On Shrove Tuesday, 17th February, this quaint and ever popular Livery gathering took place again in Guildhall Yard. The event is organised by the Worshipful Company of Poulters, in conjunction with The Cook and The Butler and by kind permission of the Chief Commoner. Numbers of spectators seemed even greater than usual – perhaps due to the weather being kind and providing us with sunshine throughout.
The Gunmakers’ team comprised John Browning (running on behalf of the Master in the Master’s Race), Jonathan Young (Livery Race), Claire Zambuni (Ladies Race), Carl Langton (Novelty Race), and the Clerk, John Allen, as Team Manager. Those competing in the Novelty Race were requested to wear something representative of one of charities supported by the Lord Mayor. Carl Langton plumped for the attire of a stereotypical French artist, which was intended to demonstrate the Lord Mayor’s support for the Royal Academy of Arts. The team was supported by the Master, the Beadle, the Honorary Archivist and Liveryman John Taylor. The Proof Master, as usual, provided the starting service with our 10b signal cannon.
Following a blessing by the Reverend Canon Paul Thomas, Sheriff Fiona Adler opened the proceedings by firing the cannon to start the first race – after being cautioned by the Proof Master that the first shot would be rather louder than normal. She duly yanked the lanyard so briskly that the cannon flew off the table (fortunately without any lasting damage).
This year, as always, times were fast – we didn’t win any races but we came second in two – the Ladies and Novelty Races. The results were: The Master’s Race – Tylers and Bricklayers; Livery Race – Butchers; Ladies Race – Information Technologists; Novelty Race – Tylers and Bricklayers; and Victor Ludorum – Butchers.
As can be seen, this event has become highly competitive in all respects, including the food – the thin slightly crisp pancakes with sugar and lemon, served before the races, were as usual delicious. The thicker racing and tossing pancakes were of course bred specifically for that purpose.
With no trophies to collect, the Gunmakers’ team were among the first to retire to the Crypt of Guildhall, where an excellent lunch was enjoyed by all.