Distilling our History – Master’s Blog

Distilling our History

The Dutch distillers were somewhat ahead of us in the early 1600s developing beverage spirits until we borrowed their Jenever idea and made it into London Dry Gin. So what is more appropriate than to get together with today’s distillers in Schiedam, explore our common history and find out what they are up to today? This saw Past Master Raines and I on a plane to Rotterdam to visit the Ketel One and De Kuyper Distilleries and plan the Livery visit in June. Those coming (I’m afraid it is full now) are in for something of a treat, seeing the historic canals and architecture while trying some traditional Jenevers and the vodkas and gins they produce today. We had a warm welcome from the Dutch Jenever Guild who will help to host the visit.

Ships, Sealing Wax and Glass Houses

Nothing if not varied, the next diary entry saw the Master watching the Scriveners, whose 400th anniversary is this year, celebrating with Court members performing their mystery play at St Lawrence Jewry. Our Clerk has strict instructions from me not to get any fancy ideas for the Distillers! Not long afterwards I went from river level on the Thames with the Master Mariners, to high up in the Barclays Tower in Canary Wharf with the Glass Sellers, hearing about digital transformation – a subject close to my heart, as we move our Livery communications forward.

Our new friends at 603 Squadron RAAF

A landmark event has been the inauguration of our affiliation with 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron RAAF, at a very friendly ceremony in their historic HQ which is at the former home of the Sanderson family, the original makers of VAT 69 Scotch whisky. With Squadron Leader Jerry Riley, Officer Commanding, we look forward to an interesting and rewarding relationship over the coming years.

Raising the roof of St Paul’s

Music is something of an enthusiasm, so my ears are still ringing from the rendition of the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony in St Paul’s with our very good friend Dr Andrew Parmley at the manuals. With the London Symphony Orchestra and the St Paul’s full organ at maximum capacity, Wren’s famous rotunda was under some strain but managed to hold it together. What a sound and what an evening – this is the first time ever, it is said, that a Lord Mayor has performed in a public concert – raising thousands of pounds for this year’s charity and helping young people to get going in life through music. Sitting next to a very excited Past Master Musician and with a recent Lord Mayor Roger Gifford, the current Master, it is clear that music is getting a lot of noise in the City this year.