The sunlight on Moorgate was bright and warm, and Spring was very much in the air as Freemen Entrepreneurs and their business guests gathered at Armourers’ Hall on Tuesday 13th March for the 2018 Spring Lunch.
This eager gathering, now in its third year, is a spritely antidote to the grand formality of the Guild’s two principal feasts. Dressed in lounge suits, Freemen are invited to take a couple of hours out of their offices, and accompany their professional acquaintances to enjoy a brisk luncheon and a couple of stimulating speeches.
Armourers’ Hall hides a wealth of charm and history behind an unprepossessing exterior off London Wall, and is unashamedly a favourite of the Master, Mr Lee Robertson. The Master was in fine form, receiving Freemen and guests into the splendour of the Gold Drawing Room for a welcome glass of fizz. Friendships were rekindled and newly encountered, and energetic conversations and laughter filled the room.
All too soon, it seemed, the Beadle announced that lunch would shortly be served and there was just time for official photographs before the Master and his principal guests processed into the magnificent Livery Hall and to their seats at the top of the table.
Diners were delighted by the food – a succulent piece of perfectly cooked atlantic cod, with a tender asparagus risotto. An unctuous rhubarb pudding with ice cream and custard then followed, or a selection of splendid cheeses, fruits and salad. The wines were beautifully fragrant – a heady Viognier to accompany the cod, and a sweet chilled Muskat-Ottonel with the pudding.
The Master then spoke to introduce the guests. He was pleased to welcome (representing the Master Insurer) the Senior Warden of the Worshipful Company of Insurers, Dr Terry Masters; the Master Public Relations Practitioner, Ms Katherine Sykes; and, representing the Defence Academy of the UK, Ms Joanne Hamer MBE and Captain Simon Carter RN. Then, with considerable pleasure, the Master warmly introduced Mr Robert Hiscox DL, who was to address the Guild. The Master was, he said, delighted to welcome Mr Hiscox (scion of the eponymous insurance firm) whose reputation for integrity and deftness in business was widely admired, and whose words would, he felt sure, be of great interest and relevance to the assembly.
It was then the turn of Mr Hiscox to reply. Mr Hiscox spoke with merry affection about his early, risky, years in business, before warming to a theme expounding the importance of self-discipline and common sense in a business world often beset by regulation and distraction.
He concluded with an exhortation to encourage persistence, quoting Calvin Coolidge on determination, before proposing a toast to the persistence and flourishing of the Guild of Entrepreneurs.
The Master responded, conveying his hearty thanks on behalf of all for Mr Hiscox’s speech. The persistence of the Guild was newly assured by its move from 15 Abchurch Lane to Drapers’ Hall, where, under a very generous agreement with the Drapers’ Company, it will now have its registered address and facilities. The obvious synergies between the Entrepreneurs and the Drapers (in their respective educational and charitable aims) made the move both historic and genuinely exciting. The spirit of collaboration was energetic and abundant, and the Master was also able to confirm that his Master’s Weekend would be hosted by the Guild’s military affiliates – the Defence Academy of the UK – at its impressive campus in Shrivenham, Wiltshire.
The Beadle invited all Freemen and guests to enjoy a stirrup cup in the Gold Drawing Room, where further coffee, tea, and a cleansing ale were offered to accompany the animated discussion of the inspiring speeches.
More details concerning Robert Hiscox’s remarks may be found here
The Spring Lunch is held annually for Freemen and their business guests on the Tuesday after Mothering Sunday. More details about the pattern of events may be found here