London Lantern

Putting the Spotlight on London

The Lord Mayor's Show

27/09/1999, By Oliver Hylton

Reader Rating: 2.7 from 7312 votes


If you are planning a visit to the United Kingdom for the first time, would you expect to fit in touch of pageantry into your hectic schedule, but have no idea of where to see it? On the other hand, have you already visited London but found your thirst for British ceremonial not quite satisfied by the Changing of the Guard.

Or, are you keen to experience something of London’s rich history and heritage but afraid to bore the kids?

Well I have news! There is an event which is not particularly well publicised outside the UK, but which is well worth a day out of anyone’s vacation.

On Saturday 13th November this year, the 672nd Lord Mayor of London will swear allegiance to the Sovereign at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand. Before and after this oath, the new Lord Mayor forms the centrepiece of what has now become the world’s biggest parade: The Lord Mayor’s Show.

The Show has been an annual event on the streets of London for more than 780 years; it first took place in the year St. Francis of Assisi set out for Syria to seek martyrdom, which was also just about the time Genghis Khan captured and destroyed Beijing!

There are around 70 floats representing everything from charities to city firms. In addition are 200 vehicles, horse drawn omnibuses, brewers drays and Victorian traction engines.

Amongst the 7000 or so people taking part, you may catch a glimpse of the Pearly Kings and Queens their shimmering suits of colourful mother-of-pearl buttons. Then there is the pageantry. The Show brings out a stunning panoply of ceremonial uniforms, regalia and music. There are around 45 bands which take part, many of them military

Towards the end of the procession, the floats slowly give way to scores of horse drawn carriages carrying the great and the good of the City of London. However, nothing can prepare one for the way in which the Lord Mayor presents himself! He uses the State Coach (an incredibly ornate gold carriage built in the 18th century) pulled by six shire horses.

You can see the procession pass by from anywhere along the route! The procession passes Mansion House at 10.50, St. Paul’s Cathedral at 11.05am, the Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand at 11.20am, Victoria Embankment at 1.10pm, 2.05pm at HMS President (near Blackfriar’s Bridge), before reaching the Mansion House again at 2.30pm.

The start of the parade is marked by a Royal Air Force flypast which is at 11am. Also, follow the crowds down to the Thames at 5pm where there is a fabulous fireworks display over the river, which is started by the Lord Mayor from a barge between Waterloo and Blackfriar’s Bridges.

The Show route is easily reached by train (use Cannon Street main line station or City Thameslink). Tube stations situated right on the route are Temple, Blackfriars, Mansion House, Bank and St. Paul’s.

For more information on The Lord Mayor’s Show, telephone +44 (0)20 7332 1456
The 675th Lord Mayor's Show is on 10 November 2001

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Re: The Lord Mayor's Show

By Richard Wyland 24/03/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 7199 votes)

Must plan a visit for November to see this producton...

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