Hamburger Morgensprache

“Handelskammer Hamburg” is the Chamber of Commerce for Hamburg – https://www.hk24.de/.  Unlike British or American chambers, German Handelskammers have statutory powers and levy charges on businesses.  Their compulsory status also encourages leading businesspeople to participate more earnestly in commerce and trade policy issues.  Starting with an initiative by Lord Mayor Michael Savory and Kenneth Stern, and picked up by Aldermen Alison Gowman, and Jeffrey Evans, they provide a float in the Lord Mayors’ Show every other year.  Equally, each year two Aldermen go to Hamburg representing the City at the Handelskammer’s big annual celebration in October, the Morgensprache.  2015 would have been an ‘away’ year for the Hamburgers, but in honour of Lord Mountevans’ Mayoralty they made a special trip this year to be in the show.

One of the most delightful trips we’ve made recently was when Elisabeth and I had a quasi-diplomatic mission to Hamburg, accompanying Alderman Alison Gowman and Murray Craig, Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court, City of London, where we too became part of this initiative.  The purpose of the mission was to deepen links with Hamburg for the benefit of both, a celebration of trade.Coat_of_arms_of_Hamburg.svg

The Hanseatic links between London and various North Sea and Baltic ports are crucial in understanding history and where we are today, yet they get mistier.  Few remember that the Hanseatic League maintained a Kontor (a medieval free trade zone) called the ‘Stalhof’ or ‘Steelyard‘ in the heart of London from 1266 till the merchants were thrown out in 1598 by Queen Elizabeth I.  Though they returned, the Hanseatic League had certainly ceased trading by 1758.  That said, Lübeck, Bremen and Hamburg only sold their common property, the London Steelyard, to the South Eastern Railway in 1852.  Cannon Street station was built on the site and opened in 1866.

This link to the Hanse event and transcripts might interest – http://www.gresham.ac.uk/london-forgotten-hanseatic-city.  My particular interest is here – http://www.gresham.ac.uk/sites/default/files/14jun07michaelmainelli_hanseanditsinfluence.doc

Our hosts were Handelskammer Hamburg (Hamburg Chamber of Commerce).  Hamburg welcomed us most warmly.  We learned a lot as well, particularly about the role of compulsory Chambers of Commerce and how that probably makes German apprenticeships far more successful than the British sort.  They are full of pride about their City and their achievements, reminding me of a wonderful quote – “Bürgermeister Johann Heinrich Burchard (1852-1912) bemerkte zu der Nachricht, seine Majestät geruhe, Rudolph Schröder (1852–1938) in den Adelsstand zu erheben, Majestät könne ihn zwar in den Adelsstand ‘versetzen’, in ihn ‘erheben’ könne sie einen hanseatischen Kaufmann jedoch nicht.”

“Mayor Johann Heinrich Burchard (1852-1912) reacted to the news that it would please his Majesty to deign to raise Rudolph Schroeder (1852-1938) to the nobility by noting that his Majesty could indeed ‘place’ him in the peerage , however as a Hanseatic merchant he could never be ‘elevated’.”

[Renate Hauschild-Thiessen: “Adel und Bürgertum in Hamburg. In: Hamburgisches Geschlechterbuch”. 14, 1997, S. 21–32.]

Our visit was well-covered and it is difficult to think of a more generous group of hosts than the ones we had.  We toasted each other merrily with their traditional “Cheese and Bread”, an ancient London shibboleth for the German-speaking community during the days of the Kontor in London at the Stalhof.  THE HANSEATIC STEELYARD IN DOWGATE, by Alderman Alison Gowman in Mansion House on18 October 2013.Morgensprache 2015

 

 

 

Perhaps not a speech full of content, but certainly full of warm feelings, I reproduce the text of my speech followed by an English translation:

Morgensprache – Deutsche

15 October 2015, Handelskammer Hamburg

Ältermann, sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen aus London,

Ich darf Sie herzlich von Alan Yarrow, The Rt Hon Lord Mayor of London, und seinen Sheriffs sowie dem Rat der Aldermen und Councilmen grüssen.  Wir möchten von London nach Hamburg dem anhaltenden Erfolg Ihrer Morgensprache gratulieren. 

Als Professor für Handel liebe ich eine Stadt, die den Handel feiert.  Unsere beiden Städte sind sehr unabhängig.  Die Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg ist ein stolzer Stadtstaat seit dem 9.  Jahrhundert.  Die City of London ist die älteste kontinuierliche Demokratie in der Welt.  Unsere beiden Städte sind im Handel über die Jahrhunderte verbunden.  Am 8.  November 1266 wurde ein Vertrag zwischen Hamburger Kaufleuten und Henry III von England geschlossen um eine Hanse in London zu etablieren – das erste Mal in der Geschichte wurde dieser Begriff für die Liga eingesetzt.

Unsere deutschen Verbindungen sind stark.  Meine Frau kommt aus Franken.  Meine Großmutter war Deutsche.  Aber ich habe nie eine formelle Rede in Deutsch gegeben, so dass ich fast, wie in Franken, mit ‘Grüß Gott’ begann.  Wir besuchen oft Freunde in Ihrer altehrwürdigen und lebendigen Stadt.  Ich nahm jedes Jahr während den 2000er Jahren an der Kieler Woche teil.  Meine Frau und ich sind in der Schifffahrt mit einem kommerziellen, und auch altehrwürdigen, Segelboot tätig und gehören der Gilde der Worshipful Company of Watermen & Lightermen an.  Aber wir haben nie mit dieser Ehre gerechnet, heute zu Ihnen sprechen zu dürfen.  Vielen Dank.

