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Let Us Love One Another

The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers

2009 - 2010 Events

16th October - Installation Day
After the changes made to the Installation Day in 2008, it was back to the more traditional format for the day in 2009. Following our usual service at St Margaret Pattens
led as ever by our Honorary Chaplain The Rev Andrew Pearson and with superb music from the choir, we then progressed onto Skinners' Hall for an informal buffet lunch and a chance to catch up with old friends.
After lunch came Common Hall and the assembled Members were enlightened as to the progress of the Company's finances and the Charitable Trust by Assistant Malcom Moss and PPW John Robinson repectively. Following this was the installation of the Prime Warden and his Wardens together with the presentation of the Ladies Brooches to the Prime Warden and Upper Warden's ladies.
For the Prime Warden and his Court the day was not yet over as there followed a Court meeting which including the swearing in of two new Freemen Roger Barnes and Michael Osborne.

2nd November - Lord Mayor's Appeal Presentation 
For the last 13 years The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers have entered a swimming team for the City Dip, which is a sponsored swim in aid of the Lord Mayor's Appeal. This year it took place on 27th and 28th February, being the 19th year that the Golden Lane Leisure Centre in the Barbican has played host to the City Dip Charity Swim in aid of the Lord Mayor's Appeal for the charities nominated by the Lord Mayor during his year in office, these being the Lord's Taverners and St. John Ambulance.
Over the past six years The City Dip has raised over £150,000 for the Lord Mayor's Appeal and this year was one of the most successful years, which, despite the current economic climate, raised the amazing amount of £24,823, being an all time record for the City Dip fund raising event. These funds made a substantial contribution towards the Lord's Taverners who provide equipment, coaching programmes and specially adapted minibuses to give thousands of children, particularly those with special needs, a sporting chance. The Dip also helped support St. John Ambulance to fit 1,000 defibrillators in the City of London, with support and training, to provide immediate help to victims of cardiac arrest.
Congratulations to the Basketmakers Swimming Team who, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, succeeded in raising £4,600 towards the overall total of £24,823. This was the largest sum raised this year by any Livery Company participating in the City Dip, and in fact for at least the last seven years the Basketmakers have succeeded in raising the largest amount. At the Mansion House the organizers of the City Dip made an official presentation of a cheque to The Rt. Hon Lord Mayor, Alderman Ian Luder. Those invited represented the fundraisers who had individually contributed the largest sums of money. Our Swimming Team was represented by the Team Captain PPW Norman Woolley and PPW George Alford.

11th November - Stewards' Club Dinner at the Imperial Hotel

14th November - Lord Mayor's Show

Once again Gog and Magog were in the Lord Mayor's Show accompanied by Members of the Company, the Society of Young Freemen and 100 Regiment.Sadly a rather wet day to welcome Alderman Nicholas Anstee into his year as Lord mayor but an enjoyable one for all that attended.

2nd December - Court Dinner for visiting Masters and Clerks at Drapers' Hall
Arguably this is one of the most spectacular Livery Halls in the City. The original Hall was alleged to have belonged to Henry Fitzailwin, the first Lord Mayor of the City of London. It has been re-built many times with the last refurbishment being completed in 1898. This is third time that we have entertained the Masters and Clerks of the Livery Companies and with 30 Masters present we have now entertained all 108 Companies over the last three years.

17th December - Joint Carol Service with the Pattenmakers' Company at St Margaret Pattens
The Annual Company Carol Service, held jointly with the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers, took place at the Guild Church, St Margaret Pattens Church, Eastcheap.
 The Service of Nine Lessons and Carols was followed by festive refreshments served in the Church. After these some Members of the two Companies walked gently down St Mary at Hill to Watermen's Hall where they enjoyed an excellant buffet supper.

27th January - Court meeting and Livery Dinner

The Prime Warden presided over the second Court meeting of his year. This included the installation of three new Yeomen Members, Darrell Hill, Owen Jones and John Page. There were also five new Freemen admitted Miss Melissa Redcliffe (by Servitude), Roger Davenport, Miss Mary Davis, Michael Horton and Howard Sutton. Lastly there were no less than six Freemen clothed in the Livery Roger Barnes, Mrs Edna Beesley, Mathew Dance, Sean Hammond, Michael Osborne and Miss Michelle Preston.
A full house at the dinner heard our guest speaker Peter Nelson, the Assistant Town Clerk offer his usual humorous and pertinent view of the City. Our guests included the Masters Butcher, Founder and Gardener, together with their Clerks, including of course our own Clerk Emeritus Andrew Gillett. They were welcomed by Assistant Richard Boucher-Giles.

