Coachlines - March 2024

29.03.24 Freeman David Barzilay

A letter from the Deputy Editor – March 2024

In a few days it will be officially British Summer Time, although I am sure you will agree it has not seemed much like it in recent weeks. It has also been the end of the tax year so let’s hope that you have all claimed any allowances and got your tax affairs in order.

It’s the start of the season when we start to plan visits and holidays if we haven’t done so already, and there is an interesting calendar of events for you to enjoy which are listed on the website.

During the past month I have been involved in one of the most interesting and challenging aspects of my professional career – getting Donald Campbell’s record-breaking hydroplane, Bluebird K7, back to Coniston so that ultimately it can run on Coniston Water again at some time in the future.

It will be highly challenging from an engineering perspective, and the Ruskin Museum is now building a team of engineers to look after the boat going forward and is seeking help from gas turbine engineers and from industry. Working with Gina Campbell and her partner Brian Eastham has been a huge privilege, and you can read the story elsewhere in this edition.

Restoration has been a large part of my life and up until now it has mostly been cars and railway locomotives, with Bluebird K7 thrown in for good measure. But I am frankly amazed at some of the restoration that is carried out on coaches and horse drawn vehicles.

I should come clean at this point. I did study my part one and two City and Guilds’ basic engineering courses before going into journalism. I passed everything that involved metal work or electrical work but failed in pattern making and woodwork, so I would have been pretty useless in restoring carriages.

This month we have some great pictures of a Ralli Car from Mark Broadbent at Fenix Carriages, showing us the vehicle before and after, with a link to details of the whole restoration of the vehicle. I suppose if you will pardon the pun – it’s horses for courses – we all have our different expertise when it comes to restoration. More importantly, we can enjoy and respect the work done by others that we could never attempt – particularly in my case.

In our Meet the Team feature this month, Assistant Giles Taylor, Chairman of the Automotive Charity Sub-Committee, gives details of how his career started with winning the Coachmakers’ Motor Centenary Bursary Award in 1989, and tells us how he and his sub-committee members support more young people to embark on their journeys in the automotive industry.

Thanks to the committee’s tireless work, on 21st March we presented some distinguished automotive industry awards and bursaries to some of the finest and brightest young people at the company’s Automotive Industry Livery Dinner. These awards include: the Motor Centenary Bursary Award, Sir William Lyons Automotive Design Award – Coventry University, Advanced Automotive Engineering Research Bursary – Brunel University, Automotive and Motorsport Future Technologies Award – Cranfield University, and Bentley Heritage Award for an Outstanding Apprentice. You can read more about these awards and their recipients in our feature.

Steward Neil Sheath brings us up-to-date by sharing details of the winners of the aerospace university awards and a very interesting group of people they are too.

We also report this month from the 80th Annual United Guilds’ Service, held on 15th March, and on the annual Livery Careers Fair at Guildhall. There is also a call from the Master to support the 350th Charter Anniversary Fundraising initiative.

That’s all from me this month, and next month this letter will be written by our Editor, Assistant Lyn Litchfield, so you will hear from me in May. In the meantime, keep well.

Deputy Editor, Freeman David Barzilay