The latest news about and from the Worshipful Company of Butchers

Common Hall 2021 elects Margaret Boanas as Master

Published on: 10 September 2021

A Common Hall is an important annual occasion for any Livery Company and the Worshipful Company of Butchers is no different with a new Master elected, and traditions and fellowship enjoyed.

New Master, Margaret Boanas outside Butchers' Hall shortly after she was elected at Common Hall.
New Master, Margaret Boanas outside Butchers' Hall shortly after she was elected at Common Hall.

As is always the case, the day began with a a special church service inside the beautiful St Bartholomew the Great - always a fitting place for thought and reflection.

With bright September sunshine a fitting backdrop, Liverymen and guests went inside to take their seats while the outgoing Master and members of Court processed the short journey from Butchers’ Hall to the church, stopping briefly for a bit of ‘traditional refreshment’ on route. Well, they’ve earned it.

As Court made their way into the historic church and took their seats, the wonderful choir set a beautiful tone.

The Honorary Chaplain to the Master, the Reverend Father Marcus Walker always balances formality with warmth and humour and paid tribute to the Butchers during these challenging times and spoke of how delightful it was to be able to be together again for such an occasion.

As well as some of the most loved hymns (it really was the A-List, including Jerusalem no less) and a reading from the Master, it was time for Liverymen to depart while guests were able to stay behind and find out more about the work of The Poppy Factory which supports veterans with health conditions on their journey into employment.

The Court and Liverymen made their way to Butchers’ Hall and to the Great Hall where Common Hall took place.

Common Hall and a new Master

There was a short update on the affairs of the Livery by the Clerk, Major General Jeff Mason, who spoke about how the WCB was working hard to navigate choppy financial waters.

The formalities of Common Hall followed and the election of a new Master and Court.

Margaret Boanas was elected Master Butcher for the ensuing year and became only the third woman to become Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers, following in the footsteps of Past Master, HRH The Princess Royal, and Past Master, Patricia Dart.

It has been quite a year for Margaret who was crowned Meat Businesswoman of the Year in 2020 at the Women in Meat Industry Awards.

After being elected, Margaret said: “I am proud to be a Liveryman, particularly as when I started work in the industry in 1974 women were not admitted to the Livery, so to be the third women Master is a particular honour, with no family connections to the Livery or City of London, rather just someone who happened into a career in meat trading, which I have thoroughly enjoyed, and which has led me here today.”

"As Liverymen we will always be proud of our ancient history, it is also right that we look to the future and engage with the changing world."

Immediate Past Master, Andrew Parker was the first to congratulate the new Master and in his outgoing address said: “I wish Margaret all the best for her year in office and I hope that you can enjoy a year without restrictions and lockdowns!

“Even though it is not the year that I imagined, I have enjoyed the last 12 months immeasurably. It has been a huge honour and privilege to represent this proud and ancient company and I thank you all for your support.” 

Common Hall also elected the members of Court charged with running the affairs of the Livery for 2021/22 with William Buchanan, Amanda Buitelaar and Andrew Burton joining as Assistants, while Rob Yandell, Bob Bansback OBE and Alan Thompson stepped down. Full details of your Court and staff can be found by clicking here.

After Common Hall had been brought to a close a champagne reception was followed by a delicious roast beef lunch. The beef had had been generously provided by James & Amanda Buitelaar from Dovecote Park Ltd. A convivial atmosphere was enjoyed by those in attendance as the usual challenges and strains were put to one side to congratulate our new Master, to thank the Court for their time and commitment, and to enjoy the fellowship the Butchers are famous for.

Discover More

The Master

You can find out more about the Master Butcher, their background and links to the industry.

Click here

The Court and Staff

Who runs the Livery and what do they do? Find out about your Court and the staff that make the WCB tick.

Find out

The Master's Speech 2021/22

You can read a copy of our new Master's speech in the Members' Area of the website (log-in required).

Click here