Unsere beiden Städte haben viel gemein – Schifffahrt, Technologie, Finanzen, Kunst, Medien und Verlagswesen – aber das Wichtigste, was unsere Städte vereint, ist die ähnliche Denkweise.

Eines Tages fragte eine Lehrerin, Frau Müller, ihren Schüler Johnny, „Johnny, wenn zwei Vögel auf einer Leitung sitzen, und ich feuere zwei Schüsse aus einer Schrotflinte, wie viele Vögel werde ich treffen?“  „Einen, Frau Müller.“ „Johnny, hör mir genau zu, wenn zwei Vögel auf einer Leitung sitzen, und ich feuere zwei Schüsse aus einer Schrotflinte, wie viele Vögel werde ich treffen?“  „Einen, Frau Müller“.  „Warum, Johnny?“  „Frau Müller, nach dem ersten Schuss fliegt der zweite Vogel weg.“  „Johnny, das ist die falsche Antwort, aber mir gefällt, wie du denkst.“

Am nächsten Tag kommt Johnny ins Klassenzimmer.  „Frau Müller, mein Vater sagt, daß ich mein Taschengeld sparen soll.  Ich habe eine Wahl: Eine Bank bietet mir eine pädagogische Broschüre.  Die andere Bank hat eine sehr hübsche Kassiererin.  Welche Bank soll mein Konto bekommen?“  Die Lehrerin lacht, und sagt: „Nun, vielleicht diejenige mit der sehr hübschen Kassiererin.   Johnny erwidert: „Nein Frau Müller, die mit der größten Staatsgarantie, aber mir gefällt wie Sie denken!“

Freiheit und Handel sind eng verwandt.  Ohne Freiheit gibt es keinen fairen Handel.  Die Sicherheit, dass uns der Handel liefert, was wir zum Leben brauchen, gibt uns das Vertrauen in die Zukunft, ohne dass wir von der Angst um das Überleben gelähmt sind.  Die Freiheit, im Handel zu konkurrieren hält uns innovativ und relevant.  Wie Friedrich Hayek schon fest stellte, die Freiheit ist nicht das Gegenteil von Zwang, sondern Freiheit ist Ordnung durch das Gesetz.   Wir sind heute hier, um unsere gemeinsamen Hanse Traditionen zu feiern – Verbindung von Freiheit und Handel.

Das Wesen der Freiheit und des Handels verändert sich rasant.  Wer hätte vor zwei Jahrzehnten gedacht, dass wir die Inhalte unserer Dachböden und Keller bei eBay handeln?  Wer hätte die Explosion der billigen Flüge voraussehen können?  Und es werden noch viel mehr Veränderungen kommen – der anhaltende Aufstieg Asiens von Japan über Korea, nach China und jetzt in Indien, die Öffnung des Iran, die Europäische Flüchtlingskrise, der Klimawandel,  und wir blicken im Jahr 2050 auf Handel zwischen 10 Milliarden Menschen und Billionen von automatisierten Maschinen.

Während all dieser Veränderungen müssen unsere beiden Städte gemeinsam die Bedeutung der Freiheit und des Handels fördern.  Wir haben eine moralische Verpflichtung, freie und wettbewerbsorientierte Märkte zu verteidigen.  Die Gesellschaft hat viele Möglichkeiten zur Lösung von Krisen.  Viele dieser Lösungen sind weder hübsch noch progressiv, sondern der Weg zur Leibeigenschaft.  Der positive und direkte Weg, um Menschen in die globale Gemeinschaft zu bringen ist es, sie in die Welthandelsgemeinschaft einzubinden.  Guter Handel macht gute Kameraden.  Unsere Feier heute Abend ist ein freudiger Anlass, der als Erinnerung daran dienen soll, dass die Freiheit des Handels unsere Städte lebenswert macht.

Ich möchte mit einem Zitat aus der Antrittsrede von US-Präsident Thomas Jefferson schliessen – „Handel und ehrliche Freundschaft für alle”.  Das Zitat ist das Motto meiner Gilde, der Worshipful Company of World Traders.  Dieses Zitat verbindet unsere beiden Städte London und Hamburg.  Darf ich Sie bitten, auf zu stehen, und einen Toast mit mir auf die Gesundheit der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg zu trinken, „Handel und ehrliche Freundschaft für alle.”

“Freiheit des Geistes, der Chancen und des Handels”.

Morgensprache – English

15 October 2015, Handelskammer Hamburg

We from London wish to congratulate Hamburg on the continuing success of your Morgensprache celebrations.  As a Professor of Commerce, I love a city that celebrates trade.  Our two cities are fiercely independent.  The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg has been a proud city-state since the 9th century.  The City of London is the oldest continuous democracy in the world.  Our two cities are united in trade over the centuries.  On 8 November 1266 a contract between Hamburg’s traders and Henry III of England establish a hanse in London – the first time in history the term was used for the League.

Our German connections are strong.  My wife comes from Franken.  My grandmother was German.  But I’ve never given a formal speech, so I almost began, as they do in Franken, with ‘Gruss Gott’.  We visit friends often in your ancient and vibrant city.  I raced sailboats at Kieler Woche every year during the 2000s.  My wife and I are in shipping with a commercial sailing boat and belong to the Worshipful Company of Watermen & Lightermen.  But we never expected the honour of being asked to address you today.  Thank you.

Our two cities are united in so much commerce – shipping, technology, finance, arts, media and publishing – but the most important thing that unites our cities is similar ways of thinking. 

