Coachlines - April 2020

02.04.20 The Clerk

Clerk’s Notes for 6th April

As I write it is Day 9 of the new “normal” but I am pleased to report that gin reserves remain reassuringly sufficient and a recent re-supply of Cooper’s marmalade has restored equilibrium to the breakfast table. I sincerely hope that all Coachmakers and their families are coping with the challenges of this strange new world and that you have been able to settle into an acceptable routine. Later on I offer a few thoughts that may go some way to lightening your day a little.

The Clerk, Cmdr Mark Leaning RN

Coachmaker events

As you will be aware, all Coachmaker activity out to the end of May has been cancelled or postponed and events in June will very shortly be reviewed. By the time you read this I should have concluded making refunds to those who had booked places at the Automotive Industry Dinner, the Champagne Tasting at HMS PRESIDENT and the Banquet. If you have not yet received yours please do get in touch with me as soon as possible.

Looking further ahead, several third party events in June such as the British Driving Society Show programmed for Sunday 21st June have been cancelled, as have a number of events as far out as July. This doesn’t necessarily reflect the possibility that the current restrictions may still be in force at that time, although that probably can’t be ruled out at this stage, rather it is driven by the fact that preparations for the events would be severely disrupted by the current restrictions with no guarantee of what the situation might be later in the year.

In sum, this is extremely frustrating and disappointing for everyone but is perhaps best viewed as a necessary sacrifice for the greater good of the country as a whole. That said, the Master and I are maintaining a watching brief over developments but it is too early yet to say what, if anything, might still be able to go ahead in the current Livery year. What I can say is that as soon as we know, you will be the first to hear.

City news

To lighten the load somewhat, I have been informed of a splendid song written by Honorary Coachmaker Alderman Dr Sir Andrew Parmley and performed by Tony Saunders, an accomplished pianist and acquaintance of the Weavers’ Company. It came from an idea dreamed up between the Weavers’ Upper Bailiff and Sir Andrew together at a dinner. The YouTube link is: and the highly amusing and clever lyrics can be accessed here. For those who do not have an operatic bent, the tune is Major General from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance.

Freedom of the City of London

All new Freemen of the Coachmakers Company receive detailed instructions on what they must do next to achieve Freedom of the City of London in order to progress towards becoming clothed Liverymen. Many follow these instructions with alacrity; many don’t.

Often those who spend too long progressing from Freemen to Liverymen cite as their reason the need to appear before the Clerk to the Chamberlain’s Court in person in the Guildhall to conduct the necessary interview some time before they are allowed to present themselves on the day for the ceremony itself. This has often been questioned and the answer has always been: “it’s been like this for centuries and will remain like it – what day can you attend?”

Well, as a further example of what an effect COVID-19 is having upon our lives, for the duration of this crisis the Chamberlain’s Court is currently closed and no ceremonies or face-to-face application interviews are taking place. The Clerk to the Chamberlain’s Court and his team are working from home and can be contacted by email at: or by this telephone number: 020 7332 3055 which is transferring to the Clerk’s mobile number.

As a result, for the duration of this crisis only, as an alternative to face-to-face interviews the Chamberlain’s Court is permitting Freemen of the Livery Companies to apply for Freedom of the City via email, but payment of the fee can only be made by bank transfer. Please complete this attached form electronically and return it with a scanned in copy of your Coachmakers’ Freedom Certificate to Murray Craig at his e-mail address (No additional signature is required from me on this occasion). Payment details are contained in this separate paper.

So I ask that all those Freemen of the Coachmakers’ Company yet to apply for Freedom of the City (all 45 of you) please do take this opportunity to apply while it exists.

Sheep Drive 2020

Maintaining a positive outlook, a note has been received from the Worshipful Company of Woolmen as follows:

The Sheep Drive and Livery Fair are tremendous opportunities for celebration and enjoyment in support of The Woolmen’s Company Charitable Trust and The Lord Mayor’s Appeal and we look forward to another fantastic day on Sunday 27th September 2020.

As you would expect at the current time, our plans are constantly under review to reflect changing circumstances and to ensure they are in line with Government guidelines. However, at the moment, please do keep the date in your diary.

We will provide a status update at the end of April and thereafter in the light of any further guidance issued at that time. In the meantime, we wish you the best of health during this very difficult time.

For now, if you have any questions about any aspect of the day please contact

Peter Hullah
Chair of the Charity Committee and Sheep Drive/Livery Fair Team
Upper Warden Elect
Worshipful Company of Woolmen

Pastoral care

This letter was also received recently from Father Tim Handley, the Priest- in-Charge at St James, Garlickhythe, the Coachmakers’ affiliated church in the City of London:

Dear all

As I am sure you are aware, St James Garlickhythe and St Michael Paternoster Royal are closed until further notice. This is a difficult time for many people so first of all I would like to assure you of my prayers for all the liveries connected with our churches.

