The Lightmongers are one of 4 Livery Companies, linked by science and engineering, who collaborate to provide a Lecture or Event each year that would be of general interest to their members. Each Company organises and hosts the Lecture/Event in turn i.e., every 4 years. The other Companies are The Clockmakers; The Scientific Instrument Makers and The Spectacle Makers.

In the case of the Lightmongers the lecture/event is known as the Lightmongers William Wright lecture/event, in memory of Past Master Bill Wright in honour of our much-loved Past Master who died far too young at the age of 63 and who had done so much for the company.

The following is a list of the lectures/events given since the initiative started in 1993 and as you will see the Lightmongers joined the group from 2004 and we gave our first lecture in 2006. Our latest has been in the form of an event, held October 13th 2022,  of a Thames River Trip to view the results of the relighting of the London Bridges, which is known as the largest art installation in the world.



1993:   The Clockmakers’ “Tompion Lecture” – Clocks, Time and the Universe.

            Professor Arnold Wolfenden, The Astronomer Royal


1994:   The Spectacle Makers’ “Newton Lecture” – Seeing in Time

            Professor Richard Gregory


1995:   The Clockmakers’ “Tompion Lecture” – Variations in the Rotation of the Earth over 2,500 years.

            Dr Richard Stephenson (Durham University) & Dr Leslie Morrison (Royal  Greenwich Observatory)


1996:   The Scientific Instrument Makers’ “Minerva Lecture” – I think, therefore I am, but do I know where I am?

             Professor Vidal Ashkenzai, Professor of Engineering Surveying University of Nottingham & Director of the Institute of Engineering Surveying & Space Geodesy. 


1997    The Spectacle Makers’ “Newton Lecture” – Critical Times in Learning to See

             Professor Colin Blakemore, Waynflete Professor of Physiology, Oxford University.


1998:   The Clockmakers’ “Tompion Lecture” – New insights from telescopes in Space & on the ground.

            Sir Martin Rees, The Astronomer Royal


1999:   The Scientific Instrument Makers’ “Minerva Lecture” – Sir George Biddell Airy (1801-1892): Optician, Horologist, Mechanician & Astronomer Royal

            Dr Alan Chapman, Wadham College, Oxford


2000    The Spectacle Makers’ “Newton Lecture” – Knowledge through the visual brain.

            Professor Semir Zeki, Wellcome Professor of Cognitive Neurology, University College, London.


2001:   The Clockmakers’ “Tompion Lecture” – Light: God’s Eldest Daughter (Lady) Elizabeth White MA,FRSA, FSA, Curator of Decorative Arts, Holburne          

           Museum of Art, Bath.


2002:   The Scientific Instrument Makers’ “Minerva Lecture” – “The foresight of

Robert Hooke”

Professor Michael Cooper (formerly of City University)


2003   The Spectacle Makers’ “Newton Lecture” – Artists and their Eyes

           Professor Robert Weale, King’s College, London.


2004   The Scientific Instrument Makers’ “Minerva Lecture” –  “The Millennium – The Measure & the Bridge”.

          Ms Joanna Migdal & Professor David Newland, Emeritus Professor of  Engineering, Cambridge University.


2005   The Clockmakers’ “Tompion Lecture” – “Einstein: a scientific genius”.

Sir Arnold Wolfendale FRS, 14th Astronomer Royal


2006   The Lightmongers’ Lecture – “Sir John Soane: Architect of Light & Darkness”

Professor Malcolm Parry, Cardiff University


2007   The Spectacle Makers’ “Newton Lecture” – Light, Sight, Time & Technology

            Professor John Marshall


2008    The Scientific Instrument Makers’ “Minerva Lecture” – “Big, Small, Beautiful & Clever”

Dr Seton J Bennett, Deputy Director, National Physical Laboratory


2009    The Clockmakers’ “Tompion Lecture” – “A Great Time to be an Astronomer”

Professor Ian Morison, Gresham Professor of Astronomy & Astronomer at the Jodrell Bank Observatory.


2010     The Lightmongers’ Lecture – “Lighting –Driver of the Electric Revolution”

Professor Frank James, Dr Bryson Gore, Peter Phillipson


2011     The Spectacle Makers’ Newton Lecture – “Stopping Scarring Saves Sight”

             Professor Peng Khaw


2012    The Scientific Instrument Makers’ “Minerva Lecture” – “How to mend a broken heart”.

Professor Ronald Summers, Professor of Information Engineering, Loughborough University.


2013     The Clockmakers’“Tompion Lecture” – “Leonardo & Time”.

             Professor Martin Kemp, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art, Oxford University.


2014       The Lightmongers’ Lecture – Lighting for the 2012 London Olympiad –

Mike Simpson, Technical & Design Director, Philips Lighting UK 


2015     The Spectacle Makers’ Newton Lecture – “Making Light Work For Your Livery

             Professor John Tyrer, Loughborough University


2016    WCSIM: Single Pixel Cameras

             Professor Miles Padgett, Vice Principal for Research at the University of Glasgow.


2017    The Clockmakers’ Lecture

“From planets to galaxies: how precision measurements have expanded cosmic horizons”.  Baron Rees of Ludlow, The Astronomer Royal


2018    The Lightmongers: “Visualisation at the Royal Opera House and the Future of Entertainment Technology” by James Simpson


2019    The Spectacle Makers: “The Tailor of Ulster, Bacterial Scissors for Designer Genes and Restored Sight” by Professor Tara Moore of Ulster University


2020    WCSIM (by Zoom): ‘Maxwell, Michelson and Morley’s unwitting contribution to modern ophthalmology’ by Nigel Davies FRCOphth & Kevin Gallagher FRCOphth, from St Thomas’s Hospital


2021    The Clockmakers: Where is the centre of gravity? by Sir Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group.




2022     FOUR LIVERIES EVENT: The Lightmongers – “Illuminated River” – a boat trip under the bridges of the River Thames with commentary on the design and implementation of a themed new lighting scheme, by Past Master Mike Simpson.



  1. Each lecture was expected to last 45-50 minutes, followed by 15-20 minutes of questions.
  2. The first two lectures only involved The Spectacle Makers & the Clockmakers. The

    Scientific Instrument Makers joined in in 1995.

  1. In 2003, the Lightmongers accepted the invitation to turn the lecture into “The Four

    Liveries’ lecture” with effect from 2004.

  1. In 2022, respecting the fact that many lectures were available online and the companies had each adopted different ways of working during the COVID lockdown, there was a need for change. The 4 companies agreed to widen the remit of the annual 4 Liveries event, to provide something which would encourage members of all four liveries to want to gather together in real life. It might still be a lecture, but the format would be of the host company’s choosing and could also be a workshop, lab or factory visit, a guided tour, a panel discussion, exhibition visit or a real life “experience”. The Lightmongers offered to host a guided river boat trip under the bridges of the Thames as the first in this new series of events.