Three Masters

January Court Dinner – Report from Master Water Conservator

As Master of the Water Conservators I had the great pleasure to be invited to the Court Dinner of the Scientific Instrument Makers along with the Master Farmer and the Master Mariner (Master Water Conservator, Scientific Instrument Maker and Mariner above).  I was warmly welcomed by members of the Company and we had fascinating discussions on the monitoring of water quality in rivers and the discharges from sewage works, farming and industry.  We also discussed the management of data and communications with the public.

The Master gave an entertaining introduction to the Company, its activities and the guests.

Over dinner I had a great conversation with an Australian academic on the challenges and changes faced there in the increasing extremes of too much and too little water.  He observed that relatively speaking we have it easy in the UK.  We then talked about valuing water and the resistance to water metering and even water rates.  He and his wife gave me a great perspective on the challenges in Ireland, their home country.

Another of my dining companions described how the Scientific Instrument Makers help other people, distributing over £100k each year.  This includes supporting seven universities with postgraduate awards of £2k each, plus a single additional fellowship of £5k.  The Company also run scholarships for apprentices and grants to undertake further education.  They have over 50 apprentices.  Members under 30 are invited to a free annual supper.  It was very encouraging to talk to their younger members.

The Guest Speaker was the Right Honourable Lord Finkelstein, a Scientific Instrument Maker, who described the dramatic experiences of his family.  His mother survived the Holocaust in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.  His father, born in Poland, was captured by the Russians, rescued by the Nazis, ended up in the Middle East, and made his way to the UK. He described the value of culture and tradition.

It was a most enjoyable evening and I learnt much, including a lot about monitoring!

22 January 2024