In October last year Leo Martin BBS, MA, FCA was installed as our new Master. The Installation Ceremony took place at the stunning Goldsmiths’ Hall, which is home to the Goldsmiths’ Company, one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies in the City of London. A superb candlelit dinner followed with 245 Liverymen, Freemen and guests attending to celebrate the occasion. His Excellency Daniel Mulhall The Irish Ambassador to the UK and his wife Greta Mulhall were Guests of Honour.
TThe pre-dinner Court General included the admission of two new Honorary Liverymen, General the Lord Dannatt and Alderman Dr. Andrew Parmley, and four new Liverymen: Richard Skinner, Chandlers Building Supplies; Stephen Boyer, Marsh Industries; Darren Digby, Digby Trading; and Arthur Duffy, NetPlan.
Leo became a Freeman of the Company in June 2007 and was made a Liveryman in October that year. He was invited onto the Court in October 2011, a privilege which led to his role of Master today.
Leo has enjoyed a 25 year career span within Builders’ Merchanting. He joined as CEO for Heiton Group plc in 1986 and then as Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of Grafton Group in 2004 following Grafton’s acquisition of Heiton. He played a key role in successfully merging Heiton with Grafton Group. He drove the integration and growth of Grafton in the UK and Ireland as a ‘National’ within both markets.
The Master says: “My Installation Ceremony and dinner was an extremely memorable and proud evening celebrated with my wife Deirdre and family. Goldsmiths’ is an outstanding Hall and its candlelit chandeliers created the perfect atmosphere. It’s been a busy six months since my Installation but my wife Deirdre and I are enjoying every bit of it! I’m taking every opportunity to represent our Livery in the City and actively raise the profile of our industry. It’s also important I continue the work of Masters before me in promoting the significance of WCoBM directly to the industry. I’m encouraging members to get involved and attend our events, and the Company will continue to contribute to training and education for young builders’ merchants through our close links with the IoBM and BMF. Increasing our charitable funds for distribution to worthy causes and supporting the Lord Mayor’s Appeal is a strong focus too during my year.
“I’m also involved in helping to prepare for the Lord Mayor’s Show in November where WCoBM will have its own Float again, and am looking forward to welcoming members and their partners to my home City, Dublin, in May for the Master’s Weekend.”
Established in the 14th Century, it stands on the same spot on which the Hall was first built. No other Company can claim a longer or earlier tenure. Like many in the City, it was gutted by the Great Fire in 1666 and rebuilt in 1669. The Hall has been extended and refurbished at different points in time and currently boasts a grand Staircase Hall sheathed in marble of 10 different colours, and four matching chandeliers of English glass in the Livery Hall.
The chandeliers are a talking point in themselves. Each holds 48 hand lit candles which twinkle beautifully over an evening dinner. It takes approximately 20 minutes to light and snuff out one chandelier. We’re told the Hall and centre chandelier was used in singer, songwriter Ellie Goulding’s video ‘Love Me Like You Do’, which was the soundtrack for the film ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. You can see it on YouTube.
Many of the Company’s treasures are also displayed beautifully in the Hall’s Exhibition Room.
The Drinks Reception
1. Members and Guests arrive at Goldsmiths’ Hall
2. The Master with Martin and Philippa Lovell (former colleagues in Grafton)
3. Liveryman Steve Durdant-Hollamby with wife Rachel at the top of the Staircase Hall standing in front of the Longcase mahogany clock dating circa 1835
4. Guests Lt. Col Andrew Betts with WOI Jamie Jones of the 3rd Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment
5. Bursar Howard Grant with wife Carmel and Guests John and Angela Southall
6. Past Master Martin Earle (R) with Master Bill Mahoney (L)
7. Towards the end of the evening Past Master John Poore needed a helping hand…
1. More stunning treasures in the Livery Hall
2. The Master during his speech
3. The Master’s wife Deirdre was presented with a beautiful necklace by Greta Mulhall, wife to The Irish Amabassador to the UK
4. The Loving Cup: The Master’s wife Deirdre and guests take The Loving Cup – an ancient tradition of City Livery Companies
5. Entertainment during dinner
6. New Liveryman Richard Skinner with Guest Katja Hill (L) and Liveryman Lucia Di Stazio (R)