Coachlines - December 2022

15.12.22 Senior Warden Bettine Evans

In fine voice at the Christmas Carol Service

We enjoyed a rather different Carol Service and Reception this year which started and ended earlier than usual and appeared to be a popular decision.

The music was provided by the London Choral Sinfonia, directed by Michael Waldron, wonderfully supported by the Organist, Ben Comeau, and Trumpeters, Matt Wells and Peter Mankarious.

The congregation were in their seats at St James Garlickhythe at 5pm when the Master, Wardens and Clerks processed in from the vestry followed by The Reverend Father Tim Handley to strains of Oh come, Oh Come, Emmanuel.

Each Warden, the Master and then Father Tim delivered a reading, interspersed with carols, some sung by the congregation and some sung oh so beautifully by the choir alone.

During the fifth carol, members of the congregation laid gifts for under-privileged children of the parish, beneath the Christmas tree adjacent to the pulpit. Father Tim then delivered an inspirational sermon, comparing St Augustin with Ebenezer Scrooge. We received the blessing and processed back to Tallow Chandlers Hall where mulled wine and delicious canapés awaited us.

Later, we were joined by some members of the choir who entertained us with a variety of Christmas songs whilst we supped all the Christmassy delights on offer, enjoying convivial company and conversation while at the same time mindful of the true meaning of Christmas


Prior to the Carol Service, the Master hosted a luncheon at Watermens’ Hall for the Masters and Clerks of 22 Livery Companies; this was the Coachmakers’ contribution to the reciprocal fellowship events that occur throughout the Livery Year. Masters and Clerks of other Companies have historically been invited to join the Coachmakers in small groups at our main Livery Dinners but in that way it is not possible for Court Members to really get to know their counterparts, particularly if the Company is hosting numerous other industry guests at the same event. A bespoke Masters’ and Clerks’ event like this followed the example set by numerous other Livery Companies.

A total of 42 guests were hosted by 12 members of the Court, the Clerk and Assistant Clerk. The Reception was crowded, noisy but extremely convivial. Circulating amongst the guests we met so many interesting Masters and Clerks from other Companies and were able to learn a little about their traditions and charitable objectives. Luncheon was announced and after the Clerk had delivered Grace, we were pleased to enjoy the delicious fare of Mark Grove’s Cook and Butler Catering Company.

After Port had been served, the Master rose and proposed the Loyal Toast and the toasts to the Royal family and the City Corporation. He then delivered a short speech thanking all our guests for joining us, and, as a bonus, announcing that Michael Waldron and members of the London Choral Sinfonia had been persuaded to come along to sing for us.

Following a short but beautiful performance, the singers departed to St James to prepare for the Carol Service. The Master thanked the musicians and proposed a toast to the guests. The Master Leatherseller, Clare Lennon, thanked the Master and delivered a most interesting address in which she reminded us that, in 1677, the Leathersellers attempted to prevent the granting of a charter to the Coachmakers’ Company lest our harness making activities impinge upon their leather selling rights. Fortunately, they failed and all that is now forgiven and forgotten; she concluded by proposing a toast to The Coachmakers.

The Master rose again to thank her and then explained that following the example set by the Master Shipwright at her recent Masters’ and Clerks’ Dinner, he invited all the Masters and members of the Coachmakers’ Court to rise and drink a toast to the Clerks in recognition of all the work they do in support of their respective Companies.

The Clerk then delivered a short address during which he asked the Master to present a small token to Honor Page, the retiring Clerk to the Loriners’ Company.

Everyone was then invited to retire for coffee and depart for a safe journey home.
The event was altogether a very worthwhile, enjoyable and entertaining luncheon during which I felt we all made new friends and fostered new relationships which will be to our mutual advantage in the future.