30.05.20 The Clerk

Clerk’s notes 1st June 2020

Today in 1794 a sea battle took place that became known as The Glorious First of June, (and sometimes the Third Battle of Ushant). It was the first and largest naval action between the French and British fleets during the French Revolutionary Wars.

Mark The Clerk

Mark The Clerk

The action was fought over 400 miles west of Ushant, the most Western point on the Brittany coast, deep in the Atlantic Ocean. The British fleet under Lord Howe fought to defeat a French fleet under Villaret de Joyeuse, which was in turn attempting to lure Howe away from a grain convoy enroute to France from the US. The future of the French Revolution would depend upon the safe arrival of this 117 strong convoy to save France from famine. Ultimately, both admirals were successful in their ambitions: Howe defeated Villaret in open battle and took seven of his ships; Villaret managed to occupy Howe for long enough and inflict sufficient damage that the convoy escaped unscathed. Therefore, from the British perspective it was a tactical victory but a strategic failure; for the French a tactical defeat but a strategic victory because famine was prevented.

In The Naval History of Great Britain from 1793 to 1820 by William James, it was reported that “On his arrival at Spithead, the gallant veteran (his Lordship was then 70 years of age) was greeted with joy and enthusiasm. On 26th June the Royal Family came down to Portsmouth and proceeded to visit Lord Howe, on board his ship at Spithead.”

In the idiom of the time James goes on to describe that despite the qualified success of the battle, His Majesty presented Howe with a diamond hilted sword worth 3,000 guineas and a valuable gold chain to wear round his neck. However, the King’s principal minister, who was also there, restrained His Majesty from presenting Howe with the Riband of the Garter. One can imagine the advice; “Best not get carried away Your Majesty, after all the grain did get through…”

Super hero update

On a more contemporary note I hadn’t planned to mention our most recently discovered super hero after he had appeared so much in the news of late. However, the one formerly known as Captain Tom has now gone even further to become, Colonel Sir Tom. There can be no-one alive whose heart has not been warmed by his story but such has been his trajectory that by the end of this month I would not be surprised if he became the new Defence Secretary and who knows, by the end of the year World King? Long live Sir Tom.

Coachmaker Charity update

You will recall in the previous edition that Court Assistant Sarah Holt, the Charity Committee Chairman, reported the various Coachmaker donations that had recently been made to some of those affected by the current crisis. Letters of thanks have now been received from City University, Kingston University, the Trussel Trust and the Cavell Nurses here.

City news

Livery Company support

A few weeks ago I shared with my fellow Clerks the first of our more regular Coachlines in which the story appeared about what the automotive and aerospace industries were doing to help fight the COVID-19 threat. So many other industries and organisations are involved and in some way or other, all of the City Livery Companies have been doing their bit to help during the past few weeks. I have recently received the following from Natalie Shaw, the Senior Communications Assistant to the Merchant Taylors Company:

We are thrilled to share some information on what we’re doing at this time and to share your own news where relevant to our members. Of course, the biggest piece of cross-Livery teamwork is through the NHS Livery Kitchens Initiative about which we’ve shared two updates with our members: the latest update is here.

Spiritual support

A message from Andrew Carwood, the Musical Director of St Paul’s Cathedral, was received in which he said:

I hope that you and the Coachmakers & Coach Harness Makers are keeping safe as we continue to navigate our way through these unprecedented days. The news which is most dear to our hearts at the moment is the launch of our online memorial book, Remember Me, which you can find here: www.rememberme2020.uk

He went on to include a message from the Dean:

St Paul’s Cathedral in London has been for centuries a place where significant national events have been prayed for and remembered, from the outcomes and losses of war to the tragedy of Grenfell Tower – events which have touched the lives of many or all communities across the country. This online book of remembrance continues that tradition in a changing world, and makes it available across the country, as together we remember and pray for one another.

If someone you love or care for has died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they had lived in the UK, you are encouraged to remember them on this site. In addition, St Paul’s wants to make a physical memorial to remember and honour every person who has lost their life during this pandemic. Subject to funding, we intend to build a new physical, inner portico within the North Transept. Already in the final stage of completion is the new external step-free access project, leading up to the North Transept entrance showing our commitment to equal access for everyone. The portico of remembrance will enable equality of welcome for all and also allow visitors to remember their loved ones and the tragedies of this pandemic when they enter the Cathedral.

We need your support to make this memorial a reality. If you would like to partner with us in our endeavours, please visit www.stpauls.co.uk/support/st-pauls/donate-to-us for more information.

We continue to hold the world in our daily prayers and we regularly remember the Coachmakers as part of the great community centred around this Cathedral which we all love so much. St Paul’s has been busy planning for the future but also providing resources and comfort. We have a new webpage where you can find thoughtful reflections, captivating music and worship, support for children’s learning, and more. Do please visit www.resourcehub.squarespace.com

David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Museum of London

I have also received the following from Katherine Hoare of the Museum of London:

I hope that all at the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers remain well during this very strange time. We at the Museum of London are doing our very best during this period to keep our friends and audience stimulated, engaged and inspired. We have some great content online and more in production, which we will of course keep you in the loop with if it’s of interest.

