Ladle Dinner 2021
After two years in office we celebrated and thanked Dr Peter Rumley for his Mastership of our Company at our splendid and traditional Ladle Dinner, a very special event in our calendar. It also marks the hand-over of our Senior Steward.
We gathered at Saddlers’ Hall for this year’s Ladle Dinner – a livery members only function that has its own special atmosphere and traditions that have evolved over the years. It is chaired by the Senior Steward, not the Master and was originally called the Inauguration Dinner. It was instigated in 1938 and follows the tradition of presenting a replica silver ladle to the previous Master, our new Immediate Past Master, hence the name. The main picture shows Immediate Past Master (IPM) Dr Peter Rumley receiving his ladle from the newest liveryman present, this year Liveryman David Coles, who joined us on Installation Day in October.
Previous Past Masters who are able to, also attend and bring with them their silver ladles, which are represented to them. Plumbers’ ladles are a tool used to melt and pour molten lead into moulds for lead casting. A full size silver version, one of the company treasures, is used by the new Master to serve soup (always the first course) to the top table from the company soup tureen, which has been ceremonially processed to the top table by the Clerk.
After the meal we then have the ancient City Loving Cup ceremony and in recognition of the pandemic the cups are now filled with wrapped sweets/chocolates rather than a shared drink! The loyal toasts follow and another recently instigated tradition, the ‘silent toast’, is given by the IPM in memory of our recently departed members and our original Master and Wardens. We also hold a collection at the Ladle Dinner to raise money for the homeless on Christmas Day and the Upper and Renter Wardens took the ‘Poor Boxes’ around those present to ‘fine them!’ The donations exceeded £1,000, a really generous amount from all the members.
The Past Masters then gathered (in disorderly fashion as you can see in the picture below!) to be represented with their ladles in ascending order of seniority by the outgoing Senior Steward, Clive Sofaer.
Past Master Fiona Woolf Past Master Erica Stary
Past Master Steve Hodkinson Past Master Nick Gale
Past Master Antony Paterson-Fox Past Master Chris Sneath
Past Master John Lockyer Past Master Mike Samuel
Past Master Alec Moir Past Master Peter Brunner
Past Master John Rae, our most senior active Past Master
The toast to IPM Peter Rumley was given by Past Master Nick Gale, who also gave a small gift to Past Master Peter Brunner for his years of service on the Freedom & Livery Committee.
The Ladle Dinner concludes with the hand-over of our Senior Steward, before we retire for a stirrup cup. The role of our stewards in helping to plan, organise and run our social programme and events and our formal functions and admissions cannot be understated. After seven years sterling work, including a final year as Senior Steward, each steward in turn retires and as their last act they are afforded the privilege of presiding over the Ladle Dinner. We thank Clive Sofaer for all he has done and welcomed Steward Damon Reynolds as our new Senior Steward.
An exhausted (!) Clive Sofaer (L) handing over to a bemused (!) Damon Reynolds (R)
As ever a huge thank you to Adrian, our Clerk, Sharon, his assistant and Debbie, our bookkeeper, for their work in making the evening such a success and to Saddlers’ Hall and the caterers Party Ingredients for hosting us so splendidly.
If you are a Liveryman and you haven’t been to a Ladle Dinner you really are missing a wonderful function. We’re at Cutlers’ Hall on 22nd November next year, so put it in your diary now!