Doug Brydges, Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers

The Master and the entire team at Butchers' Hall send you their greetings and very best wishes for a truly marvellous 2007.

There are a number of interesting speakers listed for our monthly Court Luncheons, a special day to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the first shipments of New Zealand meat to this country, and a great charity event in June, which will have wide appeal and support from our industry. As the year unfolds, more activities will be announced.

Last month, we had the traditional presentation of the Boars' Head to the Lord Mayor. This shows how our modern Livery has a very strong sense of the history of our craft and the trials and tribulations that our forebears went through in the conduct of their businesses. We know that it wasn't all plain sailing and even though the Meat Hygiene Service had not been thought of, everyone knew enough about animals and food to keep problems to a minimum.

Our Livery is about 1,000 years old and has played an important role in the meat industry over much of that time. As populations grew and the demand for meat increased, livestock had to be moved in large quantities on sheep and cattle tracks from country to town. Coming to London from far away, the animals would often change ownership and be bought by graziers, who fattened them up before their final journey to market. Cattle were driven about 12 miles a day and they had to be well looked after to ensure their eating quality was up to scratch.

So the past and the present is celebrated at Butchers' Hall throughout the year and your Livery continues to play its vital role in the development of the industry.