The Clerk's Blog
Yesterday I accompanied the Master to the annual Dedication Service of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor at St Paul's Cathedral and jolly good fun it was! The Bishop of London preached a moving and inspiring (as always) sermon on the subject of romantic love.
I was very pleased to bump into Sir Jeremy Elwes. He has just been elected Treasurer of the Imperial Society and I would like to congratulate him, on behalf of all Stationers, for this great honour. We are all very proud to have a Liveryman in a position of such distinction.
The Master and I also bumped into Liveryman Michael Wren, who was in his second day as Master of the Bowyer's Company. So again, on all our behalves, I congratulate Michael on rising to greatness and wish him every happiness in his year as Master.
Just to show how busy the social life of a Clerk is, immediately before the Young Stationers Dinner yesterday evening, I attended the PrintWeek Power 100 event at Stationers Hall.
The Court Room was full of the great and the good of the printing industry and I had a long chat with Sir John Madejski of BGP as well as bumping into, amongst many others, Gerard Heanue of Heidelberg and Wayne Barlow of Canon UK. Despite these troubled times, everyone seemed in fine form.
I was delighted that Stationers' Hall was able to host this prestigious event for the third year running and it was good to see many printers coming to the Hall for the first time.
I had to dash off (on my bicycle!) before the results were announced but I hear on the grapevine that Pat Martell, CEO of St Ives, hit the number two slot; so many congratulations to him.
It was a great evening and the Stationers' Company was very pleased to be able to host this prestigious event.
I had great fun at the Young Stationers Dinner in the Savile Club yesterday evening. Organised by their redoubtable leader, Pádraig Belton, some 40 Young Stationers sat down to an excellent dinner, joined by a smattering of 'older' Stationers such as myself.
The speaker was the Rt Hon Lord Inglewood, who is a Conservative peer and chairs the Communications Committee of the House of Lords and produced a recent report on Investigative Journalism (IJ). He had some innovative views on how IJ might be better funded in the future, on the need for plurality in the media and on the outcome of the Leveson Inquiry. As you would expect from Young Stationers, there were lots of questions and an interesting debate.
It was an excellent evening and I would like to thank Pádraig for organising it all so well.
The next Young Stationers event is a joint event with the Younger Inter-Livery Group, organised by Pádraig and Eleanor Mason Brown of the Pewterers' Company. It will be held at Stationers' Hall on the evening of Tuesday, 21 August with a 1908 London Olympics theme. All Stationers are welcome and you can book tickets by emailing Eleanor here. Then on Tuesday, 18 September they have another dinner in the West End with Lord Black of Brentwood as the guest speaker. Email Pádraig here to find out more.
Pádraig is always looking for new members of the Young Stationers Group, which is a loose group of young people interested in the media industry and the Stationers' Company. There's no membership fee and members don't have to be members of the Company. So, if you know anyone who might be interested in joining, or just finding out more, get them to email Pádraig here.
On behalf of all Stationers, I would like to thank Pádraig for the fantastic work that he is doing to get this exciting new Group flourishing; it represents the very future of the Company!
I was very impressed to get an email yesterday from Chris Smith telling me that he would be running past my door on Sunday when he runs the London Marathon.
What a great thing to do - and, at the age of 60, very impressive too!
Chris is supporting a really good cause and I am sure that he would appreciate support from Company members. If you do want to support him, click here to find out more.
Well done, Chris, and good luck!!
I was delighted to be invited to the inaugural dinner of the Young Stationers at the Oriental Club in the West End on Tuesday evening. A group of around 30 met for dinner, which was followed by a speech by the Immediate Past Master, Christopher McKane who spoke on the birth of The Times and its first issue.
The Young Stationers is a loose grouping of young people with an interest in the media industry and the Stationers' Company. Led by Liveryman Pádraig Belton, they will meet periodically in a range of locations (sometimes at the Hall) for social, networking and informative events of common interest. Membership of the group is not limited to membership of the Stationers' Company nor is involvement necessarily a precursor to joining, although we hope that many in the group will come to aspire to this at some stage in the future.
I would like to say a massive thank you to Pádraig for organising what was a most enjoyable event and to Christopher for keeping his audience informed and entertained and for fielding a myriad of questions.
It was a very auspicious start for an organisation that I hope will be around for many generations to come and the first of many great 'Young Stationers' events.
If you would like to find out more about the group, or would like to suggest the names of potential members, please email Pádraig by clicking here.
I am sure that you will all join with me in welcoming the news that a new Dean of St Paul's has been appointed after the very sad resignation of the Very Reverend Graham Knowles last year.
The new Dean is the Very Reverend Dr David Ison, the current Dean of Bradford Cathedral. He spent six years as a vicar in Deptford before moving to the midlands and then spent 10 years as a Canon of Exeter Cathedral becoming Dean of Bradford in 2005. David, who is aged 57, is married to Hilary, who is also an ordained priest and works in London for the Church of England's Ministry Division. They have two married daughter and two sons, and became grandparents two years ago. His interests include history and current affairs, interfaith relations, DIY and scuba diving; and he drives a kit-car that he made himself!
