Welcome to another edition of my monthly Shrieval newsletter. I have now been in office five months and the time is passing quickly, and events are coming into the diary with ever greater speed. All of the ideas that are in my business plan now need to be delivered!
The Business City
In enhancing the message of the City, a new initiative has been launched to preserve and promote the work of the UK investment management community. Working with the Department for Trade and the Investment Association the City will be campaigning about the benefits of London. This will lead to a major conference in September 2022. The Lord Mayor launched this in the Guildhall and has already taken this issue with him overseas on his first trip of 2022 to West Coast USA and Mexico. See: https://news.cityoflondon.gov.uk/new-campaign-launched-to-boost-uks-position-as-a-world-leading-investment-management-centre/
February saw the regular board meeting of the Green Finance Institute where I am a non-executive Board member. This organisation has been at the forefront of the City’s and the UK’s work on green finance and using private finance to fund the transition to net zero. It is examining the areas that are difficult to monetise and finding, by way of collaborative work, how to overcome barriers. Work to date on energy efficient buildings, decarbonising transport and mobilising private funding into nature. So proud of the work. See: https://www.greenfinanceinstitute.co.uk/
Wherever I go I have the luxury of my footman accompanying me to ensure that I arrive on time, in a tidy fashion and with all my necessaries – that is my gloves, speech and security pass ( in that order). Sean Weir is my footman and has been at the Old Bailey for 40 years and so he knows a lot and definitely more than he lets on. I was delighted to find that following his name he did indeed clean my shoes. I am rather ashamed to say I do not do that often enough. He is also to be thanked for many of the photos of me at events and at lunch.
Lunch at the Old Bailey
It is one of the privileges of my role to host a lunch with the Judges on a regular basis. Occasionally this can be themed to include a wider number of people and I was pleased to entertain the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps). They were founded in 1907 as an all-female voluntary organisation which deploys multi-faceted rapid response teams to support civil and military authorities in times of crisis. See: https://www.fany.org.uk
They are an amazing volunteer group who are not funded or part of the military but deploy on a regular basis to incidents and assist in an authoritative and effective way.
Another day among the guests was Abigail McKern, an actress most associated with Rumpole of the Bailey and so a perfect guest with her feast of tales about the series and her father who played the eponymous hero (?).
She will be appearing in the up coming Advocacy Trial and Error. Details are here.
The Deep History of the City
I am very proud of the four Livery Halls in my Ward and delight in attending their dinners. The Skinners are the senior company but are not presently in the Ward as their Hall is undergoing a major refurbishment. We dined at Apothecaries. The Master, Sarah Stallebrass, is a Professor of Soil Mechanics and so her gift to me should not have been such a surprise. It was a sample of soil from under 8 ½ Dowgate Hill and the label says it all. If grains of soil could speak.
Dowgate featured in a speech I was sent and given by the Master Mercer who found that in 1556 the famous Mercer, economist and Royal favourite, Thomas Gresham, was beaten in the Dowgate Aldermanic election by William Harpur. It only goes to show that elections are not always predictable. The Common Council elections are on 23/24th March and can I encourage any of you who are voters to get engaged and apply for a postal vote? See: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-us/voting-elections/postal-votes
I was pleased to have a visit from my Glovers’ Livery Apprentice Kate Bernstock at the Old Bailey. She is a history graduate who is now studying a Master’s in black history at Goldsmiths. Imagine my surprise that her dissertation is about an 18th century woman who lived in the City, Ann Duck. She was tried and sentenced to death at the Old Bailey. Kate was pleased to see around the current building and to hear about the history. She was kind enough to say that my information had opened up some new avenues for her to pursue in her work. You can read Ann’s trial in the wonderful Proceedings of the Old Bailey online archive See: https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17441017-23-verdict142&div=t17441017-23#highlight
Whilst some may think 7 Livery Companies is too many, it made a catchy name for the dinner given by them in my honour at Plaisterers’ Hall. I was overwhelmed and delighted by the kindness and applause. I was pleased to set out in my speech my love of this City of London - See: https://www.alisongowman.org/blog/speech-to-magnificent-seven-16th-february-2022
Sleeping out 30 March 2022
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal is a vital part of the Lord Mayor’s outreach and is focussed on a select number of charities associated with the Mayoralty over a 3-4 year period. The Lady Mayoress, Amanda Keaveny, has a passion for working with the homeless and she has instituted the first sleep out to highlight the prevalence of rough sleeping and to raise funds. I am going to take part and sleep on the flagstones of Guildhall Yard. I hope I can persuade you to make a small donation via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alisongowman
If you are new to my newsletter then do look for previous copies on my website (See: https://www.alisongowman.org/newsletter) where you will also find links to various of my videos and podcasts. The latest where I was quizzed by Nick Mayhew of Alembic Strategy majored on leadership skills in my various roles. See: https://www.alisongowman.org/videos.html