On the 10th of March at the Master’s Emeriti lunch in the intimate surroundings of Skinners Hall I was invited to share my vision for the year ahead. On that day none of us could have imagined how radically the world was going to change.
The themes I shared were based on the building blocks of the Company – the 3 C’s: City, Craft and Charity built on the foundation of a 4th C – Company camaraderie. And we now have a 5th C – Coronavirus. I was planning to explore the impact of the Turners’ craft in the fabric of our daily, artistic and cultural lives and if anything, Coronavirus has highlighted the good we want to do and our opportunity to play a wider role in improving people’s lives.
Our first pillar is the City…
We know the impact of Coronavirus on life in the City and The Lord Mayor has been fast and brave in sharing his priority to maintain confidence in the City and hasten the relaunch of a strong economy. Confidence…that’s another ‘C’! He believes the resilience and agility of the financial and professional services industry will be central to our long-term economic recovery and has called on the livery movement to play it’s part as custodians of a tradition of fellowship, entrepreneurial spirit and support for the vulnerable. The current circumstances, he says, presents us with an opportunity – indeed obligation – to demonstrate the social value of the Livery in a new way. Read more….
What has become evident in these strange times is the importance of Craft – to help us live well – whether that’s reconnecting with the art of sourdough baking, potting tomatoes or dusting off the lathe. Coronavirus has highlighted the need of creativity to our well-being. One idea that resonates for me is bringing the Craft to life through Music with its proven impact on our spirit and emotions to enhance well-being. Read more….
Our final pillar is Charity
Following training days run by Les Thorne and in meeting various pro and amateur Turners, I was struck by the impact turning has on well-being and mental health. People shared with me about their PTSD, Aspergers and mental health challenges and how turning helped.
I want to re-visit what we’re already doing in this area (inspiring work with Road Farm and turning – helping children and adults to gain confidence while learning new skills; community ventures at the Greenwood site in Stoke Newington and so on…) and review how we can reach more people with turning as a wellness opportunity.
The Charity Committee is reviewing its regular grant payments and our Turning Things Around initiative will be addressing the opportunity to support Turners and the Prototype Yeoman Group.
Foundation – Company camaraderie
Of course we’re feeling sad that we can’t meet in person at our many events and dinners and if you add the potential 2,000 visitors to WiW, which is likely to be postponed to next year, we get an idea of the scale of loss of interaction to share our comradery and Craft. But let me assure you our Events and Comms Committees are working hard to see what we can do to develop interesting, fun and creative ways to mitigate this loss. Only yesterday I received my first on-line Livery event so things are looking up!
In my journey up the Chair there are too many of you to thank by name for your guidance, inspiration and kindness – but there are two people I must single out. Master Emeritus Andrew Mayer my mentor on the Court. His considered wisdom, knuckle-wrapping when needed and support is beyond measure. Thank you Andrew.
And where should I begin to express my thanks to Master Emerita Penrose Halson?! It was only after joining the Court that I learnt my normally modest father broke all the rules of etiquette by asking Penrose how I might join the Court. I am however, so grateful to him – as the privilege to share in the phenomenal work that you do and meet such inspirational people has been a highlight in my life.
It was only as recent as 1983 that the Livery movement had a female Master and with Penrose as a role model, I am hugely proud to serve this ancient company as your second female Master in 400 years. With Assistants Jo Baddeley and Joey Richardson below the Chair, I’m sure that gender will no longer be a thing – and in the way that you and the Company have enabled women I hope we can continue to look at diversity and inclusion in what we do.
Finally thank you for your confidence in me and I am very excited to serve this great Company. May I ask you to raise your glasses to join me and drink a toast to ‘The Worshipful Company of Turners. May it flourish Root and Branch’.
Master 2020 – 2021
Read the full speech here
Ditty for Melissa Scott on her election as Master of the Worshipful Company of Turners at a Zoomed Election Court, May 21st 2020
Curse the dastar-
We can phone a
Friend though cannot
Be on same spot;
But, through Zooming,
See you blooming,
Us to steady.
When Covid’s gone,
And from its bon-
dage we’re set free,
With most keen glee
We’ll all kiss ya,
My words now fail
Save “Master, all hail”!
by Master Emerita Penrose Halson