Events 2009-10: Master Alistair Bassett Cross

The Masters Report on his year is at the foot of this summary

Photo of Mr Alistair Bassett Cross

The Master's year started (as now seems customary) by his attending Bishopsgate's Civic Lunch in The Cyypt - Guildhall - February 6th 

19th February: AGM at the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall
Some 80 or so Ward Club members and their guests dined. Guest speaker was His Honour Judge Sir Gavyn Arthur a former Lord Mayor and now one of Her Majesty’s Circuit Judges accompanied by his Consort Carole Blackshaw.This was the 2nd year running that we were able to use the Army and Navy Club, the Ward Club and Master were indebted to the Upper Warden - Stanley Liu.

12th March: Members Evening at the Bunch of Grapes
A great opportunity to meet prospective new members and many existing members - A very good social event.  

2nd April A Wine Tasting - with a difference
That was the title of the planned event. It certainly was as described as it was cancelled at the very last minute (on the recommendation of the City Police.)
A protest was planned that day in the City and other parts of London, as we hosted the G20 Summit. With hindsight - would not have been a problem but c'est la vie. It was held on 6th July as aprt fo the visit to the HAC.

19th May Aldgate Ward Club Civic Lunch
The Master had not attended an event in the the recently refurbished Livery Hall (it used to be used as a storeroom!) and really enjoyed the experience. good training for the next day ?

20th May: Annual Church Service - St Peter-upon-Cornhill
20th May: Civic Lunch - Guildhall
A very well attended event (170 members and guests) and a most enjoyable and friendly occasion.  An added excitement! the Guildhall’s fire alarm system. We were about to get into the sweet coursewhen the Crypt had to be evacuated.  Speeches were almost given in the open air – just in time we were recalled.  

The Guest speaker was Colonel Geoffrey Godbold, Common Cryer and Sergent at Arms and a former CO of the HAC (Honourable Artilery Company)

17th June: The Royal Hospital-Chelsea
Chelsea Over 30 members visited the home of the famous IN pensioners.

We had an excellent tour lasting nearly two hours which was conducted by an "In pensioner" with a marvellous knowledge of the history of the hospital. A thoroughly enjoyable and educational afternoon.

Chelsea PensionerChelsea Pensioner

26th June - Langourne Civic Lunch - Ironmongers Hall
A memorable occasion with the Lord Mayor in attendance with the guest speaker being Lord Sheikh of Cornhill. Many congratulations to our Members and their Chairman and his wife Peter and Sally-Ann Hill.

6th July: A Visit to the home of the Lord Mayor’s Bodyguard Armoury House - City Road (and wine tasting)
Over 70 members and guests reall enjoyed a tour of Armoury House followed by a spectacular display of 17th century drill by the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers. The tour was conducted by the IPM of the Guild of Arts Schollar, Dealers and Collectors who was also the "Elder Drum Beater" of the PandM, Jonathan Horne.

HAC - Lord Mayor's body guard of Pikeman and Musketeers

HAC Lord Mayor's body guard - with lots of smoke!

The evening concluded with a “Wine Tasting with a difference” conducted by Paul Champness from Ellis Wines of Richmond, who also co-incidently was Captain of the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers. This event had had to be cancelled at very short notice in April in view of problems related to the G20 Summit.

16th July Castle Baynard Ward Club's Civic Lunch
The Master was on PandM Duty at the Mansion House and invited to dine as well as Master

7th September: Informal Inter-Ward Quiz
We organised this event - the 1st of its type - with two aims;

  • to promote closer relationships between Ward Clubs
  • to raise some funds for Charity

There was excellent feed back from the 6 teams involved
some of the particiants on Lime Street Ward Club quiz night

  • Lime Street did not pick up the wooden spoon
  • £170 was raised for Charity. The winning Ward Club (Bread Street) donating their 50% to Help for Heroes and our 50% going to the Master’s chosen charity - The Royal Hospital Chelsea.  

22nd September: Guided Walk of "The Ward Without"
30+ members and guests assembled at the "Mug House" beneath London Bridge on the south side of the river for a guided walk around Southwark and ‘The Ward Without’ . A fascinating evening, given by David Thompson (MITG). We visited areas around Southwark Market, the site of the original Globe Theatre, an amazing rose window near the "clink" prison.... hearing tales of pilgrims, playwrights, prostitutes and gouls as we went. An excellent evening finished with supper at the Anchor Tavern.

