Coachlines - March 2020

20.03.20 The Clerk

Clerk’s notes March 2020

I understand that the Chinese are fond of saying: “May you live in interesting times.” – which is ironic given the current global situation. And having suffered the B-word for more than three years we are now being plagued by the C-word and the astonishing response demonstrated by so many members of our society; which is fascinating and appalling in equal measure.

The CLerk

The Clerk, Cmdr Mark Leaning RN

Yesterday I was tasked to break the self-isolation seal to venture forth in search of paracetamol for my 89 year-old mother-in-law who takes them in preference to prescription drugs needed to control the effects of a long standing condition. As I drove into Market Rasen I thought that I would include a scurrilous suggestion into this article that if you must panic buy then buy gin. On arrival at the Tesco store, sadly I must report that what I thought would make an amusing quip was in fact a reality and the gin shelves were almost empty. Luckily, the gin of choice favoured by the Assistant Clerk is Plymouth Gin, refreshingly more expensive than most other mainstream brands and clearly not one favoured by the panic-meisters of Market Rasen. I bought the two bottles permitted under Tesco’s new rationing system so that now if the Assistant and I must go hungry at least we’ll be happy.

Future programme

As you will have picked up from an e-mail transmitted recently, the Automotive Industry Dinner has been postponed until the 1st of July at Drapers’ Hall. The format will be the same as originally planned and a new advert will be issued at the appropriate time.

As for the rest of the summer programme up until the 31st of August, it is not possible to say what might be salvaged. All other events planned to occur in March and April were cancelled or postponed last week but no new dates have yet been decided for those that may still go ahead this year.

The Banquet

Having discussed it with the Master at great length, it has been decided that given the situation as it stands, the uncertainty of when the current restrictions might be relaxed, the inevitable delay that will follow as the national infrastructure recovers from the effects of this unprecedented situation and the challenge of planning such an event under these conditions, with heavy hearts it has been decided that the most sensible course of action is to postpone the Banquet until a later date in the summer.

The latest date that the Guildhall is available to us in this Livery Year is Thursday 23rd July. Therefore please note that date into your diary and more detail will be promulgated once the situation becomes a little clearer.

The rest of the planned programme during and beyond the end of May is the subject of daily review and as decisions are made the details will be transmitted accordingly.

This is clearly a unique and to some a frightening time of uncertainty and therefore to enable us to keep in touch with Coachmakers throughout the summer, Coachlines will be distributed every fortnight rather than monthly. It will also expand to include a variety of articles that may stretch beyond the Livery community. Therefore if you have a story of up to 1000 words, with or without hi-res photos to support it, please do send it to me at

It may be the story of your dog, your car, the project that you never finished but with all this unexpected time to fill you’ve just decided to get on with it, or simply your tips on how to survive the self-isolation kettle. Please use Coachlines to keep the Company connected.

Livery Year 2020-2021

Notwithstanding how the country might ultimately extricate itself from this current dilemma, those who know the Senior Warden will be aware that should the Court be minded to install her as the Master Coachmaker on 1st September 2020 she will have been ahead of the game for almost 18 months. To that end she has asked that I include this notice:

Once in a Lifetime Tour of St Paul’s Cathedral with Gerry Judah – planned to take place on 3rd December 2020

Join us for a private tour of St Paul’s Cathedral in the company of renowned artist and sculptor Gerry Judah. Anyone who has ever visited the Goodwood Festival of Speed cannot have failed to have been amazed by the soaring automotive sculptures outside Goodwood House that Gerry creates each year. What is perhaps less well known is that he was also commissioned in 2014 to create twin sculptures, each 20 feet high, that now adorn the main nave of St Paul’s and which commemorate the centenary of the start of World War I.

This unique event starts with Evensong at 4pm on Thursday 3rd December 2020, followed by a private tour of the Cathedral floor during which Gerry will discuss how he came to be commissioned to create this moving war memorial and the process behind the finished artwork. After the tour we will move to the Chapter House for a drinks reception with canapés and bowl food.
This is a one-off opportunity that is unlikely to be repeated and places will be strictly limited. Ticket prices are likely to be in the region of £150 a head.

At this stage we need to understand the level of interest so if you and your guests might like to attend please contact Liveryman Martin Derrick as soon as possible at or 07785 506333. At this moment you will not be making a firm commitment but anyone offering support at this early stage will be at the top of the list if – as we think likely – the event is over-subscribed when invitations go out later in the year.

In other news

Ventilator production

It was heartening to hear the news that the automotive and aerospace industries are stepping up to the plate and looking at whether they can divert manufacturing capacity to help produce the increased number of ventilators that are expected to be needed soon. It was particularly noteworthy to hear the reports that F1 manufacturers have joined in this initiative. With R&D and manufacturing capabilities designed and intended to produce new kit from concept to start line in the shortest time possible, what a great use of their resources that will be. However I couldn’t help but wonder if the product would be known as the F1 Hyperventilator.

The Assistant Clerk and I were discussing this during early stables this morning and she wondered what the coachmaking industry might be able to contribute. Looking around the yard at all our manure makers at work I innocently suggested that if we run out of food we could always eat the engines. I won’t trouble you with her response…

Fortnum & Mason in the City
Fortnum & Mason has opened its doors in one of London’s most iconic buildings, The Royal Exchange, with a new store, bar and restaurant. Fortnum’s new shop features a range of its most popular teas, preserves, and hampers, alongside fine food and drink from its famed Food Halls.

Especially for City of London Livery Company & Guild members, F&M is offering a 15% discount off purchases in its Royal Exchange retail store until 30th September 2020 when you present this offer leaflet (please click here) and quote Coachmakers. This offer is exclusively available in the Royal Exchange retail store but excludes the bar and restaurant.

You will have noted that this is not much use to you right now but when the current restrictions are relaxed it will offer an opportunity perhaps for a much higher level of panic-buying. Hysteria-buying perhaps…?

And finally…

Following a couple of fainting fits at recent Coachmaker events, it became obvious that we cannot always rely on the Halls having suitably qualified First Aid operatives on duty. And although we very much appreciated the support of various retired nurses attending the events, it is not ideal to rely on a cohort of ladies in party frocks who may or may not be in attendance on the night.

Therefore to address this gap in our capability the Clerk and Assistant Clerk successfully completed the British Red Cross First Aid at Work Course in mid-February and are now defibrillator Ninjas among other things; and the qualification lasts for three years. That said I implore members to try and avoid putting us to the test but you and your guests can be assured that whichever Hall the Company visits in the future, recently qualified first aiders will be available. Of course pandemics weren’t covered on the course but we are learning…

Stay safe, look after yourselves and your families and if there is anything that I can do for you during this particularly testing time, please just pick up the phone and call.