Coachlines - August 2023

28.08.23 The Clerk

Clerk’s notes – August 2023

I must confess that there is a new love in my life. Her name is Betsie and I am smitten. However I am pleased to report that the Assistant Clerk approves of this new relationship, although she has warned that my time with Betsie will be restricted and must not lead me to neglect other aspects of my life which, she assures me, are far more important.

I am of course referring to my recently acquired Moto Guzzi California 1100i which chugged to Orkney and back in July carrying myself, the Assistant Clerk and far too much kit on what was a splendid road trip. You can read about the adventure elsewhere in this edition but what it doesn’t mention is that over every one of the 1,290 miles Betsie, the Assistant and I personally covered, I had a grin on my face from ear to ear.

My needs have always been modest, and my tastes would definitely be classed as “conservative”. As such, although I have been a motorcyclist since 1975 I have never owned anything that could be considered remotely exotic; perhaps that’s just the careful northern blood that flows though my veins (for careful read frugal/tight-fisted) or perhaps I have no imagination. Whatever, my big bikes both past and present have always been highly capable but definitely mundane BMWs.

However, to own a big Guzzi, particularly a Cali, has always been an itch that I have wanted to scratch and last October a chance encounter led me to purchase, on a whim, a bike that fulfilled this need which had unexpectedly become available. As the Assistant Clerk noted at the time: “You don’t normally do this kind of thing,” – nevertheless, it was love at first sight, and although she needed a good deal of cosmetic TLC and more than just a full service, having “rested for over 10 years in the back of a garage”, the price was right, I took the plunge and Betsie was mine.

Without doubt it was one of my better decisions.

Betsie embarking onto the Pentland Ferry enroute to Orkney

Company News

Looking ahead to the Livery Year for 2023-2024, the following main Livery events will take place:
Aerospace Industry Dinner – 16th November 2023 at Vintners’ Hall
Award to Industry Dinner – 18th January 2024 at Armourers Hall (tbc)
Automotive Industry Dinner – 21st March 2024 at Carpenters’ Hall
Banquet – 17th May 2024 at Guildhall
Summer Dinner – 11th July 2024 at Saddlers’ Hall

City news

GSWD Treasures of Gold and Silver Wyre – 30th September-12th November

In order to mark the 400th anniversary of the award of the Company’s first, though short lived, Royal Charter in 1623, the Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers will holding an exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery. More than 200 rare and beautiful items made of gold and silver wire sourced from royalty, the arts, military, ecclesiastical, and civil sources as well as stunning modern creations. It will be open to the public from 30th September to 12th November, 10.30am-4pm daily.
Ticket information: £10 (£7 concessions) via Guildhall Art Gallery.

Exhibition catalogue: Available for £12. Private tours and group bookings: Available upon request. Please contact Dr Karen Watts: See flyer attached.

LSO City Livery Concert at the Barbican on Sunday 8th October 2023 – save the date

The annual LSO City Livery Concert will take place on 8th October. Follow this link for details.

Mayoralty and Shrievalty – 2023 Aldermanic Appraisal Process

Following the meeting of the Nominations Committee of the Court of Aldermen which took place on 11th July 2023, please find attached a letter outlining the decisions taken at that meeting in relation to the Court of Aldermen’s position on those who will be supported for progression to the Shrievalty and Mayoralty over the next several years. This information is available on the City Livery Committee website. Follow this link for details.

Shrieval Chain Appeal

We congratulate Alderwoman Dame Sue Langley and Alderman Bronek Masojada on their election as the next Sheriffs of the City of London. Many friends and colleagues of Dame Sue and Bronek have expressed the wish to follow the happy custom of presenting the Sheriffs-Elect with their chain and badge of office therefore the secretaries of their shrieval campaigns invite citizens, companies, colleagues and friends to donate to the Shrieval Chain appeals. The appeals, with all information relating to donations, can be found here:

