Dozens Of Vintage Vehicles Parade Through The City This Saturday

By Jun Li

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Dozens Of Vintage Vehicles Parade Through The City This Saturday
An old fire cart ridden by firefighters in retro uniform
Just like the old days. Image: The Worshipful Company of Carmen

A historic ceremony harking back centuries takes place in the City of London this Saturday (16 July) — with the chance to see a slew of vintage vehicles roll through the streets.

The Cart Marking ceremony — hosted by the City of London and the Worshipful Company of Carmen in the courtyard of the Guildhall — first began about 500 years ago as a form of vehicle licensing. After paying five shillings (25p today) for a license, a mark would be burnt onto the wooden carts of the time, signalling that the vehicle had officially been certified for use.

The cart marker and the driver of a large, green truck interact.
One of the carts from 2021. Image: The Worshipful Company of Carmen

Even today, all vehicles passing through Guildhall Arch still pay five shillings to the City of London as a way to honour the tradition. A red hot iron brand is still used in the ceremony today, although don't worry, it's pressed on a block of wood attached to the vehicle, rather than the chassis itself.

A bicycle getting marked at the Cart Marking Ceremony.
A bicycle getting marked. Image: The Worshipful Company of Carmen

Unlike back then, however, vehicles aren't limited to just wooden carts — expect to see everything from horse-drawn carriages to steam engines, fire engines, bicycles — and even the electric cars that are (hopefully) our future. It's quite the parade.

A bright green shipping truck
Image: The Worshipful Company of Carmen
A group of people, including two dressed in traditional robes, smiling in front of a cart.
Got a feeling the officials are going ton be a tad sweaty. Image: The Worshipful Company of Carmen

About 40 unique vehicles featured in this annual ceremony; they are first greeted by the Lord Mayor of London, masters from two different City of London Livery companies and the Keeper of Guildhall Yard — all dressed in traditional robes.

An old handcart, with signage showing it's from Peckham
Image: The Worshipful Company of Carmen

As each vehicle is marked, a commentator provides a brief history of the vehicle and its current relevance.

A retro ambulance
Image: The Worshipful Company of Carmen
A dark blue Bedford truck
Image: The Worshipful Company of Carmen

Some of the most notable vehicles for 2022 include one of the Queen's official cars (a 1952 Royal Rolls Royce Phantom IV) and the 1948 Morris Commercial LC3 and 1926 Albion, which were two of the only commercial vehicles to drive through the Channel Tunnel on its opening day in 1994.

A vintage army truck loaded with ammo
Image: The Worshipful Company of Carmen

Cart Marking ceremony, Guildhall, City of London, Saturday 16 July, 10am-12.30pm, free entry

Last Updated 04 August 2022