A Guide To The Lord Mayor's Show

Harry Rosehill
By Harry Rosehill Last edited 22 months ago

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A Guide To The Lord Mayor's Show

This year's Lord Mayor's Show is on 12 November. Here's how to follow the events throughout the day.

2015 Lord Mayor Jeffrey Mountevans. Photo: Clive Totman

In 1215, King John was persuaded to let the City of London elect its own mayor. John was unpopular and the City was on its way to becoming the buzzing metropolis of today. The City felt it needed someone to permanently look after its own interests, so the deal was struck. However, there was one major condition; each year the new mayor must travel from the City to Westminster to swear loyalty to the crown. Those are the origins of the Lord Mayor's Show which has run for more than eight hundred years, despite some incredible obstacles.

This year, outgoing mayor Jeffret Mountevans is to be replaced by Alderman Andrew Parmley. Parmley is a bit of a polymath, having spent a great deal of time in the creative industries, education and music sector — so should be well equipped to take on the multi-faceted role of Lord Mayor.

The sun makes a timely appearance. Photo: Clive Totman

If you want to catch everything on the day, you'll have to get up early for the river pageant. This part of the day honours the mayor's journey as it would have been many years ago — by river. It starts at 8.30am when the Lord Mayor boards QRB Gloriana in Vauxhall and works his way upstream. The highlight to look out for here is at 9.25am when Tower Bridge will open in salute to the new mayor (despite current building works).

An interesting titbit: the fullest Tower Bridge opens is 88 degrees, an honour reserved for the sovereign. They open it incredibly close to that for the Lord Mayor's salute though — within a 10th of a degree of Her Maj's salute.

Photo: Clive Totman

After the river pageant comes the part which excites everyone: the procession. The procession usually starts at 11am but as it falls on the weekend of Armistice Day, there'll be a two-minute remembrance silence at the start. Check out a map of the route to decide where you want to stand.

Many people and organisations take part in the event — from plumbers to the armed forces — and the procession takes over an hour to pass any one spot. The procession covers three miles and can never be fully assembled because the route is only two miles, meaning those at the front of the procession will reach the Royal Courts before the Lord Mayor has even set off. Our ones to watch out for are Gog and Magog. They're close to the front, so make sure you're on time to see these huge wicker men.

If you're not one for standing (and we don't blame you), book a seat for the grandstand next to St Paul's.

The City's protectors Gog and Magog. Photo: Clive Totman

Once you've been thoroughly wowed by the procession there's an hour break where it might be a good idea to grab a bite to eat. Then at 3pm there will be guided walks from City Guides. Head for the big pink and yellow building opposite Mansion House, no. 1 Poultry, to learn all about the fascinating history of the Square Mile. The walks are free, but they do ask for a donation as part of the Lord Mayor's Appeal.

The day ends in a grand crescendo: fireworks. They start at 5:15pm, and are launched from the Thames between Waterloo and Blackfriars. Roads on the Waterloo side of the bridge will remain closed from earlier in the day, so it will be easy to find a good viewing spot. The display will last roughly 15-20 mins and marks the end of the events.

Photo: Clive Totman

If you forget any of this on the day, there's an official app to remind you of all the details.

To get a feel for the procession, take a look at highlights from 2015:

Last Updated 07 November 2016