The Worshipful Company of Turners

Supporting the Craft, City and Charity for over four hundred years

Liveryman Stuart King receives the Turners Company Gold Medal for services to the Company and the Craft of Turning.

Turn again! A Gold Medal poem

Master, Wardens, members of this court and noble clerk

The custodians of the ‘mysteries’ of our ancient craft

Whose birth we trace to the balusters of dear old Noah’s Ark

His calloused hands worn wise through honest toil and graft

 

I am a freeman of your historic London City band

Through recreating Leonardo’s lathe with my fair hand

To prove that his design, just a pencil sketch on paper

Was proficient, and not just an Italian renaissance caper

 

I have proved that turning in this verdant isle

Is at least 4000 years of age, starting with a Bronze Age style

And long before Joseph brought to Glastonbury his Holy Grail

Iron Age folk nearby at Mere were turning wooden cups to hold their ale

 

Whatever did the Romans do for us? we might well ask

Fine lathe-spun silver for the table was their task.

Followed by the Dark Age Saxon turners, as well they should

Skilfully turned items for the table out of wood

 

1066, annus horribilis for Hasting’s greatest son

A battle lost, but by a noble Norman won

A stray arrow, bon jour, provided Duke William his chance

To import industrial woodturners from his native France

 

Woodturner Richard Wittington, Dicky to his turning mates

Had been repulsed from London for selling wonky wooden plates

But undeterred was heard to say

I’ll turn again, turn again, and turning around (as turners do) he turned around to stay

 

Our Worshipful Company’s Charter of 1604, ensured that our trade

Was protected by fair rules and regulations, all the items that we made

Measuring pots, stair rails, chair legs and cups, each turned from fine wood

Bobbins, eggcups, fork handles, spurtles and spoons, plus deep hollowed bowls for the eating of your pud

 

I have use bow lathes, strap-lathes, pole lathes, wheel lathes of sort

So here I am summoned before this City court

A medal you say, to pin on my chest

Be mindful of the pin as it enters my vest!

 

Thank you, dear turners, for this recognition

It will surely elevate my egoic condition

And did I hear the ghost of Dick Wittington once more exclaim?

“Turn again, turn again, turn again”.

 

Stuart King 2017

 

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