Sunday, 5 June 2011

Lunch with the Carmen

A delightful lunch last week at the annual Carmen's Master and Clerks' Luncheon held at what they call ''our nearest approach to a hall'' which is in fact the Officers Mess at Regents Park Barracks in Albany Street. It was a refreshingly different venue and an event enjoyed by thirteen Masters of different Companies, some now becoming old friends.
The Carmen are an old Company (founded in 1517) and indeed their claim to be the oldest transport organisation in the world is to be believed. Not that they haven't had their ups and downs. Whilst waggons, carts, packhorse and coach dominated City commerce for centuries the nineteenth century brought docks, steam and London's growth. The Carmen faded away and family ties were all that was left. The twentieth century saw resurgence and Carmen rebuilt their Company, regained a Charter, achieved Civic recognition and revived old traditions. Including excellent lunches!

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