16th February - Inter-Livery Pancake Race
This event, run by the Poulters' Company, has now become part of the ancient traditions of the City of London. Such is the demand for places that the Basketmakers' Company were this year unable to enter the main competition however the Prime Warden did run in the wooden spoon race. Despite being handicapped by a torn ligament he made it into the final but was pipped at the post.

17th February - Visit to the Old Operating Theatre
St Thomas's Hospital was originally founded at the Priory of St Thomas in Southwark before being re-built on its present site opposite the Palace of Westminster. Until the early days the operations in the hospital were carried out behind screens in the wards with the patients being urged to keep quiet so as not to disturb the other patients.  No easy task in the days before anaesthetics! In 1822 it was finally decided to install a purpose built Operating Theatre away from the wards where the students could better observe the techniques of the surgeons and also keep the patients out of the wards. This became the first such facility in Europe. The theatre was used until 1862 when St Thomas's relocated. The Operating Theatre in the roof of St Thomas's church was then abandoned and forgotten until its rediscovery in 1956. It was restored, together with the Herb Garret and opened to the public. The Basketmakers' enjoyed a tour of the Herb Garret and a lecture by the curator of the museum in the Operating Theatre. This included a demonstration of early operating techniques - happily Miss Mervyn Redding our Chief Steward survived and lived to tell the tale with all her limbs intact.
After the tour we strolled around the corner to the George Inn, Southwark. This is the only surviving example of an early coaching inn left in London and features in writings by Chaucer, Dickens and Trollope to name but a few. It may also be where William Shakespeare appeared, as the courtyard of the inn was used for theatrical performances at this time. It is now owned by the National Trust and run by Greene King Breweries who provided us with an excellent meal and plentiful wine, making a great end to a fascinating glimpse into the rich history of this part of London.

27th and 26th February - City Dip
For the last 14 years The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers have entered a swimming team for the City Dip, which is a sponsored swim in aid of the Lord Mayor's Appeal. This year was the 20th year that the Golden Lane Leisure Centre in the Barbican has played host to the City Dip Charity Swim for the charities nominated by the Lord Mayor during his year in office. Thanks to the generosity of the our Members and their supporters  the team, under the leadership of PPW Norman Woolley raised some £4,600 - yet again the largest sum raised by any Livery Company.

6th March - Basketmaking Day

Our twice yearly basketmaking day was lead by Yeoman Sandra Barker, ably assisted by another Yeoman, Betty Grace. It was a full house for this event with Court Assistant Chris Hipkins leading a team of six members of his family, both existing and future Members of the Company. At the end of the day there were cheese platters and fruit bowls of all shapes but a great sense of satisfaction! 
Once again the Company's thanks go to PPW Richard Walduck for generously providing the facilities and an excellent lunch.

19th March - United Guilds Service

The United Guilds Service at St Paul's is one of the few occasions when Liverymen of all the 108 Companies come together and it is a stirring sight to see the City of London in its full dress in the setting of St Paul's. The address this year was given by The Right Reverend Graham Jones, Bishop of Norwich. There were 20 Basketmakers attending the service and eleven of them proceeded after the service to Butchers' Hall where a delicious lunch of prime rib of beef completed the day!

28th April - Court meeting and Livery Dinner

The third Court meeting of the year was ably chaired by the Prime Warden and one of the main items to be tabled was the draft budget proposed by the Finance Committee. After some discussion this was AGREED. It was noted that given the relatively high median age of Members of the Company it was vital that we look to encouraging more new Members to join.
During the Court meeting Dr Brian Crossley and Mrs Caroline Gregson were installed as Yeoman Members of the Company. Roy Nottage, Mrs Berendean Money-Kyrle and Mrs Yvonne Young were installed as Freemen and Miss Mary Davis and Howard Sutton were clothed in the Livery. Last but not least Marc Brenner was Bound to his father, Russell, for a period of four years. 
After the Court meeting there was the traditional Livery Dinner and the warm weather meant that the roof of Skinners' Hall was open for drinks. A full house heard Honorary Assistant John Clarke welcome the guests who included the Masters Salter, Pattenmaker and Fruiterer, together with their clerks. Also present were representatives from 100 Regiment and No 5 Squadron RAF. Our guest speaker was Justin Llewelyn who has the enviable task of encouraging the UK to drink more Taittinger champagne - it is a tough job but someone has to do it. He gave us a witty speech on the vagaries of the champagne trade and also some of his family history as his father was a distinguished actor most famous for portraying M in the Bond films.

