The National Trust Announces Speaker's State Coach to go on Display at Arlington Court

By The National Trust, PRNE
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

SWINDON, England, March 3, 2011 - The National Trust has announced that a superb state coach which was 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.

The Speaker's State Coach, a symbol of the power and status of the
Speaker of the House of Commons, has been in use for state occasions since
the early 18th century.

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

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 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

In the last three hundred years, the coach has been the subject of many
repairs and refurbishments.

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

The conservation now complete, the original and vibrant beauty and
colours of the unique coach can be appreciated once more.

Ana Chylak, National Trust Property Manager said: "Our historic carriages
at Arlington range from those used every day to ones reserved for special
occasions, so we are thrilled to be able to display the Speaker's State Coach
which is very special indeed. In its restored condition, its detail and
decoration are absolutely breath-taking.

"I am sure that our visitors will be enthralled to see such a wonderful
part of our country's heritage in our collection."

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."

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

About The National Trust:

The National Trust is a charity ( with a
statutory duty to preserve places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland
'of historic interest and natural beauty for the benefit of the nation'. As
Europe's largest conservation charity, the National Trust protects over 350
historic houses (,
160 gardens, 1,100 kilometres of coastline,
254,000 hectares of land of outstanding natural beauty, six World Heritage
Sites, 28 castles and 60 pubs - and give access to them for people to enjoy.
The Trust has around 3.8m members and 61,000 volunteers.

(Due to the length of this URL, it may be necessary to copy and paste
this hyperlink into your Internet browser's URL address field. Remove the
space if one exists.)

The National Trust is a registered charity no. 205846.

    PR Contact:
    Alison Dalby
    Senior Press Officer
    The National Trust
    Kemble Drive
    SN2 2NA.

PR Contact: Alison Dalby, Senior Press Officer, The National Trust, Heelis,
Kemble Drive, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN2 2NA, +44(0)1793-817780

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