Coachlines - January 2023

24.01.23 Assistant Eric Wallbank

Coachmakers inspire future generations of engineers at the Science Museum

Pictured above: The Coachmakers’ stand awaiting the first influx of students, the Plug Game at the ready: Liverymen Nick Lyford, Freeman Ellie Bacon, and Chair of the Charity Committee, Assistant Eric Wallbank.

Hot on the heels of last month’s article about our involvement in the Kingston Saturday Club comes more news of how the Charity Committee is busy expanding our activities in inspiring young people about careers in engineering.

For the first time, we took part in the Science Museum Skills Fair, held every December. The Fair attracted several hundred students aged between 11 and 16. We were encouraged to provide a practical activity to engage the students, and with the help of Science Museum staff, Liveryman Nick Lyford and Assistant Eric Wallbank – both engineers by background – concocted the Plug Race Game.

Students were asked to dismantle and re-assemble a standard three-pin plug and if successful, when plugged in, a (low-voltage) light came on. With four rigs available this was competitive against each other and against the clock. The element of competition proved key – even the event organisers had a go during one of the breaks. The fastest student time was 2 minutes and 2 seconds, a Science Museum staff member achieved 1m 43, but the record went to Nick at 1m 07. Other students enjoyed taking apart (and re-assembling) an old laptop to see what was inside and how it was made. Some of the teachers found it interesting to see their students engaged in ‘hands-on’ activities and were interested in ways to engage their students with the practical aspects of the sciences.

The whole event was a lot of fun, seeing young people tackling a practical challenge. Thanks go to Liverymen Nick Lyford and Freeman Ellie Bacon who helped set up and run the stall.

This event was one of a number of ‘threads’ we are working on to promote STEM subjects to young students and to make them aware of possible careers in the automotive or aerospace industries, building towards the objective, in our 350th year to engage directly with 350 young people.

Those involved in these endeavours find it a hugely rewarding. Anyone who wants to know more please drop me, Eric Wallbank, an email at or call me on 07426 818060.

The plug game device