Coachlines - June 2024

28.06.24 The Clerk

Clerk’s Notes – June 2024

And now, the end is near, and so I’ll face the final curtain.

But not yet.

And as this is only my penultimate Coachlines I shall retain the more traditional approach.

On 28th June 1977, the Silver Jubilee Review of the Fleet at Spithead was conducted by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, then Lord High Admiral. The largest RN ship present was the last but one HMS ARK ROYAL (the proper carrier with Phantoms and Buccaneers embarked) and it was the first review to include nuclear powered vessels but the first without battleships present.

During that year the Triumph factory at Meriden manufactured a special Silver Jubilee edition of the Bonneville T140. 1,000 were produced for the UK, with a further 1,000 for the US and 400 more for other overseas markets. All featured a patriotic silver, red, white and blue colour scheme and cost just over £1,100 when new. In its day it was simply a cosmetic rehash of an old design to take advantage of a promotional opportunity to sell more bikes – but it worked because the whole production run found willing new owners. Today, a good one will set you back over £10k.

I hankered after one in period but by then my parents had seduced me off two wheels with the assurance that Mum’s VW Beetle would be available whenever I needed it. Their rationale was that four wheels were safer than two, and to be fair they were right. However, on a clear crisp night in October 1978 I did my best to prove them wrong by conducting my first solo night flight with aerobatics thrown in, initially with the car and towards the end of the manoeuvre, entirely in freefall. The car was a write-off but fortunately I only suffered a bruised left knee. Lucky boy!

Fast forward to 28th June 2005 and the late Queen was once again out on the water off Spithead. This time she was out to review an international fleet gathered to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of Admiral Lord Nelson during the Battle of Trafalgar, an event that morphed into a four-day International Festival of the Sea centred on Portsmouth.

Can you remember what you were doing on 28th June 1977 and 2005?

I can. See the end of this piece to learn more.

Company News

Summer Court Dinner – Saddlers’ Hall – Thursday 11th July 2024

The final Livery Dinner of this Livery Year will be held at Saddlers’ Hall on Thursday 11th July 2024. During the event you will witness the presentation of this year’s coaching bursary and also meet the new Clerk. To book follow this link.

Swan Upping on the Thames – Tuesday 17th July 2024

The Coachmakers has secured a launch from Hobbs boatyard at Henley on Thames in which to travel downstream to support our fellow Livery Companies, the Vintners and Dyers and to observe the Uppers in their traditional skiffs carrying out the traditional responsibility of the swan markers catching and ringing this year’s cygnets. The centuries-old majestic scarlet uniforms are still worn and all the ancient traditions are observed. It is a sight to be seen. Places are still available, please click here.

News from Honorary Liveryman Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Opera Holland Park is hosting a special birthday gala to celebrate Dame Kiri and her Foundation with a concert featuring singers associated with Dame Kiri. Full details are on the Opera Holland Park website’s Opera in Song Page:

Also, news of Dame Kiri’s Foundation can be found here:

City News

Honours and awards

Liveryman Mike Hawes OBE – congratulations to Mike on the award of his OBE in HM The King’s Birthday Honours’ List. See the full story here.

Congratulations also to the Lord Mayor of 2022-2023, Sir Nicholas Lyons DL who has been awarded a Knights Bachelor Knighthood in HM the King’s Birthday Honours’ list for services to the financial sector, to the growth economy and to financial literacy. The 694th Lord Mayor, Alderman Lyons has worked in the City of London for more than 35 years. He has extensive experience in commercial, investment and international banking, as well as the insurance and reinsurance industry.

Finally, congratulations to Alderman Alison Gowman, Alderman Canon of the City of London who was awarded a CBE for Public and Voluntary Services and Sustainability; she and Nick served together as Sheriffs 2021-22.

An invitation to Mansion House – 18th July 2024

Received from The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor

The 695th Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli’s mayoral theme “Connect to Prosper” celebrates our multiple knowledge miles, showing that the UK is a place where problems come to be solved. The Coffee Colloquies initiative demonstrates this, bringing together varied voices from in and around the City to talk about how their work supports the achievement of one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through fast-paced transfer of knowledge and with a focus on connections and networking, the Coffee Colloquies will invigorate our knowledge miles as the World’s Coffee House.

The Lord Mayor invites you to attend the Colloquy around Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, on Thursday 18th July, organised in partnership with New Capital Consensus (NCC), a coalition of Chatham House, FinSTIC (Institute and Faculty of Actuaries), University of Leeds and Radix Big Tent.