Alderwoman Dame Sue Langley

Alderman Bronek Masojada

City Livery Committee Courses

Members are reminded that the City Livery Committee offers a number of courses aimed particularly at new Liverymen and Freemen; partners are also welcome, as are Court Assistants and Liverymen of longer standing, who have not previously been to a Briefing and who are also encouraged to attend. Next courses: 12th September and 2nd November. To book follow this link:

Woodturning Connect – 19th October 2023

The Worshipful Company of Turners will showcase its biennial exhibition and competition work, on a public viewing and purchasing day on 19th October 2023. Enjoy the very best in contemporary turning with the Master’s exhibition in more than 10 competitions ranging from mixed media (wood, pewter and leather) to ornamental turning and ancient pole-lathe methods. Held in the beautiful and historic Pewterers’ Hall in the City, there’s also the chance to buy competition pieces and a selection from the leading turners of the UK as well as supporting young emerging turners. Free tickets are available through Eventbrite. Follow this link for the QR code.

Red Cross Christmas Market – early bird tickets available now

Early bird tickets for the Guildhall Christmas market are on sale now. You can purchase tickets for the spectacular opening gala night (Monday 27th November) or book yourself a festive luncheon or afternoon tea in the atmospheric Crypts on market day (Tuesday 28th November). Several Livery companies will be selling their wares as usual, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross, plus there will be an array of over 60 commercial stalls selling everything from jewellery to homeware – this is the perfect occasion to get that Christmas shopping list sorted. Book now to avoid disappointment – discounted prices end on 1st September.

A Square Mile Year – A Diary of a Master Gardener

It will be interesting to see if any Past Master Coachmaker commits their thoughts and experiences to paper in the future. However, while you wait you may be interested to know that Past Master Gardener Peter Waine has published a lighthearted yet comprehensive account in diary form of a Master’s year.

It incorporates the anecdotes of others and the history and traditions of many Liveries and of the City. Not least the diary gives an insight for those perhaps aspiring to a Mastership or just wanting to know the modern relevance of an ancient entity, the Corporation of London and its constituent parts including our beloved livery companies often as viewed by a Master when participating in the rich array of events in a packed year. Pre-publication reviews have called it ‘lively, informative and amusing’. It is not a history of the institutions of the Square Mile but a fast-paced personal diary. More detail can be found here.

Historical research enquiry

The following note has been received from a Jonathan Goddard, it has been confirmed as genuine by the Barbican:

Dear Sir, I am writing to enquire about a historical podcast project I am conducting, which has been partially funded by the Corporation of London through the Barbican’s community engagement team. I am looking at black history in the City of London, flowing from the historical legacy of Empire, Trade and slavery to the modern era. I am currently seeking stories of and interviews with successful members of ethnic minority communities with ties to the City. These may be modern figures or historical figures and I would be most grateful if you were able to direct me towards any current or former members of your company who might be interested in participating in this project.

In short, I am most interested in the following:
• Interviewing any willing members or past members of your organisation from a BAME background who would be willing to discuss their experiences and connection to the City of London.
• Recommendations of any past members from a similar background who have made significant contributions to your field.

If you wish to participate in this project contact Mr Goddard at:

To conclude

So why Betsie?

Well, it must be said that although the Moto Guzzi California cruiser/touring bike shares much of the same frame architecture as the famous Moto Guzzi Le Mans sports bike of the mid to late 70s, and it was a product of the same famous Italian designer, Lino Tonti, Betsie is a bit of a beast in the handling department.

In Italian, the word beast is bestia, and in line with the Leaning tradition of anthropomorphising and naming certain inanimate objects, particularly much loved vehicles, the original idea was to call the new arrival Bestia. However in a rare demonstration of compassion, the Assistant Clerk opined that it would be a little harsh and so it was decided that she should be called Betsie instead.

Betsie is currently slumbering in the garage alongside Agatha (the Assistant’s MGA coupe) and Herman Eins and Herman Zwei (come on, they are German….). She has found a home for life and she will be out and about over the Bank Holiday weekend so this may not be the last that you’ve heard of her.

Betsie enjoying some Scottish sunshine just north of Pitlochry during the run home