A tale of Three Cities…

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June saw visits to key cities of York and Glasgow, and numerous events in the City of London.

A tale of Three Cities…

York - The month began with a packed three day visit to the City of York. The city is the home to 14k microbusinesses and I was delighted to be asked by the Council to chair a Business Round Table involving Senior Leaders/Founders from York’s Business Community, together with those Senior Council Officers responsible for growth and innovation. Our wide-ranging debate covered the need for Councils to avoid the ‘catchall’ definition of ‘SMEs’ given 99% of all businesses fall in this category - some 5.5m; the need for more strategic marketing inputs; the need for accessible finance for start-ups and scale-ups; and practical HR advice on employees.

Modelled on The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch held here in The City, ‘The Yorkshire Big Curry Lunch’ was held at The Merchant Adventurer’s Hall and was a huge success. 

It was also really useful to meet with the 9 Guilds of York, sharing experiences on the common issues of recruitment, the cost of events, how to develop stronger mutual relationships between the York Guilds and the Liveries and the Guilds of London, and supporting apprenticeships.

A very productive meeting was also held with the senior team from Aviva, the Lead for Economy Regeneration and Transport, York Council’s Investment Manager, and the Sector Development Manager for the City. We engaged in full and frank discussions on the changes in the future insurance sector landscape resulting from the increased use of AI and Big Data, and the likely impact on the sectors traditional ‘pooled risk’ business model; of EDI and ESG; corporate reputation impacts on future investment criteria; the CSR activities and involvement of large corporations and employee relations; and the future growth aspirations for the City of York.  

Glasgow – The Annual Livery Masters weekend was this year held in Glasgow and saw the assembled livery, the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, together with Masters from several other UK cities hosted by The Trades House and the Lord Provost of Glasgow. Visits included to the newly opened Burrell Collection; the last Clydeside iron sailing ship; a Dinner at the extraordinary “More marble than the Vatican” Civic House, and concluded with a service at the extraordinarily beautiful Cathedral.

Westminster - On the hottest day of the year, I was delighted to represent The City at the Annual Admiral of the Port Challenge Race held to celebrate of The City’s close connections with The Thames and trade. The Lord Mayor is Admiral of The Port of London and today the 34 feet long boats, with their traditional canopy, carry 6 rowers, a cox and two passengers from HQS Wellington to The Westminster Boating Base. With the support of the Thames Traditional Rowing Assn, Port of London Authority this fun and stylish event was won by the Glaziers Women’s team, and the TTRA. 

The City held it’s Parliamentary Terrace Reception at The House of Commons this month. Attendees included Mr Speaker Hoyle, and Leader of The Commons and Lord President of The Council Penny Mordant MP. Speakers included Deputy Chair of Policy and Resources Keith Bottomley and Nickie Aiken MP for The Cities of London and Westminster.

Meanwhile within our own City …to mark UK Armed Forces Day I held a special lunch to celebrate Armed Forces Day, with guest of honour being Normandy Veteran, the extraordinary 98 years young, Ken Cooke. Ken stormed Gold Beach on D-Day when he was just 18-years old, when his 7th Battalion The Green Howards waded ashore on the morning of 6 June 1944. Attended by several senior Army and Reserve officers, the lunch was a wonderful experience.

It was also a pleasure this month to see Pride Week celebrated, with the raising of the Pride Flag and reception at Guildhall, attended by so many in our thriving LGBTQ+ community. Great also to see so many City of London Volunteers at a special Reception in Guildhall to mark their selfless contributions to City life. Bravo!

St Paul’s was host to three important services this month. First, the service for London’s Borough Mayors; then the Order of St John Commemoration Service to mark the terrific works of this charity; and thirdly a splendid Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Sir Christopher Wren. As is said “ Reader, if you seek his memorial – look around you”…

And we saw the Election of Sheriffs for 23/24. For only the 8th time in over 80 years the Livery were asked to support the election of not one, but two members of the Court of Alderman as Sheriffs. This is done rarely – never between 1940 to 1980, only three times in the 80’s, once in the 90’s, but now 4 times in the noughties…indeed twice in the past three years. The usual situation is for The Livery to support one Junior Aldermen recommended to them (there are currently 12), and one from the other 25,000 Liverymen who are not Aldermen.

As serving in the office of Sheriff is a prerequisite to being a candidate for Lord Mayor, the Court of Alderman seek to keep its ‘bench strength’ of eligible Junior Aldermen candidates strong. This latest request is part of that process. We will now have 6 Aldermen who will have served as Sheriff to select from for progression.

The new Sheriffs Elect are to be Dame Sue Langley and Bronek Masojada. Both gave excellent and impassioned addresses to the assembled Livery at Common Hall, promising their utmost in support of The City, the Office of Sheriff, and of the Livery.


Andrew Marsden
Sheriff of the City of London