Coachlines - July 2020

11.07.20 The Clerk

Clerk’s notes – July 2020

Mark The Clerk

Mark The Clerk

On 14th July 1982, HMS PLYMOUTH sailed into her home port of Rosyth 121 days since leaving on the 15th March. During her days away, all but six of which were spent at sea, she had steamed 34,000 miles to the South Atlantic and back and had played a very significant part in a short, sharp conflict that was in all-but-name a war. Battered, bruised and with significantly more holes in her than when she had left, her home coming was a joyous occasion for her ship’s company and the many friends and family alike that both lived in and had travelled to Scotland to meet her.

I mentioned the old PLYMOUTH as we entered the early stages of lockdown in April and drew a couple of analogies about being at sea for a long period and how to survive the monotony of a time of routine and restriction. As the first relaxations of the social distancing restrictions are being implemented, for me it feels a bit like it did in 1982 when we returned from the South Atlantic and were able to pick up our ‘normal’ lives again. Today I fear that it may be some time before we return fully to pre-COVID-19 routines but I continue to hope.

For now I offer something that might raise a smile. The rather grainy picture of the slim young Naval officer and the portly gentleman depicts me in 1982 on the day of our return with my late father enjoying a glass of fizz on the upper deck of the PLYMOUTH; me lean and as fit as a whippet, him slightly less so but both sporting haircuts that would be in keeping with the present. He sadly is gone but his jacket remains, and I must report that it now fits me like a glove. Once I’ve found a tailor that I can trust I shall have the 1970s’ flare taken out of it and it shall thenceforth be my Goodwood Revival jacket of choice.

London Concours – 19th- 20th August 2020

As I have mentioned previously, the overall situation regarding the current restrictions is being constantly reviewed and this was very much the case during the Livery Committee Meeting on 2nd June. Out of that meeting Liveryman Christopher Tate was tasked to investigate how Coachmakers could take advantage of the opportunity to participate in this year’s London Concours hosted by the Honourable Artillery Company on 19th-20th August 2020 and organised by Thorough Events Limited. Hopefully you will all have seen the advert for the event but if not please click here. If you are able to attend you will get the chance to meet the Master Coachmaker who, I am led to believe, has quite a significant speaking part in the proceedings.

City news
Since we have moved back to a monthly cycle of Coachlines, the backlog of news that I have to share with you reflects the increased information that is being posted via the internet, so here goes:

Woolmens’ Annual Sheep Drive

Notice from the Woolmen has come that its Sheep Drive Committee has decided to cancel this year’s event and hold it again on Sunday 26th September 2021. Their Clerk reports that this is not a decision that has been taken lightly but it was felt to be the wisest course of action in the light of the current COVID-19 crisis and the challenge of managing the impact of possible ongoing social distancing and government regulation. If you have any questions or concerns about participating next year please contact the Sheep Drive Team on:

City of London Armed Forces Day Event – 24th June 2020

The annual event in support of the Armed Forces Day on Wednesday the 24th of June was marked by a very different format to the usual one that is held in the Guildhall Yard. If you would like to watch the recording of the virtual event, please click here.

Goldsmiths’ Fair

The Goldsmiths’ Company recently announced that it will be launching the first ever online Goldsmiths’ Fair this autumn, 24th Sept-6th Oct 2020, providing a platform for exhibitors and thousands of visitors from around the world, old and new, to enjoy the extraordinary works created by a selection of the best jewellers and silversmiths in the UK today.

Characteristically modest, they go on to say that this is a unique and exciting opportunity to accelerate plans to expand the Fair online, making the annual physical event and its exhibitors more accessible to more people from across the UK and internationally, opening up new avenues of education and conversation, and ensuring exhibitors have a platform to encourage the recovery of their businesses. The Goldsmiths’ Company report that it is committed to supporting their craft and trade for the long term, as it has done for the past seven centuries through some of the worst crises in our history.

As in numerous other crafts and trades no doubt, creativity is one of the most powerful and inspirational responses to a crisis and the Goldsmiths is confident that this will be reflected in the unique, contemporary, handcrafted jewellery and silver that will be available exclusively to visitors to the online Fair this September. More than 130 makers will exhibit at the online Fair this year, and the Goldsmiths will continue to host a programme of talks, events and exhibitions, all now online, which it will announce later in the summer. So if you like shiny stuff – watch this space.

