Today Julian took me to one of the local tobacco manufacturing units. It is a huge factory producing 60,000,000 cigarettes per day. We were shown the entire process from the arrival of some of the materials into the warehouse, the storage facilities, the preparation and manufacture of all the parts of the cigarettes, and then the counting, packing and removal to the distribution warehouse. The entire operation is automated and watching the speed and technology of this computer led system was amazing. Our guide was a former manager who was able to talk us through the entire process. Another senior staff member was also present and they were pleased to find someone who was interested in their work in today’s tobacco climate.
No pictures were allowed on our visit.
We then went to find some archives of the Virginia Company of London. I mentioned this yesterday. It dates from the same era as the Honourable Irish Society which better known in London. Indeed the Irish Society still exists as a charity today, but the Virginia Company is long gone. We identified the 52 Livery Companies who invested in the venture, including my own Haberdashers and Girdlers. I have not really established whether any of the companies ever got a decent return for their investment in either case!
The reason for the interest in the cross-over to the Irish situation is of course SLJ’s twinning with St Columb’s Cathedral in Londonderry which was built by The Irish Society.
As a result of this exploration I better understand the role of the City and Livery in the settlements both in America and in Ireland. That, after all, is supposed to be the purpose of my trip. I know you all think it is just a jolly holiday!