Chairman Richard Wright opened the meeting at 1030 a.m. and advised of two apologies. He reminded members of the April 28th A.G.M. and also the urgent need for nominations for the vacancies of Vice Chairman, Second Vice Chairman and Programme Secretary. Richard then updated members on current volatile situations with reference to the Stock Market (three positives in the F.T.S.E. 350 including Dignitas!!). There was also a Potato Decree from Buckingham Palace and Marathon Training advice for those in lock down situations as advised from Wuhan.
Today’s Speaker was Dr. David Allen, appearing for the first time at Forum, and whose talk was titled “London Livery and Freemen”.
In an unusual and intriguing start to his talk David had handed out laminated cards with a number and company name detailed. He started by informing members that he was a Freeman of the City of London and a member of the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers . As a Freeman he told us of the three things that he could do… herd sheep (real or artificial) across London Bridge to Southwark Cathedral; carry an unsheathed sword in the City of London (not recommended in the current climate!) and in the event of being found guilty of treason or a major felony being hung with a silk rope. To achieve the status of a Freeman can only be through patrimony, good works or servitude.
The next part of the morning saw David call out a number and an audience member would then shout out the name and date of the Worshipful Company on his card. The Speaker then explained the background and rationale of that Livery Company with emphasis on its focus on maintaining high standards. Differentiation was made between ancient companies, now mostly ceremonial, and modern companies that still fulfil their function. There was a top twelve Livery Companies with the others ranking below them in importance. We heard, amongst many, about companies such as mercers, haberdashers, goldsmiths, grocers and drapers.
The talk concluded with questions being taken and it was clear that a very interesting and entertaining talk had been enjoyed by the members.
The Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty attendees was given by Vice Chairman Peter Wilson.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY.