On Wednesday 22nd November 2023, the Rt Hon The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli, addressed the Livery at Egyptian Hall, Mansion House.
“Masters. Prime Wardens. Upper Bailiff. Fellow Aldermen. Sheriffs. Ladies and Gentlemen.
Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to welcome you to Mansion House.
As a member of no less than 14 livery companies, I am perhaps more acquainted than most with the livery movement, and I cannot thank you enough for the support you have shown me in the run up to my installation as Lord Mayor. And thank you, indeed, for electing me in the first place!
I think it’s fair to say that it’s been a busy first twelve days in office.
Just last Monday, we had the small matter of the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, attended by the Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor, and other honoured guests.
The four of us were quite the line-up…
The Prime Minister had had a hard day at the office.
The Archbishop had a long day at the General Synod.
The Lord Chancellor was just glad to have remained in office.
And I had just decided to leave the office and work from home.
Every day, the livery do something special for us at Mansion House.
Only this morning, I accepted the gift of a Thanksgiving turkey from poultry farmer Benjamin Browning, a member of the Worshipful Company of Poulters. I think the Mansion House staff are relieved that – unlike at the annual Turkey Presentation at the White House – the turkey arrived oven ready.
Last night, I went to Buckingham Palace for a State Banquet for the President of South Korea, His Excellency Yoon Suk Yeol. And, as is tradition, I am thrilled to be welcoming the South Korean delegation to Guildhall for our own State Banquet in the President’s honour this evening.
At the centre of my day…between a bird and a banquet…is the livery.
Of course, the livery is always right at the centre of everything that happens in this City…
Supporting commerce, charity, and community, as you have done for hundreds of years.
Giving over £75 million to charity every year…
Supporting the education of countless children…
Helping people build skills in critical industries, including through the Livery Companies Apprenticeship Scheme…
Engaging more and more people in City life…
The list goes on and on.
Indeed, the livery movement has always been a huge source of support for the mayoralty.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed a float for the Lord Mayor’s Show or cheered on the parade.
Thank you, particularly, to the Master of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists for making my dream of having an augmented reality float at the Show come true.
Master…it was truly phenomenal, please, take a bow.
And thank you also to my ADCs:
Sub Lieutenant Matthew Reid and the Sea Cadets;
RSMI Shaheen Afshar and the Army Cadets;
Squadron Leader Mark Bird and the Air Cadets;
Mr Richard Salter and St John Ambulance;
And Mr Jake Orros and the Scouts.
The work of individual liveries is impressive…and I must call out my mother livery, the World Traders for a special mention…but the sheer amount you’ve achieved thorough pan-livery working is incredible.
Last year’s Pan Livery’s Impact Report, Shared Philanthropic Endeavour, showed annual charitable giving by liveries now stands at an enormous £75million – which, for context, is a sum comparable to the 4th biggest grant-making charitable foundation in the UK.
Livery companies provide 1,000 school governors and charity trustees, who dedicate over 45,000 hours of support every single year.
The ability to bring together this data is invaluable in advocating for the Livery movement, but we can only make the case when we have robust and accurate data to use.
I’m sure Philip Woodhouse, the Chairman of the Livery Committee, will say more later on.
However, as work begins soon to pull together the information for the next edition in 2024, I wanted to use this moment to put it on your radar, and to urge all of you to contribute and make this next report as powerful a tool as possible in demonstrating all the good that the Livery movement does.
Just to look at a few more examples of pan-livery work:
Livery Schools Link: 65 companies.
The Livery Climate Action Group: 91 companies.
The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch: 64 companies.
The Livery Charity Chairs Group and Livery Food Initiative: 87 companies.
It’s amazing…but we can always do better, right?
Yes, friends, this year I want us all to get even closer as I pursue my mayoral theme…“Connect To Prosper”: celebrating the Knowledge Miles of our Square Mile, the world’s Coffee House.
“Connect To Prosper” builds on the work of my predecessors…including the Late Lord Mayor, Nick Lyons’, theme “Financing our Future”…and will focus on how the City can tackle global challenges like mental health and climate change through the power of positive connections.
