Michele Burrell and her daughter, Alicia, one of our Freemen, are pictured here with Liz Green and others at the City Consorts’ event to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018. Carol Harris, the lecturer, is seated in the front, next to Michele. The event was also attended by our Mistress. City Consorts exists to give the Consort of any future Livery Master of the City of London the confidence and knowledge to embrace and enjoy their year. As such, members of this group of past, current and future consorts meet to network and learn more about the City. March 8th 2018 was, in some ways a different sort of meeting. It was their largest gathering to date, with over 150 members and their guests assembled, both to learn and to raise funds for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. It should be noted that the City Consorts is not a solely feminine group – where the Master of a Livery Company is female her husband or male partner is her “Consort” and is thus a member of the City Consorts’.
Carol Harris, an eminent social historian, spoke about the changing role of women in the early craft guilds and the Livery companies that they became, and the history of women’s suffrage – the right to vote – across the globe. Carol’s excellent visual presentation of suffragette memorabilia was supported by explanations of how various groups of women first marched through the streets, then, frustrated by lack of action, chose civil unrest to raise awareness of their cause. The viciousness of the government and legal retribution against these women would justifiably cause a Human Rights complaint today.
Because one of the most well-known suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst, was imprisoned at Mansion House, we had hoped to secure it as our venue. Alas, an unscheduled State visit required use of the Lord Mayor’s home on this auspicious date, but at short notice Saddlers’ Hall kindly hosted the group – and did them proud! For many, it was the first visit to this elegant hall, with its small museum of saddlery and interesting art collection, and we were made most welcome.
The City Consorts were delighted to confirm that, between ticket sales, the raffle, donations for ribbons and sales of playing cards, around £2,500 was raised for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal , making the day a great success all round.