Lance Whitehouse gave me an insight of what it must have been like to have lived in the City of London and to have woken every day to find the City one lived in dramatically changed. I had never considered, when learning about the Blitz, the noise of hundreds of aircraft flying over London for the specific purpose of creating fear and devastation to the people of London.
I have always known from films and photos about the damage caused and how the people reacted with stoicism and that “just getting on with it” attitude that we admire so much but with his account and his wonderful black and white photos he summed up so much more. The Father Christmas with a tin hat. The uncomplaining women who took over jobs that had always been done by men. The inevitably of night after night going into the underground for safety and sleeping in corridors and by the side of the tube tracks and then emerging in the morning to go to work to see if where you lived was still standing. The effect that must have had on the children who had not been evacuated and seeing the photographs of their little hammocks strung up across a corridor was very moving. The bravery of the Fire Service and the determination of the people who seemed able to dust themselves off and go back to see if they had a home and then carry on.
The photos summed up so much and are a testament to how much a nation gave. In today’s world all I can liken the photos to are the frightening images we see from Syria.
I was born in 1944 in Yorkshire, so towards the end of the war. I remember hardly anything about it, but there are three things that will always be with me. One is the bonfires in the streets when the end of the war was declared and the fact that they were burning a chair for some reason. The second was a feeling of terror, that continued until I was well over ten, when aeroplanes were overhead - I would rush inside and hide under the stairs. I experienced real fear which I did not understand. Where I lived was rarely bombed but it made me think of the children in London and how much they must have lived in fear with a greater reality of something actually happening. The third memory was that I had a sort of older “sister” called Joy who suddenly was no longer with us. She was an evacuee that my mother had looked after for the duration of the war. I wonder where she is now.
The wonderful talk and the photos brought back these very distant memories. Lance should be congratulated on a putting such a wonderful collection of images together which summed up the reality of war so well.
Past Mistress Woolman (2018 – 2019)
Jane Wilsher (Farriers) reports as follows:
Dear Claire and Von,
Thank you very much for last week’s Magic Evening. It was very enjoyable, magic live is pretty impressive, but to manage it via Zoom is amazing!
My husband thought it was a great effort, perhaps an event for the Farriers.
Let’s hope the new lockdown works and we will have slightly more freedom again in December.
Gaye Weston-Simmons reports as follows:
What a wonderful invitation Von gave us inviting City Consorts members to join her for a Zoom Magic Show by the amazing Alan Hudson. I am certain that everyone who was able to join had the most memorable time and it was lovely to be welcomed by Von and Claire and to see both familiar and new faces. How we have missed seeing each other! It all worked so smoothly which considering there were nearly 40 participants was no small achievement and what a privilege it was to be able to see Alan's hands so closely while he astonished and delighted us with his card tricks, use of Wikipedia and slight of hand, engaging personally with us his audience. I was both baffled, mystified and astonished by his skill - it really was pure magic. Thank you for such a clever and memorable Consorts Event.
My “short” report/review of The City Consorts Banquet Lunch on Tuesday 15th September 2020
Do you know how much I suddenly realised I had missed the camaraderie that The City Consorts movement has provided? Really seeing a screen absolutely chocker with smiling faces was a treat, but slightly bittersweet as that’s when I realised I missed you guys! Everyone of us has something in common as a City Consort, so it was easy to fall into chatter mode, but Von steered us beautifully to where we needed to go in our new virtual world. With a comprehensive, but wonderfully short, introduction and a thank you to everyone - and we were off!!!
We had an excellent presentation by The Lady Mayoress, who mastered the technology with aplomb and managed her slides magnificently. And then, Lady Bowman, with Locky, the luckiest Jackdaw in the world - who totally stole the show! Perched on Samantha’s shoulders, walking over her laptop, trying to get a word in edgeways and relishing his(or her-Sam wasn’t too clear on that point) moment in the spotlight!! I doubt any of us will forget that sight, an unexpected but somehow also a typically lovely thing for the Bowman’s to do. I guess with their other “fledglings” ie Grace and Charlotte having flown the nest, they have been replaced, maybe rather too quickly, in their mothers affections!
