Coachlines - June 2020

14.06.20 The Clerk

Clerk’s notes – 15th June 2020

On the night of 14th-15th June 1982, the elderly Type 12 Frigate, HMS PLYMOUTH, under the command of Captain David Pentreath, entered Port Stanley Harbour to assume the duties of Queen’s Harbour Master in the immediate aftermath of the Argentine surrender. PLYMOUTH had been patched up and sent back into the fray after being badly damaged in an air raid on 8th June. Therefore at first the news of the surrender was received onboard with disappointment that the enemy had surrendered before the ship had extracted her revenge. However, that feeling was almost immediately replaced by a sense of relief and gratitude that no-one else would die.

The first task undertaken as QHM was an armed boarding of the designated Argentine hospital ship ARA Bahía Paraíso, already at anchor in the harbour and suspected of having contravened the Geneva Convention some days earlier. It was thought that she had delivered the improvised trailer-based Exocet MM38 launcher removed from the destroyer ARA Seguí and re-roled to be fired from land. Using this system on the night of 11th June, the Argentines had successfully attacked HMS GLAMORGAN which had strayed too close to shore while withdrawing from the gun line; 13 RN sailors were killed in the attack and several wounded.

The task of PLYMOUTH’s boarding party was to search the ship and identify any evidence that she had been used to ferry munitions. The Bahía Paraíso was a big unit and the boarding party spent over an hour searching the numerous decks and compartments. Part way through the search there was a moment when the officer not a million miles from this keyboard thought that he’d struck gold. Despite the protestations of the Argentine sailor who was his allocated guide, said officer rather forcefully insisted that the keys should be brought from the bridge to enter the locked compartment that had attracted his attention. 10 minutes later, and with the door open, it was discovered that sala de bombas was not the Spanish for bomb room but in fact it was the Spanish for pump room. The compartment was therefore found to contain the pump which delivered aviation fuel to the flight deck above. Nothing more was said and ultimately nothing suspicious was found. It was not the first, and by no means the last, Navy lark moment in said officer’s career.

However, you may remember the Bahía Paraíso for another reason: in 1989 it sank in Arthur Harbour, Antarctica, resulting in a 140,000 gallon oil spill with the associated environmental damage.

Superhero update

Back to the present and he’s been at it again. On 3rd June, the Guild of Freemen of the City of London awarded Captain (and Honorary Colonel) Sir Tom Moore Honorary Membership of the Guild. It is the highest honour the Guild can bestow and is awarded only in exceptional circumstances. The only other living Honorary Member is HRH The Princess Royal.

The Master of the Guild, Ann-Marie Jefferys, admitted Captain Sir Tom in a virtual ceremony – the first ever for the Guild – with Alderman Sir David Wootton, Past Master of the Guild, Past Lord Mayor and Master Woolman, also present. You can view the ceremony on this YouTube link:

City news


My good friend, the Clerk to the Distillers’ Company (great job, can’t remember much about it) has sent me (late) news of the Distillers’ Charity Auction. There are more than 100 lots in the auction, with some significant collectors’ items included. All funds raised will go to The Drinks Trust which provides care and support to those working within the drinks industry. The auction runs until 16th June (tomorrow) and if you wish to participate full details of the event can be found here.

Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court

Everyone who has met my good friend Murray Craig, the Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court, will know that his ability to talk presents an existential threat to the after most limbs of all equus asinus wherever they may be. However having moved into virtual Freedom applications, virtual Freedom ceremonies, speaking at virtual Livery company dinners he has now moved into web-based mini-talks. You may be interested in his latest offering:

Picturing lockdown

Historic England has revealed the 36 images from across the capital that have been added to its archive as part of the Picturing Lockdown Collection, it is now freely accessible online and full details can be found here.

Access to the City

For those having to travel into and out of the City, work is under way to make getting round the Square Mile easier for the thousands of residents and office workers so they can still keep their distance. More detail can be found here.

Helping young scholars and apprentices

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) awards scholarship and apprenticeship funding of up to £18,000 to talented and aspiring crafts people working in a broad range of skills; from farriery and cheese maturing to jewellery design, silversmithing and sculpture, the list is not exhaustive. The next application round is open from 14th July to 24th August 2020 and the Trust is looking for more talented applicants – do you know anyone who might qualify?

QEST celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2020 and since 1990 has awarded more than £4.5million to more than 550 individuals working in over 130 different crafts. It defines craft broadly and welcomes applications from all areas including rural skills, contemporary craft, conservation, luthiery and much more. For those not sure a Luthier is a craftsperson who builds and repairs string instruments that have a neck and a sound box. A directory of all the Trust’s alumni can be seen on its website, along with more details on how to apply at and a summary can be found here.

