Coachlines - May 2021

11.05.21 The Clerk

Clerk’s Notes May 2021

Mark The Clerk

Mark The Clerk

On Sunday 12th May 1946, HMS VANGUARD was commissioned into the Royal Navy at Greenock in the presence of Princess Elizabeth who had launched the ship on 30th November 1944. VANGUARD was the last and one of the most powerful battleships to serve under the White Ensign, however even as she took her place in the Fleet as peace was restored to the world, her days were numbered as the Royal Navy’s reliance on the big guns of the battleships had already been replaced by air power projected from aircraft carriers. As a result, VANGUARD served only 14 years before she was towed away from Portsmouth on 4th August 1960 to return to the River Clyde to be broken up for scrap in Faslane.

This was a topic of conversation at one of the recent “Swift Half with the Master” events which used my favourite pub in the universe as its virtual backdrop. The Still and West in Old Portsmouth is situated at the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour, and as those who took part in the visit to the US Navy’s USS George HW Bush on 28th July 2017 and who took lunch afterwards in the Still and West will know, it is a fine establishment in which to spend an hour or three (or 4).

Those in attendance will also remember seeing a copy of the picture attached taken of HMS VANGUARD on 4th August 1960 after she had broken her tow at the mouth of the harbour entrance and gone aground beside the Still and West. It took about an hour to re-float her with all the associated disruption to the harbour traffic but for those lucky enough to be able to watch from the Still and West, it no doubt provided some interesting live entertainment.

Should you wish to see contemporary film of the event, a YouTube video is available of a film made by the Rank Organisation which records the departure from Portsmouth, the grounding, the subsequent last voyage to Faslane and footage of the processes involved as the once mighty battleship was broken up. It provides an interesting perspective on the event as a whole and you will be horrified by some of the health and safety-free images that are portrayed during the latter part of the film. Follow this link:

Coachmaker events

Fayre in the Field

As you will recall from the Master’s New Year Message, the Master had hoped that the pandemic would be over by the early part of the summer so that she could go ahead with the Coachmakers’ Fayre in the Field, to be held in her 10-acre field at Markyate. Unfortunately, despite what now seem to be more positive signs of a return to pre-Covid conditions, like many similar outdoor events this summer, it will not now be possible for this to go ahead.

Notwithstanding the challenge of arranging a large private outdoor gathering while Government restrictions might still be in place, committing to the cost of installing the necessary infrastructure to make the Fayre a reality was considered to be too great a risk to take in the hope that the Government’s Roadmap out of Lockdown unfolds as planned, particularly given the mixed messaging that has been reported in the news media over the past few weeks. As a result, without complete confidence that the event could be held safely in the way it was originally intended, with great reluctance the Master has decided to cancel it this year but may look at resurrecting it next year while she is the Immediate Past Master.

Summer Court and Reception 2021

Following the Government’s most recent announcements and taking into account the various permutations of what might be possible after 21st June 2021, planning is under way to hold the Summer Court Meeting and the Annual Reception at Salters’ Hall on Thursday 8th July 2021 as it was originally envisaged. Of course, this will depend on the Roadmap unfolding as planned but more detail will be notified to you very soon.

Livery Committee Events

The Livery Committee is also considering what might be possible to arrange during the remainder of this Livery Year and details will be announced as plans are made. For now, don’t forget the HAC Concours on the 9th & 10th June 2021. This is mentioned elsewhere in this edition but there is a code available to members to obtain discounts to attend the HAC Concours show on Wednesday and Thursday 9th & 10th June in the City. The discount code is: LC21CM and details of the event are here:

Coachmakers’ Charity Challenge

The Coachmakers’ Charity Challenge that ran throughout April raised £11,712.50 (with Gift Aid added) which will be used to help support the provision of bursaries and scholarships for young people from the Coachmaker affiliated industries. If you missed the campaign or simply forgot to donate, there is still time to add to that total by following this link.

City Events

Wood & Stuff – My good friend, the Clerk to the Wheelwrights’ Company, has sent me news of a presentation by Jonathan Drori on Wednesday 26th May at 6pm entitled: Around the World in 80 Trees. Trees lay at the heart of the crafts that are represented by members of the Liveries’ Wood Group and the invitation has been extended to the members of other Companies that might also have an interest in wood. For more detail and the information necessary to register for this online webinar, please click here.

Butchers’ Hall Roast Beef Carvery Lunch Dates for 2021 – Another good friend (well I say that but he is a Royal Marine), the Clerk to the Butchers’ Company, tells me that the world famous Butchers’ Company roast beef carvery lunch events are due to return very soon. For full details please click here.

Broader Education – the Worshipful Company of Educators want to bring your attention to an event that has been organised about diversity and inclusion, and the dilemma of unconscious bias. The event is an online lecture (via Zoom), which takes place early in the evening of 19th May. Attendance is free, and I am informed that the practical nature of the content has widespread applicability. The speaker, Professor Kandola, is regarded as an excellent speaker and a highly regarded expert in this field. Further details are included in the booking information and if you wish to join in just follow this link:

City News

For a wider and more detailed look at some of the current events and activities that are relevant to the Livery Companies of London and the City as a whole, the latest Livery Briefing from the Chairman of the City Livery Committee, Vicky Russell, can be read here.

In this edition you will find reference to the Annual Sheep Drive and Wool & Livery Fair that will be held on Sunday 26th September. The Lord Mayor will once again be joining Freemen for this special event but if you wish to attend and exercise your right to drive sheep across London Bridge DO NOT BOOK via the link in this briefing note. On your behalf, the Coachmakers’ Livery Committee has already booked 10 slots and the intention is to create a day out that will include a guided London Walk and luncheon followed by a bit of City shepherding. Details will be promulgated soon.

In conclusion

At the end of the previous Clerk’s Notes I hinted that I might share some detail regarding my early deck landing experiences. However, having drafted the words the piece is a bit lengthy so I’ll hold it back for now and address it in a future edition, perhaps as a stand-alone piece.

For now, the Administrator of St James. Garlickhythe, Johanne Moss, has brought to my attention that on the 80th anniversary of the sinking of the battlecruiser HMS HOOD by the German battleship Bismarck on 24th May 1941, there will be a memorial service held at St James, Garlickhythe, to remember the officers and men who were lost in that tragic event.

Out of a ship’s company of 1,418 there were only three survivors of the sinking but they, former shipmates and the relatives of those lost formed and maintained a still vibrant Association to keep alive the memory of the ship and those who were lost with her. A recently deceased member of the congregation at St James had a close connection to the Association, and therefore also in her memory, the service will commence at 1215 hrs on Monday 24th May 2021.

You may attend in person or watch it via Facebook or YouTube and full details are contained in this link.

Surgit Post Nubila Phoebus.