On an unseasonably balmy 13th October, four livery companies took to the Thames to sail under the nine London bridges that have been lit up as part of the Illuminated River Project – the longest art installation in the world.
The occasion was the Four Liveries Event that alternates annually between the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers and the Worshipful Company of Lightmongers – all having a shared interest in scientific topics.
This year it was the turn of the Lightmongers to host and Past Master Mike Simpson FREng, a globally renowned Lighting Designer, who was involved in the lighting of the bridges, told guests about the challenges of lighting up London’s landmark river crossings, including energy conservation, sympathetic illumination and minimising the impact on the environment and the species living above and below the waterline.
The event was attended by the Masters of the Four Liveries: Master Clockmaker, Dr James Nye, FSA; Master Spectacle Maker, Nigel Haig-Brown; Master Scientific Instrument Maker, Charles Holroyd; and Master Lightmonger, Margaret Fitzsimons. The group totalled 100, 25 from each company.
Cruising along the Thames at night is a truly wonderful experience and it was enhanced by the great company and fellowship amongst the liverymen present.
A member of the Spectaclemakers Clive Hanley took some excellent photos of the bridges which can be found here.
The Illuminated River Artwork encompasses nine bridges in central London. Designed and programmed by New York-based artist Leo Villareal, working with British architecture practice Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands plus 18 specialist teams, the work brings to life aspects of the city otherwise hidden after dark. The first four bridges, London, Cannon Street, Southwark and Millenium – were completed in July 2019. These were followed by five more bridges, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Golden Jubilee, Westminster and Lambeth in April 2021.
Next year it is the turn of the Spectacle Makers to host the 30th Event and they are planning a lecture on the subject of great advances in the treatment of cataracts.
Master Charles Holroyd