2017 began with a visit to the House Mill in Bromley by Bow, the world’s largest surviving tidal mill, at which John Bridgeman gave an illustrated talk on Mills, Turners and the Industrial Revolution and which was accompanied by gin, wine and an evening meal.
In March we had a visit to the informative ‘Fire, Fire’ exhibition at the Museum of London preceded by an excellent lunch at the Ironmongers’ Hall.
In April, we attended a private view of the ‘Robots’ exhibition at the Science Museum. Featuring a unique collection of over one hundred robots, from a 16th century mechanical monk to robots from science fiction and modern-day research labs, this exhibition enabled visitors to discover the cultural, historical and technological context of humanoid robots.
Members of the Company were also particularly interested to see the Automaton lathe, the refurbishment of which was made possible by a generous donation from the Company’s charity.
In May, a number of members accompanied the Master to the REME’s Operation Griffin Spanner in Staffordshire where we were able to see a number of live exercises taking place and the Renter Warden tried his hand at welding. The morning finished with an excellent curry lunch.
July saw a very successful visit to the Nutbourne Vineyard near Pulborough in West Sussex. Members enjoyed a wine tasting followed by a barbecue lunch.
September was very busy with three events. Fred Bain organised a very successful day’s clay shooting at Churchill’s, near High Wycombe. The dozen members and guests who attended greatly enjoyed the shooting and the dry sunny weather.
Also in September, twenty-three members and guests attended an evening reception on board the Golden Hinde, a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship, which now sits in dry dock near London Bridge. We were given a tour of the ship by two of the young members of the Trust which manages the vessel and the evening concluded with a several glasses of wine in the Captain’s cabin.
In September, we visited Dowgate Fire Station in the City with fourteen attendees. Dowgate is the only surviving fire station in the City of London and is extremely busy.
After a fortifying cup of tea, we were taken down to the Station Yard to meet Sherlock, the ‘fire-dog’ and his handler Paul. Sherlock is a working dog, trained to detect the minutest quantities of accelerants such as petrol, at fire scenes where the cause of a fire requires investigations.
We also met members of the chemical and biological hazard response team and were able to ‘play’ with some of their equipment, including the impressive thermal imaging camera.
After lunch the party travelled to Lambeth and embarked on one of the brigade’s two fire boats – the ‘Firedart’.
We cruised at some speed down to Greenwich and back while the crew explained the nature of their job, much of which sadly seemed to comprise the recovery of bodies from the river. The mood was lightened considerably by the Master’s efforts on the fire monitor which is able to deliver hundreds of gallons of river water per minute onto a fire.
In 2016, the turning weekend at the Max Carey trust was a great success and contributed nicely to the Novice Competition at Wizardry in Wood; it was decided to make this a regular annual event – we are Turners after all – and October 2017 saw a successful return visit.
In November, the Master and other members of the Company attended a private view of an exhibition of turned items in Greenwich. Organised by Prof. Michael Maisey, the Turning Against Torture exhibition consisted of turned items that had been made from timber from the Royal Greenwich Park by thirteen professional turners, including members of the Company and the RPT. Later in the month, the pieces were auctioned at an event which raised over £11,000 for the charity ‘Freedom from Torture’.
2018 began with a visit to view the bells of St Paul’s Cathedral before their removal for refurbishment.
To launch the Company’s fund-raising drive for our contribution to the refurbishment, some twenty members, partners and friends braved a very chilly January evening to climb to the top of the north west tower of St Paul’s to view the bells in situ.
Before the final ascent, we were given an introduction to the bells of St Paul’s by the Cathedral’s Ringing Captain. In the bell-chamber, at least one of the bells donated by the Company was clearly visible.
On our descent, the view down the length of the then deserted cathedral from the heights of the east Gallery was in itself quite spectacular. On returning to solid earth, the majority of the party adjourned to ‘Joe’s Kitchen’ on Ludgate Hill for a warming repast.
Assistant Paul Logan
Chairman, Events Committee