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IOC 2017 Members' Day at Carpenters Hall and visit to The Ned Hotel & St Vedast Church - May 19, 2017

This year's IOC Members' Day was a great success.  Our President Geoff Rhodes gave our members an overview of the annual report and outlined the IOC's strategic five year plan on which our Institute will plan and focus - very inspiring and encouraging.


This was followed by three very interesting lectures from members and other organisations. Firstly a talk about a heritage project which involved moving a 16th century timber framed cottage, piece by piece, brick by brick to a new site due to the building of the Eurostar train project. Then a talk from Which? Trusted Traders about consumer rights and consumer protection, then a talk from the CITB about the future of construction training in the UK, all of which were both interesting and informative. This was followed by a lovely lunch. There were some marvellous exhibits from some of our members and a raffle with some great prizes.

Following the Members' Day around twenty of our members took a short walk to The Ned Hotel beautifully restored grade one listed building in the the heart of the city of London. The hotel is a collaboration between Soho House and Sydell Group and the building works were carried out by Ardmore Construction Ltd. The Ned is named after the architect Sir Edwin "Ned" Landseer Lutyens, considered one of Britains greatest architects since Sir Christopher Wren. Once the headquarters and main branch of the Midland bank this magnificent grade one listed building has been converted into a two hundred and fifty two roomed hotel reflecting the banks 1920's heyday. The former banking Hall, once the centre of commerce, now boasts nine restaurants and four bars. The walnut panelling and Joinery including two  beautiful hand carved vestibules at the main entrance in Princess Street and the Poultry entrance have all been lovingly restored to their former glory, a project which I was fortunate enough to be involved in as I was one of the managers overseeing the restoration work which included the Carpentry and Joinery and restoration of the original Joinery works on the ground floor.

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After refreshment at The Ned Hotel our group took a short walk to St Vedast Church http://www.vedast.org.uk/ opposite  St Paul's Cathedral. St Vedast dates back to the twelfth century but was restored in 1670 by Sir Christopher Wren named after a little known French saint St Vedast of Bishop of Arras during the sixth century . The church is one of London's hidden gems. Entering the church you notice how peaceful and calm its is and feel far away from the hustle and bustle of the busy London streets just outside. The interior of the church is a mixture of old and new due to the more recent restoration works in the late 1950's to early 1960's. We where lucky enough to arrive just at the right time when the sun shone through the beautiful 17th century stained glass windows. 

The highlight of the church include The Great Western Doors dating from the early 17th century surviving the Great Fire of London. The 17th century Swordrest to hold the sword of the Lord Mayor when he visited. The Royal Coat of Arms above the vestry doors, required by the act of Uniformity of 1662. The ceiling, unique among city churches with gold leaf and aluminium decorations. The Pulpit, originally made for All Hallows' church 17th century, attributed  Grinling Gibbons whose trademark open pea pod can be seen in the panel by the steps. When it was restored and bought to 

St Vedast in the 1960's new panels were included depicting the bells and a Phoenix rising from the ashes and the doors of the church which survived both the Great Fire of London and Blitz. The fountain on on of the new panels represents the Fountain Inn which stood next door on the site of the rectory and the Lions head denotes the company arms of the Goldsmiths, benefactors of the church. The church also has a wonderful courtyard next to the rectory decorated with sculptures and cherubs with examples of Roman mosaic flooring discovered nearby.

All in all a fantastic Members' Day and a wonderful day out in London. I'm very much looking forward to next year's event.

By Marcus Jahrling FIOC

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