Coachlines - June 2023

28.06.23 The Master Julian Leach

Master’s message: If The Master’s medal could talk….

Although it is very busy at the moment, the summer months will quieten down towards the end of July, and I may even be able to think about a holiday. The thought of handing the Master’s badge over to my dear friend Senior Warden Bettine Evans in September has made me think about the Master’s medal and all the former Masters who have worn it and what they have done.

Our medal is much admired by others. It is traditional and regal. It represents everything that is us – coaches, horses rampant in wonderful harnesses, our motto and even a silver knight’s helmet for good measure. In the back there is a little compartment which I presume was for snuff. Although a recent Past Master told me that it is for a cyanide pill for when everything goes horribly wrong! Some are a little quirky, dare I say, but the Coachmakers’ medal is admired by all. In the nine months that I have been its custodian, it has never left me. It is always in my pocket ready to be pulled out with a flourish and placed around my neck. It is worn at nearly every Livery or City event, and must have attended thousands of events in its life. It was around my neck when the momentous news of the death of Her Majesty the Queen was announced, as it was probably around the neck of Major Richard Melsome Woolley CBE when her father died in 1952 and for her coronation in 1953.

The Master’s medal has been seen all around the City of London and beyond, this year. I was in the fortunate position, being retired, to set aside most things in my life to attend almost every event that has been presented to me. This has meant that I have enjoyed all the tradition and hospitality that this amazing City has to offer. My enjoyment pales into insignificance with the importance that the Coachmakers’ representation in the City has on the status of the Company. The Coachmakers is recognised and welcomed everywhere, and friendships and contacts have been made that will give Senior a head start when she accedes in September.

The Master’s medal has served us for decades and must surely have many fascinating stories to tell. It is our symbol of continuity.

I could not write this message without mentioning the fabulous Banquet that we held on 6th June in the Guildhall. I have to thank all of you who bought tickets and brought guests. We were full, with just over 400 people in attendance. I was very excited about it, and it certainly lived up to my expectations and I hope that it lived up to yours. Certainly everyone who I spoke to had a great time, including the Lord Mayor Locum Tenens who wrote to say that he had a wonderful time and that it was completely different from any other Company’s Banquet, which is exactly what we intended. It was a glittering occasion with some very, very interesting Le Mans winners there.

I take no credit. I turned up on the night and played my part. The people who deserve our thanks are the Clerk and Assistant Clerk for organising everything and making things possible. Liveryman Christopher Tate for assembling a great cast of drivers, cars and sponsors and Hon. Assistant Lesley Upham for producing the comprehensive Souvenir Booklet and dealing with other communication issues.

Click to read the Lord Mayor Locum Tenens letter.