First of all may I wish all of you a very Happy 2018 and welcome to this the first of what I expect to be an occasional series of newsletters, the aim of which is to provide Club members and friends with information relating to the Club, including details of upcoming events and other news. The idea came to me when I was trying to share a lot of information about several exciting things that are happening in the coming months and the letter was becoming ever longer, so I decided on a new format for a new year.

I am now going to tell you what is in the Newsletter and then you can put your feet up with a cuppa and have a leisurely read.


  1. Quiz night on 17 January
  2. Details for February’s event – closing date of 5 February
  3. A Save the Date for a very special event in April
  4. Establishment of the Club Archive
  5. Material for the Website
  6. Feedback request

1. QUIZ ON 17 JANUARY 2018

There are a few places left if you would like to come – just phone Avril Payne on 07973 419476 with your details.

Quiz Night and Bar Snacks at Ye Olde Watling Pub

Wednesday 17 January 2018



The Club’s February event is a tour of the London Assay Office and Goldsmiths’ Hall followed by lunch.

The Assay Office at Goldsmiths’ Hall has been providing its “Mark of Excellence” since 1300. It is where hallmarking began in 1327 and now covers not only gold and silver, but also other precious metals such as platinum and palladium. The two hour tour will be conducted by Dave Merry, Fellow of the Institute of Professional Goldsmiths and a renowned hallmarking expert with over 46 years’ experience.

You will hear about the history of this ancient Livery Company and its apprentices, visit the various departments to see the different ways that metals are tested today, from the ancient ‘touch testing’ to the high tech XRF & ICPOE Spectroscopy; learn and see how articles are hallmarked, the verification of British antique silver by the Antique Plate Committee, counterfeit fakes and how the vast quantity of jewellery and silverware that are hallmarked every day are processed. The tour will culminate in a brief ‘Antiques Roadshow’ type fakes and forgeries session and you will each get a goody bag which will include a book on the Hall and a few Assay Office pamphlets, but unfortunately no free gold bars!

We will then stroll across the road to The Bottlescrue wine bar for a delightful two course lunch with wine.

The cost of the Tour is £25.00 for members and £26 00 for non-members and lunch is £25.50 per person inclusive of service.

As I need to provide the Assay Office with visitors names a week in advance so security passes can be produced, I should be grateful if you would return your completed booking form and payment to me no later than Monday 5 February.



3. SAVE THE DATE – 19 APRIL 2018

I am delighted to announce the very special event for April will be an evening with Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury, when he will share his thoughts on “Brexit, Trump, Corbyn and the Future”. This will take place at Nomura’s offices on Thursday 19 April at 6pm.

Lord Smith has spent his career at the very heart of British government and administration. Born in Barnet, he graduated from Cambridge, where he was president of the Cambridge Union, with a degree in English and a PhD specialising in Wordsworth and Coleridge, and then continued his education at Harvard. He returned to the UK to work at a housing charity and first entered politics as a councillor in Islington before being elected to the seat of Islington South in 1983 during the Labour/SDP ‘split’.

In 1997 he was appointed to Tony Blair’s first cabinet as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, where among other things we can thank him for introducing free admission to many leading museums. In 2005 he retired from Parliament and was created Baron Smith of Finsbury.

In 2008 he accepted the post of Chairman of the Environment Agency, steering it through a period of unprecedented climatic challenges, before in 2015 turning full circle to become Master of Pembroke College, his former alma mater, where he is now in charge of one of the largest building and expansion projects seen in Cambridge in the last 200 years. Lord Smith now splits his time between Cambridge and his base in the heart of Clerkenwell, part of the old Borough of Finsbury.

As 2018 starts with few of the concerns and worries of 2017 resolved we are incredibly fortunate to have someone with Lord Smith’s breadth of experience to help us understand of what is really going on in our world, from Brexit to the Trump administration, the emergence of the Momentum movement and the resurgence of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, Lord Smith’s political neighbour in Islington North for over 20 years.

I look forward to welcoming you and your guests to what will be probably one of the most significant political briefings in the City this year.

Further details will follow in due course but do make this a firm date in your diary.



We now have the facility to store hard copy of documents relating to the history of the Club. Many of you are long standing members and may have kept items, such as menus and bidding letters, as mementoes of events you have attended. The Committee would be grateful for any originals or copies, if you prefer, of such items so they may be placed in the archive. They will also be scanned and loaded onto the website. Photographs would also be most welcome. So can I please encourage you as part of your new year paper clean to see if you have anything you would be happy to share with the Club and have stored. Past chairmen may also have invitations to events they attended as a representative of the Club.

Items should be sent to

The Hon Sec, Mrs. Christine Broomhead, 66 Alleyn Park, Dulwich, London, SE21 8SF




As those of you who are familiar with using websites, they are only good as long as they are kept up to date and contain interesting material. This is a very active Club and well supported by members and friends. I would like to encourage you to send in your photographs of events you have attended in the past and of course in the future to Matthew our webmaster at matt@thehampsons.org and he will load them onto the site. Also if you have any comments on events then please send him an email about them which he can include. I have not forgotten those of you who are not on email: if you have any comments then write to me and I will pass them on.




I hope you have enjoyed this new style of communication and I would very much welcome your thoughts and feedback on it. Please send them to me at

Broughton Poggs Mill House, Filkins, Lechlade, Gloucestershire GL7 3JH



Warm regards

Avril Payne, Chairman