Meet the current Master of the Guild, Mr. Brian Jackson
Brian was born in Lancashire in 1947, the eldest of two brothers. The family lived in Burnley, Manchester and Morecambe over the next few years before moving to industrial Coventry in search of work. Brian attended Limbrick Wood Primary school followed by the newly opened Woodlands Secondary Modern. Motor City was perfect as Brian always preferred mechanical and electrical tinkering to outdoor sports, the opposite of his brother.
Inevitably a career in the motor industry beckoned and Brian began as a Trainee, then switched to an Apprenticeship as a Motor Vehicle Electrician at Standard-Triumph.
Studying on day-release at the Butts Technical College and evenings at Brooklands Annexe he passed the usual City & Guilds exams, and also Institute of the Motor Industry and Institute of Road Transport Engineer syllabuses, becoming a member of each organisation.
Staying with Triumph Motor Company at the end of his apprenticeship Brian spent the next 5 years at Fletch North designing electrical systems for the Herald, Spitfire, TR, Dolomite, 2000 & Stag ranges, before continuing in a similar role at Austin-Morris, Longbridge.
In 1979 an offer of 2 years contract work at Volvo in Sweden was taken up, this being electrical design for the new 480 model. Electronics were arriving in the car industry by this time and whereas the Herald had 56 wires in the complete car, there were now typically 300 in the engine harness alone!
Returning to the UK Brian became self-employed and continued designing wiring systems and diagrams for clients including Volvo in Sweden & Holland, Sweden Yachts, Leyland-DAF, Saab, Land-Rover, Modec, and Dennis. In latter years work eased off, and, nearing retirement age he was happy to slow down, finally retiring in 2008.
That same year Brian became a Freemen of Coventry and joined the Guild. Accepting an invitation to join the Court in 2015 he has served as Junior Warden, Senior Warden, and Deputy Master.
Brian met Jenny back in the late 60’s and she has supported him during his time abroad and continues to attend motoring events around the country and further afield. Jenny is also retired after spending over 30 years at Warwick University, but keeps in touch via the Retired Staffs Association.
Brian’s motoring life began inauspiciously at 16 with a Reliant Regal. This was the first car in the family, dad having a BSA Bantam at that point. Turning 17 a Herald was purchased and Brian joined the Standard-Triumph Apprentice Motor Club. Competing in grass roots Autotests, Sprints and Rallies led to winning their Championship a few years later, the prize being the 3 day BSM High Performance Course based in London.
Next up were Vitesse, Dolomite and Sprint models, then a Saab 900 Turbo purchased tax-free while in Sweden. In 1985 that was swapped for a Ferrari 308 GTB which Brian has used in the Ferrari Hillclimb Championship for 32 years now. Emulating Stirling Moss he has finished second a couple of times but never won the championship. More recently he has imported and restored a Triumph TR8 from California, so back to where it all began. He also remains in contact with the Standard-Triumph Engineers group, attending their annual lunch each year along with PM Rod King.
With preparations for Coventry City of Culture 2021 now well underway Brian looks forward to continuing the good work of previous Masters in promoting the Guild and its charitable work during the coming year.
Immediate Past Master, Mr. Anthony Archer
Anthony (Tony) Archer was born October 1947 and has one older brother Michael. Their parents had met at RAF Cosford and married on Boxing Day 1941. Tony lived and grew up in the Aldermoor, and attended the Aldermoor Farm infant and junior school where at the age of seven, the English teacher realized he had a slight lisp and was given extra tuition to help improve his reading. He attended Stoke Secondary Modern Boys School in Britain Road. His favourite lesson apart from carpentry was playing rugby football and was in the First XV each successive year. His working life began 3rd September 1963 when he was apprenticed to W.H. Jones & Son for four years as a carpenter and joiner. Day release was at Coventry Technical College plus one evening a week. He worked mainly in Coventry but within the Midland area as well. He remained in the building trade until November 1999 changing companies twice, A.G. Gale & Son and Denmil Contractors, the latter for a period of 29 years. He had a complete career change by joining Securicor and trained as a C.I.T (cash in transit) driver, collecting / delivering cash from various establishments within a fifty mile radius of Coventry also servicing A.T.M.’s whilst on night shifts. He was attacked in Broadgate at midday one Saturday returning to his vehicle with cash from Topshop, fortunately no serious injury. The following year along with others was made redundant when the company moved its C.I.T staff to Leicester in May 2002.
Another career change followed that year after marrying Georgie in August and moving to Kenilworth. He trained and became a support worker in a local care home for adults gaining an NVQ level 2. In October 2006 he joined a company called Turning Point whose Chief Exec. is Lord Adebowale, and worked in a care home in Leamington Spa which specialized in people with P.M.L.D (profound multiple learning disabilities) who also had severe physical problems. He studied for and gained his NVQ level 3 in social care. He found this work to be very rewarding and humbling, particularly as a “keyworker” arranging holidays for the residents to such places as The Isle of Wight, Lake District and Ireland to name but a few. His previous trade enabled him to do odd jobs about the home, and was given a “free hand” to completely refurbish the laundry room, for which he received an award. All the materials were paid for out of his 60th birthday money which he had requested for instead of presents. He asked to work past his retirement age because he enjoyed his work so much and left two years later in April 2014. Tony became a Freeman of the City of Coventry in April 2010 and joined the Freemen’s Guild in 2011. He held the position of Charity Warden for two years before becoming Senior Warden then Deputy Master and, finally, Master. It was with great pride and honour that he fulfilled his year in office, along with his wife Georgie as the Master’s Lady.