12th May - Musical Tour of Charterhouse
Properly known as Sutton's Hospital in Charterhouse, the history of the site goes back to 1371 when a Carthusian Priory was founded in the site. Following the abolition of the monasteries by Henry VIII the land passed to Lord North who built a fine Tudor house on the site and this was later sold to the fourth Duke of Norfolk. In 1611 it was finally bought by Thomas Sutton who endowed a charitable foundation to educate boys and care for elderly gentlemen. The school was such a success that in 1872 it moved to Godalming. However the site near Smithfield Market remains a home for the care of the elderly. Although the building was badly damaged in the Second World War it was fully restored and re-opened in 1951.It is indeed one of the hidden treasures of the City of London.
Our evening commenced with a glass of wine in the Old Library and a short description of the site by the Master of Charterhouse. This was followed by a tour of the buildings in the company of the Thomas Sutton Singers who provided a recital of music of the period. We also had a short recital on the recently restored 1872 Walker organ in the Chapel. This is the fourth musical tour that the Company has organised in recent years and the thirty Members attending agreed it was one of the best.

26th May - A visit to the Cabinet War Rooms Museum in London.
A goodly number of members of the livery gathered for lunch at the Farmers Club, by kind permission of Liveryman Richard Collis.  We enjoyed a finger buffet and several glasses of wine before making the 5 min. walk to the Cabinet War Rooms. Once inside we were equipped  with our own voice guides which were most helpful. It was quite astonishing how much time had been paid to detail and the keeping of the original furnishings. Some of our more senior members remembered   these  time well, almost as if it were yesterday. It was good to see the father of the Company,Ted Hipkins  present with the family members .This was a great day as the weather was co operative for a change.

16th June - Summer Dinner, Tallow Chandlers' Hall 
Originally known as the Ladies Dinner, the Company changed the name of this event some years ago to reflect the high percentage of lady Members that the Company now has together with the fact that all Members are encouraged to bring both lady and gentlemen guests to virtually all our events. This year we were privileged to be able to hold the dinner at the Tallow Chandlers' Hall. This is not only the next door neighbour to Skinners' Hall but also the Prime Warden is a Member of the Tallow Chandlers' Company. We began the evening on a glorious summer's night with drinks in the open courtyard and then proceeded up to dinner. After dinner Court Assistant Simon Langton was our auctioneer at a charity auction. The dozen or so lots were all donated by Members of the Company and in total we raised £4,500 for the Charitable Trust. A great result and a fitting ending to a great evening.

24th June - Election of Sheriffs, lunch at Farmers and Fletchers' Hall
Once again Liverymen in their hundreds excercised their right to vote for the two Sheriffs in the City of London. This year there was an uncontested election and the new Aldermanic Sheriff will be Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE and the Lay Sheriff will be Richard Sermon MBE. It seemed that the Ceremony was taken at double speed this year with the assembled Liveryman enjoying the sunshine outside Guildhall by 12.30! Following the Election nine Members of the Company walked over to Farmers' and Fletchers' Hall for an excellant lunch with a variety of other Livery Companies.

7th July -  Finance, GPC and Livery Committees, Guildhall 

5th to 11th July - HMS Richmond visits London
The first week in July saw the arrival in the Pool of London of HMS Richmond. Safely moored by HMS Belfast she hosted a whole series of events during the week and several of our Members had the opportunity of seeing around the ship and meeting some of her crew. On the Friday the Prime Warden was their guest when they excercised their right as Freeman of the Borough to march through Richmond in Surrey.

Come the weekend and the Prime Warden was back with the crew as they left London and sailed around to Portsmouth - a truely memorable experience. On arrival in Portsmouth he was fortunate enough to catch up with CPO David Hamlyn, who had won the Ensign of the Year Award from the Basketmakers' Company but had since transferred to another ship. Amongst the various tasks that he had undertaken whilst on duty in the Gulf was managing to run the equivelant distance from Richmond in Yorkshire to Richmond in Surrey, around the decks of the ship. Given that they were experiencing temperatures in excess of 40 degrees most of this had to be done in the middle of the night! 

