Rodney Malcomber, was working for the Wheelwright, Potter’s of Houghton in 1988, when they were commissioned by the Military of Defence, on behalf of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, to produce 10 standard 13 pounder gun wheels for ‘The George Gun - the gun carriage that would be used to transport the coffin of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at her funeral.
This week, it was used to carry the Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to lie in state at Westminster Hall.
Rodney recognised the tyres because the gun carriages that are used in the Royal Tournament in Hyde Park and Earls Court have steel rims. Rodney had made the wheel spokes of oak, the fellows (outside rim) of ash and the wheels were fitted with a solid rubber tyre (which he liaised with Dunlop tyre) to ensure the carriage ran silently and smoothly through the streets of London.
There are only 10 guns still in existence. Each dating back to between 1912 and 1918, they have seen active service in both the First World War, where they were drawn through the mud-ridden fields of France, and the second World War, when they were prepared as anti-aircraft guns. With the exception of the ‘George gun’ which is reserved exclusively for the funeral of the reigning Monarch, all of the guns are used daily on parade, in training or at events.
Potters of Houghton used to be at Cooper’s Farm and is now a very lovely barn conversion. Daniel and Sophie, owners of Houghton Lodge commented “ We are so lucky to have Rodney ‘s workshop here at Houghton Lodge where he continues to produce exquisite joinery. He visited us this week to share the file showing the original contract and plans for the wheels, and we thought it was a wonderful piece of our local history to share.”