This article was published in The Turner Magazine July 2018
I was invited to consider joining the Court in April 1999, the main proviso was that I would agree to progress through the Court to be Master in May 2008. I thought it was an honour and a privilege to be asked and I joined the Court on 1 July 1999, although I don’t think I was totally aware of the commitments that I was letting myself in for.
The Court is a bit overwhelming at first. You feel very much like the junior subaltern in a Regiment, be seen but not heard. Fortunately, after a year I was asked to join the Howe Committee and my long association with the craft of turning began.
In 2000, the main project at the Craft Competition was to make a Wassail Bowl. The response was tremendous and some quite outstanding bowls were produced. It was an eye-opener for me to see the professionalism of our turners and their ability to produce exquisite pieces of art.
Soon after that I was invited to chair the Howe Committee and to help with the preparations for our first ‘Wizardry in Wood’ exhibition, held at Pewterers’ Hall in June 2004. This was followed by the Company entering a ‘Turners’ Float’ in the Lord Mayor’s Show in November, both in support of our 400th Anniversary celebrations.
I managed, through my REME connections, to borrow a large recovery vehicle and trailer, which formed the basis of our float.
The project director was Colin Field and using the creative ideas of Stuart King, turner extraordinaire, we managed to produce an old and new turning display which centred around the Master, Andrew Mayer, sitting in a very large turned bowl, waving in true regal fashion to the crowds.
The highlight of my time on the Court was, of course, my Master’s year in 2008-9. This coincided with another of our turning Competitions and Wizardry in Wood 2008, held this time at Carpenters’ Hall.
Both were admirably organized by Peter Ellis and Peter Gibson, plus fantastic support from their wives. I also had the pleasure of accepting our son, Richard, into the Company as a Freeman during my year.
It was also a huge privilege to represent the Company during that year and my wife, Judy, and I will never forget the many memorable functions and events that we attended.
I had thought that after my Master’s year, my activities would lessen, but I was asked to chair the Charity Committee.
This was immensely satisfying and enabled me to witness the tremendous amount of work our charity did in helping disadvantaged children, in schools and colleges, to use a lathe, thereby gaining self-confidence; and how, through our Bursaries, we supported professional turners to learn new skills. It has been encouraging to follow the growth of our charitable activities over the years in supporting organisations such as QEST, Cockpit Arts and the Armed Forces Rehabilitation Centres.
Finally, in my last year on the Court, I have been co-opted onto the Membership Committee. Its primary task is to identify potential Court members from within the Livery to carry on the traditions of the Company, whilst embracing change and bringing in new ideas to take the Company forward into the future.
My nineteen years on the Court have been enlightening, extremely worthwhile and great fun.
It has been a privilege to serve the Court and the Company, time now to sit back and watch the Company grow.
Master Emeritus Rob Lucas