After that we smoothly went into “breakout rooms” or tables, so we could really chat withstood small group of old - and new - friends. A really good chance to catch up and find out how we were all adapting to this new normal. Everyone had a story to tell and it was great fun. A few of us had our food (and drink) whilst chatting, and it really allowed us to feel close to each other.
We hadn’t been advised how long we would have, so when a clock came up on screen counting down the seconds until we were rejoining the “crowd” we all rushed to say our goodbyes, and clicked off when it reached zero. However we didn’t actually need to try out our technological prowess because it was all being managed behind the scenes for us.
At this stage Von shared a few more bits and bobs, admin, thank you’s - and really everyone behind the scenes must have done such a lot of work - so thank you all from me too!
Then we went back into Breakout Rooms. I think this was the only disappointment - we were in the same group, and I suspect we all had hoped to expand our “closer” contact by being in different groups.
Anyway lovely to chat, finish our personal meals and then back to the big group again.
A superb opportunity to find out what’s happening across the Livery, and to catch up with likeminded lovely people. Thank you so much for arranging it.
Last Tuesday, 15th September 2020, we celebrated our 3rd Anniversary with a visual Zoom lunch. That was a first for me and probably also for many of the 65 of us who attended. I must admit I didn’t sleep too well the night before for fear of messing things up even though Colin had given me a practice run the evening before. I already had a Zoom log-in as we had enjoyed being part of a weekly quiz night group during lockdown but I’d always joined Colin then and never bothered to log-in in my own name. He was out last Tuesday so I had to manage things on my own and I am pleased to report that for a technophobe I did it ! I chose to use the kitchen table for my venue. I ditched the plastic table cloth with chickens on it in favour of a pale blue cotton gingham one ( hope you all noticed ) and I shut the utility room door so that you couldn’t see the backdrop of the pile of ironing and even put a couple of roses in a vase. Colin also warned me to be careful about not yawning etc as everyone can see you. You think you are in a little ‘ box ‘ but in reality your face could be filling the entire screen at any time.
Special thanks now to our host Richard Lovell. He had this whole event so well organised and everything worked brilliantly . I really only had to put the password in didn’t I ? Everything worked so well, faces kept popping up as people logged on. It was wonderful to recognise ladies I hadn’t seen for ages and, of course, many that I didn’t recognise at all but we all share a common interest and that is what brought us all together. From being somewhat nervous about the lunch things moved along smoothly and in fact we would be chatting quite happily and then finding that we would get a warning on the screen that we only had a few seconds remaining before we would be moving on to another group.
Claire’s tips on lunch were very well received - I had no idea what to do so salad and fresh fruit worked beautifully.
It was lovely to know that three of our Lady Mayoresses were with us and sharing their stories from lockdown. In particular, I think we all couldn’t fail to fall in love with Lady Samantha Bowman's Lockie the Jackdaw. What a beautiful bird but I do have to ask if he is house trained?
Despite my previous concerns, the time passed by very quickly. If I can be totally honest here, having been away from my beloved London and the City for so many months now I didn’t even know if I would fit in again. But getting together with everyone has been lovely and encouraging and of course thanks are due totally to Von, Claire, Hannah and our wonderful Committee members at City Consorts. Without them we wouldn’t have this incredibly special group and I know they will have spent so much of their valuable time and energy organising this event and I’m sure it has been very much appreciated. I just look forward to the time when we can all be together again in person, in London and without having to wear a face mask.
We will never know all the hardships that we all encounter at some point in our lives; this is a particularly trying time for all of us as it affects us all in so many ways. None of us are exempt right now. Take care.
Thank you for including me at your party at the 11th Hour. I so enjoyed my trip on the MV Mercia on such a perfect spring day.
I loved the Waterman dressed in authentic c. 1715 costume. He told me that he had been taken onto the Thames in his father's boat/barge from the time he was just 3 years old. He gave a wonderful commentary and brought all the vibrant sights/sounds and buildings to life with all the ancient history of The Thames.
