29.03.23 Honorary Assistant Lesley Upham

From the archives: 25th May 1899 – a conundrum

It would seem not all Coachmaker competitions went to plan.

Certain of the City Companies make spasmodic efforts to justify their continued existence by an exhibition of interest in the craft which they originally represented. The Worshipful Company of Coach Makers is one such.

It annually offers prizes for designs of various vehicles. But, unfortunately, the knowledge of the craft in the Master, Wardens, and members is not sufficient to prevent them from making ludicrous blunders. Thus, amongst a number of technical absurdities to be found amongst the conditions laid down in their latest prize competition, occurs the following: A prize of £10 is offered for a short descriptive statement and working drawings of a public conveyance to carry passengers for excursions or picnic parties; the scale of drawings to be 2 inches to the foot.

The drawings, further, ought to be on cardboard 24 inches by 18 inches. When it is remembered that the average “break” or “char-a-banc,” with its poll, is 24 feet long, or without the pole 14 feet or 15 feet in length, some idea may be gathered as to the nature of the puzzle set by the Coach Makers for the benefit of competitors. The drawings sent in are being exhibited at the polytechnic in Regent Street and it will be interesting to see how the competitors managed to solve the problem.