Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Master – Past – Immediate......

I am reminded of when I left my full-time job (for this hybrid, so-called portfolio career).  I sent an email to a colleague the following day, after my leaving party, with a message of thanks to put on the office intranet.  There was no response.  I telephoned to see if the email had been received and the response was “no, I haven’t ..... hold on a moment .... oh yes, it is in the spam filter”.  Hero to zero in 24 hours!

The Livery lets you down a little more lightly.  You put the chain of office on your successor, relinquish your seat at the top of the table and move to the side of the table where your first responsibility as “Immediate Past Master” (IPM) is to congratulate your successor – in my case something I did with great enthusiasm as the Master, for the first time in very many years, is a real needlemaker!  The IPM has a small role in the ensuing year:  to deputise for the Master if necessary and to act as unofficial almoner to the Company.  Then after a year you join the Past Masters – past but certainly not past it!

The Installation of the new Master was held on October 3 at the Skinners Hall.  The Skinners is an interesting company – you may have heard the phrase “at sixes and sevens”: this arises from a dispute between the Skinners and Merchant Taylors which came to a head in 1484 in lethal violence about who should take precedence in the Mayoral river procession.  The Mayor, Robert Billesdon, proposed that the companies take it in turns and when a fixed order for the Livery Companies was laid down in 1516 the two companies alternated between numbers six and seven – which they still do.

We held our Court meeting in the beautiful Court Room.  If you click the link you will see the magnificent Master’s Chair at the head of the table.  Like our Master’s gown - which was clearly made for someone great of height – so was this chair and my feet swung free a good few inches off the floor. 

I will write separately about the Annual Service that followed and the dinner. 

In the mean time – congratulations to our Master, George Borthwick CBE FRSE, CEng, DEng, DBA, BSc(Hons), FIMechE, FIET, CCMI, FRCSEd(Hon), FRCPS (Glas), FRCOphth(Hon), FRCOG(Hon).  We look forward with great excitement to his year of office.

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