Speaker's State Coach goes on display at Arlington Court

04 March 2011

The Speaker’s State Coach, last used at the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, is to go on display at the National Trust’s Arlington Court in Devon.

Speaker's State Coach

The coach will be the star attraction at Arlington Court’s Carriage Museum which houses a renowned collection of historic British carriages and coaches that were used for every occasion.

The loan of the coach by the House of Commons is intended to be the first in a series of exhibitions around the country where it can be seen and enjoyed by the public.

John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, said:

"The state coach is a magnificent example of an early 18th century carriage and an important piece of the United Kingdom’s parliamentary heritage. Therefore I am delighted that, now it no longer has any practical role in parliamentary life, it can be passed into the care of the National Trust and viewed by as wide an audience as possible.

"The carriage museum at Arlington Court, with its extensive collection, was an obvious place for the coach and we hope it will be the first of a series of appropriate exhibition venues around the country where the coach might be seen and enjoyed by the public."

History of the Speaker's State Coach

The spectacular painted and gilded Speaker’s Coach, the work of a number of highly skilled woodcarvers, is believed to have been made in 1698 for King William III. It was presented to the Speaker a few years later by Queen Anne. In the last 300 years, it has been the subject of many repairs and refurbishments.

Last used by Speaker Thomas in 1981, the coach was displayed at various venues in London before being removed for conservation work to begin.

The Speaker’s State Coach will go on display at Arlington Court, near Barnstaple, Devon, from Saturday 12 March.

For opening times and further information visit the National Trust website or telephone 01271 850296.

Further information

Image: Speaker's State Coach at Arlington Court, Valerie Kaufmann Senior Conservator for Plowden and Smith pictured  

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