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”.