The original programme was to take a group to visit the Mansion House - home of the current Lord Mayor. Enquiries revealed that the tour would take only an hour, so additional activities were undertaken to maximise the value of our London trip. A visit to St Stephen's church, next door to the Mansion House was planned and, using a powerful City clerical connection, a brief talk by the Rector was arranged.
This was the logical end of the tour but, in the same street, are Walbrook, an important museum of Roman remains dating to 3rd century A.D, and a Mithraeum - temple of the god Mithras. It is in the ground floor and basement of Bloomberg's European HQ. It has the additional merit of free access. Some tickets were obtained for this optional extra, with a take up of roughly half of our party
Our party totalled 21 and we took a zig-zag route to Walbrook where we had the obligatory coffee stop.
At the agreed time, we presented ourselves at the Mansion House - the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London since 1754. We entered through the Mayor's private entrance where, after tight security checks, we met our guide, John Davies, Keeper of Walbrook Hall. John turned out to be an accomplished guide with a Welsh sense of humour which went down well with the group. In contrast with the Guildhall, which we toured about 3 years ago, where the impression was of plain walls, floors and ceilings, the impression conveyed here was of luxurious decoration - carpets, multiple chandeliers in different rooms, ornately decorated ceilings, and walls in some rooms decorated with part of the contents of the Harold Samuel collection of Dutch and Flemish 17th century paintings, acquired in 1987. The collection consists of 84 paintings by 10 artists, including Frans Hals.