Carmen celebrated the opportunity to meet together in person at the Cart Marking ceremony on Saturday 18 September in Guildhall Yard.
Normally held in July each year, this was the first time that the event could be staged since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. Although this year in the autumn, spectators were treated to a day of full sunshine; so much so that a number had to find shade to keep cool.
Carmen started to license vehicles to stand and ply for hire in the 16th century and following tradition, a number of vehicles were driven into Guildhall Yard to be ‘marked’ with the current year’s registration letter together with “the sworde crowned” as directed by the City fathers in 1529. Marking uses a heated branding iron to burn the registration letter on to a wooden block which is fixed to the vehicle.
This year’s cavalcade of some 40 vehicles included three handcarts; many well-loved vintage trucks and buses; and a number of modern vehicles. One of the handcarts – an 1859 fire appliance – was designed to be pushed by 16 men! All the vehicles were ‘marked’ by Peter Cordrey (Master Carman) assisted by Richard Morris (Master Glover, who supplied heat-resistant gloves for the occasion) and the two City Sheriffs – Michael Mainelli and Christopher Hayward.
Afterwards, as is also tradition, lunch was enjoyed in the Great Hall of the Guildhall by some 300 Carmen and their guests. Following the lunch, Master Peter Cordrey became our auctioneer for the event and items kindly donated by Carmen members raised almost £7,000 from our extremely generous Carmen and guests who had bid for the items.
To view the pictures of the day please visit the members area or contact the Clerk@thecarmen.co.uk for a link.