Origins of the Current City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild

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Installation of the first Master of the Guild (pictured above) in 1946 of Councillor Alec Turner by the Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Lee-Gordon with Lord Iliffe (seated on the left of the picture), the Lord Mayor’s Secretary Mr. M Stover (standing behind) and Sir Edward Wilshaw and Mr Francis Sully, Master of the Guild of Freemen of the City of London (seated on the right of the picture above).

Other people who were at the ceremony in 1946. (L to R above) Sir Miles Thomas, The Lady Mayoress (in the background), Lady Thomas, Mr Aubrey Riley, The Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Lee Gordon, The Master of The Guild Alec Turner, Lord Iliffe, Sir Edward Wilshaw and Mr Francis Sully, Master of the Guild of Freemen of the City of London.

The photograph (above) shows the President of the Guild, The Right Worshipful Mayor of Coventry, Alderman G Briggs J.P. and Mr Storer, with candidates for the Freemanship of Coventry at a Court of Admission in 1947. It is interesting to note that 3 of the candidates are in Army uniform and they would have been given special leave to attend. It was quite usual for apprentices to be called up to do their National Service the following month after finishing their apprenticeship The picture appeared in Guildsman No 3 June 1947.

This picture (above) was also taken from Guildsman No 3 June 1947 and shows the last Half-Yearly Meeting of the Freemen’s Charity at St Mary’s Hall in December 1946. The Trustees are on the dais (on the right) and the Freemen in attendance are seen on the left

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This picture (above) was taken when the Coventry Guild revived the 16th century Ceremony of the Loving Cup. It was taken in the Council Chamber at the first Guild Admission Court when Councillor Harry Weston was Master of the Guild (1952-1954) seen on the left with the Mayor, Councillor B H Gardener drinking from the “London Loving Cup” and the Deputy Master L. F Yates on the right. The ceremony is still enacted today.

The actual Guild Admission Court (above) shows the 22 Freemen taking the Oath to become members of the City of Coventry Freemen’s Guild.

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