The view of all the buildings from the Mercia at water level was fascinating; the Houses of Parliament, Tower of London with Traitor’s gate looking dwarfed near to Tower Bridge; St Paul's glimpsed past Millennium bridge, towered into the sky; the tiny Globe theatre and the architectural grandeur of the royal Naval College at Greenwich.
Lunch was superb and I sat with my fellow Mistress mason, also Clare.
Please pass on my thanks to Susan Keane, and your committee members, Gaye, Von, Sonya, Deborah, not forgetting Susan Maynard whose boat it was. Thank you all for your wonderful welcoming hospitality,
With Kind Regards, Melian Payne
Worshipful Company of Masons
From Peter Cave - Consort to the future Master Glover
The Mistress Glover's Year
Mistress Glover Susan Jagelman’s blog
City Consorts visit to the Old Bailey
Posted: 17 Mar 2019 10:29 AM PDT
For the second time in a week Susan was at the Old Bailey - this time for a C2 City Consorts event hosted by the Sheriffs' Consorts Peter Green and Amanda Keaveny. Amanda and Peter each took a group on a comprehensive tour covering everything from the section of Roman wall and very stark cells in the basement to the courtrooms and the magnificent grand hall. Everyone then enjoyed a private dinner in Cote restaurant, St Paul's. Once again it was good to meet up with a number of current and future consorts.
Dear Claire, Debbie, Mary and others
Many thanks for organising such an interesting tour of St Paul’s this afternoon. I learnt many fascinating details about the cathedral which I will now try to remember and impress my family when we next visit! It was a lovely first introduction to City Consorts for me and good to see old friends and meet new ones. I look forward to your next event.
The Sung Requiem Eucharist was a beautiful service and I felt quite privileged to light a candle in memory of my parents and take part in communion. It was wonderful to enjoy the service from the reserved seats at the front of the dome. Please do pass on my thanks to Patrick and Valerie Wilkins for managing to secure us such excellent seats.
Thank you again ladies for all your hard work in putting on today’s event.
(Past City Solicitors)
The 1st Anniversary with a short Annual General Meeting of the City Consorts, was held on the 5th September 2018 at the delightful venue of Bakers' Hall. This was attended by members, with the presence of our delightful Lady Mayoress Samantha Bowman and of course our eminent Chairman Von Spofforth and her Committee.
This was an ideal Hall as we Mistresses/Consorts gathered to witness this special occasion. Reports were read and seconded and Apologies recorded together with relevant thanks delivered to various personnel attending.
It is ideal to say that our charming Chairman Von Spofforth had every reason to smile. All her City Consorts members were delighted to be there and thrilled that their involvement with this Society had turned out to be so successful. Every Mistress/Consort already in office and a Member of this progressive Society had a reason to be grateful for the support given while settling into their new posts. This has been followed by meeting and enjoying the friendships which have followed whilst giving each of us the confidence to attend the numerous functions ahead supporting our Prime Wardens/Masters. Even, I would add, to organizing a function for Livery Mistresses/Consorts.
Claire Chitty as Secretary also deserves an immense debt of gratitude. Involved with her very busy and exhausting nursing career she has managed to carry out our banking payments and ensured we members, received regular reports and updates on planned events.
Sincere thanks were expressed to Claire as well.
After the various Reports given by the Treasurer and Committee Members we were all able to enjoy a welcome glass of bubbles followed by a truly excellent luncheon.
To end our gathering, Von had asked her close and best school friend to entertain us with a song or two. This proved a SUPERB climax as Fridal, a beautiful Mezzo Soprano swung into action, after I would add, cleverly rectifying an electrical problem, with much humour!
Well, was there a Member attending who didn't enjoy her amazing performance? NO. We listened, toe-tapped and sang and thoroughly loved her amazing voice and brilliant entertaining personality.
A truly superb way to end the 1st AGM and 1st Anniversary Celebration of our City Consorts Association.
The Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers.
With my personal thanks for "being there" for me.