One day a teacher asks her student Johnny, ‘Johnny, if there are two birds on a wire and I fire two barrels from a shotgun, how many birds will I hit?’.  ‘One, Miss’.  ‘Johnny, please listen, if there are two birds on a wire and I fire two barrels from a shotgun, how many birds will I hit?’.  ‘One, Miss’.  ‘Why Johnny?’.  ‘Well Miss, after you fire the first barrel the second bird will fly away.’  ‘Johnny, that’s the wrong answer, but I like the way you think.’

The next day Johnny comes into the classroom.  ‘Miss, my Dad says that I must save my allowance.  One bank offers me an educational booklet.  The other bank has a very pretty teller.  Which bank should get my account?’  The teacher blushes, and says ‘Well, perhaps the one with the very pretty teller.’  Johnny replies, ‘No Miss, the one with the biggest government guarantee, but I like the way you think!’.

Freedom and trade are strongly related.  Without freedom there is no fair trade.  The certainty and confidence that trade can deliver what we need to live gives us the confidence to think to the future, not paralysed by fear of surviving the present.  The freedom to compete in trade keeps us innovative and relevant.  Yet Friedrich Hayek notes that freedom is not the opposite of constraint, rather, “freedom is order through law”.  We are here today to celebrate our mutual Hanseatic connections – bindings of freedom and trade.

The nature of freedom and trade is changing rapidly.  Who would have thought two decades ago that we would be trading the contents of our attics and basements on eBay?  Who could have foreseen the explosion of cheap air flights?  And there is much more change to come – the continuing rise of Asia moving from Japan to Korea to China and now to India, the opening of Iran, the European refugee crisis, climate change, looking to commerce and trade in 2050 among 10 billion people trading with trillions of automated machines.

Throughout all of these changes, our two cities must mutually promote the importance of freedom and trade.  We have a moral obligation to defend free and competitive markets.  Society has many ways of resolving crises.  Many of society’s ways of dealing with problems are neither pretty nor progressive, the roads to serfdom.  The most positive and direct way to bring people into the global community is to bind people into the global trading community.  Good trade makes good fellows.  Our celebration tonight is clearly fun, but hopefully it provides a small reminder that freedom to trade makes our cities worth living in.

I would end with a quote from US President Thomas Jefferson’s inaugural speech of 1801 – “with commerce and honest friendship for all”.  The quote is the motto of my Worshipful Company of World Traders.   This quote unites our two cities of London and Hamburg.  May I ask all of you to be upstanding and drink a toast with me to the health of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, “with commerce and honest friendship for all.”

Kuring? No, But Konfirming The Origins Of Kawasaki Disease

Here is a nice story about the ancient Barts Pathology lab helping advance modern medical science a teensy bit over the tragic Kawasaki disease:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/kawasaki-disease-an-unknown-illness-with-no-definitive-medicaldiagnosis-and-no-known-cause–but-it-may-all-be-in-the-wind-10376403.html

“Gee’s post-mortem examination findings, preserved in a single paragraph written in 1871, recorded signs of damage called aneurysms in the coronary arteries running across the surface of the boy’s heart.”

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For me, this museum story began in 2006.  Professor Will Ayliffe and I were aghast at the state of deliberate neglect when we made an ‘illegal’ tour of the then abandoned facility.  I was on a board with the Clinical Pathology Association (CPA) as a subsidiary, UKAS.  The CPA had a Trust to which we applied for cataloging, and the CPA Trust funding came through in 2009/2010 with Dr Ken Scott’s support (the CEO of CPA).  Professor Adrian Newland also lent his support, thus drawing in Barts Trust support.  The publication of this article by Carla Connolly on her work – http://www.ibms.org/includes/act_download.php?download=pdf/2012-March-St-Barts.pdf –  and this Gresham lecture – http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/anatomy-museums-past-present-and-future – (supported by Gresham Professors Tim Connell and Frank Cox) and City of London support through Wendy Mead kept up the visibility, leading to the permanent museum arrangements.  And it turned out the historic collection was useful, perhaps invaluable, as long suspected.

http://www.smd.qmul.ac.uk/about/pathologymuseum/

Sadly (individual), yet hopefully (medically and scientifically), perhaps more to come. I think it is a great story, or backstory, for all of us in the City, Gresham College, and the scientific profession.

Sirius-ly Long But Successful-ly

One of my longer and more problematic projects has been Sirius Minerals.  What began as a copper and gold mining exploration firm turned into one of the biggest potash firms, and the first non-hydrocarbon mine in the UK in over half a century.  As I’ve remarked to friends, if oil & gas run out we wind up cycling, but if the potash runs out we move from 7 billion people to 1 billion people in less than two years.  Hmmm.

Planning permission has been the key to success.  Having been one of the founders, along with Richard Poulden and Jonathan Harrison, back in 2005, I was delighted to see planning permission finally approved.

FT Coverage – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a70a4568-1f4f-11e5-ab0f-6bb9974f25d0.html

Guardian Coverage – http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/30/north-york-moors-potash-mine-gets-17bn-go-ahead

Potash-mine-and-map-3-0-0

It’s an exciting, interesting (not least being a two century export supply for all of Europe and  having a 37 km transportation tunnel to Teeside), and potentially highly-profitable project with which I’m proud to have been associated.  Interesting that it becomes successful alongside another decade long project at Barts (see next).  The pigeons may take a long time to come home to roost, but they do home in.

Aldermanic Assessment

In these days of continuous assessment, how do you know where you stand?  For folks in the City you could do worse than look into the Liber Albus 2015 (White Book 2015).  So what am I to make of this contribution to the book?

Alderman Mainelli cartoon 2015

A bit frightening that I appear to be increasing the City of London Corporation’s repair bills.  Perhaps I’ll fare better in next year’s annual review.

