The Clerk's Blog
I was delighted to receive an email just before Christmas from Gary Blissett informing me that his bookbinding business, Blissett Bookbinders, had been granted a Royal Warrant as Bookbinders to Her Majesty the Queen.
I am sure that you will all wish to join me in congratulating Gary, who is currently a Freeman and should become a Liveryman in April next year, on this great honour which is very richly deserved. You can learn more about the Blissett Group by clicking here.
Happy New Year to you all!
I thought that I should draw members' attention to the fact that Vintners' Hall have opened half a dozen bedrooms which are available for members of all London Livery Companies to rent at very competitive rates, starting as low as £60 per night.
Vintners' Hall is located in Upper Thames Street, close to its junction with Southwark Bridge and Queen Street, and is only 10 minutes walk from Stationers' Hall and most other City of London venues.
A leaflet with details of how to book the rooms can be downloaded here.
If members do take advantage of this offer, I would be very grateful if they could let me have some feedback on what the rooms were like and how the service compared with that of a hotel.
I was pleased to receive a report recently from Treloar College in Hampshire explaining the excellent use they have made of a donation from the Stationers' Foundation. During the academic year 2009/10 we gave them £4,350 which they used to purchase a 'Lightwriter' and two 'MegaBees', equipment which enable young people with limited speech and coordination to use a computer. You can read the report here.
I had an opportunity to visit Treloar College this autumn along with John Peters, our Honorary Almoner, and it was a very moving experience. It is a school and college, specifically focused on the education of young people with cerebral palsy and other conditions linked to brain damage, with strong links to the City of London, having been founded by a Lord Mayor of London early in the last century. It has achieved some fantastic educational outcomes for young people with very substantial physical and mental disabilities. Interestingly they have a printing unit on site which enables students to learn the basics of printing and generate an income stream for the college.
I very much hope that the Foundation will be able to continue to support the wonderful work done at Treloar and I hope that the Company too might be able to support the printing unit in particular through donations of paper and/or equipment. If you are interested in doing this, please let me know by email.
It certainly is a very worthy cause.
Sue Pandit has pointed out to me an excellent write-up of the recent Stationers' Foundation Bursary Awards on the Oxford Brookes University website. You can access this by clicking here.
The awards were handed out by the Master at our New Members' Evening on Monday, 25 October. I certainly thought that it was a great evening but the comments of Daniel Parker, one of the bursary winners, on the Oxford Brookes website really do the event full justice. They are well worth reading. What a nice and articulate chap he is!
Once again, it makes me very proud to be a member of our great Company.
Ages ago, we received a very good suggestion at the Women's Networking Group meeting at the Hall. This was that we put on the website lists of all people attending upcoming events. The idea is that by knowing in advance who is attending an event will help members get the best of out the networking opportunities that the event affords them.
I have at last managed to sort out a system for achieving this.
I have added a new page to the members-only section of the site entitled 'Attendance at Company Events' and this page includes a list of upcoming company events with downloadable lists of attendees at each of them. So far I have only got one list available - the one for the NewMembers Evening on Monday evening. But it is a start! And I promise to get more lists up as soon as possible.
This has taken a bit of effort, but it is a good idea so - please - use it! And, of course as always, let me what you think.
Firstly, many apologies for not blogging for a fortnight. I have been frantic!
You may be interested to know that last week we had two visits from the BBC.
I was interviewed by Jim Naughtie for a programme that Radio 4 are doing to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible next year. A group of experts met in Stationers' Hall under the chairmanship of the King's Printer (who was a Liveryman) to review the proofs of the bible. The programme will go out on Radio 4 on Tuesday, 4 January 2011 at 9 am and repeated at 9.30 pm.
Sue Hurley, our Archivist, was interviewed by a BBC film crew for a BBC 4 TV programme on the birth of the British novel. They were particularly interested in Samuel Richardson, who was Master of the Company and whose portrait hangs in the Court Room, and they filmed in the Court Room and the Muniment Room. We don't know yet when the programme will be aired but it is likely to be February/March next year.
