The Guild walk around the City and lunch at Ironmongers Hall on Monday 23rd April 2012.
Monday 23rd April 2012 wasn’t a glorious spring day… in fact it was rather damp and cool; but that did not perturb the sprits of Guild members and friends who were eager to find out more about the City.
We met our guide, Peter Cooper, a City Liveryman and qualified City Guide at 10.30am at the Monument.
Peter was a mine of information. He likes to lead walks on weekdays so everyone can feel the buzz and vibrancy of the City. After a close look at the Monument – something none of us had done before we moved on to Leadenhall Market. I have always had a soft spot for the Market; my father worked all his life in the City and ate lunch in the Market most days. When I went to CLSG one of my best friend’s Dad had a meat, game and poultry shop there. Guess what her surname was? Butcher! At eleven we thought this was hilarious. Did you know that the Market was the centre of Roman London? And it dates back to 14th century And for Harry Potter fans – ‘The Leaky Cauldron’ and ’Diagon Alley’ are actually in Leadenhall Market!
It was in the Market we had our first encounter with the Morris Dancers…as it was S. George’s Day Morris Dancers were marking the event by dancing their way around the City. Although the music was quite infectious we resisted the urge to join them.
We made our way to Lloyds of London and on to Cornhill where, just by the Jamaica Inn we bumped into the Morris Men again. We learnt about the Royal Exchange, the Bank of England and the Mansion House; Peter was extremely informative and knew lots of quirky facts. We made our way from St. Olaves Church to the Guildhall up Wood Street (where in the past the Guild had visited the Police Station) past the Pewterer’s Hall (another place visited by the Guild) and by Goldsmith’s Hall. One of the most moving places we stopped at was ‘Postman’s Park’. It’s a little green space tucked in between King Edward Street, Little Britain and Angel Street. On a wall covered by a shelter are plaques commemorating ordinary people who lost their lives trying to save others. It was the idea of the painter G F Watts (1817-1904). He was a social radical who disliked the upper classes. This memorial celebrates people who would have been forgotten. One read “David Selves aged 12 of Woolwich supported his drowning playfellow and sank with him clasped in his arms”. Postman’s Park is a very moving, and unique place.
By now we were feeling quite peckish. We made our way to Ironmonger’s Hall where we were joined by other Guild members and their guests. We were greeted with a glass of most welcomed ‘fizz’ in the Court Room. We made our way to the Luncheon Room; we had a delicious tomato soup followed by a very tasty chicken dish, a glass of wine finishing with coffee.
After lunch we had a guided tour of the Hall. It was built in the 1920’s but the rich wooden panelling of the Banqueting Hall resembled a Tudor Hall – it reminded me of a country house.
Ironmongers’ Company is ranked 10th in precedence among the Great Twelve Companies.
Peter is a superb guide – we send our thanks to him for a great day out, not only did we discover so much about the City, but enjoyed each others company too.