To order a copy – CITY WHITE BOOK 2015 – ORDER FORM

 

 

 

Tired in London or Tired of London?

Samuel Johnson’s famous remark went – “Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London.  No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

Johnson made this remark to his biographer, Boswell (who interestingly lived in Scotland throughout their relationship), on 20 September 1777.  Not a lot has changed.  My dear friend and former mathematics teacher, Bill Joseph, retired to London citing three big reasons, Gresham College (intellectual), the National Health Service, and free Transport for London passes.  Same idea as Johnson’s I’d guess.

So 239 years later, how does London look for the world weary?  Johnson may have been correct about “tired of London”, but that doesn’t mean you can’t easily become “tired in London”.  What an exhausting and interesting month for us.  So exhausting that this piece is more a photo album of things we did than any form of essay.  First, we got out of London in early May, up to Boswell country in Scotland, and spent the election day (yes, did a postal ballot), revisiting things since the last Scottish trip (which coincided with another election, the Referendum).

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Eric Smith, “I’m standing on the engine … not much use for anything else …”

Eric Smith, pictured above, delivered a great engineering experience around the idea of sailing, though with 45 knot winds, five degree weather, and a diesel engine that knew more about breathing air than combusting air, most of the time was spent either sailing a nine-tonne boat onto a berth without power or down in the fumes of the engine room than sailing ‘towards’ Campbelltown for some whisky tasting.  Perhaps next year, on a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry.

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Then more engineering as my daughter and I went to see the state of the “Mail Rail”.  I first saw the Mail Rail working in 1986 underneath the old General Post Office headquarters, now the King Edward Building, on St Martin’s le Grand.  I’ve been a (minor) patron of getting this rail working again and am delighted that the British Postal Museum & Archive have succeeded in raising the funds to do so.

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It will be a major tourist attraction in a couple of years, whisking people on a 15 round-trip journey.  Though as my daughter explained it’s really for tourists – “Daddy, as Londoners we see a lot underground platforms”.

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On 14 May there was a magnificent celebration of the 800th anniversary of the London Mayoral Charter (9 May 1215) and of the 800th year of the Magna Carta, a nice counterpoint to some Magna Carta Gresham talks I arranged earlier in the year.  The commemoration was a service held in Temple Church, then Middle Temple for drinks, then Inner Temple for dinner.  Moving choral services, touching sermons, and fantastic hospitality (and wines).  In the lectures earlier this year, Lord Igor Judge emphasised the pivotal role of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, in the Magna Carta, so it was very touching to have this event with him entombed in Temple Church beside us.  I hadn’t fully appreciated the central role of Temple Church and the Templars in the Magna Carta negotiations.

The Temple Church was built by the Knights Templar, an order of military monks founded in 1118 to protect pilgrims to the Holy Land. Here in the Temple the Templars had their Church, two halls, cloisters and domestic buildings, leading in the 12th century straight down to the River Thames.    The Round Church was built soon after 1160; it is the earliest Gothic building in England.  In the crisis of 1214-5 King John had two London headquarters: the Tower in the East; and the Temple in the West, where he was safe under the protection of the Templars.  The Round Church was in use by 1162.  It is the earliest Gothic building in England.  It was modelled on the circular Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the site of Christ’s death, burial and rising; to be in the Round Church was, to the medieval imagination, to be in Jerusalem, at the holiest place in the world.  Here’s the timeline in full (courtesy of Geoff Pick, Archivist, City of London Corporation):

