Mark The Clerk

Coachlines - December 2020

21.12.20 The Clerk

Clerk’s Notes Christmas 2020

Forty years ago this week, I completed the four-week Royal Navy Ship’s Diving Officer Course to round off two years of basic, educational and professional naval training. Qualified to dive down to 30m on compressed air to conduct various underwater tasks and lead a similarly qualified team of divers anywhere in the world, on 3rd January 1981 I joined my first ship as she emerged from re-fit in Chatham Dockyard as a complement officer in a proper working job and with it promotion from Midshipman to Sub-Lieutenant.

Having spent two full years wearing the cloak of invincibility that the general expectation of zero competence afforded a Midshipman, this required some re-adjustment. Indeed I quickly discovered that as soon as one shipped the Sub-Lieutenant’s gold stripe, so the level of expectation rose considerably; this was rather a shame because I’d really enjoyed being a Midshipman.

Also, in those days most ships did not have internal self-contained sewage systems and so diving in the murky waters of naval dockyards was less than appealing. None more so than the non-tidal No 3 basin of Chatham Dockyard, which I suspect had not been flushed through with clean water since before the days of Henry VIII. It was an intriguing experience to know that working on the hull of a ship barely four metres below the surface in broad daylight, the only way to confirm that one’s hand was still attached to one’s wrist was to hold it within six inches of one’s facemask.

However, I survived but the picture of the keen young fellow in freshly wetted équipement de plongée is a salutary reminder of what 40 years can do to a chap. You will note that in 1981 said chap sported a standard naval issue beard. Unfortunately said beard also prevented said chap from achieving a water tight seal to his full-facemask. Remember what I said about the water in No 3 Basin…

Superhero update

You may already know this but on Sunday 20th December 2020 Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill had a double surprise for Captain Sir Tom Moore on the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year when she presented him with the Helen Rollason Award. She went on to introduce a new award named after Sir Tom and introduce another young superhero, nine-year-old Tobias Weller who became the first recipient of the Captain Tom Young Unsung Hero Award. If you missed it, follow this link:

City news

Message from the Recorder of London

His Honour Judge Lucraft QC, the Recorder of London, wishes you peace, health and happiness and invites you to view the Old Bailey virtual Christmas Carol Service 2020; to do so please click here:

December Livery Briefing Newsletter

At this link you will find the December version of the Livery Briefing newsletter.

City events

The University of London invites you to join the virtual 2021 National Symposium on Developing Socially Responsible Professionals organised by the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering. This national symposium will bring together experts and stakeholders from academia, industry, charities and government organisations together to debate different aspects of developing the next generation of socially responsible professionals. If you wish to attend follow this link.

Shiny stuff

The Goldsmiths’ Company has a number of interesting presentations and exhibitions that you might like to visit by following this link.

Free money

Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust open for applications. The Trust is delighted to announce that the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust will be accepting new applications for funding between 11th January and 15th February 2021. Talented and aspiring candidates can apply for up to £18,000 to further their education through traditional college courses, vocational training, apprenticeships or one-to-one training with master craftsmen. For further details and to apply please visit The deadline for applications is 5pm, 15th February 2021. If you know of someone who would benefit from this opportunity, more details can be found here.

Appeal by Jason Pritchard, Common Councilman for the ward of Portsoken, City of London

Common Councilman Pritchard has informed me of a new campaign that has just been launched to raise funds for Chromebooks for the Aldgate Primary School (formerly Sir John Cass Primary School). The Aldgate School is the only state primary school in the City of London. He has asked me specifically to pass on the details to individual Liverymen for your consideration. All the donations will be fully acknowledged unless the benefactor wishes to stay anonymous. Please note that  if you would prefer to make a donation direct to the school’s bank account rather than through the campaign page this can easily be arranged. Details of the specific campaign are no longer available but if you require any further information, please contact Common Councilman Pritchard on 07834 342479 /

Sea Cadets update

If you want know how the Sea Cadets have been coping with coronavirus, they sent us this message.

Looking back













80 years ago on 28th December 1940 the Coachmakers’ Hall on Noble Street, owned since 1703, was converted into a smoking hole by the Luftwaffe that did so much random re-development work over the City of London that night and the following night. 12 Livery halls were destroyed during the raids, numerous lives were lost and the streets of the post-War City, once re-built, looked very different to the pre-War layout.

In 1943 the Coachmakers’ Company was awarded £3,500 in war reparation for the loss of the hall and recently re-discovered Court Minutes record that much discussion was had after the war as to whether the hall should be re-built or not.  Ultimately however, it was determined that the cost to re-establish a permanent home for the Coachmakers would be too expensive and the Company did not seem to have the ability to raise the required funds. In 1950 therefore, the Court decided that the Company should accept £17,500 for the site and with the deal done became one of the 70 peripatetic Livery Companies of London without a hall. Today, the closest address to the original site is 3 Noble Street, London, EC2V 7EE, currently occupied by the law firm DLA Piper LLP.

A blue plaque marks the location of the Company Hall

In December 2015, a Blue Plaque was erected on the corner of Noble Street and Oat Lane to mark the site of where once stood the hall of the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers of London. Oh for the power of foresight…..


Looking forward

And with an eye on the future to what 2021 might bring, as you will have realised from listening to the most recent news reports, the introduction of Tier 4 in England and the late revision to Christmas has made it impossible to forecast when it will be possible to re-instate a pre-Covid type of Livery programme. All I can assure you is that the Master and I with the Livery Committee continue to explore all possible means to provide appropriate entertainment and generate opportunities to maintain Livery fellowship.

Beyond the rollout of the various magic mixtures that have been developed, one additional glimmer of hope was found on the internet this week when it was reported that the Royal Navy Logistic Branch had identified a potential solution to the current pandemic. Apparently it was suggested that if Covid-19 was to be issued with a Naval Stores Number then no-one would be able to get it. If ever a true word…

On a more serious note, acknowledging that 2020 has been an unusual year, let us hope that 2021 can be a year in which we return to something more recognisable sooner rather than later. Have as good a Christmas as you are able to and look after yourselves and those around you as we venture into the New Year.

With best wishes and Season’s Greetings from all of us at the Old Barn.