Visit to the Honourable Artillery Company

Twenty-five members of the Company and guests visited the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) on 10 April through the good offices of Freeman Brian Best of the Government Panel. Armoury House, the headquarters of the HAC, is a veritable oasis of calm in the middle of the City and includes in its ground the only cricket pitch in the City – which can also be used as a helicopter landing ground!

The evening started with a presentation by the Captain of the Pikemen and Musketeers (P&M) who explained the history of the HAC and in particular the P&M. The HAC is the oldest regiment in the British Army and traces its history back to Henry VIII, while the P&M was set up in 1924 and provides the ceremonial bodyguard for the Lord Mayor.  (You will also have seen them at certain events such as our Summer Banquets in the Mansion House.) The HAC still has a Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve battalion and provides the ceremonial artillery salutes from the battery at the Tower of London. While the P&M are all volunteers, they all have had some connection with the HAC in the past.  The Captain’s presentation of the history was clearly well-received and there were plenty of questions, which resulted in his overrunning his 30 minute slot by nearly 20 minutes!

Following the presentation, we split into three groups for a tour around the historic building, including a visit to their fascinating museum where we could have spent all of the allotted time. After this, and while plied with champagne and a finger buffet supper, several of our group tried on some of the armour of the Pikemen, handled the muskets (unloaded) of the Musketeers and modelled the hats of both.

Not surprisingly, the visit significantly overran is scheduled finish time of 8pm and all of the visitors had a very enjoyable time. We are grateful to Brian for his organisation and to the HAC P&M for allowing the visit.