The Clerk's Blog
Some weeks ago, I was priveleged to be asked to chair a session at the South Asian Literature Festival launching a new biography of Sonia Gandhi.
The book has been written by our own dear Freeman, Rani Singh, whom many of you will remember as an actress in East Enders, but who is now a very distinguished journalist and commentator on Indian affairs. In preparation for the launch I read the book in three days; not a difficult task as it is very well written and a fascinating and moving story. I strongly recommend it to you. You can download a press release about the book from Palgrave Macmillan, the publisher, by clicking here or order a copy from Amazon by clicking here.
Rani came into the Hall yesterday and very kindly presented the Company with a copy of her book for our Library. Here is a photo of her presenting it to me in the Court Room.
Now that the book is finished, Rani is looking for a new project to work on, so if any other members out there can think of a suitable research or journalism projectfor her to work on, please get in touch with Rani by email.
As you can imagine I get lots of notices from other Livery Companies about their annual lectures and mostly I file them away as the subjects can be very abstruse!
However the subject of this year's lecture of the Company of Arts Scholars, Dealers and Collectors caught my eye. It is 'London Matters - Maps and Mentalities over the Centuries' and it is by Peter Barber, Head of Map Collections at the British Library. I thought that the combination of maps and the history of London might well be of interest to Stationers. The date is Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 6 pm in Austin Friars.
So I am delighted to bring it to your attention in this blog. A flyer with more details of the event and a booking form can be downloaded here.
If you do have a chance to go, please let me know whether you enjoyed it.
I am delighted to announce that Colin Morrison has very kindly agreed to be the Sector Champion for the Magazine industry. Colin has been Chairman or a Non-Executive Director of Pharmaceutical Press, RCN Publishing, Globelynx, Travel Weekly Group, Centaur Media and IPCN so he has a very wide experience of the sector. You can find Colin's first report on his sector by clicking here.
Trevor Fenwick, who had been covering some of the magazine sector, has now re-configured his sector as 'Business Media'. He tells me that his first report is imminent!
Please check the 'Sector Champion' pages regularly. We are very lucky to have such a distinguished group of volunteers sharing their expertise with us and it is a useful way for all of us to keep up to date with what is happening across the Communications and Content industries.
I am pleased to announce that, after three days pretty solid work, we have now entered telephone numbers for all members (except for those who specifically asked that their number not be shown) on the list of all members available on the 'Members-Only' part of the Company website. You can access this by clicking here. I would like to say a big thank you to Mandi Moore who has done all this work.
Please can you check that we have got your number right and that we are showing the number on which you are happy to be contacted by other members. If you wish to change the number shown, just email Mandi, which you can do by clicking here.
I do hope that you are pleased with this change; it is something that a number of members have been requesting for some time now.
A couple of weeks ago we were privileged to host a visit from 15 school children from Pegasus School, a primary school from Blackbird Leys, a comparatively deprived suburb of Oxford. They had been learning about the King James Bible and had heard that we had an original copy on display in Stationers' Hall. So they came up in a minibus to have a look at the three ancient bibles we have on display and then went on to St Paul's Cathedral, where the Dean had very kindly given his permission for them to visit for free. I have just received some wonderful thank-you letters from the children and their head teacher and I thought that I would share a sample with you.
Here is one of the letters I received.
Jill Hudson, their Head Teacher, wrote:
'This is a visit that will have touched the children in a profound way. They have glimpsed how many people treasure our country's history and culture and value traditions that are centuries old. They have been able to experience that sense of intrinsic joy one gains from learning . . . These are experiences that so few in my school have as a normal part of their childhood and the limitations that this places on their future are immense. Your support of our school in arranging and leading this visit will have an impact long after the details of the trip have faded. Experiences such as this can truly transform lives and I thank you most profoundly for your help.'
It is so pleasing to see that the 400th anniversary of the KIng James Bible, and our celebration of the part that the Stationers' Company played in its publication, will have had an impact more widely than just amongst our own membership. How lucky we are to be able to share our wonderful history and heritage!
