The Clerk's Blog
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.
I would like to draw members' attention to an event that is being held in London in support of the Royal Marines Charitable Trust.
The inaugural Royal Marines Sportsman’s Dinner will be taking place at the Hurlingham Club on Wednesday, 22 June 2011; an evening of Sport and Entertainment featuring the Royal Marines Band and in the company of Britain’s favourite sports stars. You can find out much more about the event and book tickets by clicking here.
The evening will raise much needed funds for the C Group, which serves to mobilise the business community in support in Royal Marines, focused primarily on supporting Royal Marines irrecoverably injured on operations.
I know that it is expensive but it is a very good cause. So I would strongly urge members to go, if they possibly can. It would be really lovely to think that the Stationers' Company is well represented at the event.
You may be interested to know that we now have a full version of the text of Martha's wonderful Annual Lecture available on the website. You can access it by clicking here.
We do have the complete lecture on video but the file size is huge (over 3 gigabytes!) so we can't get it online just at the moment. If you would like a version, please email Deborah Rea on email@example.com and she should be able to post you a DVD.
I was also delighted to see quite a long edited version of the lecture on page 20 of yesterday's Times (28 March). What excellent promotion of the Company - all thanks to the Master!
A member has just pointed out to me that the DC Thomson equipment is all being flogged off by auction with a closing date of 5 pm tomorrow (30 March). Whilst I realise that many of our printing members may be sellers rather than buyers (!!), there may be some real bargains to be had here.
You can access the auctioneers online by clicking here.
Good luck if you place a bid!
I was delighted with yesterday's annual lecture and the dinner afterwards. The turn-out was excellent and the arrangements all ran smoothly. Martha Lane Fox gave an excellent lecture.
Given her theme of the UK becoming an excellent digital nation, I though I might share with you a 'tweet' that Martha sent just before the lecture, which ran as follows:
Off to talk at the worshipful company of stationers dinner. Not as old fashioned as they sound - 200 people from print industries...
I was pleased that someone who was in the audience last night had tweeted her back saying how much he was looking forward to hearing her lecture. Martha also mentioned in her lecture that she had spotted that the Company had a Facebook page!
This all goes to show that the Company is slowly, and perhaps rather tentatively, moving into the age of social networking. Deborah Rea and I will be working on this over the coming weeks and I hope that we will make the bold step of not just having a Twitter account and a Facebook page but actuallly using them!!!!
Many congratulations to the Stationers' Company's intrepid ski team.
Just back from the Alps, our four bold and brave skiers put in a very creditable performance in this year's Inter-Livery Ski Championships, coming sixth out of a field of some 17 other Livery Companies.
Team members from left to right are: Chris Heyer, William Brewster, Richard Brewster (Immediate Past Master) and Martin Woodhead (Captain).
I am particularly delighted that the Company was, for the first time, able to enter a full team of four into this event. Many livery companies either did not enter or couldn't field a full team and it is so good to see us fully participating in inter-livery company events and doing so well.
I really hope that the success of this year's team will inspire others to volunteer to join next year's skiing team and to respond to the other calls from Deborah Rea to participate in various inter-livery company events. These are usually advertised by email or on the members' noticeboard on the website, or you can find out what's coming up by emailing Deborah (click here).
Well done and thank you to Martin Woodhead for captaining the team and to his fellow intrepid team members for taking part! It is good to see the Company giving the Leathersellers and the Vintners a run for their money!
I would like to congratulate Court Assistant Trevor Fenwick for receiving this year's George Henderson Award, which commemorates outstanding contribution to the UK directory and data publishing sector.
Trevor received his award at Stationers' Hall on Tuesday from Barry McIlheney, CEO of the PPA. Giving it, Barry McIlheney said: "I'm pleased to be able to give this prestigious award to such a deserving recipient. In his roles at Euromonitor International and the Data Publishers Association, Trevor has worked hard to promote data publishers' interests in areas such as copyright while championing new opportunities offered through digital channels."
These are sentiments that I would like to echo on behalf of the Company, for which Trevor has also worked very hard: on the Industry Group, on our wonderful Copyright report and on our relationships with our associated Trade Associations.
Well done, Trevor!
You can read more about Trevor's honour by clicking here.
As you may already know, or may have read in my last blog, this year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible.
A number of members have asked me what the Company plans to do to celebrate this important anniversary and I thought that it might be useful for me to give you all a brief 'heads-up' on our plans.
Firstly the Livery Committee plans to hold a service at St Bride's Church followed by a celebratory dinner in the Hall on the evening of Wednesday, 25 May. In addition to celebrating the anniversary, the event will launch the 2011 City of London Churches Festival which will involve a complete reading of the King James Bible at each of the City of London churches over a period of time in the autumn. The Bishop of London has kindly agreed to attend the service and dinner. Further details of this event and an opportunity to book places will be available shortly.
Secondly Liveryman Peter Jarrold is in the process of obtaining an original copy of the 1611 bible on loan from Norwich Cathedral and we plan to display this appropriately in the Hall throughout the year. I hope to be able to confirm details of this before the end of this month.
Any further ideas on how the Company might get involved in other events to celebrate the anniversary would be most welcome.
I thought that members might like to know that the Company has featured in the press this week both in print and on the radio.
Yesterday BBC Radio 4 broadcast the second of bits three programmes to mark this year's 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Part of the programme was set at Stationers' Hall where the three translation groups met to review the translations and agree the final version. The Hall and the Company got a good mention, although Jim Naughtie's interview with me was edited out!! You can access the programme on the BBC iPlayer here.
And this week's edition of 'Hello Magazine' (10 January 2011) contains a six-page spread on Kate Silverton's (the BBC journalist and news reader) wedding at Stationers' Hall just before Christmas with some good photos of her and her new hubby (a former Royal Marine) in the Hall. I am afraid that you can't really access this online so you will have to buy the issue to see the pictures. Sorry!