Horners' Company Ralph Anderson Lecture

Thursday 8th November 2018

The craft of the Horners is an ancient one. Horn from animals is a natural plastic (keratin) that was moulded into myriad products such as beakers, utensils, buttons and combs. However, its widest historic use up until the 18th Century was in being beaten into thin translucent sheets to be fabricated into leaves for lanterns and even windows. This latter application came under threat with the advent of cheaper manufacturing costs for glass and so the Company's fortunes slowly but steadily waned. That was until the 20th Century. Having survived as a dining club for some time, the Horners' Company embraced the new industries around plastics, the modern equivalent to horn. Since then it has powered back into life and now stands proudly playing its full role as both an ancient and modern Livery Company.

In celebration of its industry, the Horners' Company hosts the annual Ralph Anderson Lecture, now in its 21st year. The venue was The Royal Society of Medicine in Wimpole Street which boasts one of the most comfortable auditoriums I have ever sat in and we had the pleasure of received an engaging address from a leading light in the British polymer sector, Ian Shott CBE. His messages concerned the state of the industry today, its innovations and its responses to the pressing needs of sustainability. The excellence of this speaker was such that he succeeded in maintaining the audiences rapt attention irrespective of their scientific knowledge or professional expertise. It was both informative and a masterclass in public speaking.