The Lord Mayor’s Show
On 10th November 2018 a three-mile-long procession of people, marching bands, cars, carriages and horses will weave its way through the streets of the City of London. This is the Lord Mayor’s Show, an event held annually to mark the inauguration of the new Lord Mayor of London.
The Lord Mayor of London (not to be confused with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is the head of the City of London Corporation, the governing body of the City of London. The City of London, more commonly referred to as “the City” or “the Square Mile”, covers an area of central London of roughly one square mile. When the office of the Lord Mayor of London was first established in 1189, this area represented almost the entirety of London. In the intervening 829 years, however, the Capital has grown considerably and the City of London now represents only a tiny part of what is known as London. Even so, the area has retained its significance, remaining the financial centre of London, as well as holding city status in its own right.
The Lord Mayor’s role is to support, represent and promote the businesses and the people of the City of London. Unlike the Mayor of London, the Lord Mayor of London is apolitical. A spokesman rather than a politician, the Lord Mayor represents the City of London at home and abroad.
The office, conferred by the Liverymen of the City of London, has been held by 690 people, and Peter Estlin, the 691st, is to be installed at this year’s Show. Solicitor Dame Fiona Woolf became only the second female to ever hold the office in 2013. Other Lord Mayors have included tea merchant Sir John Moore (1898), hardware merchant Sir William Pryke (1925), and Sir Michael Savory (2016) who now devotes his time to his military vehicle collection at Muckleburgh House.
The Lord Mayor’s Show itself dates back to 1535. A street parade makes its way from Mansion House – the home and office of the Lord Mayor of London – to the Royal Courts of Justice, taking the newly-elected Lord Mayor of London to pledge allegiance to the Sovereign in the presence of the Judges of the High Court. It is held on the second Saturday in November each year.
The use of the word ‘float’ in the context of parades allegedly originates from the Lord Mayor’s Show, in which the Lord Mayor would often be transported by river barge. The Lord Mayor is now transported by a horse-drawn coach.
Q: Which Liveryman of the Grocer’s Company and fan of sartorial correctness is the Pageantmaster for the Lord Mayor’s Show?
A: Dominic Reid, who is also Chief Executive Officer of the Invictus Games Foundation.
Q: Which artist and illustrator designed commemorative stamps for the Lord Mayor’s Show in 1989?
A: Paul Cox
Q: Which Lord Mayor of London made history as being the first Roman Catholic Lord Mayor since the Reformation?
A: Sir Polydore De Keyser, who was Lord Mayor 1887-88.
Q: Dame Fiona Woolf was the second female Lord Mayor of London but who was the first?
A: Dame Mary Donaldson, who trained as a nurse and was Lord Mayor 1983-84.
Q: Rt Hon. Sir Joseph Dimsdale was Lord Mayor for the 1902 Coronation of Edward VII, 1st Baron Broadbridge was Lord Mayor for the 1936 Coronation of George VI, and Sir Denys Lowson was Lord Mayor for the 1951 Festival of Britain, but who was Lord Mayor for the visit of the Shah of Persia?
A: Sir Sydney Waterlow, who was Lord Mayor of London 1872-73. In his spare time he was Chairman of the Industrial Dwellings Company “with 6,000 tenements and 30,000 souls”.