Vereinigte Zünfte zur Gerwe und zur Schuhmachern

Jahresbericht unserer Londoner Schwesternzunft, The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers

PDF des Jahresberichts

From David Best, Immediate Past Master Pattenmaker and Jennifer Bryant-Pearson, Master Pattenmaker

My year as Master was a tremendous experience, and one rich in people places and events. The installation dinner at Ironmongers Hall, shown here was itself a memorable and special event, with over 180 guests. My speaker, Major General Sir Robert Fulton, formerly Governor of Gibraltar and Commandant of the Royal Marines set the tone of my year with a great speech about leadership and values in action. In this picture I am in conversation with my guest on my right, whilst Victoria is conversing with the Immediate Past Master, Alastair Watson Gandy.;

Installation dinner

Although I did not announce a formal theme, I emphasized throughout the importance of fellowship, friendship, and shared values in the Livery and in life in general, and several of our Speakers focused on this.
Perhaps one of the most special events for me personally was the election lunch following Past Master Chris Haywards success in being elected as Sheriff of the City of London.
Chris has always supported me both personally and in the Livery and it was therefore very special for me to be able to support him. And when we entered the Armourer’s Hall immediately after the election we were “cheered to the rafters” of the Hall by an elated group of over 80 Liverymen, an atmosphere which continued throughout the meal and indeed afterwards. His splendid chain shown here is gold and enamel and very splendid.

Speakers chain

There were so many memorable events, attending a Garden party in the presence of HM the Queen at Buckingham Palace, where the Queen accompanied by Princes Harry and William and by other members of the Royal family including our royal Patron HRH Duke of Gloucester circulated freely with the guests.

Garden party with HH the Queen

The Masters Weekend at Hampton Court Castle where the weather scenery and company made it a very special weekend for Victoria and me, and where we were able to visit a number of places of interest including shown here a Gin distillery, perhaps accounting for our look of cheerfulness!

Gin distillery

and countless dinners receptions and presentations, including weekends in Glasgow and York for the installation of Guild Masters, receptions with our Marathon runners and here presenting our Livery Medal to our Chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral.

St. Paul's Cathedral

I also had the pleasure at the invitation of the Commander of the Portsmouth Flotilla of the Royal Navy of visiting HMS Nelson. Confusingly HMS Nelson is not a ship but is the home base on land of the Navy. I was there with several other Masters to present awards to the Sailor of Year, each nominated by the crews of their ships, to the man or woman most admired as a role model. In our case a young man who had spent 8 hours in the water as a diver, looking for explosive mines in front of his ship. An amazing accomplishment and all in the days work. To meet these inspiring men and women and their partners was a truly humbling experience, and it was also affecting to see how much our presence there was appreciated. As representatives of those who they protect we were very happy to celebrate with them and they clearly appreciated our presence.

visiting HMS Nelson

The Sheriff asked me to serve on the Lord Mayor’s and Sherriff’s Committee, which is the ceremonial and largely symbolic group that in principle organizes the Lord Mayor’s Show. This was a tremendous honour and one which I hugely enjoyed, from the briefings on the organisation itself- (4500 military personnel, more than 100 horses, carriages and an almost 4Km procession through London’s streets, with 6000 people involved), to the Lighting Up dinner where we checked the Guildhall lighting, heard the Royal Trumpeters rehearse their fanfares and tasted the menu for the Lord Mayor’s banquet. Unfortunately, that event alas was first postponed due to the general election, then impacted by the virus.
But the Lord Mayor’s Show was an extraordinary spectacle where I travelled by horse drawn open carriage in the procession of more than 100 floats. With me were the Warden to the Trade, Liveryman Annette Cove, the Renter Warden Sarah Leitjen, and the Gallant Clerk.

Lord Mayor's Show

We waved and smiled all the way to the Royal Courts of Justice, where we witnessed the swearing in of the Right Honorable the Lord Mayor, Alderman William Russell the 692nd (and now the 693rd) Lord Mayor of the City of London. After a journey back still waving we arrived at Mansion House for lunch just as it began to rain- perfect timing.
And then of course, the pandemic, which first of all cancelled the dinner, at which Jennifer Bryant Pearson was to have been admitted as Master, and then closed down our physical events. My office was extended until we were able to admit Jennifer in October in a very informal but effective ceremony attended on Zoom by more than 70 Liverymen, and at which I was able personally to admit Jennifer to office, and which was followed by a dinner between the five of us (including my ten year old daughter) at our home, seen here.

admition of Jennifer Bryant Pearson

The Master, Jennifer Bryant Pearson writes:
The past 8 months have been an extraordinary time for us all but we have tried to remain in close touch with our membership despite not being able to meet in person. I have been tremendously supported by Jennifer in this trying time and so it is all the more pleasing that she is now in the Chair as Master.
She is already, one month in, making a really powerful impact on our company, as the second part of this article shows. We have created a weekly newsletter touch and are now on our 33rd issue!
We had our first ever virtual Freedom ceremony and we now have arrangements in place for our new Liverymen to be clothed virtually in a series of ceremonies in the next month but I hope that it will not be too long before we can all meet again and restore our reputation for fellowship and partygoing!
My plans for the coming year incorporate a celebration of our history in this our 350th anniversary year of granting of the Royal Charter and a special event will take place in September 2021 at the Guildhall. However, we have also published our new history book, Out of the Mud, for which we are grateful to Past Master Richard Kottler, Court Assistant Steve Huxham and Liveryman Dr Stephen Crabb who have brought our history, our events and our characters to life.
I also want to ensure that we demonstrate our relevance as a livery company in today’s society by showcasing more of the charitable giving and the involvement and support we provide through our trade members , in the City and to the services as well as encouraging and mentoring those brilliant young managers in the footwear and FM industries.
Part of that commitment involves enhancing the inclusivity and diversity of the Company to represent better its communities so we have set up a Diversity Task Force, which will report back with their recommendations in due course.

Finally, I want us to deepen and broaden the unique relationship we have had for so many years through the Orthopaedic Fund, originally conceived thanks to his Royal Highness, the Duke of Gloucester and the then Master, Stuart Lamb. This led to our support for the former servicemen at Headley Court - now Stanford Hall, as they slowly recovered and learned to walk again. By creating bespoke shoes, we help to prepare them for their new life ahead.
I have been closely engaged over the past year in developing a major project at Stanford Hall to create an Escape Café to help the wellbeing of our injured servicemen, their families, and the dedicated staff at Stanford Hall. We will be fundraising for this exciting project next year as well as involving our FM members in the contributing their expertise under the leadership of our Trade Warden, Liveryman Martin Pickard.

We all hope that we will be joining our Swiss friends in Zurich for Sechselauten next year and that you will be back at the Mansion House in London in January 2022.