Annual Dinner 2017
We were delighted to have the Mayor and Mayoress supporting our Annual Dinner.
The dinner was extremely successful with 84 guests enjoying dinner in the wonderful setting of the Town Hall. Our Guests this year included, members of Berwick, York and Trinity House Guilds, the President of the Freemen of England and Wales (FEW) and the Master of York Guild.
Our guest speaker on this occasion was Alex Nelson who is;
- Third Warden of the Clothworkers Company in London
- Chair of the Clothworkers Foundation
- Owner of the Chester-le-Track business
Alex is a Londoner by birth but now resides locally in Co. Durham.
He graduated University College in Durham (based in the Castle) in1983.
Professionally, Alex trained in the bus industry in Norfolk and returned to the North East in 1985 and switched from buses to railways . His business, Chester-le-Track, employs eight people, operating the railway stations at Chester-le-Street and Eaglescliffe.
He is now an active member of the Clothworkers' Company, and has just completed serving as Third Warden.
He is Chairman of the Clothworkers' Foundation which distributes around £5m per annum.
He has also edited the annual magazine Castellum for the past 30 years for the Durham Castle Society.
Alex gave an extremely interesting and informative talk on the work and history of the London Livery Companies (Guilds), particularly focusing on the Cloth Workers Company in London that ranks 12th in priority of the London Guilds, much to the annoyance of the Dyers Guild that are 13th. For almost 400 years they have been at loggerheads with the Cloth Workers Guild , which has only recently been smoothed over with a ‘Bury the Hatchet Dinner’ every year when both Guilds meet.
Alex’s captivating talk, included numerous facts relating to the history of the London Guilds many of which mirrored our structure in a number of ways. In fact he described the Durham City Freemen as a microcosm of the London Guild.
His talk was laced with gentle humour and irony which made for a most enjoyable evening.
Chairman of the Wardens