Coachlines - February 2024

28.02.24 The Master Bettine Evans

Master’s message February 2024

Greetings fellow Coachmakers. I do hope your feet have not become webbed as mine have, since we appear to have entered the monsoon season.

Having been soaked literally to the skin four times whilst carrying out my Masterly duties, I have purchased a large Barbour mackintosh. Not glamorous by any means, but I remain dry and sincerely hope that you have all taken similar precautions to avoid becoming waterlogged.

Life has been as busy and interesting as ever. I hope you all read our daughter-in-law’s piece in the January Coachlines about the Livery visit to the Palace of Westminster. It was such a historically informative and interesting tour and I was most grateful to Assistant Mark Garnier MBE for hosting us.

A few days later, the Clerk and I visited the Saddlers’ wonderful Hall to see the absolutely beautiful leatherwork produced by the young saddlery apprentices and students entered into the Society of Master Saddlers’ annual competition, and to take part in the presentation of the awards. The standard of their work was awe inspiring.

Livery Masters and Clerks visit the London College of Fashion in Stratford

A few days later, together with the other Masters and Prime Wardens of the entire group of leather related Livery Companies, the Clerk and I set off for the London College of Fashion for a tour of its new building at Stratford on the site of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and to see some of the students at work. It really was magnificent and again, while watching some of the students making fine leather gloves, the standard of the work being produced was beyond belief.

But the absolute highlight of our involvement with this amazing generation of young people was a trip to the Royal College of Art and Design in Battersea, to be involved in judging the 2024 Motor Centenary Bursary Award for M.Design students and The Sir William Lyons Design Award for BA students. There were five students competing for these awards, three for the first award and two for the second.

The standard of their work, the presentation, the passion and the talent of all of the students was amazing. I have never before witnessed such outstanding ability. It was almost impossible to select which student should receive the awards.

Nevertheless, decisions were reached and the presentations will be made at the Automotive Industry Dinner on Thursday 21st March at Carpenters’ Hall. Do please come and meet and applaud these talented young designers.

Whilst I am on the subject, the Membership Committee has an urgent need for representatives from the world of automotive engineering to join the Committee. At the moment, this area of our affiliation to industry is under-represented in the many new members who are joining and I would like to redress the balance. If you would like to join the Membership Committee contact the Chairman, Assistant Rakesh Sharma at or the Clerk at

And last, but most importantly, preparation for the Banquet continues apace. Oh, my goodness, it looks and feels so exciting. I do hope you have booked your tickets and preferably a full table. I promise, you will have a wonderful evening.

And don’t forget to book your early-bird Prize Draw tickets available through the link in this edition of Coachlines; the prizes this year are fabulous, and every penny raised will be shared between our Charitable Trust and Navy Wings.