Lightmongers joined members of three other scientific Livery Companies for the 30th Annual Four Liveries Event on 12th October 2023.

This year it was the turn of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers to host the event, a lecture on the topic of cataract surgery that was held at the magnificent Governor’s Hall at St Thomas’ Hospital where intra-ocular lenses were first implanted and laser eye surgery was pioneered.

Great presentations on the past, present and future of cataract surgery were given by Professors Chris Hammond, David Gartry and David O’Brart.  These included real footage of cataract operations that was certainly not for the faint-hearted.   There is no doubt that cataract surgery has come a very long way in recent years and those of us in first world countries are very fortunate indeed to have access to it.  One of the key challenges is making this transformative treatment more readily available and affordable for everyone throughout the world.

The evening finished with a reception, providing everyone with the opportunity to mingle, discuss the lecture and generally catch up with each other.

Senior Warden Peter McVeigh in conversation with Deputy Master Margaret Fitzsimons and Junior Warden Tony Ginman.

Thank you to the Master Spectacle Maker Liz Shilling (Liz Tomlin) and all her team for an informative, memorable and enjoyable evening.

History of the Four Liveries’ Lecture

The history of the 4 liveries lecture goes back 1993 and a lecture has been held every year since with the 2020 lecture being held via Zoom.

It started with two companies (Clockmakers and Spectacle Makers) and the Clockmakers kicked off with their first lecture, called Clockmakers’ Tompion Lecture in 1993.  This was followed by Spectacle Makers’ Newton Lecture in 1994.

The Scientific Instrument Makers joined the group in 1995 – making it the three liveries lecture and they gave their first Minerva Lecture in 1996.

In 2003, ten years after the first lecture, the Lightmongers accepted the invitation to turn the lecture into “The Four Liveries’ Lecture” with effect from 2004.

Lightmongers gave their first Lightmonger Lecture in 2006 and have given 4 lectures in total :  2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018.

In 2019, the Lightmongers’ lecture was re-named the Lightmongers’ William Wright Lecture 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.

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, The four companies agreed that change was required to broaden the remit of the annual Four Liveries’ Lecture.  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”.   Lightmongers hosted the first to the new-look events by organising an evening cruise down the Thames in September 2022 to view the Illuminated Bridges, the longest art installation in the world.  The first Event in the new format was a big success.