The Clerk's Blog

The Clerk's Blog

It is with some sadness that I have to announce that Richard Fisher is moving to a new job within the Compass Group, who own Payne & Gunter, our Resident Caterers. He is to become Catering Manager of Dartmouth House in Mayfair, home of the English Speaking Union. I am sure that you will all join with me in thanking Richard for the excellent service he has given us over the past three years and in wishing him the very best success in his new job. If you wish to send your best wishes straight to him, you can email him at


Payne & Gunter have appointed Sibel Prenat as Richard's replacement. Sibel, who is French, has been working in the catering industry in the UK for the past ten years. Her last job was as Catering Manager for MITIE, a facilities management company. Here she managed a catering department across eight locations in London including hospitality, conferencing, fine dining and a staff restaurant.


I had the opportunity to interview Sibel before she was offered the job by Payne & Gunter and I was very impressed by her determination to provide the Company with excellent food and service as well as to bring in new hall hire business. Speaking on behalf of the other staff here at Stationers' Hall, we are delighted to have her join the team and we look forward to working with her. I am sure that all members of the Company will find her a very effective and pleasant replacement for Richard.


Sibel started worked at Stationers' Hall today so you should get a chance to meet her soon. When you do, please give her a very warm 'Stationers' welcome! Richard will be handing over to her over the coming fortnight. She has a lot to learn but I am confident that she will pick things up quickly. Given that Richard is staying within the Compass Group, he has assured me that he will always be around to help Sibel if she needs it and will be on site on 15 September to ensure that the Livery Autumn Dinner runs smoothly.

I have just had lunch with Stephen Gilbert, Chief Executive of this charity which, as you know, has strong links to the Company (see my blog of 5 May here). I am delighted that they will again be holding their annual lunch here at Stationers' Hall on 4 November.


One thing that he mentioned during the lunch was that Robert McClements, Chief Executive of Print Yorkshire, is driving from Peking to Paris in a 1959 VW Beetle convertible and taking the opportunity of this challenging trip to raise money for the Printing Charity. It would be nice if some Stationers were able to sponsor the trip. You can do this by clicking the link here. If you do so, please mention the Stationers' Company.


Thank you!

Could I strongly encourage those Liverymen and Freemen who have not attended a City Briefing to do so?


These briefings are organised by the Corporation of London Livery Committee and give a short introduction to the work of the Corporation focused on its relationship with livery companies. I went on one earlier this year and was surprised at how much I didn't know and how much I enjoyed meeting people from other livery companies. It really was very good fun.


The briefings are held at Innholders' Hall, starting at 5 pm and finishing with wine and canapés at 7.00 pm. The cost is a very modest £10 per head and you are welcome to take your spouse along with you. The dates for future briefings are: 13 October 2010, 10 November 2010 and 16 February 2011. Please click here for more information and to book places.


The relationship between the Stationers' Company and the Corporation of London is very important but it is something that many members of the Company don't fully understand. More recent members will have heard me at their Clerk's Briefing stressing how important it is that Stationers take an active interest in the life of the City of London. I am dead keen to find members who might be interested in becoming Common Councillors and thereafter Aldermen. Attending one of these briefings would be a very useful first step in that direction. However, whether this interests you or not, really every member of the Company should have attended one of these briefings at least once.


So, if you haven't, please book yourself a place now. You won't regret it, I promise!

Here's something I have been meaning to pass on for weeks now!


A few weeks ago I had a drink with my very old friend, Francis Cave, who is a consultant in XML applications in commercial publishing. He mentioned to me that he has just become Secretary of the Printing Historical Society.


Apparently the Society, as part of their work in chronicling the increasingly rapid changes in the print and publishing industries, are trying to record the experiences of current and recently retired executives as they have experienced changes in the way they do or did their business. By recording these experiences now, the Society hopes to create a detailed history of how these industries have changed in our lifetimes. As someone who has enjoyed (sometimes) and suffered from (mostly) these changes, this strikes me as a jolly good idea.


Francis would welcome contributions to this process and it struck me that a number of members of the Stationers' Company might want to take part and also perhaps get more involved with the Society itself. If you would like to participate, please email Francis at It might be fun and it will be worthwhile.

I have received an invitation from the Worshipful Company of Pewterers aimed at 'the younger members of Livery Companies' for an 'End of Summer Party' in the garden at Pewterers' Hall on the evening of Thursday, 2 September. Apparently they define 'younger' as aged between 20 and 40! If you would like to go, please email Eleanor Mason Brown at You can download a copy of the invitation here. Please go if you can, it would be great to see the Stationers' Company represented at what looks like a fun party.

