Next years date Saturday 15 July 2023
Cart Marking showcases a truly unique collection of transport dating back 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 an annual event held each July.
You will see vehicles ranging from handcarts, horse and carts, and horses and carriages to steam engines, military vehicles and motorcycles. With historic, vintage and specialist vehicles – new and old – including the latest vehicles 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 from 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 the history of the vehicle and its relevance today.
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 surface 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 need to be branded 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.
To find out more please visit our cart marking website here