21st July - Court meeting and Livery Dinner, Skinners' Hall
This is the last Court meeting for the current Prime Warden and as ever it saw a lively debate on a wide range of issues, not least the start of an ongoing discussion regarding corporate governance.The Court unanimously elected Peter Yarker to be installed in October as Prime Warden, with Deputy John Barker as Upper Warden and Alderman Neil Redcliffe as Under Warden. Stephen Gee and Peter Rooke were elected as Court Assistants. During the meeting Mrs Valerie Carroll and Mrs Mary Risso JP were installed as Freemen of the Company. Roger Davenport, Michael Horton, Andrew Stenning and Mrs Yvonne Young were also clothed in the Livery of the Company.
Following the Court meeting we had our annual Livery Dinner for the Trade. On display were a range of baskets made by Yeoman Members and there was some healthy bidding going on for most items. Also on display were the six finalists of the "Basket of the Year" Competition which the Company was running for the first time.
Our guests at the dinner included the Master Skinner, Baker and Marketor with their respective Clerks. Our guest of honour was Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE, recently elected as the incoming Aldermanic Sheriff. As she reminded us she was only the third lady Sheriff ever and certainly the tallest! Her speech was a hard act to follow but then that is what Prime Wardens have to do. During his speech the Prime Warden presented the Award for the Best Basket of the Year to Miss Nadine Anderson. He also paid tribute to the hard work that all the contestants had put into the competition and looks forward to the next one in 2012.
After dinner the company enjoyed a relaxing stirrup cup on a warm and balmy summer's evening.

22nd September -  441st Annual Banquet, Mansion House 

The Basketmakers' were again very fortunate in being allowed to hold their Annual Banquet at Mansion House and to have the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, together with the Sheriffs and their ladies as our guests. Over 260 people were present and it was encouraging to note that around a third of these were Members of the Company. Once again Past Prime Warden Richard Walduck generously invited the Yeoman to join in the evening and 5 of them were able to attend with their partners. Also present were representatives from our three affiliated services and the Officer Commanding from the Light Cavalry, HAC who provided a splendid Carpet Guard.
The Prime Warden proposed the Civic Toast, thanking the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress for all the hard work that they have done during their year to keep the profile of the City so high on the international and national stage. He was also able to present the Lady Mayoress with a beautiful picnic basket made by Melanie Carroll, one of our Yeoman. The Lord Mayor in responding paid tribute to the hard work that the Basketmakers' Company does to support the Mayoralty and the City and its various charities as well as encouraging and supporting the basketmaking trade.
The Upper Warden, Peter Yarker welcomed all the guests on behalf of the Company and Sir Robert Nelson QC responded with a very witty and interesting speech which ended in his asking all those present to toast the Basketmakers Company and its Prime Warden.
As we had kept very much to time there was an opportunity for all those present to linger a while in the reception area and meet old friends before once more making their way home. A great evening was had by all and we look forward in anticipation to the 442nd Banquet next year!

29th Septmeber - Election of the Lord Mayor, lunch at Salters' Hall
One of the responsibilities of being a Freeman of the City of London is to participate in the elections of the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs. 29th September is the traditional day for the election of the Lord Mayor and virtually all the Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff of the assembled Companies started the day by attending morning service at the Guild Church of St Lawrence Jewry. They were then lead in procession to their seats at Guildhall. Following the election Alderman Michael Bear was duly proposed by all the Liverymen assembled as the next Lord Mayor of the City of London and was then subsequently ackowledged by the Court of Aldermen.
It is custom for the Master of the current Lord Mayor's mother Company to propose the toast of thanks the Lord Mayor.In this instance it was perhaps a unique occasion in that the current Lord Mayor's mother Company is the Butchers' Company and their Master is Her Royal Highness Princess Anne. So we had a member of the Royal family rising to thanks the Lord Mayor for his year!
Following the ceremony no less than 15 Basketmakers made their way over to Salters' Hall for our now annual visit and lunch. This year for the first time we were also joined by the Worshipful Company of International Bankers. Needless to say a good time was had by all.

5th October - Visit to the Magic Circle
"The House of 10,000 Secrets" is the home of the Magic Circle and it was there that 40 intrepid Basketmakers and their guests went for an evening on 5th October. The Magic Circle organise a weekly show throughout the year offering an opportunity to see their fantastic museum and to showcase the talents of some of their most impressive performers. Following a quick drink on arrival we were split up into small groups for 10 minute sessions of close up magic.The quickness of the hand certainly did deceive these eyes.Mind you even one of the magicians was slightly taken aback when unknowingly he asked Alexander Joseph, an Apprentice of the Company, if he could shuffle the cards for him. What he and the rest of us did not know was that Alexander is actually a very accomplished magician in his own right and was awaiting his audition to join the Magic Circle!
After an hour or so we were then taken to the Theatre at the top of the building for a talk on the history of magic and the Magic Circle. This was followed by refreshments and then back to the theatre for a further display by three more magicians including this year's winner of the stage performer of the year prize.
It was a great evening very much enjoyed by all those attending and well worth doing again if you want an evening out with a difference. Members of the public are welcome to buy tickets and details are available from the Clerk.