It's that time of the year again and I would like to draw your attention to the annual fair at Goldsmiths' Hall. Here is the flyer.
This is an exclusive evening for members of City Livery Companies and Guilds and I know from personal experience that it will contain a number of stalls featuring fabulous contemporary jewellery and silver for sale by designer-makers. Wine and canapés will be served and the setting is the magnificent Goldsmiths' Hall.
Entrance is £15 per person (including a Fair catalogue) and you can book by calling the Goldsmiths’ Company Promotions Department on 020 7367 5907.
It will be a great evening, I promise you.
Last week I was delighted to be able to visit the 23rd Annual Exhibition of Bookbinding and Conservation at Westminster School organised by Liveryman Dr Douglas East. And what an impressive exhibition it was - with some wonderful work on display, including a recent project binding in oak!
Whilst there I bumped into Douglas and I was most impressed to hear that he had received the honour of being a recipient of Maundy Money from Her Majesty the Queen earlier this year. And I thought that the rest of the company would be interested to hear this piece of news.
Here is a picture of Douglas after the service accompanied (on the left) by Tom Edlin, a History Master at Westminster School who also received Maundy Money, and (on the right) James Male, a distinguished Old Boy and Bookbinding student of Douglas.
On 1 July Court Assistant Tom Hempenstall was a VIP guest at the Royal Marines HQ at Lympstone in Devon.
He was there to present the Stationers' Company Sword to Brigadier G M Salzano MBE, Commandant of the Commando Training Centre. His visit coincided with the Passing Out Parade of The King's Squad which he was invited to witness.
Although he was not related to any of the young cadets being awarded their green berets Tom tells me that he felt a great sense of pride in their achievements and thankful that our forebears in the Stationers’ Company had the good sense to choose the Royal Marines as the part of the armed services that we should support.
Well done Tom!
I was honoured to attend the service yesterday at St Paul's Cathedral to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the completion of its rebuilding in 1711 after the Great Fire of London. The Cathedral was full and, along with the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, it was wonderful to see Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh in the congregation. It was a great occasion for the City of London.
And it was a great occasion for the Stationers' Company too! For I was amazed and delighted to hear a reading from the diaries of John Evelyn, dated 7 September 1666, in which he laments the destruction of the medieval cathedral:
'At my return, I was infinitely concerned to find that goodly church, St Paul's - now a sad ruin . . . The ruins of the vaulted roof falling, broke into St Faith's, which being filled with the magazines of books belonging to the Stationers, and carried hither for safety, they were all consumed, burning for a week following.'
It was pleasing to see the history of this magnifient Cathedral so publically linked with the history of our dear Company: a proud moment to be a Stationer!
I am conscious of two important messages that I really ought to be getting across to members.
The first is a big apology for not having blogged for over a month. I am very sorry about this. It is a measure of how busy I have been organising events.
The second is a big thank you to everyone who has responded positively to my numerous appeals for attendees at the large number of dinners that we have held in the Hall in the past six weeks. I am afraid that the combination of the Livery Spring Dinner, the Charter Dinner and the KIng James Bible (KJB) Dinner all in the space of five weeks may have left many liverymen feeling that they have seen enough of the Company candelabra for a good many weeks to come! It was worse still for Court Assistants as they had to fit in a Court Spring Dinner as well!!
Actually all the events went really well and were highly enjoyable. We ended up with just over 80 for the Livery Spring Dinner, over 130 for the Charter Dinner and over 150 for the KJB event. So many, many thanks to those who made an extra effort to attend; I really do appreciate your support.
You will be pleased to know that I have learned my lesson from this and decided to abandon the Livery Spring Dinners in 2012 and 2013. In both these years the Livery Committee are planning special themed dinners (just like the KJB event) in the first half of the year: a 'Dickens' dinner in 2012 and a 'Kipling' event in 2013. So I am sure that these plus the Charter Dinner in May will be enough for most liverymen to cope with.