The Consort Butcher's Year
Published on: 7 September 2022
On Thursday 9th September 2021, Margaret Boanas was elected Master Butcher at Common Hall for the ensuing year. Simultaneously, Tony Evans became The Consort Butcher. Not fully knowing what to expect, Tony reflects on an enjoyable and very memorable 12 months.
I entered my year as the Master’s Consort, with the aim of supporting The Master and The Livery in every way possible.
I have been very privileged to have been able to attend many fabulous events alongside The Master but have also enjoyed numerous events flying solo as the Consort Butcher.
I had learned from my predecessors that The Master would be busy for her year in office, and although I was warned, I had no idea just how busy I would be for the next 12 months too!
Livery Consort events have fallen into two categories. Those that I was invited to that were organised by a fellow Consort through their Livery Company, and those that are organised by the City Consorts Group (www.cityconsorts.org). I was put in touch with this group by our Deputy Clerk and I am grateful to her for doing so as I have made some great friendships along the way. I signed up very early on and attended my first physical meeting within a few days of becoming Consort. The City Consorts describes itself as a membership society that welcomes current, future and past Consorts as well as “a community of Consorts supporting each other, enjoying each other’s company, and exchanging what we know about the City, the Livery and being a Consort.”
The range of events and functions that I have attended has been remarkable and for me there have been many highlights. The Master has already written about some memorable events that we attended together - The Mason’s Routemaster evening bus trip around the West End of London, The Mercer’s Concert and Dinner, the truly spine-tingling evensong under the dome of St. Pauls Cathedral, The Lord Mayor’s Banquet at The Mansion House, dinners in both York and Glasgow and of course The Livery Weekend away in Sheffield.
Flying solo, City Consorts have organised lunches at different Livery Halls and City institutions, as well as a meet at the Sky Garden on top of the Walkie Talkie Building and a guided walk around some of the lesser-known fascinating parts of the City of London followed by Lunch.
It was an honour to be invited to lunch at the Mansion House by The Lady Mayoress and to get to look at some of the treasures that the magnificent building has in its vaults and are rarely seen in public. I was fortunate that this year also saw the reinstatement of invitations to Lunch in the Judge’s Dining Room, at The Old Bailey, at the invitation of the Consorts to the Sheriff’s of the City of London.
There have also been very memorable events provided by Consorts and their Livery Companies, not least among them The Feltmakers lunch at the historic Trinity House, a fabulous tour of the Royal Mews followed by lunch arranged by the Consort to the Master Weaver, a fascinating talk and lunch at the splendid Apothecaries’ Hall organised by The Consort to the Master Apothecary, as well as a dip into the archive of The Stationers Company followed by lunch at their newly refurbished Hall.
Finally, I was able to host my own event for a small group of fellow consorts, Livery and Sheriffs, to an early(ish) morning tour of Smithfield meat market in early July. Actually, it wasn’t that early in market terms but on a brilliantly sunny July morning we were met under the clock at 06.00hrs by the superb Liveryman Greg Lawrence, chairman of the Smithfield Market Tenants, who took us on an entertaining tour of the market, regaling us with stories and anecdotes. We then moved to the roof terrace of Butchers’ Hall for a pre-breakfast glass of Champagne in the sunshine. We were also joined by Liveryman George Abrahams CC, before moving down to the Great Hall for a full English Breakfast. As evidenced by the volume of thank you notes and emails from all the attendees it was a great success and I must thank the Master, George and Greg for their wholehearted support and for keeping all our guests entertained throughout the morning.
It is an unassuming role to be the Master’s Consort, and post Covid Lockdowns, I had no idea just how much City life would open up during the Master’s year. Luckily for us both, we have been able to enjoy fantastic opportunities in our City and beyond with our family and so many wonderful people . For anyone that is ever given the chance to take on the role, I would encourage you to embrace the moment and make the most of all the experiences that the City has to offer.
It has been an absolute pleasure for me to be the Master Butcher’s Consort this past year and I would highly recommend it.
TONY EVANS, CONSORT BUTCHER 2021-22