Archive for November 15th, 2010

Wow!! what a fantastic show.  I had the best day ever on Saturday, was totally impressed and can tell you one thing for sure….no other country can do Pomp and Ceremony like the Brits!!! F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C.

Pomp and Ceremony

The day started out grey and grim and I sent a tweet to my twitterverse to please wish for sunshine….we almost made it. By the time I left home I could see patches of blue sky…and the rain held off for the day!! Bloody marvellous.
I was so excited by the time I headed off for the bus…I have been in the UK for 9 years now and this is the first opportunity I have had to attend the Lord Mayor’s Show; a nearly 800 year-old tradition in The City of London. An annual event of  3 miles of fun, music and pageantry to welcome in the new Lord Mayor.
The lastest mayor being one Alderman Michael Bear, 683rd person to be elected to office, and latest in a long line of Lord Mayors that stretches back through centuries since 1189 when Henry Fitz-Ailwyn first held office.

cariciature of The Lord Mayor 1881

An illustrious position once held by Whittington, Lord Mayor of London thrice in his lifetime, the first in 1398.
“Turn again, Whittington,
Once Lord Mayor of London!
Turn again, Whittington,
Twice Lord Mayor of London!
Turn again, Whittington,
Thrice Lord Mayor of London!

The Lord Mayor’s Show dates to 1215 when King John allowed the City to elect it’s own mayor. The processional route takes you through thousands of years of history; a rich tapestry of events, places and streets of London over the centuries.

Lord mayors show london

the processional route

Starting at the Guildhall

lord mayors show

The Guildhall (1411-1440 15th Century Gothic)

 and accompanied by the Mayor’s personal bodyguard,

Pikemen and Musketeers


Pikemen and Musketeer The Lord Mayors bodyguard by Royal Warrant

the coach winds it was through the streets of London, preceded by floats, the Pageantmaster,

lord mayors show

The Pageantmaster - responsible for organising the event

 Livery Companies, organisations, Merchantmen, buses, businesses, flambouyant carnival style costumes, marching bands, horse-guards charities, Freemasons, members of the Territorial Army, Cadets and a long line of wonderful coaches bearing the Aldermen of the City of London, 145 in all as well as zulu warriors and dancers

the lord mayors show

Zulu warrior

 – supported by Standard Bank and reminescent of the Lord Mayor’s roots.. More than 6,500 people take part in the show and hundreds of thousands of spectators from far and near line the streets to see it.
The Lord Mayor’s State Coach,

The Lord Mayor's Coach

 built in 1757 has pride of place and travels to St Paul’s Cathedral where it stops briefly (about 5 minutes), the Lord Mayor is welcomed into the city and blessed by the Dean of St Paul’s, a ceremony that takes place on the steps for all the citizens of the city to witness.

the lord mayors show 2010

re-joining the parade from St Paul's Cathedral

 From there it re-joins the parade and proceeds along Ludgate Hill, into Fleet Street past Prince Henry’s Room

Prince Henry's Room - Fleet Street

 and into The Strand to The Royal Courts of Justice,

in front of The Royal Courts of Justice

 the crowds following close behind.  The journey pauses here for just over an hour while the Lord Mayor swears his allegiance to the Crown.
The procession starts once again and winds it’s way through Temple, along Victoria Embankment up past Puddle Dock, into Queen Victoria Street and thence to Mansion House – (completed in 1758 a rare surviving Georgian town palace) – the home and office of the Lord Mayor for the time he is in office.
Thereafter a gap of approx 2.5 hours and to end the event a fabulous display of aquabatics, a row-past by the Thames Traditional Rowing Association, (at which point I waved enthusiastically to Joe (from twitter) of  The Brightside Six) who were part of the regatta,

Thames Traditional Rowing Association

dancing water fountains and  fireworks on the Thames.

the lord mayors show

The Lord Mayor's Show - fireworks on the Thames end the show

fireworks on the Thames - a sparkling end to a sparkly day

The Lord Mayor is not to be confused with the Mayor of London, a completely different role. The Lord Mayor is primarily an international ambassador for the UK and spends 90 days a year travelling to around 23 countries, promoting the Square Mile aka the City of London.

griffin and herald - City of London

I was lucky enough to find a fabulous spot right near the steps of St Paul’s for that part of the ceremony and then another just past the Royal Courts of Justice for the 2nd part. I then followed the parade right to the end at Mansion House and thence to the Guildhall to see the coach in it’s display case.

The Lord Mayor's Coach

It was quite amazing to be part of this historical procession and to witness an event that has been re-enacted for almost 800 years.  It was quite weird to see a funfair at St Paul’s too!!!

the fair comes to St Paul's

I phoned my sister in South Africa so she could listen to the bells ringing but unfortunately all she could hear was static. The bells rang out across the city, almost continuously for the whole time except when the Lord Mayor was actually at the cathedral. The streets were lined with thousands of people and an air of excitement pervaded the city.  I had ever such a fabulous day, rushing along the pavements and streets of London following the parade, chatting to people, being cheeky with the police (heehee), and generally having a brilliant time.  The day ended off with a pledge fulfilled and fireworks… the pledge was to Joe from twitter…I had said I would wave my pink scarf as they went by and so I did….and he saw me!!! how much fun is that!

It is fantastic to be able to witness these events and I am eternally grateful that I now live here…….London for ever 🙂 I am truly addicted!

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