A Tribute to Paul Marsh
Employee of the Innholders' Company 1951 to 1994
Paul was born in Dovercourt, Essex on the 9th January 1929 to Hilda and Gordon Marsh
He went to live at the Innholders Hall in 1934 having spent his early years in Essex.
Paul lived at the Hall though out most of the war but in 1940 when he was 11, the Hall was bombed and he took shelter in a safe place – literally - the safe in the basement, together with the Company’s silver. The Hall was badly damaged but Paul emerged unscathed.
He attended St John Cass School in Aldgate and a report a few years later stated; “He is a quiet, sensible lad of pleasing manner and address, careful of his personal appearance, honest and reliable. English is his best subject. We recommend him as a sound steady lad”
So no doubt with this glowing report in his hand, in 1943 he obtained a position with a city firm of Chartered Accountants.
After some time, he decided that a career in accountancy was not his forte so he decided to serve King and Country and in October 1946, signed up for five years with the Royal Air Force.
However, his dreams and aspirations of rising to the dizzy heights in the Air Force were rapidly dispelled when he was discharged after two weeks due to heath reasons as he suffered from asthma.
He then joined his Father and worked with him at the Innholders – so what the Armed Forces lost, the City gained!
Paul quickly learnt the skills of catering for Livery Companies in general and the Innholders Company in particular.
After a few years Paul completely took over the Innholders catering from his father, continuing to make the Innholders Hall a splendid and sought after venue for Company and City functions.
In July 1954, Paul took a couple of weeks off, borrowed his father’s Standard 8 car and embarked on a country wide tour of the British Isles.
Every day without fail, he sent a postcard to his parents, in fact some days he sent two if he stopped at a place of interest. When reading through these cards recently, I was rather amused with his observations whilst in Wales and I quote, with apologies to anyone from that Principality:
“And now Swansea, a weird town this. The place is crammed with fish and chip shops and the whole population eats fish and chips. There is nothing else to do!”
The next day he moved on to Chepstow and the postcard from there says:
“A very pretty town but has too many fish and chip shops. I’m beginning to hate fish and chips!”
The following postcard was from England, Weston Super Mare but it didn’t get much better, he writes:
“The smell of fish and chips is everywhere – I eat nothing but salads now!!”
Ironically, 37 years later, Paul (and June) moved to the seaside - Herne Bay, with its plethora of fish and chips shops!
During a holiday in Majorca in 1957, Paul met lovely June.
June came from a very large family and Paul being an only child, it must have been a quite a culture shock initially integrating with June’s five sisters and four brothers but he quickly “made himself at home” and thoroughly enjoyed the whole new large family experience.
After quite a long courtship, Paul and June were married in 1964 by the Master of the Innholders Company, the reception being at the Innholders Hall naturally. June joined Paul working at the Hall and together they made a great team.
In November 1967, Paul was appointed Assistant Beadle and Butler to the company in appreciation by the Court of his many years of service.
After the passing of Paul’s father in 1972, he and June took up residence at the Hall as Beadle and Assistant Beadle respectively.
They enjoyed an extremely busy working life at the Innholders but also by now, Paul was established as the Beadle to the Worshipful Companys of Cooks, Blacksmiths, Fruiters and Farmers, together with being the Ward Beadle of the Bassishaw Ward. He once claimed that he was London’s busiest Beadle. He walked in the Lord Mayor’s Show 50 times.
I recall the first time we, the family, attended. We were at the Law Courts when Paul arrived sniffing, with tears in his eyes. I immediately thought what a moving experience it must have been for him, only to learn later in the day that his tears were not that he had been overcome with emotion, but that he was allergic to horses!
In February 1989, Paul was honoured to be admitted to the Freedom of the Worshipful Company of Innholders.
Paul and June were at the Hall until 1989 when it was closed for refurbishment and when this work was completed, the Court decided it was too close to Paul’s retirement date for him to take on the task of catering again but he resumed his role as Beadle and Hall keeper.
Retirement came for Paul in 1994 when he was 65. However, he still remained as Beadle continuing to attend occasional functions at the Hall for a good few years afterwards, although by now, he and June had moved to Herne Bay.
Sir Robin Gillet, Lord Mayor in 1976 –77 wrote a heartfelt letter to Paul in November 1994, saying how sorry he was that Paul, did not wish to be re-elected Beadle for the Battishaw Ward.
Sir Robin goes on to say;
“I am very sad to hear this as I had hoped you would see me out as Alderman. I shall miss the long Gillet-Marsh connection and so will the Ward”.
A piece by Past Master Christian Brann in a 2001 Innholder’s newsletter says and I quote;
“What all of us who have known him for nearly half a century will always remember about Paul, is his total unselfish dedication to the Company, his courtesy, dignity, charm and modesty”