If the shoe fits

I am aware that many of you out there are quite keen on fashion and particularly footwear. Within the other eight leather related Livery Companies with which the Coachmakers is associated there are two Companies that do feet. The Pattenmakers major on mass produced footwear and the Cordwainers focus on bespoke footwear. The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, whose current Master also happens to be Coachmaker Liveryman Colonel Nigel Easton, has recently announced the winners of its National Footwear Student of the Year Awards. Full details can be found here.

Music to your ears

Another of my good friends (there are so many), the Clerk to the Musicians’ Company has told me that it has been worried about the young professional musicians it supports and whose livelihood has dried up with the cancellation of performances due to the ongoing pandemic. As a result the Company has asked its young artists to make recordings from their own homes that the Company will pay them for and which will be broadcast. #Midday Music was launched last week to broadcast concerts on Monday and Wednesday at midday and details of what has happened and what will happen this week can be found here.

More detail of this initiative can be found here.

A note from the Lord Mayor’s Office

Following a note from the Lord Mayor asking for information, I informed the Office of the Lord Mayor about the Coachmakers’ support for those in need during the current crisis which has been reported in previous editions of Coachlines. I recently received the following reply:

Dear Mark,
Thank you very much for your email and for the information on the Coachmakers’ Company’s work during the COVID-19 crisis.
We are consolidating all the responses received from the Livery and these have been put before the Lord Mayor and others as consideration is given to broader response to the COVID-19 situation.
The Lord Mayor sends his thanks to you for taking the time to respond to his message.

Best wishes,

Henry Lee
Programme Officer
Office of The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor
Mansion House, London EC4N 8BH

In other news

Coachmakers’ future programme

The fog is starting to thin – a bit – but it is still too early for me to be able to tell you what the programme will look like during the coming months in any real detail. I am sure you will all be following the news and will know that the entertainment industry is lobbying energetically for the Government to relax the current restrictions to enable pubs, restaurants and other such venues to re-open and re-commence business; the Livery halls and catering companies are very much involved in this process. I do not intend to reflect on that here other than to say that City based Livery events may re-commence later this year but while COVID-19 remains a risk they will probably be very different to what everyone enjoyed pre-COVID-19. Restricted hall capacities, enhanced hygiene regimes, physical social distancing requirements and controlled movement through the venues are just some of the issues directly involved while others include public transport capacity for those wishing to return home after the events.

As has previously been explained, all Coachmaker social events in this Livery Year were cancelled some time ago but we are already looking beyond 1st September and the start of the next Livery Year to make plans for a gradual return to a social programme akin to what the Company has historically enjoyed. Prior to that however, I am informed that the London Concours hosted by the Honourable Artillery Company in London is planned to go ahead on 19th-20th August. The Livery Committee is exploring how the Coachmakers may take advantage of the opportunity and more detail will be forthcoming soon. Indeed, at a recent meeting of the Livery Committee a series of achievable events for Livery year 2020/21 was discussed and will be promulgated in due course.

For now all Coachmaker administrative meetings, including Court Meetings, will continue to be held via Zoom, with which most people now seem to be familiar. Having recently discussed the matter with the Clerk to the Tallow Chandlers’ Company it became clear that while COVID-19 restrictions are necessary it will be impossible to hold a physical Election Court Meeting in Tallows’ historic Court Room. Similarly, owing to the size of TC Hall, an Installation Dinner would also be impossible to achieve. Therefore unless a vaccine or a cure is found within the next few weeks, the Election Court will be held on Zoom on 1st September, the traditional procedures for electing and installing a new Master modified accordingly.

Looking beyond that, the Senior Warden is also working on a plan to replace the Aerospace Industry Dinner which was due to take place in Fishmongers’ Hall on 12th November with a replacement event held elsewhere on 9th November. More details of this will be promulgated as the plan is refined and details of what might be achievable at the time become clear.

And finally

This will be the last fortnightly edition of Coachlines as we move to a less restricted environment and the summer break beckons, therefore the next edition will be distributed in mid-July. The Communications Committee Chairman, Lesly Upham, has asked me to thank everyone for their support during this recent run of fortnightly output.

HOWEVER, please, please, please, don’t stop sending in your stories and notes, they have been so well received and add to the variety of articles that are published and thereby the success of Coachlines as a concept. Thank you all.

In summary however, you may recall that on 20th April I made reference to Aretha Franklin’s 1985 record, Who’s Zoomin’ Who. Where the Coachmakers’ lead, others follow:

Private Eye 1523 dated 5th June 2020