An overview of the Guild's annual events
The Guild Year begins with the Installation Court on, or around, 24th November. This is a ceremonial gathering of the Officers, Court and Freemen to witness the installation of the new Master (who, in turn, installs the Wardens for the year). All Freemen are expected to attend. The Installation Court is followed by the Installation Dinner, which is the preeminent of the two principal feasts of the year. After dinner, the new Master addresses the Guild and its guests, and sets out his or her vision for their year of office.
In mid-December, the Guild’s Carol Service is held at St Lawrence Jewry, followed by an appropriately-festive reception. The Carol Service is preceded by the first Court Meeting of the Guild Year – the first of five business meetings of the senior members of the Guild (the others are held in February, April, July, and September) to manage the Guild’s activities and strategy, and to receive the Committee reports and accounts.
Following the Court Meeting in February, a Ceremonial Court may be held to admit new Freemen. As with every admission of new Freemen, this is then followed by a meal to which the new Freemen, their sponsors and their guests are encouraged to attend to meet the Court and Officers, and their fellow Freemen.
The Spring Breakfast (an overtly business affair) is held on the Tuesday after Mothering Sunday, where Freemen and their business guests are nourished (both physically and intellectually) with a substantial breakfast and a heavyweight speaker.
Places alongside the Master and Wardens at the United Guilds Service at St Paul’s (held at 11am a fortnight before Good Friday) are in great demand, and Lunch follows the service at a nearby Hall.
A Ceremonial Court admits new Freemen following the Court Meeting in April. Supper afterwards is styled the Appreciation Supper, which gives the new (and not so new) Freemen and their guests a chance to rehearse some of the peculiarities of formal City dining in a rather more light-hearted setting.
In May/June, the Master arranges their Master’s Weekend, which is a weekend away from London at a place of his or her choosing. This excursion combines both business and leisure, and is very keenly anticipated.
In June, the second of the principal feasts is held. The Summer Banquet is a formal reception and dinner, to which all Freemen and their personal guests are warmly invited. The Lord Mayor and Sheriffs may be invited to attend. It is preceded by a Ceremonial Court to admit new Freemen, and is always a very glamorous evening.
The Election Court is held in July where, in addition to the regular business, an election is held to decide who will succeed the Master in November, and who will serve as Wardens. This Court Meeting is followed by the Election Court Dinner, where members of the Court dine together and are entertained privately in a place of the Master's choosing (usually a non-City/Livery venue).
Following the September Court Meeting (at which new Court Assistants are elected to serve from November), a Ceremonial Court is convened to admit new Freemen, and the September Court Dinner is a semi-formal occasion, where the Master looks back over his or her year of office to date, and looks forward to the remaining events of the Guild Year.
In November, in Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Guild hosts its Annual Lecture, to which the Masters and Clerks of all the City Livery Companies and other Guilds are invited. The Lecture is the Guild’s key outward-facing event of the year, and airs a current topic in entrepreneurship, with speakers of an international reputation.
The Guild Year concludes later that same month, with the Installation Court at which the Master delivers their valedictory remarks, confirms the results of the Election Court and installs their successor.
The Guild’s Committees meet formally four or five times a year, and Committee dates and agendas are managed by the Chairs
The Guild’s Charity, the Guild of Entrepreneurs Trust, is the beneficiary of a special event once a year that has a specific fund-raising angle.
Throughout the year on every second Tuesday of the month, drinks are held informally from 6pm. These are open to all Freemen, guests and visitors, and are particularly attractive to potential Freemen as a way of introducing themselves to members of the Guild. The Events & Fellowship Committee organises numerous exclusive social events every year covering a wide range of activities and seriousness, and the Education & Outreach Committee runs educational events, which enable Freemen to support students of entrepreneurship and fledgling businesses.
Freemen of the Guild are also eligible to participate is whole range of inter-Livery activities and competitions (e.g. skiing, shooting, golf, bridge, and tennis), and those Freemen who are also Freemen of the City of London may additionally participate in the annual Sheep Drive across London Bridge. For details of these events and more, an excellent public calendar is maintained at www.liverycompanies.info/diary--news and Clerk’s Notices (members must log-in to read this) presents monthly digest of forthcoming Guild and City events.
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