Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Spectacular - Cart Marking Ceremony - Wednesday 17th July - 10am

A wonderful parade of vehicles, enjoyed it all very much even though it just got hotter and hotter!

See the Album of the parade here: 

London Taxi Cab 1938
London Taxi Cab 1938 (Photo credit: IanVisits)

The City of London is well known for its ceremonial processions and quaint traditions, but the cart marking ceremony is one of the most spectacular.

The Worshipful Company of Carmen gather once a year to furnish the vehicles presented with a new 'carr number', to be branded, or marked, with a red-hot iron, on a wooden plate, with the year letter and the number, as a reminder of centuries of service to the City and to maintain their ancient tradition. All manner of vehicles will be present.

The Guild of Carmen have been in exisitence since 1277. As time went by cartage was getting expensive and sewage (particularly) was uncollected due to high fees and the City needed the assistance of the carmen so. Interesting how a 'great stink' mobilises folk.

An agreement was reached between the company of carters and the City granted licence (1577) to each cart for  a reasonable price to be maintained for work within the City. The carters were also provided with stands or 'carrooms' - read taxi ranks or similar - where they could ply their trade.  The carters of wood were also granted licences.

As with all things regulated the carmen fell out with City and sought the protection (in return for donations of fees) of Christ's Hospital, who arranged for a charter to be granted on several occasions to circumvent restrictions imposed by the Common Council. Eventually it was agreed that all licensed vehicles should be marked with City's arms on the shafts and numbered on a brass plate.

Thus the Hallkeepr of the Worshipful Company of Carmen is empowered to license and mark carrs and carts to stand and ply for hire in the City's streets. The owner must be a freeman of the City and member of the Fellowship of Carmen and each vehicle to be brought to the Guildhall once a year to be marked.

The ceremony continues and we will witness the 'marking of carrs' on Wednesday, there will be a number of vehicles of all types and eras, and there is one 'standing' left in the City which is specified each year by the Carmen and police.

To coincide with the ceremony there will be a tour of the Great Hall of the Guildhall and a visit to the Guildhall Gallery, including the Roman Amphitheatre at 1pm. Bookings accepted below.

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