I will try to catch both programmes but please listen to/watch them if you can.
I have restructured the office slightly to improve our use of resources.
Over the past six months since I started as Clerk, it has become clear to me that we need to devote more staff resources to our relationship with the outside world. This largely to address the gap left by the departure of our Business Development Manager, Simon Smallwood. We also have some spare resource in that I need much less secretarial support than my predecessor.
To reflect this, I have made two roles redundant: Clerk's PA and Office Manager and Membership Secretary; and created two new roles: Office and Membership Manager and Communications Manager. I am delighted to announce that Mandi Moore has applied for the former and Deborah Rea for the latter.
In her new role, Mandi takes on responsibility for looking after all existing individual members, looking after the membership database, managing the Master & Wardens Committee and Court and managing the administration of the office. She will also look after the welfare work of the Stationers' Foundation.
Deborah will retain responsibility for finding new members and looking after Corporate Members but she takes on responsibility for PR and Press Relations, our relationship with Trade Associations and our industries in general and sponsorship. She will also look after the educational work of the Stationers' Foundation.
All other roles are largely unchanged although Helen Ashworth, as Event Manager, will take on responsibility for managing the Master's diary. You can download a copy of the revised office structure here.
I have also asked each member of staff to take on responsibility for acting as Secretary to one or more of the Company's Committees. This meets an objective set in the 2008 Strategic Review. Staff responsibility for committees will now be as follows:
Clerk: Court, Master & Wardens Committee, Nominations Committee, Committee Chairmen's Group
Registrar (Bert Abel): Investment Review Sub-Committee
Commercial Manager (Susana de Sousa): Hall & Heritage Committee
Event Manager (Helen Ashworth): Livery Committee
Communications Manager (Deborah Rea): Industry Group, Membership Development Committee, Corporate Membership Sub-Committee
I am certain that the revised structure will make the office better able to meet the needs of members and deliver the strategic objectives that the Company has set. I hope that you will join with me in wishing the staff the very best of success in their changed roles and will support them as they cope with the change over the coming few months.
I am delighted to announce that James Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corporation, Europe and Asia, has agreed to give the opening address at our Autumn Event on the evening of 8 November. This is fantastic news and will dramatically raise the profile of the event. The topic for debate is 'Copyright in the Digital Age - Industry Issues and Impacts' and the discussion will focus around our online report on the future of Copyright. In addition to James Murdoch, we have a number of distinguished panellists including Sarah Thomas, Librarian of the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
I would like to thank Ian Locks, who has put an enormous amount of effort into organising this event, the Copyright Report and its related website (click here for a link), and the Master who secured James Murdoch as a speaker.
As this event is now certain to be very popular, I strongly encourage you to book tickets for it as early as possible. You should all have a flyer for it in your recent bulk mailing and an updated flyer, with the inclusion of James Murdoch, will soon be available to download from the Events section of the website where you can also book and pay for your tickets.
Please come if you can; it will be a great event!
I would like to apologise to everyone who attended the Livery Autumn Dinner on Wednesday evening for the poor performance of the AV system.
The problem lay in the positioning of the two speakers at the southern end of the Hall. Because of repairs to the screen following the fire, these new speakers had been temporarily installed on stands in the Musicians' Gallery. However this accidentally caused a 'sound shadow' for those sitting close to the screen. I had given instructions for these speakers to be moved to their correct position on brackets affixed to the screen (where the old ones were) but the work had not been done before the dinner. It will now be done straight away. I am obviously disappointed that our appointed experts failed to anticipate the problem and I have told them so.
I have personally apologised to those sitting on the sprig immediately next to the screen who were worst affected. However I understand that the problem extended beyond this sprig and so I would like to issue a more general apology now. I am so sorry that this marred your enjoyment of the dinner.
The situation will be put right before the next major dinner in the Hall, I promise!
I have just uploaded, onto the Notice Board section of our website, details of the Museum of London's Walking Tour highlighting London's historic printing and publishing trade. This will be held on Wednesday, 29 September. It should be good fun and clearly relevant to most of us.
Click here to go straight to the Notice Board page.