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Masters or Past masters of the Honourable Company are encouraged to become a member of a Livery Company and indeed most are. As such it was my intention to join a Livery company and in particular one that had a family connection. My wife Anne’s great great uncle, Sir Charles Augustus Hanson, was master of the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers twice and Lord Mayor of the City of London 1917/1918. So with her blessing I applied to and was accepted into the company of Pattenmakers. Pattens were under shoes designed to be worn outdoors and to lift wearers and their shoes and ladies dresses above the mud and grime of early streets. They were granted their Royal Charter in 1670 and are celebrating their tercentenary having received their Livery in 1717 from George 1st.  

 

Fowey Hall

Sir Charles, 1st Baronet of Fowey, was a successful merchant banker, and in conjunction with his two merchant banker brothers in Montreal, were very active in bond raisings for the early infrastructure projects, railways in particular, in Canada, Cuba and South America. Consequently he built himself a mansion in his home town of Fowey Cornwall in keeping with his status as a successful returnee. He also served as MP for Bodwin, Cornwall. His house, Fowey Hall, still exists today as a luxury vacation hotel catering to families and travellers. In fact excepting for the addition of mandatory fire doors the house is very much unchanged from the original. Another interesting aspect is that Fowey Hall served as the inspiration for Toad Hall in “The Wind in the Willows”. As Anne and I were invited to attend a Pattenmakers dinner in July we took the opportunity to visit Devon and Cornwall prior to being in London and booked 3 nights at Fowey Hall as part of our vacation. If you find yourself travelling to Cornwall I recommend a stay at the Hall. I can attest to the impeccable accommodations, service and dinning provided by the hotel.

 

Fowey Museum

We also made ourselves known to the Fowey Museum and archivist who has done extensive research on Sir Charles post his return to Cornwall from Canada where he immigrated to in 1865. In the museum protected by a glass cabinet are the robes and medallions worn by Sir Charles as Lord Mayor of London. They are planning to celebrate the 100 anniversary of his mayoralty next year.

From Fowey we returned to London to attend the Pattenmakers dinner at the Coopers Hall located at Devonshire Square E2. We were warmly welcomed by all in attendance as they were eager to meet some “Canadian cousins”. The dinner was the culmination of their Court meeting and was attended by 23 members and with one exception were all past masters. It was a formal black tie affair with each wearing their past masters medallion. As guest of honour I was invited to give a brief speech on Sir Charles’ life in Canada and the UK which I believe was well received. I encouraged all in attendance that if they found themselves travelling to Toronto our Honourable Company would be pleased to make them welcome. Both Anne and I very much enjoyed the evening and their warm hospitality. On a final note I need to return next March 2018 for my formal induction into the Worshipful Company.

John Welch
Past Master


 
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