  • 10 February 1185 – The Round Church was consecrated by Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in London to ask King Henry to take on the kingship of Jerusalem.
  • 1204 – King John lost Normandy, Anjou and Poitou to King Philip of France. John’s campaigns to recover them led to ever higher taxes.
  • March 1213 – The King finalised a treaty with his Continental allies at the Temple, and then deposited 20,000 marks here for his ambassadors.
  • May-July 1213 – The King submitted to the Pope. Archbishop Stephen Langton returned to England. For the negotiations, the King was staying at the Templars’ house near Dover. William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke was witness and guarantor to the King’s submission. The King’s excommunication was lifted, and in return he offered a golden mark which he borrowed from the Master of the Temple.
  • 3 October 1213 – The King was at the Temple, to confirm at St Paul’s Cathedral that the Pope was now the feudal lord of the King and his kingdom.
  • 27 July 1214 – The Battle of Bouvines. With this defeat John lost all prospect of the recovery of his French possessions.
  • 16-23 November 1214 – The King was in the Temple. On 21 November he issued from the Temple the charter granting ‘with the common consent of our barons’ free elections to cathedral and conventual churches, and on 22 November a grant to St Paul’s Cathedral.
  • 7-15 January 1215 – The King was in the Temple. A group of barons, armed and ready for war, confronted him. According to the barons’ account of this seminal week, they asked the King to confirm their ancient and accustomed liberties but he refused, and in turn he asked them to give a written undertaking on behalf of themselves and their successors that they would never in future demand such liberties. The barons, lacking a prince to claim or put upon the throne, were demanding the King’s own allegiance to a charter. John sought refuge in delay; such innovation, he said, would take time. The barons gave him warning: they were pledging themselves, one and all, as a wall of defence for the house of the Lord and would stand firm for the liberty of the Church and the realm. The barons rightly distrusted the King: during the negotiations themselves John sent emissaries (surely secretly) to the Pope. John gave the barons a safe conduct until after Easter; William Marshal and the Archbishop were among the King’s guarantors, assuring the barons that the King would then give them satisfaction.
  • 15 January – The cathedral and convent charter of 21 November 2014 was reissued from the Temple.
  • 16-22 April 1215 (Eastertide) – The King was in the Temple.
  • 7-9 May 1215 – The King was in the Temple. On 9 May the charter was issued from the Temple that guaranteed to the City of London the right freely to elect its own Lord Mayor.  “Know that we have granted, and by this our present writing confirmed, to our barons of our city of London, that they may choose to themselves every year a mayor, who to us may be faithful, discreet, and fit for government of the city, so as, when he shall be chosen, to be presented unto us, or our justice if we shall not be present.”  The Lord Mayor still processes on the day of his or her installation to the Royal Courts of Justice to appear before the Lord Chief Justice.
  • 17 May 1215 – The barons captured London. The balance of power now lay against the King; he must negotiate.
  • 28 May 2015 – The King received the imperial regalia of his grandmother the Empress Matilda from the custody of the Master of the Temple. He was going to assert his full majesty at the coming conference.
  • 10 June 1215 – The King arrived at Runnymede.
  • 15 June 1215 – The King sealed the Charter. William Marshal Earl of Pembroke and Brother Aymeric, Master of the Temple, were listed among those who had advised the King. The Earl’s eldest son and Serlo the Mercer, Mayor of London, were two of the Twenty-Five surety barons, appointed to ensure the King’s conformity to the Charter’s terms.
  • 19 October 1216 – King John died. The King’s Council named William Marshal the guardian (rector) of the young King Henry III and of the realm.
  • 12 November 1216 – The Earl of Pembroke reissued the Charter under his own seal.
  • 6 November 1217 – The Earl of Pembroke again reissued the Charter under his own seal. Particular clauses were removed and issued separately as the Charter of the Forest; the remaining reissued clauses from 1215 were from now on known as the Great Charter.
  • 14 May 1219 – The Earl of Pembroke died, and was buried on 20 May in the Temple’s Round Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury presided. Brother Aymeric, who had visited the Earl on his deathbed at Caversham, had wished to be buried next to the Earl; ‘I have enjoyed his fellowship on earth and hope to enjoy it also in heaven.’ On his return to London Aymeric fell ill and pre-deceased the Earl. He and the Earl were buried next to each other in front of the rood-screen between Round and chancel.
  • 1224 – William Marshal the Younger, 2nd Earl of Pembroke married Eleanor, sister of King Henry III.
  • 1225 – King Henry III reissued the Great Charter, in order to secure a grant of taxation.
  • 1235-1236 – Henry III and Queen Eleanor bequeathed their bodies to the Templars. The Templars replaced the small chancel of the Temple Church with the present hall church to be the burial place of the King and Queen. The new chancel was dedicated on Ascension Day 1240 in the presence of the King. Light, airy and simple, it is among the most beautiful of all Early English Gothic churches. (Henry III was in fact buried in Westminster Abbey, the Queen in Amesbury.)
  • 1237, 1244, 1251 – A grant of taxation was made to the King upon the confirmation of the Charter. The meeting of the Great Council in 1237 was described as a Parliament, the word’s first use in the vocabulary of our constitution.
  • Summer 1258 – The Council established by the Provisions of Oxford met daily, in the Temple and elsewhere, ‘spending wakeful nights,’ the Pope was told, ‘to prepare peace for others.’
  • March 1259 – The Council proclaimed in the Temple its first set of proposals, the foundational Provisions of the English Barons, ‘on account of the common good of the whole realm and of the King himself’. The King summoned Parliament to the Tower, demanding that the barons come unarmed. The barons refused, and insisted on Westminster. Parliament in fact met at the Temple, a compromise safe for both sides.
  • 12 October 1297 – Edward I re-issued the Great Charter. An official copy was for the first time enrolled by the Chancery and copied into the earliest of the Chancery’s Statute Rolls as an official enactment of the text.

It felt only appropriate to round this tiring month off to check on what those Royals are now up to, with a visit to Buckingham Palace for tea:

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My Queen

Whew!

I Think I’m Turning Koreanese, I Really Think So

Busan - GFCI 17

Had The Vapours had their hit a few years later, who knows how it might have gone.  I went with my friend Mark Yeandle to launch Global Financial Centres Index 17 (yes, 17 since we started in 2005 and published from 2007) in Busan on 23 March.  It was an exciting trip, though I felt rather guilty about 44 hours travel for 36 hours there.  I haven’t been to Busan since the financial meltdown of 1997 and what a change it is.  The city’s population has shrunk slightly, but wow has the quality of life surged – more parks, more recognition of the need for environmental protection and sustainability.  Here we are with some of our hosts after the launch event with the mayor.

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Perhaps the most interesting bit of the trip was seeing how they focus on greeting visitors.  Busan is geared to having a single administrative area where new businesses are whisked through the variety of offices they need to visit in a single day in a single area.  Two particularly interesting items for businesses thinking of coming to Busan were a 1:2000 and also a nearby 1:4000 scale model of the city.  Here’s a photo of the 1:2000.

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Further, the Korean Stock Exchange, which evolved from the traditional rice market trade in the port, is headquartered here.  Unlike certain London exchanges, they have a fantastic museum for the public.

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Though talking about comparable tourism among financial centres does give me an opportunity to plug the City of London Walk of Commerce & Finance Z/Yen helped create – free ebook for the public.  Heading home was hard, as I loved the food and the hospitality of our hosts, though I won’t miss some extremely, too extremely, fresh octopus.

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On the flight back, I cracked open a thriller written by a friend, Blue Eye by Tracy Elner, only to find that it is set on Lake Baikal – look at what was outside the window of the Korean Air flight home.

