Forty members of Broad Street Ward gathered for a convivial hour sharing thoughts on the Ward future on a sunny afternoon. The agenda for the evening, Ward-Might 11 May 2016 – Agenda, was followed almost to the letter.
We had a warm introduction from Joost Röselaers, Predikant (Minister) of the Nederlandse Kerk, supported by Rein Roos, Koster (Verger). Joost referred to an old Dutch proverb, „Beter een goede buur dan een verre vriend“ – “Better a good neighbour than a far-off friend” – which was a lovely reminder of the cosmopolitan nature of our community.
Our President, Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli then opened the Ward-Might, noting the agenda and a few items of news, not least the new “Broad Street Ward Business Cards” avaiiable to all.
Russell Taylor, co-creator of the Alex cartoon, told us all about “the most famous living resident of this ward that you’ve never seen“. Russell kindly brought copies of the Alex cartoon book 2015 which helped everyone visualise things. His presentation led to a discussion between Russell & Michael and the audience about their proposal for an Alex Statue in the Ward.
There were many comments and suggestions, such as:
- Alex was the “iconic stereotype” (words of one audience member) of trading in the ward and a show of hands gave universal support to the proposal;
- how could we ensure the statue was humorous – beer in hand by pub? smoking a cigar near smokers’ corners? blocking the footpath while on a mobile telephone (sadly shot down by Christopher Hayward CC, recently elected as Chairman of Planning & Transportation)? helping people take a selfie?
- location – could we site the statue at the Dutch Church itself? could we use phoneboxes in the ward? could we use ‘CityScape’ to model it in potential locations?
- could 3D printing have a role?
- could we sell maquettes of the statue?
- could we learn from other examples of cartoon character statues such as Paddington Bear, Peter Pan, and Andy Capp statues elsewhere?
We then moved on to a round-robin of ward futures. John Bennett, Deputy, had given his apologies due to an operation and we wished him a speedy recovery. John Scott CC asked everyone to be missionaries for the rich cultural and historic offerings (most of them free) of the City. Christopher Hayward CC described his new role in Planning & Transportation and affirmed his desire to continue to improve the built environment across the City, but certainly in Broad Street Ward.
Rein and Joost highlighted their forthcoming events. Reverend Prebendary Jeremy Crossley spoke about the work ahead for the Tower at St Margaret Lothbury, and also reminded members of the wonderful and long-standing Thursday organ concerts from 13:10 to 14:00 (except August).
Jonny Westbrooke, Clerk of the Furniture makers, spoke about their newly refurbished venue hire facilities. Rosa Morgan-Baker of the ward charity The Brokerage Citylink explained their work to members and offered to involve members in their work at no cost – facilities and staff time are the inputs needed.
As ever, the event ended promptly but even more convivially as we had an hour’s wine reception kindly sponsored by Broad Street Ward Club and the Dutch Centre. Our Honorary Secretary of Broad Street Ward Club, Judith Rich, was, as ever, a most wonderful hostess (though she did seem to be slipping some application forms to non-members through the evening). The Dutch Church team were particularly attentive. As ever, the desire to continue socialising seems to have led to a hostelry (in the ward, see map!).