It is with a sense of awe that I took on the Mastership of our illustrious Company on 14th May 2015. Awe not just for the honour but also at the historical context of the Turners’ Company. It is over 400 years since we had a royal charter conferred on us but the record shows we had been in existence for at least the same period prior to 1604. Even this pales in significance when it is realised that the technology of turning on which our Company was founded has been with us for at least a further three millennia.
The daunting responsibility I now face is to take the Company forward against this historical backdrop and I have the support of a very capable Clerk, Wardens, committees and members. I owe special thanks to John Bridgeman for his skilful Mastership in this last year and look forward to leaning on his experience and wise counsel as Deputy Master in the coming days. Long overdue thanks are also due to Honorary Assistant Gordon Sloan who sponsored my nomination to the Court some ten years ago and has always been at hand for friendly advice.
I have had a lifetime association with turning starting with my first lathe at the age of 14. I am a professional engineer with a background in the machine tool industry as it moved into a computerisation phase. My interests amongst others include a pre-occupation with turning and I had the honour to be President of the Society of Ornamental Turners for the last 8 years. My new role gives me a unique sense of completeness based on the parallel paths of career and hobby.
The support to the City will continue as before and this year is the lead-in to the 4th Wizardry in Wood. It is this event which creates such a stir in the Livery movement and positions the Turners’ Company in people’s minds way above the actuality of 51st in the Order of Precedence. Turning is in good heart and we continue to nurture the participation in this Craft with sponsorship, education and competitions. Our charitable activities will again concentrate on donations and lathes for the most deserving causes in our community. The Company looks forward to receiving donations of not only a general nature but also those with a focus on particular needs.
During this upcoming year we shall be looking to widen our membership. Employers are making greater demands on our professional lives, but the need for a world outside the career is as important as ever. The Turners’ Company provides a special place, combining an historic Livery Company with a living craft and a reputation for outstanding friendliness and hospitality. Should you wish to introduce new members please do advise the Clerk or any Court member.
The Company now has excellent offices in Skinners’ Hall with our own separate meeting room. Formally opened by Liveryman (now Dame) Fiona Woolf, the accommodation provides a well-deserved ambience for our hard-working Clerk and Assistant, as well as a display of Company treasures. My wife, Ann, and I are looking forward to the coming year and meeting as many of you as possible. We have a splendid programme of dinners and lunches on our social calendar and also events of interest in the City, organised by our Livery committee. The emphasis is not only on enjoyment but also giving to others, for which the Turners’ Company is justly famed and this year will be no exception.
Nicholas S Edwards