To quote certain World Traders, one of the benefits of not having the Company’s own hall means the chance to explore other Livery Companies’ historic meeting places. This year’s Members’ Dinner proved no exception, taking place in the quirky extravagance of Apothecaries’ Hall.
Having survived centuries, bombs and redevelopment, the Grade I-listed landmark is one of the City’s oldest Halls, and World Traders were recently treated to an expert tour by Bryan Saunders, Beadle of The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries. Treasures here date back to when the Society was a manufacturer, seller and distributor of medicines, pharmaceuticals, and “cures” that perhaps best belonged in the snake oil cabinet. Prints and models of Albrecht Durer’s rhino, and a Register of Examinations noting a young Agatha Christie’s studies to become a pharmaceutical assistant added to the mix.
The evening began with the Ceremonial Court for the Admission of Journeymen and Freemen, and the Clothing of Liverymen. The Company was delighted to admit Dominic Broom and Ehsan Razavizadeh as Court Assistants, clothe Kaan Jones, Nick Ravenhall and George Riddell as Liverymen, admit Azad Ayub, William Dobinson and Sean Leno as Freemen, and welcome Mohammed Omar on his admission as a Journeyman.
World Traders did not miss the opportunity to mark Burns Night with whisky, kindly provided by WovenWhisky.com, and to toast the immortal memory of Robert Burns with a recording of Scotland The Brave on the Bagpipes played by our guest speaker from his year as Master.
Members also took a solemn moment to remember former Master Robert Woodthorpe Browne MBE (1943-2022).
This year’s Dinner plugged the World Traders firmly into global events. Midway through the starters, Richard Burge and Sheriff Marsden dialled in live from Kyiv, offering members an update on their ongoing efforts on the ground to build and reinforce links between London and a Ukrainian economy determined to thrive despite – and beyond – the conflict.
Continuing the theme of London’s role as the world’s hub city, the evening’s address was given by former Sheriff, Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli FCCA FCSI FBCS. Since November 2022, when he became Senior Alderman Below The Chair (SABTAC) of the City of London, he is likely to be Lord Mayor for 2023-2024, subject to election by the Livery.
Most importantly for the World Traders, this would mark the first time the World Traders are the Mother Company of a Lord Mayor. Professor Mainelli outlined his vision for a future-proof, outward-looking and sustainable London: one that makes the most of its position as a global convenor of the brightest minds – a “Knowledge Mile” – to help solve the world’s long-term problems.
The Master continued proceedings, outlining his vision for the company and its pipeline of events for the year – including a highly anticipated Tacitus Lecture. Before the toasts and the Stirrup Cup, he rounded off the Dinner by channelling his inner Kennedy: imploring World Traders to ask “not what their Company could do for them, but what they could do for their Company”.