This morning the Stationers’ Company walked in procession in light rain to St Paul’s Cathedral for its annual service.
On return to the livery hall the members and guests were due to enjoy a buffet lunch known as ‘cakes and ale’.
The annual Shrove Tuesday event dates from 1612 but until recently was held on Ash Wednesday. This was because of an endowment which named the first day of Lent for the occasion. Today’s preacher David Meara will receive a ten shillings (fifty pence) fee.
Only in 2016 did the Company, persuaded by the Dean of St Paul’s, agree to come on the more appropriate Shrove Tuesday.
Traditions often do change slightly over years.
The processional route from Stationers’ Hall to the cathedral used to be by way of Ludgate Hill. Now the robed figures approach St Paul’s by passing through Paternoster Square and under Temple Bar which in living memory stood in rural Hertfordshire.
This year there was another slight but temporary change. Due to building work the procession came from nearby Cutlers’ Hall where afterwards the cakes and ale was to be enjoyed.
Meanwhile pancake races were starting outside the Guildhall.