We’re reviving the Coffee House tradition on which London was built through in-person networking sessions – what we’ve called “Coffee Colloquies” – where thought-leaders can discuss the big issues of the day: from gender equality to sustainable cities.
Thank you to all the companies involved in these. Masters – please stand up if that applies to you.
We’re also shining a spotlight on the different areas of expertise – what I like to call “Knowledge Miles” – that sit within the Square Mile, with an online lecture series on topics like “Urban Transport in Tomorrow’s World” from the Chartered Architects…to the Salters on “Chemistry for a Sustainable World”.
Of the 32 lectures lined up, 14 are being delivered by liveries…with another 14 livery lectures in pre-production. Again, could participating Masters please stand up and we’ll give you a round of applause.
I’m pleased that so many of you have already come aboard the Mainelli Express! But I’d love to see even more companies getting involved…so please do get in touch if you’d like to be part of a colloquy, or host a lecture.
Now, those who know me know I believe that quantity has a quality all of its own.
So, I’d like to take this opportunity…in front of a captive audience…to say a little more on what we’re doing this year.
As part of “Connect To Prosper”, we’ve launched the “695th Lord Mayor’s Ethical AI Initiative”…a scheme delivering ethics courses for those working in AI: starting with over 100 registered financial firms.
Thank you, once more, to the Information Technologists for helping make this happen.
As we at the City Corporation set out in our Vision for Economic Growth, the nation’s future economic success will be driven by smart economic networks based on artificial intelligence, open data, and shared ledgers.
So, I’m pleased to have had the support of the World Traders on the “695th Lord Mayor’s Smart Economy Networks Initiative”, which will kickstart the development of international standards in this area.
We’ll also be launching the VeraCity App, using a central map to plot key landmarks across the City and beyond, helping the Square Mile’s residents, workers, and visitors discover more about its iconic places – connecting with, and understanding, its many Knowledge Miles.
And fret not, friends, we’re making time for fun this year too, with science experiments that demonstrate the City’s inventiveness, special events on the Thames and a “Bavarian Ball”, in recognition of our family’s heritage.
The common theme of all this activity? Seeing how we can prosper when we come together.
I believe there can be no “coming together” in the City without the 50,000-strong powerhouse that is the livery. So please, do lend your support to Connect To Prosper…there’s a place for every one of you.
As I say, I’m a liveryman through and through. And I’m proud to be able to use the convening power of the mayoralty to highlight and support a few new initiatives that will raise the livery’s profile and help build new connections between individual members and companies.
We’ve launched a new LinkedIn group – the “City of London Livery Community” – to allow livery members to connect online.
It’s a place to share pan-livery initiative news…pan-livery events…and pan-livery thinking and I’m pleased to say it already has over 700 members, just a few days after launching.
Via the new “Livery Experience”, participating companies will offer free tickets to dinners to boost connections between the livery and external groups. Thank you to the Master Girdler for spearheading the idea. It would be great to see more companies involved.
And we’re working on plans to encourage post-grad students to get the Freedom of the City through a small study course,
and hopefully encourage them to become a member of a livery through that process.
In my year, I am also keen we strengthen our links with fellow guild members overseas.
In that spirit, we welcomed 250 members of the Zurich Guilds and guests from other cities to Plaisterers Hall for the “Visiting Cities” dinner, after they had processed in the Lord Mayor’s Show.
The Vice Mayor of Zurich was on fine form…telling a rather rude joke about our Policy Chairman. And it was a pleasure to share a slice of the City’s history and culture with our Swiss friends on such an important day in the mayoral calendar.
Finally, Gertrude Stein once said that “silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone”. And I’m a firm believer in the – now dying – art of the thank you note. But we all have a role to play in caring for the environment and so, during my mayoralty, all thank you notes will be delivered electronically.
Please don’t take it as a slight when you receive one. We may be going paperless…but my appreciation for the livery is set in stone.
And I’m particularly looking forward to the annual Livery Weekend in June next year…organised by Philip Woodhouse.
On the eve of that great American tradition, Thanksgiving, I feel so very thankful for the position I am in and all the support I have had…including from my great City brethren, the livery.
In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual”.
Thank you, once more, for all you do. I’m looking forward to a fun and fulfilling year with you.”