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Court and Livery Dinner, January 30 2019

Forty-seven Bowyers and their guests attended the January Court Meeting and Livery Dinner - traditionally an intimate and convivial affair at which guests are restricted to possible future Bowyers or those with whom the Company has a close relationship.

The venue this year was Ironmongers' Hall. Built in 1925 and tucked away between the Barbican and the Museum of London, the mock Tudor-style hall boasts a remarkably fortunate history having survived bombing raids in both the First and Second World Wars as well as a compulsory purchase order when the Museum of London was built. As such it provided an ideal place for the Bowyers to start 2019 with the first formal event of the year.

Noting that the date coincided with the anniversary of King Charles the First's execution in 1649 - a feast day in the Anglican calendar - Freeman the Rev Paul Bagott initiated proceedings with an appropriate prayer and grace.

Mr Forbes MacDougall, a Bowyer Liveryman himself, but dining with the Bowyers in his capacity as the Master Launderer was among the warmly welcomed guests. Also present as guest of the Immediate Past Master, was Dr Jan Willem Honig, a senior lecturer from the War Studies Department of Kings College, London who will be delivering the talk at the Poitiers Supper later this year. Mr David Chalk, the Drapers' Second Master Warden (equivalent to our Renter Warden) was the guest of Freeman Mark Eyre.

Freeman Dr Phillip Barnes proposed the toast to the guests with a witty and entertaining speech in which he explored their various historical Livery connections. In his reply the Master Launderer explained the objectives for his year in office as well as the charitable work of his Company.

The Master concluded proceedings by highlighting the busy programme of events our Company has arranged for the coming year as well as the range of other activities in which members of the Company are engaged, He formally welcomed our newest Freeman, Dr John Walker and our newest Liveryman, Mr Tom Ridley.

Staff at Ironmongers' Hall looked after us well and, following an excellent dinner of sole, lamb and winter Eton Mess and the musical accompaniment of a string duo from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Bowyers enjoyed a Stirrup Cup before the hardy among us adjourned to conclude the evening in The Lamb and Trotter around the corner.

Tony Marinos

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