A triptych of radio interviews on the City of London for QuayFM

One of the consequences of public speaking on City of London and Livery Company topics is that once you've started the requests keep coming in, often from new and unexpected angles. The first talk I gave on the government of the City of London was at Cambridge University in 2012, since then I've spoken at long series of events in the City and elsewhere.

In June of this year I received an out of the blue request to be co-interviewed with David Barrett, Clerk to the Makers of Playing Cards, by QuayFM which broadcasts from the island of Alderney in the Channel Islands. QuayFm run a regular series of specialist subject interviews that are broadcast across the Channel Islands and later made available online. The audience for QuayFM spans the Channels Islands and their online recordings are available world-wide.

In the end David Barrett and I recorded separate interviews, exploring the City and its Livery Companies from different angles. It was only after my interview was completed that I discovered Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli had also recorded an interview with QuayFM earlier in the year, again his subject was the City.

While none of us made any particular effort to coordinate the subject matter of our respective interviews, the end result is a rather unique exploration of the City of London's history, government, the Livery Companies and the Freedom from different but entirely complementary perspectives. For residents of the Channel Islands much of our respective interviews will have struck a familiar note given the reliance of those islands on financial and professional services, and their rather unusual system of government which includes democratic and semi-feudal elements, replete with medieval titles and status as peculiars of the Crown.

The Channel Islands have produced at least two Lord Mayors of London, and at least one Honorary Freeman, not forgetting the immediate past head of the Common Council's Policy & Resources Committee. In recent times the Lord Mayor has visited the islands as part of his annual program of over-seas visits such as the visit by Lord Mayor Sir Roger Gifford to Jersey in 2013.

The most recent Mayoral trip was to Guernsey in 2017 when the late Lord Mayor Sir Andrew Parmley paid a visit to discuss BREXIT related issues and further strengthen the bonds between the City and the Channel Islands.

The Channel Islands are also home to many Freemen and Liverymen, one notable example is Nigel Mansell CBE (Freeman of the City of London) who opened the Sheep Drive across London Bridge in 2016.

Hilt of the ceremonial sword presented to Admiral James Saumarez, later Baron Saumarez on his admission as a Freeman of the City of London for his leadership during the Algeciras Campaign (Gut of Gibraltar)

Perhaps the deepest link between the Channel Islands and the City of London is that neither were conquered by William I. The Channel Islands were part of Normandy prior to the Norman Conquest, and there is a saying on Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark that 'England is our oldest possession', whereas the City of London cut a deal with William I and hence is never described with the epithet 'Conqueror' within the Square Mile.

Particular thanks must go to the radio interviewer, Tony LeBlanc, who did a marvellous job in guiding the three of us through a recondite subject without repetition or overlap. The good burgesses of Alderney must now surely be the most knowledgeable of Her Majesty's subjects in the Channel Islands on the topic of the City of London, probably better informed that most of the residents in the Square Mile!

I hope you enjoy listening to the series of interviews as much as I enjoyed recording mine, you may access each of them through these links:

Part 1: Professor Michael Mainelli - Corporation of the City of London
Part 2: Paul D Jagger - The Guilds and Livery Companies
Part 3: David Barrett - The role of a Livery Company Clerk

Note: The copyright of these interviews belongs to QuayFM and I am much indebted to them for sharing the recordings online.

Want to learn more about the Livery Companies?

The City of London Freeman's Guide is the definitive concise guide to the City of London and its ancient and modern Livery Companies, their customs, traditions, officers, events and landmarks. Available in full colour hardback and eBook formats and now in its fourth or Masterpiece edition. The guide is available online from Apple (as an eBook), Amazon (in hardback or eBook) Payhip (in ePub format) or Etsy (in hardback or hardback with the author's seal attached). Also available from all major City of London tourist outlets and bookstores.

The City of London Freeman's Guide is available in all major City retail outlets and online

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