At this event, focused on “Systemic Change to Drive Productive Investment” NCC will present its initial findings of leverage points within the financial system which could shift investment towards real sustainable growth. They’ll be joined by a panel of experts who’ll share how their respective fields contribute towards attaining the goals.

08:45 – 09:15 Arrival and coffee served
09:15 – 09:20 Opening remarks by Alderman Prem Goyal
09:20 – 10:00 7 x five-minute expert presentations
10:00 – 10:30 Open Q&A
10:30 – 11:15 Discussion, networking, coffee
11:15 – Close

– Nick Silver, Bayes Business School
– Dan Hedley, New Capital Consensus
– Professor Iain Clacher, Leeds University
– Jonathan Maguire, Tomorrow’s Company
– Sarah Jo Loveday, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
– Andrew Watson, Rethinking Capital
– Jim Foster, Centre for Management Consulting Excellence (CMCE)

To register visit Lord Mayor’s Coffee Colloquy SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth Tickets, Thursday 18th July 2024 at 8:45am please click here.

Distillers’ Company Spirits Tasting – Tuesday 23rd July 2024 at Vintners’ Hall

The Distillers’ Company has informed me that its Spirits Tasting event will once again take place at Vintners’ Hall.

The World Drinks Awards has teamed up with the Worshipful Company of Distillers to present more than 200 country and world winners from its 2024 Awards tasting. Returning to the stunning Vintners’ Hall on Tuesday 23rd July, this is the only event in the world where such a range of spirits will be brought together to taste under one roof.

During the evening you can also enjoy:
• The Distillers’ Cocktail Bar;
• A selection of cheeses and preserved meats;
• Presentations from the Master and World Drinks Awards;
• A complimentary copy of Whisky Magazine and American Whiskey

The event is always a popular evening and is attended by a number of Masters from other Livery Companies, senior members of their Courts and Liverymen, along with brand owners and their agency support teams, as well as members of the Distillers’ Livery. The event is invariably a sell-out and therefore, in order to avoid disappointment, I would strongly recommend that you apply early for tickets.

The ticket price is £50 per head (including VAT).

All bookings must be made via Eventbrite:

Please note the dress code is strictly business attire/smart casual (no shorts).

The Distillers’ Inter-Livery Pétanque – Thursday 1st August 2024

The Distillers’ Company invites you to participate in the Distillers’ Company Inter-Livery Pétanque Competition. Due to the popularity of this event there is a limit to two teams per Company. Whilst each team should consist of three members per team, should individuals who wish to take part but are unable to form a team, please contact the Distillers’ Past Master, Chris Porter ( who will place them on a list to create a Mixed Livery Team (or teams). The cost per team is £60 and, if an individual wishes to play, the cost will be £20.

Teams should bring their own boules if possible, although a limited amount will be available to hire from London Petanque Club if required. If you require equipment to be provided please notify the Distillers at the time of booking. There will be a refreshing glass of rosé to welcome you, but please take your own picnic, refreshments, and chairs.
After a welcoming introduction and recap on the rules from the LPC team, teams will play in heats, with the group winners moving forward to a semi-final, and then the final.

The winning team will be presented with a perpetual trophy of the bespoke mini-cask trophy, kindly produced and donated by the Coopers’ Company. The winners will also receive bottles of whisky donated by the Distillers’ Company.
The dress code should, of course, be ‘comfortable’ and appropriate for what will hopefully be a warm summer’s evening.
All profits go to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal – last year’s event raised a grand sum of £1,000.

To register, teams should please contact Distillers’ Past Master, Chris Porter at who will confirm the registration and send through details for payment. The final date to register a team is 17th July 2024. Early registration is recommended.

Inter-Livery Tennis Competition – Wednesday 18th September 2024 – Queens Club

The Feltmakers’ Inter-Livery Tennis Competition 2024 will be held on Wednesday 18th September at Queen’s Club.

The competition is open to teams of mixed pairs, with each Livery Company allowed to enter a maximum of two pairs. The competition is designed for Liverymen and their spouses/partners/friends; one person in each pair should therefore, ideally, be a Liveryman. The competition will be run as an American tournament, with quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final. The Feltmakers’ Trophy will be awarded to the winners. There will be a knock-out Plate Competition for first round group losers. The start time will be 11am.

The competition will be followed by dinner, where the Master Feltmaker will present prizes to the winners and the runners-up. The evening normally ends shortly after 9.30pm.