David will be installed as the new Dean of St Paul's on Friday, 25 May and I very much hope that we may be able to welcome him to his first visit to Stationers' Hall very soon after then.
I was delighted to receive an invitation, along with the Master, from Chris Leonard-Morgan to the evening party that completes the festivities on National Stationery Day on Tuesday, 24 April.
I know that Deborah Rea has already brought this event to the attention of members. But I thought that I might reinforce this message here.
National Stationery Day is an important event in the Office Products Industry's calendar and it is the first day of the Stationery Show at the Business Design Centre in London.
The evening party at Stationers' Hall will include the presentation of the 2012 Stationery Awards and will be a unique networking event for stationery retailers, buyers, suppliers, designers and the media to meet in a relaxed, informal setting. In Chris's own words "It is a celebration of the written word and of all things stationery. Where better to conclude the celebrations than at the original home of retail stationery?"
How sad it is that I am writing my first blog of 2012 the day before the end of February! To those of you that regularly check this page of the website, and I know that this includes my predecessor (!), I must apologise for this oversight. I will do better, I promise!
And it is even sadder that my first blog consists of some blatant name dropping - typical of me, I guess many of you will be thinking. However I thought that members would be interested to know that Stationers' Hall last week hosted some major celebs.
On Monday we hosted, for the first time since I have been Clerk, a fashion show as part of London Fashion Week. The designer was Giles Deakin, of whom needless to say I had never heard, although Sally and the kids were raving about him and were furious with me for not giving them advance notice of the event. In fact he turned out to be a really nice chap and very kindly asked me and Susana if we would like to watch the show. And what a performance it was, taking almost a day and a half to set up for a ten minute show! Giles loved the Hall and was very enthusaistic about using it again. It was absolutely packed for the show and there were a number of 'fashionistas' in the audience, including Kelly Brook and Peaches Geldof. Of course neither meant anything to me, again to the intense frustration of my children, especially my son. But I was pleased to chat to Sasha Wilkins, who is the god-daughter of Past Master John Waterlow and who has visted the Hall before. She is a well-known fashion journalist and keen 'tweeter' and she loves the Stationers' Company. There was a report on the event in Vogue which you can see by clicking here.
Then on Wednesday, at the Cakes and Ale lunch, John Inverdale, the BBC sports commentator, and his wife were guests as their daughter sings in the Reed's School choir, who were very kindly singing at our Ash Wednesday service. John has been to the Hall once before but was captivated by the tradition of 1612 John Norton bequest and expressed a lot of interest in joining the Company, something that I will follow up immediately. It would be great to get another BBC journalist into the membership.
I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that we have a new Livery Representative in Gerald Hill and he has just posted his first blog. You can read this by clicking here. Gerald is determined to really make something of the role of Livery Rep and I would ask you PLEASE to help him by reading his regular blogs, commenting on them and contacting him with any feedback, positive or negative, about the Company.
To reflect Gerald's recent appointment as Livery Rep and his first blog, we have revamped the two blog sites with new photographs (see above!) and with a new system of letting all members know by email as soon as a new entry on either blog is posted. I hope that this will prompt more members to read both blogs and make use of the information within them. But most of all, I really hope that you will enjoy them!
Members may not be aware that the Company insures through the Livery Companies' Mutual Limited which is a mutual company of all the City of London Livery Companies with Halls and some other institutions such as the Royal Society and some London clubs. It is a great system as the premia are very competitive and all members receive quite handsome dividends in years when claims are low.
The 'Mutual' has been most helpful to us in managing the highly complex claim relating to the fire we had in the Hall last year and have paid every element of the claim that we made without any quibbling or hassle.
Of course I have taken some ribbing from my fellow Clerks over the past twelve months that the fire here at Stationers' Hall will have messed up our dividend for 2010/11 and so I was delighted to read the following in the recently published annual report of the 'Mutual'.
"In my statement last year I made reference to the fire at Stationers' Hall in June 2010. The cleaning, repair and restoration works lasted for just over twelve months with the final stages being completed, on schedule, during the Hall's summer recess this year. The restoration has been widely praised, not least by English Heritage, and there was remarkably little disruption to the Livery and commercial activities of the Company. Furthermore the claim has been settled well within our initial estimates. Claims of this type are mercifully rare, but when they do occur it is rewarding to see how the Mutual and the Member working together can produce a successful outcome."
I hope that you are as pleased as I am that this dreadful fire has ended on a note of glory for the Stationers' Company and we can hold our heads up high when we meet colleagues from other Livery Companies!
I am afraid my blogs are like buses - nothing for ages and then four in one day! Please excuse my hopelessness!!
However I would like to pass on some very good news. Earlier this week we heard that we had successfully engaged Corbis Images UK as a new Corporate Member. Corbis Images are our third new Corporate Member this year and their addition takes the total number back to 15. We are delighted to have them join us.
Corbis UK is a subsidiary of Corbis Corporation, an American company, based in Seattle, Washington, that licenses the rights to photographs, footage and other visual media. It has a collection of more than 100 million images and 500,000 video clips. You can find out more about them from their website by clickling here.
Please make sure that you give the senior executives of Corbis UK an extra special Stationers' welcome to the Company when they attend their first events later this year.