The Livery Newsletter and Gazette Issue 30 Spring 2019 - Page 13

Assay Office Tour On a lovely, sunny February day, a party of twenty- one Tobacco Pipe Makers and Court consorts gathered at Goldsmiths’ Hall for a two hour tour of the Hall and the Assay Office led by our hosts, Dave Merry and Adam Phillips. Before it all began, our bags were taken away as none are permitted by visitors when walking around the secure areas … for obvious reasons! After a brief introduction, we were whisked upstairs to the main function rooms where Dave talked to us about the role of the Goldsmiths’ Company, its Hall and the Assay Office, one of four in the country. It is quite remarkable to see such a grand venue being used on a daily basis. On the day we visited, the rooms were being set up for an industry awards ceremony to be attended by some of the UK’s most eminent jewellery houses. We were then led down corridors and via lifts into a whole new world. This is the business of the Assay Office where the various testing of precious metals and analysis takes place. We were shown all the tools used for hallmarking as well as the x-ray machine used for testing the breakdown of the composition of the metals. A few of us even had our own jewellery analysed. Thankfully, with reassuring results! The lunch was deliciously catered by Mark Grove and his team at Cook & Butler and we cracked along at a goodly pace. Our guests were admirably introduced by Liveryman Fran Morrison and our Principal Guest, Tim Wonnacott gave a generous and very humorous reply to which I responded initially by drenching poor Tim in a glass of water - he was very kind about it (sorry Tim!). I was very pleased to show off the newly found Livery Grant of Arms and Letters Patent which have been missing for many years - our Clerk tenaciously sought them out, and the new Immediate Past Master, Chris Allen, and his IPM, Mark Gower-Smith have funded a beautiful re- presentation and they are now resplendent in frames carved with tobacco leaves (or close to); Sandra also located a huge banner not seen since 1985 and Angus Menzies, Clerk to the Master Mariners and never shy of a challenge saw to it that it was displayed on the Quarterdeck. Whilst all this was going on, apparently biblical- After two hours of seeing the had different departments style downpours were being all over London with the skilled staff at work, we spent the - oblivious to all that drama we ended our final lunch ten minutes with Dave who made a presentation on the and trooped back to the quarterdeck where Coffee, antique silver fakes and forgeries formerly Cigars, and Cognac awaited us (I collection, did mention that known as the ‘Black Museum’ . Dave showed us our Livery enjoyed dining on the High C’s..) and some counterfeit items and the explained process Jemma that they which seemed to hit mark – the Liveryman have been had through ascertain the that they were fakes. Freeman kindly to provided torpedo cigars If buying antique silver, his message was ‘always and had had them placed in souvenir tubes with our do your research, if on you to of avoid expensive Crest emblazoned it. want Several us also sported mistakes’ . a limited edition Livery Smoking hat - originally conceived a sort of shooting hat, and it serves its All in all, it as was a very interesting informative purpose well a “team” of the morning so but, in as future, I will hat, be that looking at twenty my ordered, but one remained by the close of the day! jewellery in a different light and checking it very Thank you to the Master Mariners for allowing carefully for hallmarks etc, which I can do with us the the use of the venue, for given being in a our perfect Principal helpful guide that to we Tim were goody bags Guest, and for everyone attending and giving my when we left. year such a special start. After this tour, several members of the party joined the Master and I at a local restaurant, Manicomio, where we had a lovely lunch, discussed the The morning’s Master events and generally put the world to rights! Thank you to everyone that came and supported the event. 13 3 Liveryman Sally Brookes Mistress