Lady Daphne On Heir (Sic)

We were delighted with today’s BBC1 coverage of Lady Daphne in Heir Hunters, Series 9, Episode 5 (of 20), “Morris/Evans” (09:15, Friday, 27 February).  Not only did they have a great case to solve with Robert Evans, and made it interesting, but also included a lot of footage of sailing barge history:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b054b4pq

“After the heir hunters race to find her, one heir visits the home of the relative she never knew. Surprisingly, it is just ten minutes down the road from her own house.

 Whilst on another case, the heir hunters experience a strange sense of déjà vu. They find themselves tracing heirs to an estate of a lady whom they have met before, and their search uncovers the remarkable history of Thames bargemen.”

iPlayer link – http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b054b4pq/heir-hunters-series-9-5-morrisevans

Lady Daphne in the dock

I do remember it was a cold and wet afternoon back in October 2013 when we did the filming – yes, nearly 18 months till airing.  It was great to meet Robert Evans, who seemed really pleased to learn about his family history.  Anyway, if you just want to watch Robert and “Mike”, the other star, with the grand old Lady, our section starts at 30:00/43:50.

By the way – Lady Daphne available for bookings from 1 April! – www.lady-daphne.co.uk

Knightian Ignorance – “Are You Not Thinking What I’m Not Thinking?”

Voltaire said, “Doubt is not an agreeable condition, but certainty is absurd.”  I was asked to share my ignorance by speaking about uncertainty and finance at the Calculating & Communicating Uncertainty Conference on 27 January 2015 at BIS, London.  The event was sponsored by the UK Ministry of Defence, Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and Public Health England, and organised by the University of Southampton.  You can read the full talk, “Where The Numbers Meet The Road – Uncertainty At The Frontiers Of Finance”.  As my highlight, I would point out how much I enjoyed sharing with the audience my concept of “Knightian Ignorance”.

DSTL Conference 2015.01.27

University of Chicago economist Frank Knight (1885–1972) distinguished risk and uncertainty in his 1921 work Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit.  Risk is something you can assess by knowing impact and likelihood.  Uncertainty is something you realise might happen, but can’t quantify.  Black Swans and unknown unknowns are popular party points today.  To explain the conjunction of known unknowns and unknown unknowns I remembered the UK Conservative Party’s crude slogan under Michael Howard in the 2005 general election, “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?”  I could explain known unknowns and unknown unknowns as Knightian Ignorance, “Are you not thinking what I’m not thinking?”  Enjoy!

Wicious Wolpertinger – The Hunting Expeditions Of Several Years

In 2007 in Munich I presented the strategic work we had been doing for a client, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, to their assembled delegates from around the world.  PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification organisation, so not unnaturally, they chose to hold the event in the magnificent, yet slightly quirky, Deutsches Jagd- und Fischereimuseum München.  Though I had known about Wolpertinger for some time, this was the first time I was surrounded by so many of the vicious creatures.  Normally they are a bugger to find, let alone put down, so it was heartening, amongst all the tweed jackets and guns, to see many of the little fiends finally put behind glass.

Wolpertinger
Wolpertinger” by Rainer Zenz (1502) in the style of Albrecht Dürer – licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

This inspirational event led to a lifelong passion to spend time at the end of the year helping to improve the planet, as people have discovered over the years from my out-of-office messages:

2008 – Apologies if you’re trying to contact me as I’m shooting Wolpertinger in the Northern Bavarian Alps in hopes of stuffing them with haggis for the traditional Frankonian Hogmonayfather Day,  but I shall be back online in January.  And if you’re out snarking north of Würzburg, you can always try texting …

2009 – Apologies if you’re trying to contact me as I’m spending time with the family in the lowlands of the northern Bavarian Himalayas.  Naturally we’re hunting Wolperdinger, plucking Christmas tree gherkins and otherwise trying to nog up.  I shall be back in action in January 02010 (in the Long Now reckoning).  If it’s urgent or you’re trying to get dates to meet up, Monique Gore at the office would normally be happy to help, but she’s in New Zealand.   But if you want to, and you’re wearing protective clothing (vicious creature the Wolperdinger) and quite a good shot, you can always try texting …  And while we’re on these subjects, a fable for the festive season (sleep in) – “The Shrike And The Chipmunks“.  PS – sent from a snark-free zone.

2010 – Apologies if you’re trying to contact me as I’m in Germany fighting off vicious Wolpertingers in a desperate attempt to get the Euro, Pound, Dollar, and Yuan back on track.  Just another normal holiday for a socially-concerned family trying to save the international financial system while stranded in the high, upper, northern and slightly back(ward) Bavarian Alps.  Still, despite the casual exertions, every intention of being back online in January.  If you happen to have a Wolpertinger arquebus and a hipflask, do feel free to text … though I may be grappling with forces beyond my control at the time you do so.  “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip K Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

2011 – You will receive an intermittent service from now till January.  I’m away, as ever this time of year, ranging from hunting Wolpertinger up near the oxygen line in the remote forest Wirtschaften of the northern Bavarian Rhöner Alp system, to chequing out (sic) whether or not the jet d’eau in Geneva freezes.  But if you’ve had a rare sighting of Wolpertinger, do feel free to try and share some of the sauce that helped you see straight by texting …  And for those of a thoughtful nature this Season: what would our world be like without hypothetical questions?

2012 – Yet again we undertake our pointless and delightful annual expedition, this year via Stuttgart, to the hunting grounds of the ferocious Wolpertinger up near the oxygen line among the remote wilderness Wirtschaften of the terra incognita that is the northern Bavarian Rhöner Alp system.  If you’ve had a rare shot at a Wolpertinger, do feel free to try and share some of the sauce that helped you shoot straight by texting … “What you most need to unwrap isn’t hiding under the Christmas tree.” – aphorism of the Ancient Wild Wolpertinger Hunter.

