Liverymen were summoned to appear at the Guildhall, London, on Friday 24th June to elect two new Sheriffs, and more than twenty WCoBM members turned up to vote in this historic role. It was historic because it is a long standing City tradition that Liverymen are required to vote in new Sheriffs. More interestingly it was historic because it was the first time there was a contested election with four candidates competing for two positions of Sheriff. The four were Alderman Alan Yarrow, Nicholas Bonham (of the Fine Art Auctioneers), Wendy Mead CC, and Andrew Whitton, who spoke at one of our meetings during his campaign. Officials for each of the four candidates handed out leaflets and button holed liverymen as they walked in to take their seats in the Old Library and the Livery Hall.
There was quite a buzz as each candidate appealed to the electorate and votes for each were taken by show of hands with tellers counting hands. There was even more of a buzz when the count revealed a very close result. This triggered a recount. New rules had to be made up to cope with this unexpected outcome.
In a surprisingly slick exercise of marketing Nicholas Bonham had clearly anticipated this outcome and his followers handed out leaflets at the exit for the rerun. In theory an unresolved election should have been a disappointment but you wouldn’t have known it by the chatter as we made our way out.
The eighteen Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants (WCoBM) liverymen who rewarded their hard work with a fine lunch at Painters Hall afterwards certainly showed no disappointment in the outcome! Polling which eventually took place at the Great Hall Guildhall on 8th July produced a clear result for the two new Sheriffs, Alan Yarrow and Wendy Mead.