In July of 2001, David Drew-Smythe was in the process of researching the Wormald branch of his family - his maternal grandmother, born in 1901, was the youngest daughter of Sir John and Lady Mab Wormald - when, quite by chance, he came across a message on the internet from a man in Paris called Marcel Boschi. He was requesting information about the old British firm, Mather & Platt Ltd., of Manchester and was interested in researching and setting out the history of the company and its principal Directors. Knowing Sir John Wormald's connection with M+P, David responded to the message.
After initial uncertainties and a deal of linguistic juxtapositioning, a quantity of basic information was exchanged - corporate from Marcel and family from David - and the first few experimental pages of the site came into existence.
The site as it appears now is the result of much research and a shared journey of discovery, working in French and in English - both spoken and written - via files, e-mails and telephone calls between Paris, where Marcel lives (when he is not touring and playing a serious round of golf!) and Sydney, where David - a teacher and writer - is based.
The resulting collaboration is perhaps one of the more extraordinary trans-global achievements of the 'cyber age' and is one that validates completely the power of the internet to overcome 'the tyranny of distance' and to be used both as an information resource and as a business tool. More than that, however, it is evidence of a partnership that has succeeded in producing a social and historical document of striking importance. Put at its most basic level, without the contribution of the great men (and the women behind them) and the companies treated on this site, the world might still be drawing water in buckets, throwing glass balls at fires and generally peering out from the dark ages (no pun intended Messrs. Edison and Hopkinson) into an uncertain future.
Marcel Boschi's History of Mather & Platt contains text and images from a number of sources and draws on the extensive private collections of many people. All material on this site is copyright and may not be used in any other forum or context without permission being obtained in writing. Application should be made to Marcel Boschi for such permission. Much of the text has been edited and augmented by David Drew-Smythe and many of the images have been specially treated for the specific purpose of inclusion on this site.
David was born in 1950 in Bristol and educated at Clifton College. A graduate of Exeter University (St. Luke's College), he is both a writer and a senior teacher. He currently works for the New South Wales Department of Education and Training in Sydney. He is a Drama and Technology specialist and was, for several years, Head of English at Belmont, The Mill Hill Junior School, in North London.
As a writer - his maternal grandfather's sister was Joyce Anstruther (Jan Struther) who wrote the classic "Mrs. Miniver" - he holds the distinction of having (in 1999) had a play - a Ballad Opera - produced at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London ("The Ballad of Salomon Pavey", co-written with Jeremy James Taylor) which was staged as the opening production for that theatre's 'Globe 400' Education Season. David is also a published and recorded poet.
In addition to his work within the N.S.W. Department of Education, he is currently involved with a number of freelance writing, development and research projects. For 2002 and 2003, he was the recipient of a Merit Award from the International Society of Poets in America; his work has been produced in book anthologies and on CD by that organisation. Recently (November 2004) a short story titled The Farmer's Daughter, was published in the United States as part of an anthology by The Fiction Works (Bell Ringer Series - "Tell Me of Love" volume) - a project designed for the Literacy and Language markets. The anthology is available for world-wide distribution in simultaneous printed book, e-book and audio formats - the latter as a dramatised version. Due for publication by The Fiction Works in 2005, will be David's most recent project. "The Private E-mails of William Shakespeare".
Unlike a published book, however, the nature of a web site is that it is constantly changing and can be changed within a matter of seconds, to update, correct or re-design material as often as necessary or as expedient. This site will continue to change and develop and, even if a book does eventuate - as is currently projected - this work will continue to be in the public domain as a testament to a corporate story that, in effect, began more than two hundred years ago.