The latest news about and from the Worshipful Company of Butchers

Six months have flown by

Published on: 10 March 2020

The latest blog post from The Master, Tim Dumenil.

Fellow Liverymen, it seems like yesterday that I took office but in fact it has been six amazing months, and on the 10th September 2020, you will have the chance to elect a new Master. I hope that as many of you who can will attend Common Hall and enjoy welcoming in my successor, so that he or she can have the best possible start. Put the date in your diary.

This is no picnic. While it’s a privilege and an honour to represent the 7th oldest Livery company as recognised in the City of London, it is also a position that does not come lightly. There are dinners and lunches to attend, sometimes two in one day and indeed I have on occasion done breakfast too. I’m realistic enough to know that I don’t have to do everything, but firstly the privilege is to go to the great and the good and the honour for me is the respect this Company gets above all others.

We have a great Hall, and everyone talks about it. I’m immensely proud that we still do. We have a party atmosphere without being pretentious, and we have a great sense of humour when some Companies appear not to. All Livery Companies have their issues, and we’re not alone in that, but we have a fellowship which a number of other Companies are jealous of.

Pictured: Being made a Freeman of the Gild of York Butchers; the Pancake Racing team at Guildhall; making a presentation to the Lord Mayor at Mansion House as part of the Boar's Head ceremony.

York Butchers Gild presentation to the Master Butcher Tim Dumenil

In the past few months, I’ve been on HMS Victory for dinner, had two voyages, one up the Thames on HMS Tyne, I’ve been to York and been made a Freeman of the Gild of York Butchers for a year and a day. We've raced outside Guildhall with pancakes. I’ve entertained Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, at the Hall as well as meeting her on two other occasions. Countless Masters have invited me and sometimes our earnest Clerk for dinner. Wonderful services at St Pauls, a humbling visit to Treloars School for those with Cerebral Palsy and presenting cheques to four charities on behalf of you all have been highlights.

I was a guest at the extraordinary 200 Year Anniversary of the Honourable Artillery Company’s Mess Dinner, and of course presented the Boar’s Head to the Lord Mayor for the 200th year as a procession. Only six months into this job and I’ve had the great privilege of meeting and presenting prizes, certificates and awards to countless Butchers from around the country. It’s been an honour to meet and congratulate the young Apprentices and Scholars, who are the future of the industry.

During my time as Master we have lost some wonderful, well-known faces, and industry characters and they will be sorely missed. Friends of Smithfield have moved on, Companies change and we need to embrace the new and keep a strong grip on our history. 

The Hall’s situation and facilities are superb for functions, conferences, meetings, dinners and lunches, indeed all types of events. We all need to find ways of using it, outside of the Livery world.

Everyone enjoys our carveries, our catering, our all-round hospitality, so we need to encourage and support our Hall so we can continue to be proud of it and be gracious with it. As the Market moves into the future, here or in Dagenham, we must keep this trade going as all the other Old Liveries have done. My father and many of you have been associated with Smithfield as the heart of this Worshipful Company, but we all have a bigger role to play in the future, through our Young Butchers, Apprenticeships, Charity and Education, and through engaging with the many causes the City of London embraces.

As I head into the next six months, with a renewed vigour, I want to involve more of you in some of our events. So keep looking at the website for all the updates, but also please note the 19th June for the Summer Ball at the Hurlingham Club. It is a must for the calendar, and a special event, to raise funds towards the Hall and also towards SUDEP and DEBRA, my two chosen charities. There will be more on that in the near future.

Tim Dumenil