Home Press release HRH The Duke of Gloucester unveils centenary sculpture at SATRA

HRH The Duke of Gloucester unveils centenary sculpture at SATRA


‘No Compromise’ sculpture by Martyn Steele

23rd May 2019 – SATRA formally recognised its centenary today with a visit from His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester and the unveiling of a specially commissioned external sculpture designed to represent 100 years of research and testing.

After being welcomed by SATRA’s chairman, Stephen Etheridge, His Royal Highness marked the occasion with a speech to staff and one hundred guests before meeting and discussing the work with the artist, Martyn Steele.

SATRA chief executive Austin Simmons presents the sculpture to HRH The Duke of Gloucester after the unveiling

The Royal party along with local dignitaries and guests were hosted on a tour of SATRA’s testing laboratories including demonstrations of the SATRA machines and test methods that play a role in helping manufacturers to make their products safer, better performing and more sustainable.

The tour was followed by a lunch at nearby Boughton House where Mr Etheridge welcomed His Royal Highness and guests and spoke about SATRA’s proud history from the original founders and their vision to the scientists, engineers, technologists and support staff that make SATRA the respected name it is today.

SATRA chairman Stephen Etheridge (left) with HRH The Duke of Gloucester at Boughton House

SATRA’s chief executive, Austin Simmons, said ‘Today marks a truly momentous occasion. SATRA was created 100 years ago by forward thinking visionaries who realised that the footwear industry needed a strong technical resource to enable it to develop new materials and manufacturing techniques. We have always been immensely proud of the intellectual prowess of our people, without whom SATRA would not have been able to make the contribution it has to industry over the last 100 years.’


Since its formation in 1919, SATRA has come to stand for scientific scrutiny and technical accuracy throughout the world, first in the footwear industry and then in other industries like furniture and personal protective equipment. The organisation now has technical facilities in Europe and China supplying technical research and testing services, test equipment and production efficiency systems internationally in numerous industries. SATRA has been instrumental in a number innovations in footwear, one of which was the moist heat setter which reduced the time needed to make a pair of shoes from weeks to hours, for which SATRA won the Queen’s Award to Industry in 1969. SATRA helped to design and develop the assault boot that was worn by Edmond Hillary and the British Expedition team for the first successful ascent of Everest in 1953.

About Martyn Steele

Steele studied fine art sculpture at Loughborough University and has been artist in residence at several schools and colleges. He lives on a narrowboat on the River Nene and works from his studio workshop at Upper Harlestone in Northamptonshire, and the family blacksmith forge in North Yorkshire. He works mainly in stone, steel and wrought iron, aiming to find the unity between sculpture and the environment.

About ‘No Compromise’

The sculpture named No Compromise has two solid COR-TEN weathering steel plates pulled apart by 100 stainless steel cables clamped and tightened in stone. The evolving dynamic contrast emphasises the uncompromising nature of scientific investigation and precision as materials and components come and go over time.

About Stephen Etheridge

Stephen Etheridge has been SATRA’s chairman since 2008. He has had a distinguished career in the footwear industry including leading the Church Group as chief executive for fifteen years. Stephen has been a driving force in promoting initiatives in the Northamptonshire region for the good of all. Most recently he became the trustee director for the Northampton Saints Rugby Club Charity Trust which uses sport to engage children who are excluded from mainstream education.

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