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City of London Guides, Derek Melluish Lecture, Church of St Lawrence Jewry, Guildhall Yard

Not only is the City of London a great business centre, it is also a great tourist centre. Our visitors are helped to appreciate our city by a large network of city guides.

The City of London Guide Lecturers Association, whose members give walks in the City and lecture on City related topics, was founded in 1983 to promote and maintain a high standard of guiding in, and lecturing about, the City of London.

I joined other Livery Company Masters and city guides, with their patron the Lady Mayoress Elisabeth Mainelli, in St Lawrence Jewry next to the Guildhall for the 21st Anniversary Annual Derek Melluish Lecture. We heard a fascinating talk from Barnaby Bryan, Archivist at the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple on Revels, Royalists and Reader’s Feasts: the Middle Temple at the Restoration, which was followed by a very generous reception. None of your miniature canapés, this was wraps, rolls and sandwiches, carefully differentiated between meat, fish, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free, plus a range of wines including rose, and soft drinks.  The guides were clearly accustomed to meeting the expectations of their customers.

I found out that the Middle Temple has long been at the heart of history and culture. It has not only been a centre of legal education, but beyond. For much of its history it has been an important hub for socialising and networking, the setting for feasts and duels, politics and literature, courtly spectacle and academic discourse. I was fascinated to learn how the Temple had adjusted to the period of the Commonwealth, then the Restoration.  We learnt much from the records of the time, especially the bills and receipts for daily life.  They included the fines for misdemeanours such as 10 shillings for wearing a white hat in the Temple. There was a recognition of the quality of the stained glass, which was acknowledged by the Master Glass Seller.  The evening was a super acknowledgement of the work of the guides.  I was surprised to find how many in the Livery are guides but it should have been obvious as due to the commitment of the Livery to the City and its history.

My thanks and congratulations to the City Guides for a fascinating evening.

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