A first for the City of London tradition of cart marking

(Left to Right) Mike Brown MVO MD of London Underground, Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE, London Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy, Master Carman Neil Coles (c) TfL
(Left to Right) Mike Brown MVO MD of London Underground, Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE, London Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy, Master Carman Neil Coles © TfL

The centuries-old City of London tradition of ‘cart marking’, usually reserved for road vehicles, went underground on Wednesday 17 July when London Transport Museum’s 1892 Metropolitan Railway ‘Jubilee’ Carriage No. 353 was ‘marked’ by Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE and the Master Carman, Neil Coles.  The ceremony was watched by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, London’s Transport Commissioner, and Mike Brown MVO, Managing Director of London Underground and London Rail.

Organised by the Worshipful Company of Carmen, a livery company of the City of London, the ceremony usually involves marking a vehicle with a branding iron and most often takes place on the forecourt of the Guildhall in the heart of the City.

The tradition dates back over 500 years when all carts and carriages plying trade within the ‘Square Mile’ of London had to be licensed to operate within the City limits. The licence took the form of a branded mark applied directly to the vehicle.

This year, in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, the role of the City of London in the financing and building of the Metropolitan Railway (the world’s first underground railway) and the important role that Underground travel plays in the life of the City, the Worshipful Company of Carmen took the unusual step of including a rail vehicle in the ceremony – a first in the event’s history.  As the vehicle could not get inside the Guildhall forecourt, Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE and the Master Carman, Neil Coles, took a branded plaque to the carriage at Mansion House Station.

The ceremony took place on Platform 2 of the station and the carriage was on display for five hours between 11.00 and 16.00, giving the public a chance to admire the quality of the recent restoration, which was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Also in attendance at the event was Wesley Kerr, Chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s London Committee and Museum Director Sam Mullins.

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