5th October: Visit to HM Tower of London
A maximum turn out of 45 enjoyed a very personalised tour of the Tower including a buffet reception in the Yeoman Warder’s Club and a “ring side” view of the Ceremony of the Keys.

 Tower of London at night

A special evening – the weather had been terrible all week, it was very kind to us on this evening.

19th November: Visit to Guards Museum, Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk London SW1E 6HQ
A unique opportunity for 60+ members and their guests to enjoy a private visit to this fascinating museum. Having has an opportunity to review the collection of artifacts we moved onto a "Sparkling" Reception (Prosecco Verdiuzza) followed by an excellent "Black Tie" Dinner.

Line caught mackerel pate, (2007 Hunters Marlborough - Wairau Valley Suvvignon Blanc)
Rack of West Country Lamb (2008 Alameda Merlot, Maipo Valley Chile)
Lemon Pannacotta
Coffee and Port Taylors Late Bottled Vintage.


During dinner were were regaled with a wide range of stories and anecdotes about the exhibits from curator Andrew Wallis, with some of them, including an exact replica of the Victoria Cross being passed round for visitors to touch - a great experience, an evening that will not be forgotten.   

1st - 2nd December: Red Cross Fair - Guildhall

The Ward Club hosted a stand with the aim of promoting the concept of Ward Clubs. We were one of the very few stands not selling anything, which gave us a few challenges - the City Livery Club were also in attendance - promoting the Club and Livery in general. Those who manned the stand got to meet a wide range of visitors who seemed genuinely interested in Wards and Ward clubs.Without the involvement of Roseanne Bowman this opportunity would not have arisen.

3rd December: Our Annual Carol Service
In the presence of our President Alderman Sir John Studdard and Lesley his wife we celebrated the coming of Christmas with a traditional service of Lessons and Carols lead as usual by the excellent Choir of St Mary the Virgin, North Shoebury.

Introit - Advent Responsory
All Oh come all ye faithful
Choir  Come thou redeemer of the earth - M Praetorius
All  Ding Dong merrily on high
1st Lesson - Micah 5 v 1-5a Upper Warden
All Silent Night
2nd Lesson - Matthew 1 v 18-25 Master Poulter
Choir Infant Holy - Polish Carol arranged by Willcocks
Choir Here is the little door - Herbert Howells
3rd Lesson Matthew 2 v 1-12 The Master
All Good King Wenceslas
4th Lesson John 18 v 33 - 38 The President
Choir Star Carol - John Rutter
All  Hark the Herald Angels sing

 

Carol Service St Peter's Cornhill

This year, for the first time, members of the Worshipful Company of Poulters were formally invited, with one of the lessons being read by their Master - Mr David Bridges.

 Christmas Tree

Over 8 sacks of presents were placed under the colourful Christmas Tree for delivery to The Good Shepherd Mission in the East End of London - epecially for the under 5's.

We finished with a glass of wine, mince pies - a very heart-warming evening.

Part of an Article prepared for our Choir's local magazine.

HAVE YOU HEARD THE ONE ABOUT OUR CHURCH CHOIR AND KING KONG?
The period of Advent is always very busy for the Church Choir. In addition to services at St.  Mary’s, they lead the singing at the Carol Service for Rochford Hundred Golf Club at St. Andrew’s Church, Rochford, and every year since 2001 they have led a very prestigious Service at the Church of St. Peter upon Cornhill in London.  The occasion is the annual Carol Service of the Lime Street Ward Club.

The original invitation to take part in the annual carol service came from John Tuff, a member of our congregation, who was Master [Chairperson] of Lime Street Ward Club in 2001. The spectacle and pageantry at the service reflects the centuries old ceremonial associated with the London wards.  At the 2009 Service the choir was joined in procession with the President of the Ward Club, Alderman Sir John Stuttard, a past Lord Mayor of London, in his fur-trimmed scarlet gowns and chains of office, silk knee breeches and silver buckled shoes, attended by his Beadle in his green greatcoat edged in gold braid and tricorn hat, together with the Master and Upper and Lower Wardens. The Choir consider it a very great privilege to be able to sing each year in this ancient and beautiful church.

