Situated where the river Fosse meets the Ouse, York was founded by the Romans and boasts a 13th century gothic cathedral, many other historic buildings and stunning architecture.
Such was the backdrop to the 2022 Master’s Weekend, hosted by Master Nick Laister and his Consort, Joy, between Friday 24 and Sunday 26 June 2022. Our Master and Consort arranged a rich but modest itinerary of tours, visits and dinners, and everyone enjoyed a weekend sparkling with fun and fellowship.
York is also a railway city and our weekend base was once the head office of the North Eastern Railway Company (fore-runner of the LNER), now stylishly converted into the Grand Hotel.
On Friday, dinner was enjoyed in the medieval Merchant Adventurers’ Hall. The majority of this Hall was built in 1357 by influential men and women who formed a religious fraternity, as with the founding of guilds in other parts of Britain, such as our own in the City of London. Granted the status of “the Company of Merchant Adventurers of the City of York” by Queen Elizabeth I in 1581, they remain a charitable group. Following a sparkling reception in the undercroft, we dined in the Great Hall upstairs, the largest timber-framed building in the UK still used for its original purpose; several returning later to the undercroft to dance off surplus energy.
Next day, we took the short walk to Britain’s biggest toy box, the National Railway Museum (NRM). Here we were introduced to the museum’s current displays and to “Vision 2025,” the NRM’s six-year plan to transform both the York museum and its sibling Locomotion at Shildon into a celebration of the past, present and future of railways and engineering. Carman Graham Miller, a trustee of the Friends of the NRM, visited the museum specially to encourage us to consider becoming individual Friends or Patrons and to answer our questions during the visit.
Afterwards, the afternoon was free to enable everyone to experience the many attractions offered by the city.
Saturday’s dinner was in the magnificent State Room of the York Mansion House, considered to be the pinnacle of grandeur in York, and the jewel in the crown of the Mansion House. At the preceding reception many recounted their adventures during the day and then, upstairs in the State Room, surrounded by striking gold pilasters and grand portraits of royalty and Lords Mayor, a lavish dining experience was enjoyed. Before retiring, the Master and Consort were given a toast for providing a weekend of opportunity for Carmen, their friends and guests to meet and socialise without the onerous restrictions which had been necessary in previous years.
The City of York was seen from a different perspective by those staying through to Sunday – a cruise on the Ouse. A plumbing hiccup delayed the boat’s arrival and created panic on the faces of the Master and his Consort but the crew took all in their stride and everyone enjoyed the voyage through the city and idyllic countryside, accompanied by hot drinks and some exceedingly good cakes. At the end of the cruise, everyone showed appreciation to the crew for a timely arrival prior to their onward travels and thanked once again our Master and Consort for all the arrangements and the most comprehensive guidance they had supplied.