Secondly, for those who would like to, Fr Tim is broadcasting services from the Book of Common Prayer during the week from home.

These are:
Sunday: Matins 9 am (with sermon)
Evensong 5 pm (with sermon)

Monday to Friday: Matins 8 am
Evensong 5pm

If you are on Facebook, just look for St James Garlickhythe and ‘like’ the page to be notified when a live broadcast is about to begin. Alternatively, we are on YouTube. Just paste this link into your browser and subscribe.
Fr Tim’s weekly sermon is also available on WordPress:

In addition, if your members would like any specific prayer requests, please ask them to email me at or call me on 07912 583201

Please be assured of my prayers at this difficult time.
Fr Tim

Fr Tim Handley SSC
Parish Priest, St.James Garlickhythe,
07912 583201

Can you help?

Another communication that came in a few days ago was forwarded to me from the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers via Craft Freeman Coachmaker Samuel Gervais:

Classification: UK OFFICIAL
Dear Dr Hartley,

Please could you circulate the below to your supplier networks as appropriate.

As you may be aware from media reporting, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is looking for organisations that can support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the United Kingdom as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19. They are seeking suppliers with the ability to design, manufacture or supply the following, in addition to those who have/provide medical training or logistics capabilities.
• Air compressors / pumps
• Bellows
• Self-inflating bags
• Gas mixing valves
• Pressure regulators
• Flow control valves
• Solenoid valves
• Pressure relief valves
• Check valves / one-way valves
• Industrial automation components (safety relays, PLCs)
• Power supplies
• Electric motors and motor controllers
• Linear actuators and controllers
• Tubing and fittings
• Pressure sensors and indicators
• Oxygen sensors and indicators
• Flow sensors and indicators
• Manometers
• Heat and moisture exchanging filters (HMEFs)
• Air filter, HEPA Filters

Further details, including how suppliers can respond – click here

IOP Institute of Physics Registered charity number 293851 Scottish charity number SC040092
Registered office: 37 Caledonian Road, London N1 9BU, United Kingdom.

To date, from contacts within the Coachmakers’ Company, RVL Aviation has offered to provide spare freight capacity to fly NHS kit between UK airports, and Marshalls of Cambridge tells me it is already involved with a couple of programmes in the area covered by the BEIS letter.

If anyone else knows any company that is not already involved but might have something to contribute please do encourage those in charge to follow the link in the letter above.

Other support

I have no doubt that many Coachmakers are already involved in helping numerous organisations at this time of national emergency but I have also received a note from Liveryman David Cole as follows:

Dear Mark,

I hope this finds you well. I saw in Coachlines that you’re available in case any Coachmakers need a hand with everything that’s going on. I’m helping to organise the Huntingdonshire Community Group’s response to the situation, so if you do hear from any Coachmakers in and around Huntingdonshire who need a hand (shopping, walking pets, talk on the phone, whatever) I should be in a position to organise help pretty quickly.

Best wishes,

If anyone needs help in Huntingdonshire, let me know and I’ll pass it on to David. Similarly, if any Coachmaker wishes to pass on similar offers or suggestions, the next Coachlines will go out again in two weeks’ time.


The natural corollary to the piece above is “so how can Coachmakers keep in touch while little or nothing is likely to happen over the next few weeks and months?”

That is a good question, particularly in our supposedly enlightened age of immediate elektrikery. To many of you Facebook, WhatsApp, SnapChat and Twitter are common methods of distributing pictures of your dog in an embarrassing position, the time or place of the meeting you’ve had to cancel or details of the great restaurant that you (used to) frequent. However, many Coachmakers still see the personal computer as a beast to be approached with caution; therefore in order to ensure that all Coachmakers travel at the same speed it is not intended for the Company to take up residence on any of the platforms mentioned above.

That said, there is nothing to stop like-minded Coachmakers from connecting with each other on any of the aforementioned versions of social media but I suggest that you consider very carefully which pool you leap into before committing to exposing your personal details to the data harvesters that lie beneath the surface of each one.

Notwithstanding my natural suspicion of all things that work by magic, for those not already aware, the Coachmakers Company does have a presence on the social media platform called LinkedIn. The group is called Coachmakers Connect and if you can, do take a look at it and join the group if it works for you.

Beyond that, Coachlines will be issued every fortnight for the foreseeable future and it seems to do a good job in distributing information and featured articles to those Coachmakers who read it. Do help us keep it interesting and take the opportunity to contribute a story, picture or simply an idea for a future article – all suggestions would be gratefully received.

