Our latest Curiosity of the Week is a quirky annual ceremony in London, that you’ve probably never heard of…
On Thursday (18th July) the traditional Cart Marking Ceremony will take place at Guildhall Yard in the heart of the City of London.
But what it is the Cart Marking Ceremony? Thought to be the earliest form of vehicle licensing, carts that were allowed to trade or ‘ply for hire’ in the City were once marked or branded every year. The branding was carried out by the Worshipful Company of Carmen.
Today, the token branding of vehicles is carried out once a year, as a way of keeping the tradition alive. The ceremonial marking sees all types of vehicles – horse-drawn waggons and carriages, steamers, veteran and vintage lorries, buses and coaches, and modern trucks and tractor units – turning up at Guildhall Yard to be branded.
The branding is usually carried out by the Lord Mayor with a hot iron, onto a wooden plate that is attached to the vehicle.
This event is open to the public and is free to attend. Below is a video of last year’s event which gives a flavour of this unusual ceremony.
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