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BARBICAN LIFE


Lord Mayor hosts Mayor. Nick Anstee with Boris Johnson (among others) at a Mansion House banquet


new roles Claire was amused and amazed to discover that everything had been unpacked and placed in wardrobes and drawers by the staff. Nick and Claire lived in Mansion House during the week but preferred to return to Wallside at weekends. Nick claimed that he didn’t want to become institutionalised and too reliant on being looked after. It could be easy to be seduced by the environment. For example, the footmen were ready to choose and lay out suits and ties each day. Nick preferred to do that, “But I was very happy to let them clean my shoes!” he said. However the Anstee family and friends spent Christmas under the great chandelier in the Mansion House’s salon. Nick cooked turkey for 24 in the Mansion House kitchen – one of the commercial kitchen sized ovens for the turkey, one for the roast potatoes and another to warm the plates.


Speaking at the 4th Annual Chinese Bankers Forum in Shanghai


One of the highlights of Nick’s year was his visit to China, but getting there at all was a major challenge. He had been hosting the Battle of Britain service at St Paul’s and it was the day of a tube strike. He had an hour to get to Heathrow. Much to his embarrassment the City police provided 4 outriders so he made it from Mansion House to Heathrow in 44 minutes. And that was not the end of his problems. The regular route to Hong Kong meant overflying a rocket test site in China; that day rockets were being fired so the plane had to be rerouted and the plane’s take-off slot rearranged. But he got there on time and in 9 days he had 55 engagements in 6 cities with 35 speeches most of which were tweaked to suit the local circumstances. Nick spoke to 100 journalists from press and television


and in Shanghai he participated in a question and answer session with 300 people chaired by the Asian Editor of the Financial Times. 225 articles are known to have been published about the trip giving publicity for the City and British industry.


These visits are so intensive that there is rarely time for sightseeing. One exception was during the visit to India. Standard Chartered Bank is giving £500,000 over 5 years to enable local doctors to restore the sight of Mumbai’s slum dwellers thus helping them to become economically active. It is estimated that over 10 million people will receive help and many are so grateful that they choose to make small contributions for their treatment. Witnessing this project in action was a moving experience which Nick described as “a staggering success for a British bank.”


Claire accompanied Nick on many of his overseas visits. While he was discussing high-level finance she was escorted around museums and art galleries, visited hospitals, schools and charities, walked through favelas, townships and slums and talked to street children and local people. Back home she also had a programme of her own. Events were as varied as opening the Red Cross market alongside Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, attending ward club lunches, unveiling plaques at City playgrounds and opening a poly-tunnel at West Ham Park. A highlight was pollarding her very own tree up a ladder at Burnham Beeches; once upon a time each Lord Mayor planted a tree but now there are too many trees so instead each Lord Mayor pollards one. On this occasion Claire was lucky enough to substitute


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for Nick who was double-booked elsewhere. He acknowledged that Claire played a very important role during his year as participant, supporter, confidante and good listener. Two of Nick’s passions are sport and supporting the RAF. He didn’t let being Lord Mayor get in the way of his morning run; he is a director of the London Marathon and completed the marathon for the 16th time while he was Lord Mayor. His enjoyment of sport extended to his official gifts. During a State Banquet for President Zuma of South Africa he presented his guest with a Liverpool football club shirt signed by the team and carrying the number ‘3’ because Zuma is the 3rd democratically elected president of South Africa. Nick’s father had commanded Six Squadron at Akrotiri, the main RAF base in Cyprus; the RAF was one of the year’s charities and Nick hosted the 7th September Battle of Britain Day Anniversary service in St Paul’s.


Nick enjoyed the pageantry but felt that it needs to change and offer a more modern image. The annual picture of the new Lord Mayor hanging from the window of the Coach is an obstacle to taking the position of Lord Mayor seriously. The Coach isn’t very comfortable because it rocks from side to side and is crowded with four occupants; it is a fantasy but it is a symbol too. The Lord Mayor’s Badge of Office is a privilege to wear and a responsibility and can be worn on a ribbon or a chain. The chain or Collar of Ss is a replica of Thomas More’s from the 16th century. Nick chose to wear the badge for civic but not business events


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