By far the most colourful public ceremony in the City of London is the Lord Mayors ‘Show’. It takes place on the second Saturday of November each year. A great parade starting from the Guildhall, passing by the Mansion House, on to Saint Pauls and then the Royal Courts of Justice. On the way past the Mansion House it passes by both the incoming and outgoing Lord Mayors and many other dignitaries. The newly elected Lord Mayor then joins the rear of the parade in the ceremonial coach to be taken to the Royal Courts, where he is sworn in. The parade then comes all the way back to Guildhall. This spectacle is called the Lord Mayors Show, when the new mayor is shown to the people. He will hold for this post for the twelve months. Due to the lockdown during the Covid 19 pandemic the 2020 parade had to be cancelled and the William Russell served two terms in office
Pomp and Ceremony
The six Shire horses that pull the Mayor's coach were always supplied by the Whitbread Brewery in the City but since it’s closure they have to be loaned from elsewhere. Before joining the parade the Lord Mayor will take the salute and watch the vast array of floats and marching groups along with the outgoing Mayor and dignitaries as they pass by the Mansion House. They watch from a scaffold gantry that is erected every year in front of the Mansion House, which will be his residence for the coming year in office.The tradition of this parade goes back to 1215 when King John proclaimed that the new Mayor must obtain Royal approval, or in the absence of the sovereign, approval from the Royal Justices. As time passed, the latter became the norm. There was not such a great spectacle at this time but in the sixteenth century it began to take on the pageantry and develop into the public display it is today. Until the Royal Courts of Justice opened in the strand in the 1800’s the destination of the procession had been Westminster.
THE LORD MAYORS SHOW
The Fixed Route
The route was fixed in 1952. Before that it was changed each year to pass through the new Lord Mayor's own ward. He rode on horseback or went on a barge on the Thames depending on the chosen route. When Sir Gilbert Heathcote was unseated by a drunken flower girl in 1710 the coach replaced the horse. The last time the Thames was used was in 1856. The State Coach was built in 1757 at a cost of £1,065 and three penceThe Great Twelve Livery Companies, bands, military, and organizations that the Lord Mayor will support such as charities, old schools and his employer before he was elected are invited to take part. Two giant reproductions of Gog and Magog (originally one called Gogmagog) are also there each year. On the way to the Royal Courts of Justice the Lord Mayor stops off and spends some at Saint Paul’s, where he receives the blessing from the Dean. The procession is so long that the Lord Mayor has yet to leave the Mansion House when the first float has reached the courts. A firework display ends the ceremonies in the evening. The word “float” derives from the time the parade went on the Thames in barges.Photo album >>