Friday 1 April 2011

United Guilds Service

Looking up the nave
The dome of St Paul's
Every year the Livery Companies of the City of London hold a service at St Paul's Cathedral. My mother, who used to work for one of the Companies, got us tickets for the service. I'd only once been to a service at St Paul's before (much smaller), and this occasion was amazing. The procession at the start of the service included the Dean and Chapter, the Choir, the Bishop of London, assorted Masters and Clerks of the Companies (all in their best gowns), and the Princess Royal who is Master of the Butcher's Company this year. Before this was some fine organ playing and the procession was heralded by a fanfare from members of the Household Cavalry. 

The experience of being part of this was amazing, I especially enjoyed listening to the choir who beautifully chanted a psalm and sung an anthem - but also enjoyed singing the hymns... one of which was one of my favourites "My song is love unknown".

The aftermath of lunch
One of the chandeliers at the hall
Afterwards we had lunch at the Plaisterers' Livery Hall. This is not just a few sandwiches but a formal sit down meal - three courses, each accompanied by a different wine... and there is a champagne reception before you sit down. The food was great, the wine fine, and even the speeches just the right balance for the audience. A tiring day, I don't have any smart flat shoes so I had to wear heels... and the walk to and from the Cathedral and all the standing a sitting certainly wore me out!