Master Martyn Wheatley and Consort Valerie

The Masters 03Q21 Blog

It is hard to believe that it is three months since my last Master’s Blog. Life at SIM, is busy, and especially as The Master.

Within days of the Step 3 COVID lockdown conditions being lifted in late June, the Common Hall Elections of Sheriffs took place at The Guildhall (26/06/21). Usually, this would have been a packed and fully robed event, steeped in history and ceremony, to elect the new Sheriffs for the coming year. Despite having been significantly reduced this year, to allow it to go ahead in a thinned-out format, the occasion still retained its splendour. The Guildhall, on such occasions, is always an amazing awe-inspiring venue.

The Election of Sheriffs was my first face-to-face event as The Master of the WCSIM, after having been in office for over eight months! It was good to be back, at The Guildhall, on what was a wonderful sunny day.

Soon after in July, SIM held its first Court Meeting, in person since February 2020 at Glaziers Hall (19/07/21). It was also an Election Court and so this allowed many new members to join WCSIM. The Court welcomed a very long list of new Apprentices, Freemen and Liverymen, with a full induction ceremony, for each person.

After the formalities we had a chance to hold a relaxing reception, where we got to meet and chat with our new members in The River Room. It was also an opportunity to catch-up with old SIM friends and colleagues.

On the same day, one of our Apprentices, Ukendar Vadivel, was invited to The Mansion House, along with his parents and his Apprentice Master, Brian Fishwick. Ukendar received The Lord Mayor’s COVID Award, from the Lord Mayor himself, for his outstanding contribution during the pandemic. Ukendar worked to develop and produce, a bespoke 3D printed face shield, for NHS workers. His designs and production techniques, reduced manufacturing times significantly and with a fellow schoolmate, they became one of the top ten producers of face shields in London.

Ukendar then returned to Hall, where he told the Court about his well-deserved honour. Everyone at SIM is very proud of Ukendar and his contribution at such a crucial time.

Not everything at SIM is technical. As a Brummie living in London, I have learnt about London by reading-up and writing history walks. So, on a Saturday in August (07/08/21), my wife Valerie and I, took a group of SIM members along the route of the Westbourne River.

London has many hidden rivers, which being below or feet, are mostly forgotten. Their path and history though, has shaped the communities through which they pass, and so I told the stories and background of the river. The Westbourne flows from West Hampstead, through Paddington, under Bayswater, and once fed the Serpentine. From there it cascades over the falls at The Dell and under Knights Bridge. I told stories of The Crystal Palace, the Lansbury Lido, the London to Brighton Car Run, Peter Pan, George Frederick Watts, The Pantechnicon, Mozart at The Rotunda (……no, not the one in Brum!) and the origins of The Royal Chelsea Hospital and much more. The Westbourne has flowed past all these events, throughout history.

When we started, I warned everyone that there would be a quiz at the end of the walk. When the walk was finished, and we had all stopped to whet our whistles at the excellent Fox & Hounds in Passmore Street, many quiz questions were asked and points scored. And we all know that Points Mean Prizes! Our winner was Jeremy Simons OBE who won a book of Alistair Duncan’s Favourite London Walks. If you have never read it, do get yourself a copy, as it is one of the best walking books on London. We all had an enjoyable, and fascinating, day.

I suggest that you sign-up for the next SIM History walk, which will be Following the Tyburn, and take place on Saturday 12 March 2022, starting from Baker Street.

On a completely different topic, Ken Grattan and I instigated our Quarterly Webinar series, which have proved successful and popular with all SIM members during the last year.

This September we had another gem of a presentation, by no other person than my own brother Stephen. He is a RNLI volunteer and fundraiser at Tower Pier on the Thames. Stephen’s structured and well-illustrated talk (02/09/21) about the RNLI’s life-saving activities and the multiple levels of technology used, plus the incredible boats deployed, was inspiring. Their lifeboat station is responsible for 6% of all the RNLI shouts in the entire UK, and the London crews, save many lives each year. A big thank you to Stephen and all his colleagues, for the great work which they do.

Our next webinar will also be one not to miss. It will be given on Thursday, 11 November, by Ian Whittle, son of Sir Frank Whittle and called The Genesis of the Jet Age.

Another very enjoyable event in September was getting to finally meet many of the Apprentices, Freeman and Livery members, who had joined SIM over the last eighteen months……but whom we had never met! The New Member’s Reception (07/09/21) was held in The River Room at Hall. Despite all the COVID restrictions, we have continued to enrol and recruit new members using well organised Zoom meetings. Thank you to Misha our Clerk for arranging and organising these. And to all new members reading my blog, a very warm welcome to our Company. Do let me know how best, SIM can help and support you, to ensure that you achieve your ambitions?

One of the life-bloods of the WCSIM, is our quarterly recruitment evenings, or MeetUs events as they are known. We had a successful evening in September (13/09/21) where six new interested future members came to Hall for a reception. These occasions are well organised and run by Jim Webster, our Recruitment Warden. At each one, all new potential members, who are interested in joining SIM, can visit Hall to meet SIM members, plus ask them any questions which they have, about our Company, and discuss the benefits for them, of joining SIM. I would like to say another big thank you to Jim, for all his hard work, driving our recruitment programme.

Do please support SIM and Jim by recommending new potential SIM members, that you know or meet socially, or professionally, whom we can invite to the next MeetUs. New members from STEM related backgrounds are always welcome. Do you know somebody that you would like to suggest? If you do, please contact me Martyn Wheatley, The Master, Misha Hebel, The Clerk, or of course Jim Webster, The Recruitment Warden.

I have enjoyed my year as The Master of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers – it has been an honour. During my year, SIM has held more events than ever before, as well as kept our organisation alive and vibrant, despite all the challenges. I hope that you have enjoyed taking part.

If you have fresh ideas for SIM that our members would find interesting or enjoy, please do get in touch, and let us know, so that we can work with you to develop them.

In just a few weeks, we will be having our next Admissions Court (21/10/21), when our new Master, Charles Holroyd, will be installed. I wish Charles all the best for his year in office and I look forward to supporting him as the next Deputy Master.

Stay safe!

Thank you and regards, Martyn

Martyn Wheatley – The Master, WCSIM