While the City is closed

Another means to remain connected to the City is to look at three of the City’s Livery Halls which offer an online virtual ’tour’ of their respective hall. While the tours aren’t guided, they do provide the opportunity to browse around the halls at leisure:
Saddlers’ Hall
Stationers’ Hall
Goldsmiths’ Hall

Also, Paul D Jagger, a Court Assistant of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists has opened two public web lectures titled “Treasures of the Livery Halls”. This live event will be held on 10th April at 6pm and repeated on 17th April at 6pm. Further details and enrolment are here: Treasures of the Livery Halls

Paul is also the author of The City of London Freeman’s Guide which has been presented to all new Freemen of the Coachmakers Company for the past five years. The ‘Masterpiece’ edition is now available in three digital formats, and Paul has been using his enforced isolation to update the guide with much additional material, including details of the City Heritage Award and all the buildings that have received that accolade (which makes for a fascinating self-guided tour of London on Google StreetView).

For those who wish to own it in an electronic format it is available here:

On Amazon in Kindle format (works on Kindle and the Kindle reader App for Windows, MacOS, etc)
On Apple Book store in iBook format (works on iPhone, iPad, iMac)
On Payhip in ePub format (works on any device with an eBook reader App – of which there are many freely available)

Paul updates the eBook every month with new discoveries and he considers that it is very much a two-way process and he welcomes ideas, recommendations and corrections from readers. Updates are free to past purchasers of the eBook within the edition.

In conclusion

I mentioned at the beginning that I would offer some ideas that may lighten your day a little. Being confined to a given place is nothing new to me and in 33 years and 100 days of Naval Service I spent many months at sea in warships of varying size, all of which were living creatures that required 24-hour attention to get the best out of them. However, for those who have watched various documentaries of life at sea in a warship, it may surprise you to learn that contrary to the excitement that a 30-minute episode might convey, during about 97% of the time in the real world nothing of any great significance takes place, all of it within the confines of your own tin can, while at the same time floating hundreds if not thousands of miles from the nearest point of land – if you don’t count straight down.

As a result, to ensure that a ship’s company remains fit, effective and sane, it is essential to establish a routine that is achievable and can be easily managed or modified to suit whatever circumstances prevail.

During long sea passages across the oceans however, one can only do so much to vary the daily routine so it is important to include little highlight moments that break up the monotony of the day and give the ship’s company something to which they can look forward.

Every effort is made to vary the daily work routines for upper and lower deck maintenance and vary the types of drill practice for each of the ship’s various war fighting departments. And most importantly for long sea passages, in addition to the daily working routine it is also important to include Saturday and Sunday routines within any given period to allow the ship’s company time to relax.

However, within any given day it is also important to establish fixed points that offer relief from the monotony of routine. Mealtimes are a great way to do this. At the same time each day, shipmates gather to take their daily meals, gossip and relax; mealtimes give sailors something to look forward to within the day’s routine and break up that routine into manageable chunks.

Another example of how something simple can provide a break in the day-to-day routine and provide a focal point that everyone can look forward to was exemplified in HMS LIVERPOOL, a type 42 Destroyer, conducting an eight-month UN embargo operation in the Gulf in 1994/95.

During that period LIVERPOOL spent many weeks at sea, much of it on long passages between areas with not a great deal happening. However, one enterprising Senior Rating had deployed with his own box set of Star Trek, The Next Generation. This was long before warships had the benefit of a PC in every space and every sailor had his or her own smart phone, so the main form of whole ship entertainment was via DVDs played on the internal CCTV system. Therefore, to entertain his shipmates at 1615 hours every day that the ship was at sea, said Senior Rating arranged for an episode of Star Trek to be beamed into every mess deck throughout the ship.

Whether it was the unconscious desire to boldly go where others had gone before or whether it was the image of Deanna Troi and her figure-hugging uniform that was the main attraction, who knows, but it generated a cult following onboard and gave everyone something to look forward to during those long days at sea.

So, if you are stuck in a flat or a house alone or full of small people who think they are under house arrest without having yet committed a crime, to ease the boredom burden, consider the following:

• establish a workable routine but vary it from time to time

• regard meal times as a fixed point in the day at which you can share the experience with whomsoever you are incarcerated

• pick a form of entertainment that you can do at a fixed time daily to give you something to look forward to and which can help you forget the moment in which you might feel trapped.

And for those who are interested, Star Trek, The Next Generation is showing daily on the Pick Freeview channel 11 at 6pm. Whahay!!

Our current state of national emergency will end at some point and hopefully our recovery will be swift and as straight forward as we can make it. Until then, stay safe and healthy and if there is anything I can do to help you please do let me know.

Best wishes to you all,
Mark the Clerk