As we enter the second national lockdown, I have been reflecting on the various ways in which City bodies have been able to carry on their activities within the constraints imposed by government.
Our Club President, Geliya Chukmarova, has hosted an excellent series of virtual talks and was able to take advantage of a relaxation in the restrictions to hold a drinks party on the terrace of the National Liberal Club and her Installation Dinner in the Lloyd George Room there.
My own Livery, the Glaziers, has had to close its Hall, but the Master has organised a number of virtual lectures on the craft of stained glass. These have been open to non-members on payment of a small charge. Thanks to the ingenuity of the judges, our annual Stevens Competition for a commission to design a panel for a sponsor institution – this year Morden College – was conducted entirely on-line, with a virtual prizegiving last month.
The President’s Livery, the Fuellers, held a service in St Olave’s Church on All Saints’ Day followed by Lunch at Cote in St Katherine’s Dock, at which members booked their own tables.
The President of the City Livery Club has hosted plenty of virtual social events – one even involving a conjurer. They had a virtual installation followed by a virtual Cocktail Party and their Christmas Lunch will be delivered to members in hampers.
Finally, the Information Technologists held a virtual Installation Banquet presided over by the Lord Mayor from the Mansion House. Caterers delivered food and wine to members’ homes and during the meal they were connected to five others – the same number that would surround you at a real banquet. Everyone was connected for the speech delivered by the Lord Mayor in full fig. However, when he rose to speak, it became apparent that his ceremonial costume did not extend below the waist!
The City institutions have managed to carry on in the most difficult circumstances; but, like all of us, I am very much looking forward to the return of face-to-face activities as soon as they are permitted.