28.06.22 Liveryman David Cole

Coachmaker becomes Mayor of Huntingdon

Liveryman David Cole shares his news on becoming a mayor:

I’m tremendously fortunate to have been chosen as the Mayor of Huntingdon for 2022/2023. It’s always a special thing to do, but I’m particularly lucky to be the Mayor during HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Year. One of the highlights so far has been lighting the beacon atop Castle Hills on the day of the Jubilee itself (and managing not to set myself alight at the same time).

There are three main aspects to being mayor. The first is representing the town at civic functions, both in Huntingdon and elsewhere. So far, this has led to everything from a freedom parade for 32 Engineer Regiment, dancing the twist at the pensioners’ summer tea, and holding a bateleur eagle at the Raptor Foundation. There’s the less fun but equally important role of being council chair – effectively, the chair of the board. Huntingdon Town Council’s turnover is now around £3m pa, with a significant staff and various properties, so just keeping on top of papers can be a lot. Finally, I try to be a voice for Huntingdon, liaising with the myriad of other governmental bodies, and promoting the town to any and all.

Huntingdon also has its own history of coachmaking. Charles Sandford Windover, one of my predecessors as mayor, established his eponymous carriage works in premises in George Street, Huntingdon in 1857, although the company’s history as saddlers extends back to Devon in the 1600s. The Windover company would later build coaches for Queen Victoria and, in the era of the motor car, would build coachwork for vehicles from the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, before moving into buses and other commercial vehicles. The company closed in 1955.

The Clerk may also be interested to know that Huntingdon has a claim to being the home of the modern Royal Navy – Samuel Pepys (secretary to the Admiralty), the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu (three times First Lord of the Admiralty), and Oliver Cromwell (best known for other activities, also effected many changes to what was then the Commonwealth Navy) were all Huntingdonians and all, in their own ways, laid the groundwork for what we would today recognise as the Senior Service.

If any Coachmakers happen to be in or near Huntingdon and would like a cup of tea and a tour of our Georgian town hall, I’d love to show you round – 07885 991 633 or dlc@davidlandoncole.com.