19.06.17 Cmdr Mark Leaning RN

Clerk’s notes June 2017


I write as I travel north from London back to the foothills of the Lincolnshire Himalayas having attended a pan-Livery meeting attended by the Masters and Clerks of 75 Livery Companies hosted by the Mercers’ Company. The point of the meeting was to explore the possibility of establishing a livery-wide initiative that takes advantage of the many skills, opportunities and resources that the 110 Livery Companies of London have at their disposal.

As you can imagine, from a room containing 140 representatives of so many diverse companies the commensurate diversity of ideas generated will keep the Mercers’ Director of Philanthropy (the Head of a whole Department of Philanthropy – such is the size and scale of that Company) busy for a few days distilling those same ideas into a document that is meaningful and which can be used as the basis for further consideration. In the meantime, a number of topics were identified as worthy of more detailed work through the summer by various Livery notables, including the City’s two Sheriffs which, it is proposed, will inform the debate towards establishing an agreed pan-Livery initiative that makes a collective difference in the future.

Why has this suddenly come about I hear you ask? Well in his Mansion House speech on 30 March 2017 the Master Mercer highlighted that many years ago the relevance of the Livery Companies was subjected to serious external scrutiny. To address what was seen as an attack on their continued existence they collaborated to set up the City & Guilds Organisation.

It is now thought that a similar initiative should be developed to highlight the continued significance of the Livery movement in the 21st century, and indeed to actually make a difference, before any challenge is articulated against the relevance of such an ancient organisation in the modern world. I will keep you posted on developments in future editions. For now, may I encourage you all to support the Livery movement by continuing to support your own Company and attend as many of the various events organised specifically on your behalf and in the wider City environment as well.

On 23rd and 24th June the Company is participating in the Heritage Skills Festival at Lincoln Cathedral, within sight of the Lincolnshire Himalayas. The skills and crafts of 26 Livery Companies of London will be on display to highlight the trades that built and have maintained Lincoln Cathedral through the ages. With thanks to Bentley Motors, Fenix Carriages and the Crown Equerry, it has been arranged for the Coachmakers to be the first stand inside the main entrance and will include: two Bentley motor cars, one new and one from Bentley’s historic collection; two Fenix Carriages, one of the latest design and one restored example; and one Coachmaker Apprentice, Kirsty Thomson, who completes her apprenticeship in July and who will be demonstrating her leather craft. Full details of the event can be found here. It’s free to enter and there will be lots to see and do so if you are within striking distance of Lincoln, support your Livery Company on tour and sample some Lincolnshire hospitality – which is not as bizarre as it might sound.

There are also a number of Livery Committee events in various stages of development. The Company’s annual attendance at the British Driving Society’s Show at Smith’s Lawn, Windsor takes place on 25th of June. If you haven’t bought your ticket yet it may be too late but if you have had a change of heart contact me at clerk@coachmakers.co.uk and I’ll try and do some of that Hogwarts stuff.

The visit to Brooklands takes place on 27th June. The opportunity to witness the ancient tradition of Swan Upping on the River Thames will take place on 18th July. On 19th July this year’s Summer Court and Champagne Reception will be held at Girdlers Hall. This will be the first time in living memory that the Coachmakers Company has been allowed to use this hall as it is generally not available for hire.

Elsewhere, the City Beerfest happens on 6th July in the Guildhall Yard. Also, as it seems to generate much interest, once again I draw your attention to the Annual Sheep Drive on 24th September.  For a wider briefing on City matters please see the latest Livery Briefing.

May I also remind you that orders are still being taken for the Coachmakers’ History book. The book has yet to be printed as we wait for the final numbers to be known before the confirmed order is made. As I write there are only 177 shopping days left to Christmas – it’s just a thought.

In sum, the nights will soon be drawing in as we canter towards the end of another Livery year and it is with a heavy heart that I shall be taking a short holiday during August, with the Master’s permission of course. On that basis, please note that if you need to contact me, the first three weeks of August will not be a good time. Notwithstanding the possibility of yet another election in the very near future, on behalf of the Assistant Clerk and myself, may I wish you a lovely summer.