250TH ANNIVERSARY DINNER
8th September 2021
The Society held its 250th Anniversary Dinner in the spectacular surroundings of Trinity House on the 8th of September 2021, in the presence of Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, President of the Society in its 250th year and Master of Trinity House.
Trinity House is the General Lighthouse Authority for England and Wales. It was granted a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1514 and has been based at its Tower Hill headquarters since 1796. John Smeaton designed and built the third and arguably most notable Eddystone Lighthouse in 1756, having been recommended by the Royal Society to replace John Rudyerd’s 1706 lighthouse, which had replaced Winstanley’s 1699 and 1698 constructions. Smeaton’s tower, now in diminutive form on Plymouth Hoe, was replaced in 1882, but remains the symbol of the Smeatonian Society of civil Engineers.
52 members of the Society and their 47 guests pursued the objectives of the Society of being a dining club to facilitate ‘conversation, argument social communication of ideas and knowledge’ over a three-course dinner in the Library, having received a welcome address from Her Royal Highness. In addition to our own memorabilia adding ambiance to the occasion, Trinity House’s large silver model of the Bishop Rock Lighthouse, designed by another Smeatonian James Walker our 1852 President using many of Smeaton’s principles, sat in the centre of the top table. Smeaton’s magnificent book prepared for King George II, detailing the design and construction of the Eddystone Lighthouse was also on display. The dinner marked the first occasion that members were able to physically meet for some 18 months, having pursued the intellectual activities of the Society virtually in that time.
The evening was a memorable occasion for all of those present, and a welcome return to the objectives of the Society.