Drapers’ Hall Concerts

Not to be outdone by their fellow Great 12 Company, the Drapers have announced that the Drapers’ Company is streaming a series of concerts broadcast from Drapers’ Hall, with performances from musicians of the London conservatoires. They have kindly offered all Liverymen the opportunity to join them. Tickets are free of charge, although viewers are able to make a donation to the conservatoire’s hardship fund, and the next concert will be broadcast on Thursday 16th July at 7pm on the Drapers’ YouTube channel. Full details can be found here.

More Livery sponsored concerts

Not to be overshadowed by the Great 12, my good friend and bon viveur Nigel Bamping, Clerk to the Plaisterers’ Company, has sent word via the Fellowship of the Clerks of another exciting series of 10 concerts supported by the Plaisterers’ Company and others. ‘Live from London’ will be performed each Saturday evening (start time 7.00pm) beginning on Saturday 1st August, from two London venues. Full details are here.

City charitable activities

Charities across the capital have been put under immense pressure because of the COVID-19 health emergency. Here, in the latest episode of City Natters, Alison Gowman, deputy chair of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust, explains how the Trust is adapting to support as many organisations as possible through the current health emergency. Please click here.

Voices of the City

Information Technologists’ Court member, author and blogger Paul Jagger has embarked on a task to record various ‘Voices of the City’ encompassing the Livery and City governance. David Barrett, Secretary to the Fellowship of the Clerks and a Liveryman of this Company was delighted to have kicked off this project and his contribution has now been uploaded as a podcast. If you have 30 minutes to spare this link has him speaking and he is joined by the Fuellers’ Past Master and Common Councillor Shravan Joshi. There will be many more to follow.

Photos of the City

Visit London has teamed up with Photocrowd and the Museum of London to offer Londoners a chance to showcase the best of their local area and the people and places of London, as restrictions begin to ease and the capital emerges from lockdown. Entrants do not need to be professional photographers to join the contest, just have a phone or camera at the ready. The free to enter competition, part of the #BecauseImALondoner campaign, encourages participants to share what they love about London. For more details follow this link.

Transport in the City

The City of London Corporation is ramping up its transport recovery plan, designed to ensure the gradual and safe return of people who work, live and visit the Square Mile. For more details follow this link.

Cleaning in the City

Although not something that might hitherto have been at the forefront of your daily thoughts, cleanliness and how it is achieved is now something about which everyone is more aware. My good friend the Clerk to the Environmental Cleaners has been good enough to share his Company’s thoughts on the matter. The British Cleaning Council is an industrial body that was established by members of the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners some 38 years ago to act as the principal voice for the entire industry. Given the current need and focus on cleanliness it has provided a simple guide to the various types of cleaning available here.

The Navy in the City

My good friend and former colleague, Commodore David Elford OBE ADC RN, the Naval Regional Commander for eastern England, has asked me to share with you news of RN support to the City of London and beyond. A round-up of RN related news can be found here.

Beyond the City

RNAS Yeovilton Air Day – Rewind

I was sent details of the RNAS Yeovilton Air Day Rewind event that live streamed on 11th July. Clearly you will be reading this after the 11th but if you follow this link it will still work.

I flew a number of flying displays throughout the 90s in various marks of Lynx helicopter, both as a singleton and in a pairs display team at places around the world, but interestingly never at Yeovilton. Therefore you will not see me skidding one of Westland’s finest products across the sky desperately trying to keep the damned thing in balance while trying to remember in which direction the next manoeuvre was meant to go, but you will no doubt see lots of others struggling to do the same thing. And if any of them had tried to tell you differently I can assure you their noses would have noticeably grown before your very eyes!

A sobering thought

Now that (most of) your local hostelries are open again, I do hope that you have been imbibing wisely but if not you may wish to reflect upon the words of Samuel Pepys:

And finally

Following the most recent easing of social distancing restrictions we were able to entertain my son and his family at the Old Barn last weekend. It was the first sight of them beyond Skype since Christmas. My five year-old grandson is now nearly six, and my six month-old granddaughter is nearly one year old. Therefore you can imagine the carnage that ensued, particularly as the Evil Step-Grandmamma is allergic to small human forms.

However, my son came out with one of the best comments I have heard for some time. Paraphrased, he said: “Dad, can you remember that time in Boots when I was seven and I was running around with my hands in my pockets and you told me not to because if I fell I’d hurt myself? And can you remember that I did trip and fall on my face and split my lip and then you got into trouble with Mum for just standing there and saying, “I told you that would happen!” Well, if I’d been stood next to you now I’d be on your side!”

There is a God.

Stay safe but enjoy your newly granted freedoms.