A wonderful return to Mansion House!

Recent events

Our Annual Banquet on 8th April 2024 was a splendid occasion, with hundreds of Liverymen, Freemen, and guests assembling at Mansion House in the presence of our special guest The Lord Mayor Locum Tenens Alderman Vincent Keaveny CBE.

Photos taken at the event by Marcus Jamieson-Pond, may be downloaded from Snapfish. Low-res versions are free, or open a Snapfish account for high-res versions (and the first few downloads are free).

After the traditional arrival formalities, with a guard provided by Richmond Sea Cadets, the Master David Adams and Mistress Kathy welcomed numerous dignitaries, including the Prime Warden of the Saddlers’ Company, Hugh Taylor, and his consort Charlotte; the Master Builders’ Merchant, Alan Hawkins, and his consort Madeleine; the Master Constructors Terry Withers, and his consort Alison; and the Master of the Guild of Young Freemen, Samuel Chadd, and his consort Katherine.

Attendees processed in to dinner in the splendid Egyptian Hall, and after Grace given by the Hon. Chaplain Liveryman Philip Warner, enjoyed a wonderful evening of fine food and wine, musical entertainment from the London Banqueting Ensemble under the direction of Steve Fletcher (including the ever-popular Posthorn Gallop played in stereophonic splendour from opposite ends of the hall), and the ceremony of the Loving Cup (now restored to its pre-pandemic version with liquor instead of chocolates).

The usual toasts were proposed, and our Upper Warden Charles Brooks formally welcomed the aforementioned dignitaries, plus representatives from the three engineering colleges of the armed services, with whom we have a long and proud association: Captain Mark Hammill, Commanding Officer of HMS Sultan (the home of the defence School of Marine Engineering); Major Melanie Rix, Officer Commanding 36 Training Squadron at 1 Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) Regiment, Royal Engineers in Chatham; and Commander Stuart Pike, Chief of Staff of the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering, RAF Cosford.

The Upper Warden also warmly welcomed a number of representatives of the plumbing and heating industry: the national President of the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors, Andy Baxter; the President of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, Alex Wildish; the President of the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF), George Baxter; and the Chair of the Society of Public Health Engineers, Peter White, who is also a Liveryman of the Plumbers’ Company!

In his speech, the Master welcomed the Lord Mayor Locum Tenens Alderman Vincent Keavney CBE, and his wife Amanda, and presented a cheque for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Now halfway through his year, the Master spoke about the healthy range of forward-facing activities underway to move the Company towards its 5-year strategic goals, and also touched on our excellent charity work and our skilled craftsmen who have made Coronation Planters for Their Majesties, King Charles and Queen Camilla.

Alderman Vincent Keavney spoke about his long association with the Plumbers’ Company and recalled with pleasure attending our Banquet when Lord Mayor in 2022. He commended the Company’s honourable traditions, its contribution to the City, and its leadership role in the industry today, such as through the recently launched Plumbing Professionals Development Scheme (PPDS).

The Master introduced our guest speaker, Professor Mark Vessey, who is a great-great-grandson of a Master of the Sheffield Cutlers, and whose rich and wide-ranging speech encompassed Chaucer, Philip Larkin, Coventry, Beverley, Thomas More, Utopia, various sheep-powered companies and our Company church, St Magnus the Martyr. Mark has kindly given the Company permission to publish his excellent speech.

We concluded the occasion with a Stirrup Cup, and then made our way out into the spring evening after an extremely pleasant and enjoyable time with friends, old and new.

Thanks as ever go to the Clerk, his team, and all the Stewards under the leadership of Senior Steward Philippa Stary, who all worked seamlessly together to create a magnificent Company event.

Steward David Pearson