Another year, and another annual cart marking ceremony carried out by the The Worshipful Company of Carmen.

I have written about the history of the tradition before – so I wont recount that again.

Today though, I noticed an interesting social phenomena.

The Guildhall courtyard is set up with some seats on the Southern side next to the old church, while rows of seats are set up on the opposite side next to the dais. Although anyone can sit anywhere (save a few reserved seats), somehow an invisible social line gets drawn across the yard.

By the church, people are largely dressed in casual clothing, while on the northern side, in general the men wear jackets, and the ladies wear hats.


Anyhow, although the cheap seats have a better view of the dais where the dignitaries sit, and can happily watch the vehicles drive into the courtyard, the actual cart marking is hidden from their view by the vehicle itself.

Sadly for those of us in the Dress Circle, who should have a clear view of everything, the view of the marking was usually obscured by a clutch of photographers fluttering around the event most of the time – although I suspect a few were shoo’d away after a while as just one official chap was left all of a sudden.

Branding the wooden board - 1The event itself followed the usual routine.

A vehicle drives into the courtyard, stopped by the dais, where the Master Carman, and later the former Lord Mayor applies a hot iron to a wooden board to mark it (this year, the letter code is “S”). A few photos, and along comes the next “cart”.

Throughout, a commentary is given as to the heritage of old vehicles, or notes why modern vans are of interest. Half way though, the Lord Mayor arrives (although this year, a former Lord Mayor as the current incumbent is away on business) and once each vehicle has had its branding, they all parade through the courtyard once more.

As a morning out, it is one of my favourite City of London traditions to attend. The wide range of vehicles dating from 1880 to 2010 make it a far more interesting spectacle than a conventional heritage vehicle show.

The full range of photos taken today

Below are a few of the more notable photos

Worthies on parade

City worthies leaving the stage to the sound of trumpet heralds

15 - 1950 Bedford O B Duple Sea Front Bus

Chelsea Pensioners arriving in a 1950s Bedford Bus

27 - 2010 DAF LF55 Rigid Impact Protection

24 - 1902 Purdey Pantechnicon

A 1902 Purdey Pantechnicon

33 - 1937 Sentinel S Type Steam Wagon

A 1937 steam powered Sentinel wagon

Branded board

A branded board up close - note the S for this year.

19 - c1920 Smithfield Bumaree's Handcart

A Smithfield market Bumaree's handcart - from around the 1920s.

14 - 2009 Micro Cab

A battery powered cab designed by the University of Birmingham

40 - 1971 Leyland Clyesdale 8T Tipper

The full range of photos taken today


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  1. Tim says:

    They didn’t do a regular in-service bus this year?

  2. Stuart Gray says:

    We really enjoyed attending the event with our 1937 Sentinel Waggon. The waggon worked all its commercial life from 1938~1956 for Castle Firebrick in Buckley and entered preservation in 1956, although only with it’s last restoration and rebuild have we returned the waggon to her commercial livery. The waggon was driven all her working life by Frank Jenkins who travelled all over the UK with a load of 4500 bricks daily together with a trailer. We have taken the waggon back to Buckley where it is a local town Icon and appreciated by many who remembered the Sentinel steamers going through the town when they were kids. We really enjoy sharing our pleasure of owning this wonderful piece of transport history with so many and we are looking forward to returning next year. Stuart and Chris Gray.

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