Sue Searle – The Mistress’ Year in Review 2022-23

What an amazing year this has been! These are the main events, but not quite all, I attended during my year and in addition to those I attended with the Master.

Summer & Autumn 2022

Having joined the City Consorts’ Society last summer, I enjoyed some amazing events in the weeks leading up to the Installation. I attended their Wine tasting and dinner at Vintners’ Hall, which is always held for up and coming consorts. Their AGM and grand dinner was held at St. Bartholomew’s’ with delicious food and musical entertainment. Livery Pictures held a champagne tea to meet the Lady Mayoress designate, Felicity Lyons, very useful for meeting other future and current consorts too. Then I attended a spectacular Robert Adam lunch at Plaisterers’ Hall. We experienced a taste of what it might have been like to be entertained in these beautiful spaces with dance and music. I made some great friends in these early days.

December 2022

After our Installation Ceremony, I joined ‘A Christmas Carol’, Charles Dickens walking tour of City of London with Terri Davies of the Farmers, followed by a Christmas lunch at the Guildhall Club. The City Consorts also held a Christmas lunch at Vintners’ Hall.

January 2023

In January, I enjoyed a tour of the magnificent Goldsmiths’ Hall and lecture with Lady Angela
Bridges, and lunch at Haz. The highlight of seeing such incredible displays, was to see the beautiful Queen’s Platinum Jubilee brooch which was created by the Goldsmiths. City Consorts held their annual lunch at Ironmongers’ Hall.

February 2023

In February I held my own consorts’ lunch at Vintners, Hall with guest speaker Prof. Rosie Campbell, Director of The Global institute for Women’s Leadership, and included consorts form various liveries. This was preceded by a tour of the hall. I attended a lunch with Jane Harland, consort to the Tax Advisors. We heard a selection of topical readings from well-known authors associated with this part of the City.

March 2023

March began with an exciting Jury Trial and Error at the Old Bailey to raise money for The Sheriffs’ and Recorders’ Fund and Pan Intercultural Arts. I joined an interesting tour of the Goldsmith’s Centre in Clerkenwell with Lady Angela Bridges. We saw how young people learn to work with gold and silver and create some amazing pieces.

April 2023

April saw a turning demonstration and afternoon tea at The Dutch Church, courtesy of consort, Dr. Christine Elliott. I was lucky to win the raffle and received the candlestick made at the demonstration. I also bought a wooden pear!

May 2023

In May, the lovely weather lent itself to a sunny tour of the Secret Gardens of the City of London with Lucy Neame and buffet lunch at Brewers’ Hall. This was followed the next day by a needlecraft session and afternoon tea at the Guildhall Club with Consort, Kim Riley . The month ended with a Consorts’ lunch at Stationers’ Hall with Colin Wells and drinks in the garden.

June 2023

The Lady Mayoress, Felicity Lyons, ran a champagne tea at Guildhall Club in June, with the Sheriffs’ consorts attending as well. Two days later it was an exceptionally early start at the crack of dawn for a guided tour of Smithfield Market, with consort Simone Parker, followed by a champagne breakfast and tour at Butchers’ Hall. With the continuing good weather, it was a pleasure to attend the tour of Chelsea Physic Garden and reception with Pollinating London Together on behalf of the Master. Next came lunch and a tour with Sue Nash, consort for the Worshipful Company of Plumbers at the RAF club, Piccadilly, including a fascinating talk by Air Commodore Barbara Cooper, CBE. The Women of Note concert by Arch Sinfonia at Celia Sharp House took place on another lovely summer evening. This highlighted three women composers and the world première of a new saxophone concerto by composer Lucy Armstrong. The grand finale in June was the Coronation Ball at Stationers’ Hall with the Master as my guest, at the invitation of their consort Colin Wells. This was an amazing and memorable evening.

July 2023

In July we enjoyed Inter Livery Croquet organised by Kimball Bailey, consort to the Investment Managers.

September 2023

After a summer break from consorts’ activities, during which there were a few Livery events the Master and I both attended, I enjoyed a reception and talk in September at the Athenaeum Club with the Consort to the Art Scholars, Joanna Barker.

October 2023

October saw the City Consorts’ AGM and lunch at Butchers’ Hall. We were joined by Patrons Elisabeth Mainelli, Marian Marsden and Caroline Wright. The Livery Banquet of the Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers was next, accompanied but the Master at the Guildhall Great Hall. This was a magnificent evening with the Honour Guard of the sea cadets from training ship Barrosa and cadets from St. John Ambulance. Music was by the London Banqueting Ensemble, St. Paul’s Chorister, Master Joshua Cohen and The Corps of the Drums of the Royal Logistic Corps. Preceded by tour of the exhibition.

I held a Champagne Masterclass for consorts at 116 Pall Mall, the IoD, with four course dinner and champagne pairing. This was attended by 43 people who had an amazing time and learnt a huge amount about champagne from Searcys Master of Champagne, Martin Dibben. This was followed by the Lady Mayoress’ Musical Feast at Mansion House accompanied by the Master. This was performed by young people from a wide variety of charities and organisations supporting musical education for all, regardless of background.

Lady Lauriston, Master Basketmaker, ran a workshop for her consort, William Newlands of Lauriston, at the Dutch Church. We had a lovely lunch and continued in the afternoon. Yeoman Member Init Vozik, assisted by Trade Advisor, Eleanor Morgan, showed us how to make a rush mat. That evening I enjoyed a tour of the Tower of London followed by a reception and the Ceremony of the Keys accompanied by the Master. The next day I had lunch at Tallow Chandlers’ Hall with consort Janie Hill.

November 2023

November began with afternoon tea with the new Lady Mayoress, Elizabeth Manielli, at Goldsmiths’ Hall, followed the next day by Lady Mayoress, Felicity Lyons, ‘at home’, accompanied by the Master. I very much enjoyed the tour of the Fan Museum and tea with the Master Fanmaker, Peter Dove and meeting Mrs H E Alexander, MBE FRSA
Founder and Director, The Fan Museum, an incredible lady!

I was invited to the Installation Dinner for Mark Huxley, new Master of the Company of Entrepreneurs at Drapers’ Hall. I was a guest of Emmanuel Cohen. An amazing evening with the installation and the Service of Thanksgiving at St. Lawrence Jewry before the dinner.

Finally I held a Cocktail masterclass, with buffet supper and jazz at the Guildhall Club, which was great fun. We began with refreshing Martini Vibrante before guests were seated for a most entertaining and informative masterclass run by Ollie (Oliver Morris from Cotswold Distillery). We were treat to a gin tasting after which we made our own, seasonal cocktail. This was followed by a buffet supper, during which the King’s College London Jazz Society played some lovely music which continued for two hours into the evening.

It was a truly amazing year, during which I made a great many friends, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute!

Sue Searle
Mistress 2022-23