This is one of the busiest days for visitors and most important for the Chaplain and his staff. This extract from Poppies, Pomp and People, features Sacristan Bernard, a most remarkable character.
April 3rd (2015): Good Friday. Liturgy of the Cross: Faure Requiem and Good Friday Reflections.
A fine performance at St Peter ad Vincula at 7 pm, deeply appreciated by the audience for this solemn occasion.
Sacristan Bernard Jackson (on the right in this picture, talking with Lord Dannatt, has been associated with the Tower since 1968 and he is responsible for keeping safe the vestments, furnishings, sacred vessels and records. Currently, for state service occasions, the ‘Salver and Flagon’ (normally displayed in the Jewel House) are placed on the altar. The Sacristan used to use the Salver regularly to hold the filled collection plates, prior to presentation to the officiating priest; it is very beautiful and he regrets its removal.
Deeply respected, Bernard has an incredible memory and eye for detail and is an accomplished expert on the furnishings and he noted that on one of the Queen’s visits, she was wearing the brooch that Prince Albert had given to Queen Victoria on their wedding day in 1840. Bernard recalls the Constable being fascinated by his collection of Maundy Thursday coins and this picture shows them in deep conversation. One important recollection was when Prince Charles attended a private communion service in St John’s on his twenty-first birthday, accompanied by the Queen Mother and his sister, Princess Anne.
He regularly cycles to the Tower from his home in Euston; unfortunately, his previous bicycle was stolen, but the authorities presented him with a replacement.