We will follow up with full details and application forms in mid-June. Applications cannot be accepted before then.

For more details of how to enter, contact:

Annual City Livery Concert and Reception – Thursday 19th September 2024

Alderman Sir Andrew Parmley and Graham Barker, The Master – The Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars, are delighted to invite you and your family and/or associates to the Annual City Livery Concert and Reception. This occasion is a key event in the City of London calendar, marking a special event both to celebrate the wealth of art and culture taking place in the Square Mile and for the LSO to express gratitude to the companies, clubs, and guilds of the City that support the world-class music-making happening on their doorstep.

Conducted by LSO Chief Conductor Sir Antonio Pappano, the concert will begin with Bartók’s Piano Concerto No 2, a work characterised by its virtuosic demands on the soloist, extraordinary rhythmic complexity, and brilliant harshness. The orchestra will be joined by Yuja Wang, who will bring the concerto’s intricate textures and rhythms to life with her expert command of the piano. The evening will conclude with Mahler’s Symphony No 1, or Titan, a grand, ambitious work that encapsulates the composer’s belief that ‘A symphony must be like the world, it must embrace everything.’ Sinking to a dirge-like pace in the third movement and rising to a massive climax in the fourth, the work will serve as an exhilarating finale.

The concert will start at 7pm. During the interval, you are warmly invited to attend a reception with your fellow Liverymen and Freemen.

Tickets cost £60 per person, or £50 per person for a group booking of 10 or more guests. Please make sure to book your tickets for this event through this link on the LSO website.

On booking, you will be sent confirmation of your places, but please note that concert tickets will be available for collection on the evening of the concert at the Barbican Centre. Seats will be allocated in the centre circle of the Barbican Hall. Full details about the Annual City Livery Concert and Reception, ticket collection and other details will be emailed to you closer to the date.

The Livery Sailing Challenge

To those who enjoy standing in the shower tearing up £50 notes:

An interest has been expressed by several Livery Companies about the running of a sailing regatta for those involved in the Livery movement. The purpose of this email is to establish whether there is enough interest to take this further.
The Ironmongers’ Company began running a regatta for the Great Twelve Livery Companies 20 years ago in Seaview on the Isle of Wight. (See ). It was restricted to just 12 companies because Sea View Yacht Club (SVYC) had 12 matched Mermaid yachts and the numbers fitted. We believe that with some reorganisation we can organise an event for up to 26 Livery Companies or Ward Clubs for some competitive sailing but first need to gauge the level of interest.

Our proposal is that we run a regatta in Sea View Yacht Club Mermaids on 7th or 21st September 2024. These yachts will be sailed by a crew by four over two races. We plan to have a supper party on the Friday evening preceding the sailing and a prizegiving and dinner on the Saturday after the racing. Supporters and guests are welcome. The cost for crew members will be £75 each. There is an additional cost of £75 for supper, the reception and dinner for both sailors and supporters. We have struck a good deal with SVYC and we believe that that will represent good value. We are therefore inviting Livery Companies and Ward Clubs to tell us if potentially they are interested.

If you are interested in participating in this initiative please contact George Bastin at

Goldsmiths’ Fair 2024

Week One: 24th-29th September | Week Two: 1st-6th October
Every autumn, Goldsmiths’ Fair brings together a curated selection of the UK’s best contemporary jewellers and silversmiths. Each exhibitor has a unique approach to working with precious metals, fusing techniques and inspirations in innovative ways. Together, their work demonstrates the breadth and depth of talent in precious metalwork in the UK today.
For more details follow this link.

In conclusion

Back in 1977, an 18 year-old lad had just completed his A-levels; or perhaps more accurately he had spent two years carrying a number of text books between various venues and had just been tested on whether he had actually read any of them during that period. The answer came back in August when it was determined that at that stage of his life he could not be considered to be an academic.

But he was patriotic and spent much of 28th June 1977 with his mates in various pubs in a little market town in Lincolnshire celebrating the Monarch’s Silver Jubilee. Full of bonhomie and Worthington E, and dressed in faded Wrangler flared jeans, Adidas trainers and a dark blue sweatshirt emblazoned with the Union Flag, he looked exactly like all the other sixth formers heading for university that summer. Except he wasn’t.

Recognising his own limited interest in all things studious, instead he spent 18 months working on a huge steel works while the whole future thing was considered. By luck and good fortune his Eureka moment came six months later and in January 1979, he entered the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth as a Midshipman.

