785 years of history and this year The Lord Mayor’s Show was just as enjoyable as last year! Not sure what folks 785 years ago thought of the show, but for sure….I can say that I loved it this year (as I did last year)!
I did not arrive as early as I had in 2010 and of course then I found myself a spot at St Paul’s Cathedral….something we could not do this year due to the ongoing unsightly ‘tent city’ that currently houses the protesters (or hanger-ons). Due to this ongoing ‘protest’ the route had to be changed and the usual stop had to be left out. This year I found a spot on the embankment near Temple station and my view from the pavement was interesting to say the least.
Like no other procession in the world; the Lord Mayor’s Show is nearly 800 years old. There has been a Lord Mayor of London ever since 1189, and probably the most well-known of whom was Dick Wittington. In 1215, by charter of King John, it became one of the earliest elected offices in Britain.
Thousands of people take part in the Lord Mayor’s Show, one of London’s most spectacular annual displays including servicemen and women, vehicles, Livery Companies, charities, colourful floats, marching bands, and carriages including the glorious State Coach and of course the giant figures of the City’s guardians Gog and Magog; 3 miles of procession along 1.7 miles of city road.
The head of the procession leaves from Mansion House and follows the traditional route through the streets of the City to the Royal Courts of Justice where the Lord Mayor takes his oath of allegiance to the Sovereign before the Lord Chief Justice and the Judges of the Queen’s Bench Division.
Along the way, the State Coach and other officials usually pause at St Pauls for the Lord Mayor to receive a blessing, but this year thanks to the protesters, they were unable to do that. He then takes the oath of loyalty at the Royal Courts, after which the whole procession reforms near Victoria Embankment for the return journey to Mansion House, where the newly sworn-in Lord Mayor is greeted by the City Aldermen and Livery Company Masters.
The Lord Mayor has been making the journey every year for 785 years, surviving plague and fire and countless wars and insurrections. The modern Lord Mayor’s procession is a direct descendant of that first journey to Westminster and the pageantry of Pepys and Canaletto is recognisable today.
At the end of the Show and the beginning of a new mayoral year, London’s newly confirmed Lord Mayor starts a fantastic firework display on the river Thames at 5 o’clock. The display, which can be seen for miles, includes more than half a tonne of giant fireworks, some of which shoot over 600ft into the sky before exploding, and takes a team of eight pyrotechnicians two days to set it all up.
On the day of the Show many of the road in the City of London are closed and becomes a cyclists dream Many people could be seen cycling around on the Barclays bikes. Most sensible….I should have hired one myself. A great place to see the tail end of the show is near the Museum of London as the parade and mounted soldiers make their way back after the show.
A major clean-up takes place after the show and a group of people get stuck in to clear the streets of garbage, horse dung and sand by the end of day. For more information about The Lord Mayors Show for 2012, click here