'My father did that': Black Country man's dad restored Queen's famous carriage

For those old enough to remember the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the sight of Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh riding towards Westminster Abbey in a spectacular gold-leaf state coach will always be one of the highlights.

The Queen riding in the famous gold state coach
The Queen riding in the famous gold state coach

Those not old enough will probably recall the same carriage being used in the Golden Jubilee celebrations of 2002, or most recently still in the Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this year. It may yet also be used in the Coronation of King Charles III, likely to take place next year.

What few people know is that its stunning gold leaf decoration was carried out by the father of a jazz musician from Dudley.

In a 2002 interview with the Express & Star, Jack McKechnie revealed how his father John Senior had renovated the coach in 1901.

At the time, John was working for the famous London coachbuilder Hooper & Co, and was presented with a special photograph of the coach, thanking him for his services.

Jack said his father died in 1928, and he had only vague memories about the story behind the picture.

"I remember him showing me a little booklet with pages of gold leaf on," he said.

"My memories of how much pure gold leaf was used are a little bit hazy, but it was several thousand pounds, a fortune in 1901.

"I was watching the jubilee procession on the television, and when I saw that carriage go past, I thought 'my father did that'."

Jack, who played guitar in the world-famous Hedley Ward Trio, ran the Modern Music shop in Castle Hill, Dudley, until the early 1980s, when he sold it.

Jack McKechnie, right, with fellow musician Bob Nash and Slade during the 1970s

His uncle Bill McKechnie was the first person in the world to spray paint an automotive panel.

Jack, who lived in Abbotsford Drive in the Russells Hall area of Dudley, died shortly after the 2002 interview, aged 83.

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