Oh yes – the connection with King Kong?  This year we were ‘privileged’ to travel to London in a Cook’s Coach emblazoned with a full size King Kong covering the entire exterior of the coach!  Some might say this is entirely appropriate judging by the festive behaviour indulged in on the return journey, fuelled by wine and mince pies after the service!  But I couldn’t possibly comment on that!!

Anne Crabb – January 2010

14th December Guild of Freeman, Annual Banquet
Our Master was a guest of the Master, His Honour Judge Sir Gavyn Arthur as President of the HAC Mess Club but also took pride in Wearing his Lime Street Ward Club's Master's Badge.

25th Jan 2010:
Visit to College of Arms
Queen Victoria Street London EC4
20 members and guests were taken on a personal guided tour of this fascinating building which dates from the 1670's to learn about Heraldry and how a Coat of Arms is created.

They were hosted by Windsor Herald, Mr William Hunt.  It was an utterly fascinating evening and everyone who attended agreed that we would have loved to have spent many hours in the library looking through the vast amount of books.
The windsor Herald went through the history of Arms, and how the College came to be in the building it is now in.  He also explained the hierachy of the College.  We then went through to the Library and were shown a wonderful selection of books, some of which dated back over 500 years, and all of which had a history of their own.  He explained in some detail how Coats of Arms are created and showed us some splendid examples of more recent ones - including those for Sir Cliff Richard and Sir Elton John!

The evening finished with a buffet supper and a glass of wine.

10th February 2010 - A City Briefing
Presentation on "The role of the Corporation of City of London - how it operates and interacts"
- St Botolph's Church Hall - Bishopsgate

This presentation was given by Assistant Town Clerk Peter Nelson who normally gives such presentations to those working for the Corporation, Members of Livery and elected representatives only. This was the first time that such a presentation had ben given to representatives of Ward Clubs but it is very likely NOT to be the last.  Over 55 people members and their guests plus a few representatives of of some of the other Ward Clubs attended a very informative, entertaining and convivial evening in lovely surroundings. The formal part of the evening closed with a short presentation from our youngest Common Councilman Elizabeth Rogula.

The Master's Report
My year started before it began when I represented the Ward Club as a guest of Bishopsgate Ward Club at their Civic Lunch at Guildhall 2 weeks beofre I became Master.. This was followed very quickly by our Annual Dinner and AGM, which thanks to the support of Upper Warden Stanley Liu was held for the 2nd year running at the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall.

The next event and an annual event was held at ‘The Bunch of Grapes’ a favourite watering hole for the Ward Club on the 12th March was the Members Evening and I was pleased to have the opportunity of meeting a number of prospective new members and many existing members. Some 30 people were present. A very good social event. This was to be followed by another annual event albeit usually held later in the year, namely the wine tasting evening. This year it was entitled ‘Wine tasting with a difference’ at St Botolph’s without Bishopsgate Church Hall on the 2nd April but unfortunately this event had to be cancelled at the very last moment on the advice of thepolice by reason of the G20 demonstrations taking place the same day and very close indeed to the planned location.

The 19th May saw me once again at Guildhall representing the Ward Club at the Aldgate Ward Club’s Civic Lunch at which the principal guest was the Lord Mayor. My second visit and this time in the newly refurbished Livery Hall forming part of the Crypt but not previously used for functions but as storage facilities. What a stunning room and what a very enjoyable lunch a chance for a rehearsal for our own Civic Lunch the very next day.

