This event proved to be extremely popular so much so that a second visit had to be arranged to cope with the additional guests. There was a full complement of 20 on the first visit on 13 February which was hosted by Stewart Norman, the Deputy Chairman, while your Chairman looked after the those attending on the 14 February.
Both tours were conducted by Dave Merry who has over 46 years’ experience in the trade and was himself an apprentice. He gave us an overview of the long history of this ancient Livery Company and its apprentices; we learnt how some words, such as “masterpiece” found their way into common use and saw some of the apprentices at work on their “masterpieces”. After a tour of the main civic rooms in Goldsmith’s Hall we went into the more mundane surroundings of the Assay Office. There we saw the different ways that metals are tested today and how articles are hallmarked from the very large to the very tiny and got a sense of the quantities hallmarked every day. We were also fortunate to see and hold one of the coins left over from the Trial of the Pyx and there are photos on the website to prove it! The tour finished with seeing some of the fakes that have been uncovered.
After the tour which lasted two hours we were all in need of refreshment and a short walk took us to The Bottlescrue where we had a most enjoyable lunch served in a private dining room where we were able to linger and chat with friends old and new.