It is a privilege and
honour to be President of The City of London Circle of the Catenian
Association in this year of our 1,000th meeting. In view of the unique
place which the Circle holds within the Association as a whole, there is
also a feeling of responsibility for being the custodian of the
traditions that it has created and for upholding the memory of the many
distinguished men who have served as members over the past 92 years.
What would the founders of the Circle, Brothers Thomas Gordon Hensler and Thomas Baines make of it today? They would see a Circle that reflects the cultural shifts in society that have occurred during the intervening years, including the role that the City of London now plays as a global financial powerhouse. Modern professional life in the City seems busier than ever with Brothers stretched in a number of directions as they look to balance the pressures of work with those of being a Catenian, engaging in charitable activities, pursuing personal interests while, at the same time, ensuring that the priorities of family life are met. One thing that has not changed during that time is the spirit of brotherhood and mutual support that has been a hallmark of the Circle since its inception.
Not only does this history cover key events; it also encapsulates the spirit of the Circle and its uniqueness. It is coloured with the deeds of a great many characters who have been associated with the Circle over the years with a long list of associated achievements and honours. The Circle’s original purpose was to be relatively small in numbers and intimately linked with the commercial and professional life of the City. The tradition which it established of entertaining prominent Catholic visitors on behalf of Archbishop’s House is still embodied in our annual Legal Night where, on 65 occasions, we have shown our support and enjoyed the company of the Catholic judiciary.
Today, the Circle has a growing number of younger members with a variety of links to professional life in the City. The interaction of these members with our less professionally active, our newly retired and our more senior Brothers, all with immense experience in a range of professions, makes for a lively intellectual environment at Circle dinners.
Above all, the Circle provides a place, away from the pressures of professional life, where Catholic men can come together to pray, to share their faith, and to socialise and engage in charitable and other worthy activities. We pray that Catholic men will always recognise and respond to the need for such important activities in their lives and that the Circle will continue to thrive for another 1,000 meetings and beyond.
DAMIAN WOODWARD Circle President 2013 - 2014
Steeped in history and tradition Stationers’ Hall, a
Grade I listed building, was completed in 1673 after the Great Fire of
Stationers’ Hall is home to the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, which traces its origins to 15th century craftsmen and traders who wrote and bound books or supplied writing and binding materials. The name arose from their fixed stations — for they were amongst the first medieval tradesmen to stop being itinerant vendors.
In 1403, a Stationers’ Guild was formed in London and, when printing was introduced to England at the end of that century, the Guild had the good sense to welcome printers as members. The power of print led to Queen Mary Tudor granting the Guild a royal charter in 1557, requiring the new Company to check and register every book published in England and giving its members a monopoly in printing. Three years later, the Company officially became a City of London Livery Company, 47th in order of precedence.
Today, the Company has over 800 members, the vast majority of whom are senior executives in a wide-ranging selection of trades within the communications industry, from paper, print, publishing, packaging, office products, newspapers, broadcasting and online media.