The next event in the calendar the Club’s own Civic Lunch and this year we were back at Guildhall on the 20th May for what turned out to be a very memorable occasion for an unforeseen incident. This was a very well attended event (170) and a most enjoyable occasion which I thoroughly enjoyed. Earlier that morning we had held the Club’s Annual Service at St Peter-upon-Cornhill at which The President and I read the lessons and The Honorary Chaplain gave the address. Our Ward Club has a very good name at Mansion House as one of the few who always get the Lord Mayor out on time and this year was to be no exception .To ensure this I not only had strict instructions from the Honorary Secretary, Ann Benson but also the toastmaster, Jamie Wallis a personal friend and a fellow member of the P&M with extensive military experience, and my guest speaker Colonel Geoffrey Godbold The Common Cryer and Serjeant at Arms and a former CO of the HAC. How could this plan with such military might go wrong? But we hadn’t bargained for the ‘fifth column’ in the shape of the Guildhall’s fire alarm system. An excellent meal had been served by Mark Grove’s wonderful team and we were about to get down to the sweet when the Crypt had to be evacuated and so we found ourselves in Guildhall Yard in the sunshine! The Lord Mayor agreed that we should give our speeches in the open air thus creating another first not only for the Ward Club but I anticipate for the City when we were given the all clear. But what of our timings and our reputation? Shot to pieces! All credit to the Lord Mayor and the Civic Party they stayed until the end of the formalities despite the event running over by the best part of 45 minutes. Not our fault Governor! I was however able to present the Lord Mayor with a cheque for his charities and he in turn gave me the gift of a silver photo frame, which I am sure should not be in my custody but that of the Club?

On the 17th June some 32 members and there guests forgathered in Chelsea for a lunchtime visit to The Royal Hospital the home of the famous IN pensioners. We had an excellent tour lasting nearly two hours which was conducted by an In pensioner. This gentleman’s knowledge of the history of the hospital was marvellous and he took the trouble to spend sometime with us after the tour to have a cup of tea in the pensioner’s tea room before rejoining his colleagues who were engaged in a game of bowls. A thoroughly enjoyable and educational day.

The 26th June saw me dine again representing the Ward Club at our neighbour Langbourne Ward Club’s Civic Lunch held this year at Ironmongers Hall in Shaftesbury Place just off London Wall at which the Lord Mayor was the principal guest and Lord Sheikh of Cornhill responded to the toast to the guests. Again another memorable occasion and very much a success for our fellow Lime Street Ward Club members Peter Hill the Chairman and his wife Sally-Ann.

Because the Wine Merchant, Paul Champness, who was to have conducted the abortive wine tasting on the 2nd April is also the present Captain commanding the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers he suggested we should resurrect the wine tasting to take place together with the next event, A Visit to the home of the Lord Mayor’s bodyguard which took place on the 6th July at Armoury House in City Road just outside the City walls. I know I am biased about the place and the event but from all the accounts I have heard this event was not only very well attended (70) but also enjoyed immensely by all those present. We enjoyed a spectacular tour of Armoury House conducted by the IPM of the Guild of Art Scholars Dealers and Collectors and also the Elder Drum Beater of the P&M Jonathan Horne followed by a display of 17th century drill by the Company and concluding with the wine tasting with a difference conducted by Paul Champness.

On the 16th July saw me again representing the Ward Club at another Ward Club’s Civic occasion. This time Castle Baynard, the Lord Mayor’s Ward and this time at Mansion House for their centenary dinner. I was there ostensibly on duty for the Lord Mayor as a member of his bodyguard but as happens from time to time a member of the guard is invited to dine and on this occasion the lot fell on me and enabled me to represent the Ward Club in P&M uniform but sporting the Master’s badge.

The summer months of August and September are historically the quiet time for the City as it was the period the Lord Mayor traditionally undertook his foreign trips and so it was for the Ward Clubs. Alas no more The Lord Mayor now travels extensively throughout his year and the Ward Club continues to be active. I am indebted to Peter and Daphne Cave for their tremendous work in organising and making a success of the first Inter Ward Quiz even though I was not present which took place on the 7th September. £170 was raised for charity, the winning Ward Club donating their 50% to Help for Heroes and our 50% going to my chosen charity The Royal Hospital Chelsea. There has been very positive feedback following the event with the likelihood of this becoming an annual City event. Latter in the month of September the 22nd to be precise saw some 31 members of the Ward Club and guests assemble south of the river for a city walk around Southwark ‘The Ward Without’ lead by David Thompson MITG the Blue Badge Guide. A tale of pilgrims playwrights prostitutes and gouls.The walk started at The Mug House under London Bridge and concluded at The Anchor at Bankside. In the middle we learnt so much about this part of London that it would take too long to recount save to say that the words of the nursery rhyme ‘Goosey goosey gander’ will never ever have the same meaning again.