As you may have seen in the press recently, we are looking to collect objects and first hand experiences to reflect Londoners’ lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will allow us to keep a record and ensure future generations of Londoners will be able to learn about and understand this extraordinary period. We are hoping to collect both physical and digital objects, reflecting the voices and experiences of a broad range of Londoners. From those working on the front line to those quietly working in the background, from parents turned home-school support to young people online gaming, the museum wants to collect objects from those who can tell the story of London in lockdown.

If any Coachmakers would like to contribute, please do get in touch with us at enquiry@museumoflondon.org.uk – we would love to hear from you.

In addition to this, in lieu of being able to visit the museum, the BBC has commissioned a fantastic film highlighting our The Clash: London Calling exhibition – do have a look, it’s great for any music fans, and it’s lovely to have the opportunity to still visit the museum, albeit virtually!

Finally, for any Coachmakers with family at home to entertain, we have some learning resources from our award-winning Learning team here and here; and more in development.

Goldsmiths Company

For those who like shiny stuff, the following has also been brought to my attention:

Rue Pigalle and Goldsmiths’ Fair have collaborated to create a four-part lecture series that explores the stories of survival, endurance and innovation from the 14th-century jewellery world in London to the unprecedented hardships today’s makers are contending with due to COVID-19.

Rue Pigalle offers art-and-design inspired luxury travel experiences for women, but during this time of confinement they have been inviting guests on virtual adventures into artists’ studios around the world. This Goldsmiths’ Jewellery lecture series is their latest virtual offering.

Isabelle Fish, who founded Rue Pigalle in 2010, has worked closely with the Goldsmiths’ team to develop the course. Half of the proceeds from the series will be donated to the Goldsmiths’ 1327 Fund, which was launched to assist jewellers, silversmiths and those working in the allied industries in the UK. “It’s an honour to work with the team to create an experience that will be inspiring, informative—and will also help to support the talented makers during this difficult time,” says Fish.

The weekly series, which runs every Wednesday in June from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm BST will explore Goldsmiths’ storied history, as well as the history of women and silversmithing. “For centuries women were excluded from the profession unless they were a silversmith’s widow,” explains Goldsmiths’ librarian, Eleni Bide. “But even then, they had to fight to gain recognition and to establish their hallmark. Today they are now leading the profession.” The other lectures will be with a master and apprentice from the prestigious Goldsmiths’ Centre and the final one will be a candid interview with makers Daphne Krinos and Ane Christensen and gallerist Christina Jansen.

To enrol in the Goldsmiths’ Jewellery series, click here.

Rue Pigalle is a Toronto-based company that creates design-inspired experiences around the world for intimate groups of art, jewellery and culture lovers. Isabelle Fish, who was born and raised in France, founded Rue Pigalle to build a community that champions independent makers and their mastery. Rue Pigalle is a mindset, whether you join Isabelle on a trip or attend one of Rue Pigalle’s events, it’s a gathering place for curious, clever women who crave genuine connections as well as animated and thoughtful conversations around life, jewellery, craftsmanship and the arts.

Beyond the City

Le Mans 1966

Some of you may actually have attended the race itself and many more of you will by now have watched James Mangold’s excellent film Le Mans 66 (or Ford versus Ferrari for those not familiar with Continental Europe); if you have not yet seen it get the DVD now because it really is a great film even if not entirely true to the actual events it depicts. If however you want to know exactly what happened in 1966 directly from many of those involved, watch this documentary here.

Brands Hatch 1971

Some of you may also have been at Brands Hatch on 24th October 1971 for the non-championship Formula One Meeting held that day. If you were there you would have seen most of the contemporary F1 Team Principals each driving a Ford Escort Mk 1 Mexico in the Jack Brabham Trophy (F1 Team Managers’ Race). If you were not there to see the likes of Ken Tyrell, Colin Chapman, Frank Williams and Jack Brabham himself all rubbing bodywork around the Brands Hatch GP circuit, or wish to re-live the experience, then you must watch this film. The last lap action provides an interesting twist to the tale and the urbane commentary of Graham Hill makes it a real treat.

And finally…

As you will all be aware, the Government is gradually easing the restrictions that have been in force since March but thus far none of the revised measures have done anything to enable any kind of return towards a pre-COVID-19 Livery social programme. Unfortunately there is also no indication yet of when a return to pre-COVID-19 type activities will be permitted and so all we can do is watch and wait.

As happens annually however, before the crisis developed a comprehensive and ambitious plan had been formulated by the Livery Committee to add variety to the traditional Livery Events of 2020/21. How or when these events will be permitted to commence is as yet unknown. However, a number of imaginative internet based activities have already been established to go some way to replace those events lost during this Livery Year and I expect the same will continue for the foreseeable future. Although this is a poor substitute for the traditional fellowship of the Livery community in the face-to-face social environment, for now it is all that is available to us and so I hope that as many of you as possible participate in the Coachmakers’ Pub Quiz on 12th June, the first of what may become a long running series of similar events.

As a parting shot, news from the Old Barn is that the Lawn Area Management Boys (LAMBs) were shorn of their first coat of wool in early May and have taken up a new hobby since the wool has been lifted from their eyes. Stay safe and well and enjoy the sunshine.