John Tweedie-Smith became the Father of the Turners’ Company on 25 December 2017, following the death of Sir Brian Neill.
He had first encountered the Company when, in 1957, he had been asked to propose the toast to the Turners at the Turners’ Ladies’ Dinner.
John was born in Putney in 1929 and was brought up there and was educated at Stowe. He did his National Service serving in Greece during the Greek Civil War and in Egypt. On release from the Army he was on Z reserve and two years later was recalled for a short time.
In 1954 he married Gillian Mundy, daughter of Claude Mundy (Master 1956-57) and granddaughter of Eggar Horace Mundy. (Master 1938-39).
John and Gillian have four children, nine grandchildren, and recently two great grandchildren.
They lived in Putney for some years before moving to Kingston and then to the South Coast, making it more difficult for them to attend Company events. Last year they downsized and moved to Chalfont St. Peter to be nearer their family.
John became interested in politics in his teens and after military service spent a short time working at Conservative Central Office. Aged 23, he was elected a councillor on the Wandsworth Borough Council spending nine years on that Council.
In 1961 he was elected after a recount to the London County Council (which later became the Greater London Council) and served for four years on the Health committee and was appointed Leader for his Party on the Establishment committee.
By this time his business career was progressing and his firm’s directors gave him an ultimatum that if he wanted further promotion he would have to give up active politics. With a wife and four children to fend for he chose to concentrate on business.
After a short period with an accountancy firm and a year as a management trainee with Sun Electrical, an electrical wholesaler, he joined The Rawlplug Co. Ltd., then a stock exchange quoted company. He progressed to being appointed export director and then managing director and chief executive. In 1968 Burmah Oil acquired Rawlplug. John stayed for five years, continuing to run Rawlplug and also joining the Burmah Industrial Products Board.
In 1973 John was asked to become managing director of E.H. Mundy, the firm founded by Past Master Eggar Mundy in 1919. This had interests in shipping, travel, coach and London bus operations and extensive interests in Freeport Bahamas. John subsequently spent seventeen years as its chairman before retiring.
John was a keen golfer, usually teeing off by 7.30 in the morning three times a week. Reluctantly he had to give up golf two years ago. Since moving to Chalfont St. Peter he has taken to visiting the gym several times a week for exercise sessions.