2013 – Out and about on our annual wildlife conservation expedition in the frozen wasting lands of the Northern Bayerische Alp System trying to save a beast of lore and yore near the limits of unaided oxygen high above the sea line.  No equipment as we strive to keep the watering holes open which preserve this creature’s rare habitat.  Bare hands only.  Makes the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog look like child’s play, Nessie a Midsummer Night’s Dream, and as for the Yeti…  Albrecht Dürer’s 1509 snapshot reveals some of the terrifying details of this ferocious feral fella’, but of course he’s dead now.  Albrecht I mean.  Intend to return with bragging scars on 3 January.

2014 – Wearing my sustainability passions on my sleeve, yet again I’m on another Wolpertinger conservation safari this winter, due back at work in January. We intend to follow the migratory patterns of these vicious varmints from the flatlands of Salzburgerland to the Rhöntops of the Northern Bayerische Alp System.  With a ‘selfie’ handed to us by Albrecht Dürer, it should be simple to avoid skiing over the crazy critters at first, but we do intend to take the battle to them as they proliferate in the Wirtschaften further north on the edge of Thüringen.  Ahh, the tales we will tell!

2015 – And the hunt continues … Nasty brutes.  Be careful.  I always bring a medicinal flask of sprudel-waßer.  Works wonders if they bite…

In deep Bayern Mainelli’s hunt a vicious little creature,
So ye feel safe at home, with no fear of Wolpertinger.
It’s a special way to holiday, save drunken carol singers.

2016 – Well, 2016 has been anno mirabilis or anno terribilis for some, but certainly anno confusionis for all.  As the family decamps for our annual Weihnacht fortnight, I intend to take refuge in some excellent Wirtschaften and contemplate das Jahr der Verwirrung between Würzburg and Bad Kissingen.  As the brain clarifies the Schnapps, perhaps I’ll take aim at my traditional foe, the odd Wolpertinger, though of course they won’t seem that odd this year.

I’d say contact the office in my absence, etc., but they’re mostly absent too, which perhaps you should be in this post-truth, post-work, post-modern, era.  And as our world needs to stop leaking its sense of humour to prevent global warming, ask yourself, “what constitutes having an ‘advanced’ sense of humour?”, before reading the last thing that made me laugh out loud – Alt.Warmth.

Of course, in a Kneipian emergency you can always try texting while you practise your post-Brexit translation and diplomatic skills:

“Wenn wir”, sagtest Du, “die Menschen nur nehmen, wie sie sind, so machen wir sie schlechter; wenn wir sie behandeln als wären sie, was sie sein sollten, so bringen wir sie dahin, wohin sie zu bringen sind.”

 “When we take people”, thou wouldst say, “merely as they are, we make them worse; when we treat them as if they were what they should be, we improve them as far as they can be improved.”

 « Si nous», Vous avez dit, «seulement prendre les gens comme ils sont, nous les faisons pire; si nous les traitons comme si elles étaient ce qu’ils devraient être, donc nous les amener à l’endroit où ils doivent être mis.»

“Se”, Lei ha detto, “solo prendere le persone così come sono, li facciamo peggio; se li trattiamo come se fossero quello che dovrebbero essere, quindi abbiamo portarli a se sono destinati ad essere portati.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in Wilhelm Meister’s Lehrjahre (Book VIII, Chapter four, 1795) from Werke, Hamburger Ausgabe in 14 Bänden, Verlag C. H. Beck München, Herausgegeben von Erich Trunz.

Sir Thomas Gresham: Tudor, Trader, Shipper, Spy and the Ladies of Dulwich

What a most interesting talk to give. My dear friend, Robin Sherlock KCLJ MA, former Chief Commoner of the City of London Corporation, asked me to speak at the Ladies’ Dinner of The Dulwich Club where he has been Senior Steward the past year. The Club, founded in 1772, is one of the oldest dining societies in the world. Elisabeth and I found the entire evening a delight. Haberdashers’ Hall was rebuilt after the fire of 1666 and the bombing of WWII, yet the Company made a brave decision to open one of the most tasteful modern halls in 2002, a true architectural gem opposite St Barthomew’s.

Giving a talk to The Dulwich Club was no easy task, as they’ve heard them all before. I was a bit trepidatious, particularly as the Junior Steward, Bruce Purgavie made clear my ignorance of football yet expected me to show some rocket science skills the night after Guy Fawkes. What can one say? Well, this was it:

Sir Thomas Gresham: Tudor, Trader, Shipper, Spy

The Dulwich Club – Ladies Night Dinner
Haberdashers’ Hall
Thursday, 6 November 2014

“Senior Steward, Junior Steward, my Lords, distinguished Guests, Ladies. When Robin suggested that I have a dinner with the Ladies of London’s most exclusive dining society, I was particularly pleased. When he suggested I bring along my Lady Elisabeth, while delighted of course, I began to realise it wasn’t my looks – I would be lecturing for my dinner on behalf of the Visitors.

Robin suggested I do a serious talk, after all the jokes, about being a newish Alderman, so I naturally thought of ward disputes, governance, compliance, and endless committee meetings to share with you. Robin wondered if perhaps there was something slightly more interesting, so let me share with you one fun project of the Joint Grand Gresham Committee – a biography on Sir Thomas Gresham: Tudor, Trader, Shipper, Spy, born 1519, died 1579.
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When I was a boy two-door was what you bought when you couldn’t afford four-door, but Gresham served four Tudor monarchs, managed to keep his head, and all the while made money. Lots of it. He probably died comparatively wealthier than Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. 435 years later his legacy still generates millions for good causes. We have Gresham Street. We have his statue a few hundred yards away on Holborn viaduct, another at the Royal Exchange. We have his Tower 42 Mansion site, Osterley Park, Boston Manor. His grave at St Helen’s Bishopsgate. We have grasshoppers everywhere – on the top of the Royal Exchange, at 68 Lombard Street, on stained glass windows.

