of Basketmakers were present and after the election they retired to the Salters' Hall where they had another splendid lunch with the Salters' Company. This is always a great occasion and one much appreciated by all the Basketmakers who attend.