Hard on the heels of the City walk came the visit to HM Tower of London by courtesy of Yeoman Warder Ken McGrath on the evening of the 5th October. We had a maximum turn out of 45 who enjoyed a very personalised tour of the Tower, a buffet reception in the Yeoman Warder’s Club and followed by ring side seats for the Ceremony of the Keys. In between we enjoyed excellent hospitality from the Yeoman Warders and a very successful raffle.

One of the highlights of my year as Master must surely be the Black Tie Dinner held on the 19th November at The Guards Museum at Wellington Barracks by courtesy of the Curator Andrew Wallis, a personal friend and colleague in the P&M. Andrew did us proud not only in the venue, the food, the wine but also in his 'entertainment'. An informal reception allowed those attending to have a look around the museum prior to dining and to view some of its many artefacts and to wet one's appetite for a proper in depth future visit. An outstanding short talk towards the end of the evening by Andrew about the museum and the Guards was thoroughly enjoyed by all those attending concluding with a recitation of Sam's Pudding that knocked Stanley
Holloway's prior effort into a cocked hat! 60 members and their guests attended, another full house, and judging by the comments I received on the evening and the letters and other communications I received after the event an evening to be remembered.
The biennial Red Cross Fayre was held at Guildhall on the 1st and 2nd December at which the Club hosted a stand with the aim of promoting the concept of ward clubs. Our stand was one of the few stands not selling anything which gave all those who manned the stall a few challenges amongst meeting a huge range of visitors who seemed genuinely interested in the ward clubs. I and the Club are hugely indebted to Roseanne Bowman without whose involvement this opportunity would not have arisen and I am grateful to all those who manned the stall over the two days. And as a
result we have admitted two new members.

The Club's Annual Carol Service took place on the 3rd December at St Peter upon Cornhill and was very well attended by members and their guests (102). This year we were joined by members of the Worshipful Company of Poulters, whose current whose current Master (David Bridges) is also a Member of the Ward Club. Once again we were delighted to have the choir of St Mary the Virgin, Shoebury with us and to hear their wonderful voices. The President, I and the Upper Warden and Master Poulter read traditional lessons and the Hon Chaplain gave the address. Over 8 sacks of presents were placed under the colourful Christmas Tree for delivery to the Good Shepherd Mission in East London and I would like to express my personal thanks to all those who donated gifts so generously. The evening concluded with a glass or two of wine, mince pies and other traditional seasonal foods. This was again a very enjoyable evening indeed and one to put one very much in the mood for the festive season to come.
On the 14th December I was again back at Guildhall, where I was one of the many guests of The Master of the Guild of Freeman, His Honour Judge Sir Gavyn Arthur at their Annual Banquet. My official role on this occasion was as President of the HAC Mess Club, and so I was kitted out in Mess Kit but I took the opportunity of representing the Ward Club and wore the Master's Badge. This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and was attended by no less than a dozen members of European Royalty, sundry Ambassadors and many others from the 'great and the good'.

The final planned event of my year was a return visit to The College of Arms in Queen Victoria Street on the evening of the 25th January 2010, the Ward Club having visited the College previously some years ago. This was a very cold night but the maximum number of 20 stout and hardy Members attended. They were richly rewarded by a tour and very informative talk from Windsor Herald Major William Hunt TD and a brief look at a number of their more interesting archives followed by wine and a Buffett.

Once agian i am hugely indebted to Peter Cave who was able to secure the attendance of The Assistant Town Clerk, Peter Nelson at St Botolph's Church Hall on the evening of the 12th February to talk to us about How the City of London and its Coprotation operates. (Our first City Briefing ? - a regular feature in coming years)

This event was well attended (60) by both members of the Ward Club and a few from other Ward Clubs. Again this was a very informative evening and enjoyed by all those attending. As usual followed by a glass of wine and buffet.

 And so we are back where we started. i have had a ball. I thank you for supporting me as your Master over the past 12 months and attending the events that i have organised. I know from all the various communications that i have received from so many of you throughout the year that you have enjoyed each and every event almost as much as I have!. Thank you all very much. My particualr thanks go to Ann Benson - the Hon Secretary for all her support and guidnace, Chris Otter the Hon Treasurer for balancing the books so well and also to Daphne Cave the Honarary Assistant Hon Secretary.