Gresham was born on Cheapside and attended St Paul’s School and Gonville College, Cambridge. In 1543 he went to Antwerp to make his fortune as a Mercer. Antwerp then was very cosmopolitan and large for the time, with a population approaching 100,000, double London or Rome. Just 25 merchants accounted for half of London’s cloth exports, and the two biggest exporters were the brothers John Gresham and Richard Gresham, Thomas’s father.

Gresham imported from Antwerp the idea of a ‘bourse’ or ‘exchange’ for intangible items such as ship voyages and insurance. Incorporated into the 1571 Royal Exchange were 150 small shops, called The Pawn, London’s first shopping centre. From within St Martin’s Goldsmiths he experimented with fractional reserve gold stores, cornering markets, and insider trading. His Will, enacted upon his death in 1579, created Gresham College and challenged the ‘Oxbridge’ oligopoly in higher education.

We are commissioning a biography which we hope to publish on the quincentenary of his birth, 2019. But what does a Tudor have to say about contemporary issues? I thought I’d ‘channel’ Gresham on three questions today:
1 – what should we do about our banks?
2 – what should we do about our currency?
3 – what should we do about Europe?

1 – What Should We Do About Our Banks?

Gresham was probably one of the first goldsmiths to issue more certificates for gold in the vaults than he had. Our modern economic terms are fractional reserve banking or leveraged banking. So rather than letting banks such as RBS in 2008 lend 42 times what they had in the vaults, Gresham would probably recommend tight control over leverage. He might have recommended that our quantitative easing continue to the point that our banks were lending little more than they have in their vaults.

2 – What Should We Do About Our Currency?

Gresham explained to Elizabeth I that because Henry VIII and Edward VI had replaced 40% of the silver in shillings with base metal, ‘all your fyne gold was conveyed out of this your realm.’ Colloquially expressed as “bad money drives out good”, Gresham’s Law was attributed to him in 1858 by a Scottish economist. Two awkward bits – the Law is the reverse, “good money drives out bad”, and Gresham’s Law was not his; it was noted much much earlier by many, starting with Aristophanes. The Nobel economist Robert Mundell rephrased Gresham’s Law more properly as “cheap money drives out dear money only if they must be exchanged for the same price”.

In 1551 Edward VI appointed Thomas as Royal Agent in Antwerp. A clever and shrewd dealer, Gresham reduced royal indebtedness from £325,000 to £108,000. He reduced the national debt by two-thirds in nine months. Under so-called ‘austerity’, UK national debt has grown over the past four years by a third. William Cecil put Gresham in charge of recoinage in 1560. To his, Elizabeth’s, and Cecil’s credit, within a year debased money was withdrawn, melted, and replaced, with a profit to the Crown estimated at £50,000.

Gresham stood for an independent pound sterling. He certainly wouldn’t have sold off the national gold reserve. More interestingly, he might also have supported an independent London currency.

3 – What Should We Do About Europe?

A Gresham ship from 1570 was re-discovered in the Thames in 2003; its cannons inscribed with grasshoppers and marked ‘TG’. There are tales of bullion concealed in bales of pepper or armour. Gresham was clearly a “merchant adventurer” with a network of European agents, though the sobriquet ‘arms-dealer’ might equally apply.

The Royal Exchange began as his father’s idea, but the idea behind the exchange and the shops was that London prospers when all who come for exchange are treated fairly.

Gresham was a free trader and Europhile, yet also a realist and a spy, committed to engaging with Europe, vigorously, but for mutual and selfish benefit.

Hop To It

I must end on grasshoppers, in two ways – the family symbol and Kung Fu. The Gresham grasshopper first appears in the mid-1400’s. According to family legend, the founder of the family, Roger de Gresham, was abandoned as a baby in long grass in North Norfolk in the 13th century. A woman’s attention was drawn to the foundling by a grasshopper. While a beautiful story, a more likely explanation is that the Middle English word ‘gressop’ for ‘grasshopper’ resembles ‘Gresham’. I think the Royal Exchange may have taken the theme too far – if you look on the south side just now it reads, “luxury shopping”, but the “s” has temporarily fallen off. Luxury hopping?

And Kung Fu? Well grasshoppers, you’ll remember David Carradine and the 1970 television series – ‘grasshoppers’ are students. Gresham believed in the power of education for all. His Tudor Open University spawned ‘The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge’ after a 1660 lecture by Sir Christopher Wren, then Professor of Astronomy. Today Gresham College hosts over 130 physical events per year free to the public, distributes recordings under a Creative Commons licence, and provides millions of people with lecture transcripts and recordings via the internet.

A century after Gresham’s death Samuel Pepys enjoyed Gresham’s legacies, listening to one of the professors ‘sufficiently learned to reade the lectures’, then strolling through the Royal Exchange afterwards in search of a gift for a loved one, as can you today well over three centuries later. We’re pleased to be setting out on the first proper biography and I hope you feel he is a worthy subject. What I might ask you to do is look around the City and wonder at how we ourselves could leave a comparable legacy for the next half a millennium. We, your grateful guests, know the Dulwich Club will be full of enthusiastic ideas. Thank you!”

And for even more…

Michael Mainelli and Valerie Shrimplin, “Sir Thomas Gresham: Tudor, Trader, Shipper, Spy”, London Topographical Society Newsletter, Number 79 (November 2014), pages 3-6.