Formed 25 years ago, The Worshipful Company of Marketors are part of the City of London Roll of Livery Companies, a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. Livery Companies have played an important role in the development of trade over the centuries. As well as the obvious focus on promoting the benefits of their professions (from ironmongers and haberdashers to surveyors and solicitors) Livery Companies also have a strong charitable focus, with the Marketors granting over forty educational awards each year.
I was recently invited by Professor Michael Jones to give the annual City Lecture to the Company in the magnificent Great Hall of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London. Founded in 1123, St Bart’s is the oldest working hospital in England, (some say Mozart had his tonsils removed here!) and its great hall was a special venue for an event so tied to tradition.
Enhanced by the traditional robes, livery badges and the grand surrounds, I certainly felt the ceremony of the occasion. This was pomp and ritual without a hint of stuffiness and those I spoke to had a real warmth and appreciation of their heritage. Just one expression of this is the handwritten letters of thanks guests traditionally send after these events, a personal touch of intimacy.
Under the watchful gaze of Henry VIII, I spoke on the challenges ahead and how to face them. While the true impact of the recession on society is yet to hit and should not be underestimated, overall I’m positive. Creativity, connectivity and collaboration can deal to the forces of darkness. The future will be real and after speaking with this group, I have no doubt that the rebuilding of the City is in good hands.
Many thanks to my gracious hosts, including Master of the Company Peter Goudge, Michael Jones and Diane Morris.