Fast forward to early 2005 and the same lad was a Commander who had just completed a three-year appointment in a MoD Directorate rusticated to an establishment only just inside the M25. At that time operations in Iraq were dominating everything and, not for the first time proving that he was older but no wiser, he volunteered to take up one of the four-month operational tours that were available in the hot and sandy climate of Baghdad. Fortunately, recognising that a pure blue water naval operator might have limited value in such conditions, his career manager sent him to Portsmouth instead to work with the project team organising the upcoming Trafalgar 200 celebrations.

Between May and July, I (for it was me) worked in support of the team organising the Tall Ships’ re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar that was due to take place in the early evening of 28th June 2005 in the Solent, and led the team arranging the fireworks display that would follow it.

Another duty that came with this appointment was the need to work with the commercial team that had set up Radio Victory, a temporary radio station that would transmit entertainment to a 10-mile radius from Portsmouth in the run-up to, during, and immediately after this event. However, most importantly, it would transmit the commentary for the Tall Ships’ re-enactment that would be narrated by the late actor, Robert Hardy.

As is the way of the world, some things are immoveable fixtures in life and the three-hour re-enactment had to have a 30 minute break between 2100 and 2130 to allow one cross-channel ferry to enter and one to leave Portsmouth Harbour. The question this raised was how to keep a quarter of a million people entertained while nothing is happening?

The answer was to create a bespoke radio show that included relevant interviews with the 1st Sea Lord and CinCFleet amongst others to inform and entertain those listening. ]However, it was recognised that it might also be a bit dull, so taking a lead from the team organising the Drum Head Service of Commemoration that was due to take place the following morning on Southsea Common at the War Memorial (think recent D-Day commemoration in the same place), some additional material was sought.

The Drum Head team had got hold of some really good old photos from the early days of photography showing traditional sailors and marines that resonated with the Nelsonian Navy and they intended to project them onto a big screen during the service to give it authenticity. I thought that the early days of sound recording might just have captured someone who remembered Nelson’s Navy from a first-hand perspective and could be included in the interval transmission. I therefore spent an afternoon in the Imperial War Museum Archive sifting through the catalogue of audio records to see what might be available.

Unfortunately, nothing from the early 1900s existed and it was only in 1970 that the IWM started to build up an audio archive of interviews with veterans who had served throughout the 20th century. However, what nuggets did I uncover.

First, I unearthed a recording of a sailor’s experience as a boy seaman living onboard HMS VICTORY in 1906 when she was still being used as a floating barracks and training ship. He described conditions onboard and how every morning he had to lash and stow his hammock onto the upper deck guardrail, just as his forebears did at the Battle of Trafalgar 101 years earlier.

I also found two separate recordings made by sailors describing the day they had sailed from Scapa Flow to the Battle of Jutland. One described his Commanding Officer as having “the Nelson touch” and the other how he had seen the flagship of a Cruiser Squadron flying the famous “England Expects” signal, first flown by Nelson immediately prior to the Battle of Trafalgar.

The final programme became a much more interesting balance between old and new.

On 28th June 2005, I was free to watch Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II sail from Portsmouth to review the international fleet assembled in the Solent; the morning was bright but breezy. I was with my son and his then girlfriend and we watched it from Southsea Beach.

Later that evening we were on Southsea Common to watch the Tall Ships and the fireworks display before I had to leave them and report to Semaphore Tower in Portsmouth Dockyard to take the overnight watch as Duty Watch Captain in the operations room, set-up to co-ordinate the delivery of the whole project.

As we watched the Tall Ships dancing around themselves just off the beach and listened to the deep rich tones of Robert Hardy’s commentary, the fact that I had to get to Semaphore Tower in time to take on the watch shortly after the fireworks display had concluded suddenly came into my mind. The expected crowd had materialised and Southsea Common was full of people. It therefore occurred to me that fighting my way through over a quarter of a million people to get off the Common when I needed to, might not work.

So, as the interval transmission began, I left my son and his girlfriend to watch the rest of the show without me. Picking my way through the crowd and listening to the interval transmission of the various voices that had become so familiar over the past couple of weeks, I realised that most of the people on the Common were listening to them as well, so much so that very few people were actually talking amongst themselves.

As I made my way towards the dockyard, it made me smile to wonder what those old sailors would have thought, had they known that their voices and words recollecting historical events of the past would themselves be making history as part of such a huge and significant event.