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The Warner Lecture

The Warner Lecture

For many years the Company has run an autumn lecture in the name of Robert Warner, the tenth member of his family to become the Company's Master, in 1933; the family can trace their association from 1767 to the present day. Robert Warner by his will, left to the Company a fund to provide grants for metallurgical research at UK Universities which carries on to this day. 

Education and charitable works were and are an important part of the Company’s ethos, and to-day the Founders, amongst a broad spread of charitable works, provide a range of undergraduate bursaries and post-graduate awards in industry related fields.


Robert Warner Lecture Speakers

1979                 Peter Dunn

                        “Finance and Industry in the 1980s”

1980                 Solly J. Gross

                        “The Changing Role of Government vis-à-vis Industry since the Last War”

1981                 Dr. A. Rees-Jones

                        “Business Judgement – A New Priority”

1982                 Dr. Bryan C. Lindley BSc Eng PhD FIMechE FISE FIndP

                        “Wealth Creation and Engineering”

1983                 William Hyde MA FCMA FCCA

                        “British Industry – Some Thoughts on its Development”

1984                 Dr. Henton Morrogh CBE DSc FRS Feng

                        “The Foundry Industry Viewed from the Sidelines”

1985                 Sir Denis Rooke CBE DSc FRS FEng

                        “British Gas – Past, Present and Future”

1986                 Sir Adrian Cadbury

                        "British Industry  in Perspective"

1987                 David A Walker Esq

                        "External Finance, Intermediaries and Industry"

1988                 Sir Ian MacGregor

                        "The Regeneration of Manufacturing Industry in the European Economy"

1989                 Sir Gavin  Laird CBE

                        "Trade Unions  -  Are  They Really Necessary?"

1990                 Martin F Llowarch

                        "The Steel Industries Challenge in the '90's"

1991                 Francis Mer

                        "The Human Factor in the Future Success of Industrial Europe"

1992                 Sir John Collyear FREng FIM FIEE FICeram FIMechE FRPI CBIM FRSA

                        "The Fall and Fall of UK owned Manufacturing Industry"

1993                 Mark H J Radcliffe

                        "The Recovery of British Manufacturing Industry"

1994                 Colin Powell

                         "Life Together" - Nissan's approach to research management

1995                 Dr Bruce Farmer

                        "The Second Empire"

1996                 Professor Sir Roland Smith

                        "The Challenge of Managing in a Global Competitive Environment"

1997***            Malcolm Ray

                        “The British Foundry Industry – Present and Future”

                        Cancelled due to speaker’s illness

1998                 Keith Oates

                        "Innovation is Everybody's Business"

1999                 Sir Paul Newall

                        “The Euro – Trick or Treat”

2000                 Terry Mansfield

                        “Media in the New Millennium”

2001                 Roger King

                        “The Future of Transport and its Impact on the UK Economy”

2002                 Professor Colin Humphreys

                        “UK Energy Policy – Tilting at Windmills”

2003                 Jon Moulton

                        “Private Equity and Public Equity – Declining Differences”

2004                 Sir Peter Williams CBE FREng FRS

                        “The Next 25 Years in British Engineering – a Fast Boat to China?”

2005                 Professor William Bonfield CBE FREng FRS

                        “From Concept to Patient – the Prospects for Biomaterials Innovation”

2006                 Russell Sparkes

                        “Socially Responsible Investment”

2007                 James Elles MEP

                        “Can the EU be competitive in tomorrow’s global market?”

2008                 Sir John Parker FREng DSc (Eng) ScD (Hon) DSc (Hon) D.Univ (Hon)

                         Hon Fellow IMAREST, FRINA

                        “The Evolution of the Chairman and the Role”

2009                 The Honorable Dr Raymond L Orbach

                        “Energy Futures: from deal killers to show stoppers”

2010                 William Hopper

                        “The Puritan Gift”

2011                 Stephen Bayley

                        “We built an Empire.  Now we cannot make a thing”

2012                 Robert-Jan Smits

                        “Putting the European Economy back on track”

2013                 Sir John Armitt

                        “London 2012- Lessons learned and a way forward for Britain’s infrastructure”

2014                 Professor Steve Cowley, FRS

                        “Beyond the Nuclear New Build: Generation Four Reactors to Fusion”

2015                 Professor Sir Richard Brook OBE, Scd FREng

                        “All Change”

2016                 Professor Tony Hey CBE, FREng FIET FInstP FBCS

                         “The Third Age of Computing, Machine Learning,

                          Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work”

2017                 Ian McCafferty Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee

                         “The British Economy”

2018                  Professor Sir Mike Brady

                          “An Academic in Medical Start-Up Land”

2019                  Anne Richards, CEO Fidelity International

                          “Live Long(er) and Prosper(er)”

2020                   Sir Colin Blakemore

                           "The Brain, Past, Present and Future”

2021                  Professor Mary Ryan

                          “Can we get to Net Zero? Materials challenges for a sustainable world”


*** The Industry Committee minutes of May 1996 in relation to the Warner Lecture record that:

“It was confirmed that Malcolm Ray would be the speaker for 1997, choosing as his theme The British Foundry Industry – Present and Future”

The Industry Committee minutes of October 1997 in relation to the Warner Lecture record that:

“With some sadness the Chairman reported to the Committee that Mr Malcolm Ray had been admitted to hospital and it was extremely unlikely that he would be well in time for the Lecture.  It was agreed that the Lecture be cancelled and that the Chairman write to Mr Ray, sending the Committee’s wishes for a speedy recovery and adding that the Lecture would be re-listed as and when Mr Ray considered it practicable”


On the 18th February 1998, a subscription Dinner and Debate was held as replacement on the subject of the European Monetary Fund; Howard Flight MP spoke against and Sir Peter Petrie for the motion.