Last week I emailed all members drawing your attention to the Commandos' Tour de France which starts on Saturday. This is a sponsored cycle ride through France, following the 2007 Tour de France route, in aid of a charity called The C Group which seeks to support the rehabilitation of Royal Marines injured on active service.


As I know you are aware, the Company very highly values its special relationship with the Royal Marines and it is important that we cherish this relationship to ensure that other Livery Companies and similar organisations don't usurp our position. For this reason I am very keen to ensure that we are seen to be supporting them whenever we can.


The Commandos' Tour de France appeal is just the kind of thing we should be supporting. So please find a moment to go online and make a donation to this wonderful cause. It doesn't have to be a huge amount but it would be good if you could mention that you are donating as a result of an appeal to the Stationers' Company. If you look at the list of current donors, you will see that Peter Hames has done just this and I thank him for doing so.


You can access the website by clicking here.


Please be as generous as you can and THANK YOU!

I have received a slightly plaintive call from a good friend of mine who is in charge of PR for the Goldsmiths' Company. She is trying to drum up support for the Livery Private View of the Goldsmiths' Fair on the evening of Thursday, 30 September at Goldsmiths' Hall. I have already put details of this event (which costs £12 a head) on the Notice Board section of our website but I thought that I would draw your attention to it here as well. You can go straight to the Notice Board section by clicking here.


Please support this event if you can.



I am delighted to announce that Martha Lane Fox has very kindly agreed to give the Annual Lecture in March next year.


Martha is best known for co-founding, an online travel and gift business that generated huge publicity and became an icon of the UK's dotcom boom. On leaving the business, Martha co-founded Lucky Voice, the karaoke bar chain and joined the boards of Marks & Spencer and Channel 4. In June 2009, she was appointed the UK Government's Digital Inclusion Champion and in March this year this role was expanded when it was announced that she would set up a new Digital Public Services Unit within the Cabinet Office.


The Company is very lucky to have secured such an eloquent and committed champion of the digital revolution to give next year's lecture. We don't have a confirmed date yet but keep checking this blog and the event pages of the website for details. The event is certain to be a sell-out - so please book early for yourself and your guests, both for the lecture and the dinner afterwards.

At yesterday's Library and Archive Committee meeting, the subject of today's Radio 4 programme on Almanacs came up.


Andrea Cameron, our Honorary Librarian, mentioned that the London Topographical Society are producing a book this autumn specifically on the subject of the Almanacs published by the Stationers' Company, written by Ralph Hyde.


We will obviously be given a copy of the book when it is published but it struck me that some members of the Company might like to get hold of their own copies. I am afraid that I haven't a clue how much the book will cost but, if you are interested, please email me and I will try to find out more details. You can email me by clicking here.

Members may be interested to know that the Company has not been archiving minutes of the Court Meeting since February 2005 when my predecessor stopped the process to investigate the possibility of modernising it. Prior to this point we had been using a calligrapher to transcribe the minutes into beautiful vellum-bound books which go back continuously to 1571.


I have been looking into this and have concluded that we should re-start the process and catch up on the backlog. The problem with printing the minutes is that laser-printer and ink-jet inks are only guaranteed for 70 years and we need a solution which will continue a 400+ year old tradition for another 400 years! At last week's Master & Wardens' Meeting and at today's Court Meeting, my conclusion was endorsed and I plan to start catching up the backlog starting next month.


The trouble is that the process isn't cheap. A blank book, that will cover around 8 years of minutes, will cost around £1,700 and the transcription costs £30 a page. I am sure that the Company can cover the costs of transcribing the minutes going forward but the backlog will cost around £10,000 and this is a lot to swallow.


I therefore wonder whether there are any members out there who might be interested in helping cover the costs of the backlog. Such members will be acknowledged in the Court minutes with a special mention that together they subscribed to complete the exercise. I know that the new Master will be mentioning this when he writes to everyone in the autumn but I thought that I might flag up the request in this blog to see if there are any generous donors out there. If you are interested in donating towards the cost of this work, which is vital to the continuous recording of our Company's history, please email me at


Thank you in anticipation.



The Worshipful Company
of Stationers
and Newspaper Makers

Stationers' Hall
Ave Maria Lane
London EC4M 7DD

Telephone: 020 7248 2934
Fax: 020 7489 1975