August is traditionally a quiet month in Livery circles and indeed I have found time for some well needed R&R – though most of my free time has been spent putting the finishing touches to the September ‘Masters Out of Town’.

But it hasn’t been completely without event.  Our final Zoom soiree before the break was on ‘Massive Telescopes’ delivered by Dr Becky Canning, a senior lecturer at Portsmouth, Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation.  Her talk covered 13.9bn years of history in just 25 minutes and illustrated how telescope technology has evolved to overcome barriers of physical scale and the environment and also how it has changed our understanding of the Universe.  The evening concluded with an informal ‘wine and cheese’, where – in response to questions – her students were given impressive bios of our members.  I understand they went away firmly fired up about the opportunities of an engineering career.  The recording of Becky’s talk can be seen at Viewing the Universe with Massive Telescopes – YouTube

Just ten days later came the news that our friend and Honorary Chaplain, the Reverend Peter Hartley was terminally ill in hospital.  Peter joined the Company as Honorary Chaplain in 2011 and from that time he has been at the very heart of the Company participating in all its events. He will be remembered especially for his spiritual and ecumenical chaplaincy and the dedicated care, support and love he gave to many in times of hardship, sickness and bereavement.  The soiree was his final public engagement for the Company where he prayed for the research community, as well as for peace and understanding between peoples.  We hope to celebrate Peter’s life later this autumn.

My final engagement on behalf of the Company came on the very last day of August, where we were one of two Livery Companies invited to witness the commissioning of HMS Anson.  The fifth of the new Astute-class hunter-killer submarines, HMS Anson is the most advanced of the fleet to date and is expected to undertake intelligence gathering and combat roles. The ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister, Secretary of State Ben Wallace and the Australian Deputy Prime Minister. After the formal proceedings, we enjoyed a very pleasant evening in Company with the Master, Deputy Master and Under Warden of the Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers. The full ceremony can be seen on the BAE Systems site

THe Prime Minister at the commissioning of HMS Anson
The Prime Minister speaking at the commissioning of HMS Anson