Saturday 20 July 2024
Cart Marking showcases a truly unique collection of transport dating from the horse and cart to the latest, cleanest, greenest, and safest in use today.
The regulation of carts dates back over 750 years to the early days of the City, with the ceremony of Cart Marking evolving over time.
Today we bring all that history back to life with a modern twist at our annual event, held each July.
You will see handcarts, horses and carts, horse-drawn carriages, steam engines, military vehicles and motorcycles together with historic, vintage and specialist vehicles including the latest, powered by electricity and hydrogen, on display.
The vehicles make their way to Guildhall Yard where they are greeted by the Lord Mayor of London, the Masters of not one but two City of London Livery companies and the Keeper of Guildhall Yard, all wearing their official robes and insignia.
As each vehicle is presented for marking, a commentator tells us about its history and relevance today.
You can view the Cart Marking ceremony on our YouTube channel using this link https://youtu.be/X-gfeKUIzl8
What is this all about?
Well, it is quite simple!
A ‘Cart’, in today’s terms, is a vehicle used to transport freight or passengers, for hire or reward.
Marking is done by branding (or burning) a number, letter, or symbol on to a wooden block which is attached to the ‘cart’.
But why was it done?
This was the earliest form of vehicle licensing, and having paid for your licence, a mark would be burnt onto your wooden cart. This would allow that cart to ply for trade ‘for hire or reward’ for the forthcoming year, after which a new mark would be branded each year to allow that cart to continue in use.
Back then the licence fee would have been five shillings (25p today). What is five shillings compared to £850 road tax for an articulated lorry today?
Five shillings is still paid to the City of London today for each vehicle that passes through Guildhall Arch.
Find out more on the fascinating history of cart marking click here