At the beginning of the year we decided to invest in a new booking system. After trialling and testing Priava, the world’s only Cloud-based venue and event management software, we decided to take the plunge and went live at the end of January. It’s made a huge difference to how we work and is saving us lots of time, which means our Events Team get to focus more energy on going the extra mile for our clients. We also invested in sending all of our Operations Team on their IOSH (Institution of Health and Safety) training. You’ll be pleased to know they all passed with flying colours!
On a more personal note, our Head of Marketing and Events, Rowan Bennet, got engaged. We all wish her and her fiancé, Tim, the best of luck for their big day next year.
Wedding planning aside, Rowan was also busy in February delivering another outstanding guest lecture at Leeds Beckett University, to final year students on the subject of event tenders – not the most exciting of subjects but within the events industry we’re all great at being creative with somewhat dull topics! The month also saw us host a fabulous MIA dinner with key event bookers, MIA members and venue directors. The networking event was a huge success and Chief Executive of Banks Sadler Ltd, Leigh Jagger’s talk on current industry trends was as well received as was the delicious, three-course dinner.
In March we hosted the Gala Dinner for the London City Selection. We’re proud members of the venue consortium and it was an honour to host them and the fabulous agents attending the Fam trip. We were also delighted to welcome (for the fifth successive year) the Whisky Live show – the event’s biggest and most popular sampling and tasting extravaganza so far.
Proving that you don’t need to wait until the summer months to make the most of our five-acre plot of lush green grounds, the School of Hard Knocks played a rugby match in front of a live audience, broadcast to millions on Sky Sports. The social inclusion charity hosted a fantastic day which saw them take on Millwall Rugby Club.
One of our most eagerly anticipated annual events is our fabulous St Georges’ Dinner. This year our key note speaker, Lord King, presented to a full and beautifully set Long Room. The menu included some show-stopping dishes including trio of salmon with watercress sponge, pickled candied beets and lemon emulsion, followed by a tasting of Yorkshire Rhubarb – delicious!
The annual HAC Open Evening was, as ever, great fun. The event gives the general public the chance to learn more about the work the Honourable Artillery Company does, enjoy a display by the Regiment and explore the venue’s museum, plus lots more. Later the same month we hosted a somewhat wet rugby match with the brilliant Saracens in the City, who always put in a great performance.
Without a doubt, the pinnacle of 2016 was when we welcomed HRH Queen Elizabeth II for afternoon tea. Her majesty is The Honourable Artillery Company’s longest-reigning Captain-General, and we were delighted she paid us the great honour of visiting the home of The HAC. June also saw our hugely popular summer showcase and the first ever British Push Track Championships (that’s bobsleighing to the uninitiated amongst you!).
One of our favourite annual events takes place in July, and this year we had record numbers taking part in the Great City Race. Throughout the summer our kitchens created and served our most delicious seasonal menu to date. Guests at our HAC barbecues were treated to delights including Jerk spiced boneless chicken thighs with Jamaican fire sauce and Passion fruit, strawberry and blueberry mess.
As the summer party season got into full swing we hosted gatherings with some of the biggest numbers ever recorded in the Artillery Gardens. Saracens in the City returned, with yet another resounding win and we were delighted to welcome lots of couples who had chosen the HAC in which to get married.
The HAC is the only cricket pitch in the City, so during the summer we play host to dozens of matches. September was a fairly charity-centred month and we welcomed cricket teams from both the Sick Children’s Trust and the ABF City Invitational. The team lists included past professional players including Mark Ramprakash, Matthew Hoggard and Min Patel. We also saw the return of Saragarhi Day – a Sikh military commemoration day - and a host of Asian Weddings throughout the month.
October and the change of season saw us turn the grounds round ready for winter sports. We also had our busiest month of brand new conference business following the successful launch of our new DDR package. Our Autumn Fare Showcase Dinner - which shows off the talents of in-house caterers , Fare of London - was a huge success. Diners were treated to a starter of Kidderton Ash goat’s cheese and beetroot chutney, a main of beef Wellington and for dessert a hazelnut chocolate torte with clementine sorbet.
There was also more happy nuptial news with our Operations Manager Jethro Meydanci getting married!
November was a very busy month with a host of big, fabulous events including the return of the UK Dating Awards and The Square Meal Tasting show. Each November, The HAC is a key hub for the Lord Mayor’s Show, with our ceremonial sub-unit the Pikemen and Musketeers on parade whenever the Lord Mayor is in attendance. We housed the lovely Lord Mayors Horses for the week leading up to the parade, and then saw many of our members taking part in the parade itself. Followed by a busy week of Remembrance Services.
December has just begun and as the evenings close in and the weather get colder, The HAC Events Team start getting really excited as we’re starting to host the first of the season’s Christmas parties. Our themed package was a magical trip Narnia with frosted glade, life-size Aslan the lion and a real White Witch included. The Prince Consort Room and Long Room are dedicated to the festive season right up until Christmas Eve.
Getting ahead for 2017
Whatever events you have coming up in 2017, make sure you secure your first choice of space at The HAC by booking as soon as you can. If you’ve got any questions or want to arrange a site visit, give our Events Team a call on 020 7382 1533.