Lord Mayor’s show set to take place in London

5 November 2013 - 01:47pm
Edited by Cindy Stockman
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The State Coach of the right Honourable mayor of London was built in 1872.

The State Coach of the right Honourable mayor of London was built in 1872.

The Lord Mayor’s Show is a time honoured ritual that dates back to before 1535. A new Lord Mayor is chosen every year. The parade is in keeping with the tradition that the Lord Mayor of London was formerly one of the most revered positions in England.

The reason for the parade and procession is simple: The Lord Mayor swears their allegiance to the Sovereign.

This year, the 686th Lord Mayor of London is Fiona Wolf, a lawyer and Alderman. In the 800 year history of the City of London, she is only the second woman to be Mayor. The first female Lord Mayor was Mary Donaldson in 1983.

Fiona Woolf is the 86th Lord Mayor of London.  She is only the second woman to hold the position in the City of London’s 800-year history.

Fiona Woolf is the 686th Lord Mayor of London. She is only the second woman to hold the position in the City of London’s 800-year history.

The first Lord Mayor of London was Henry Fitzailwyn in 1189. It is recorded that the first Lord Mayor’s Show took place in 1215.

The most famous Mayor was Richard Whittington. Whittington was a philanthropist who held the position in 1397, 1398, 1406 and 1419. He is also the inspiration for the much loved tales of Dick Whittington and His Cat, an English folk story I remember my grandfather telling me.

The parade is a celebration that takes place on the day the Lord Mayor and others are sworn in.


The procession begins in the City of London at Guildhall; it is then followed by a breakfast. The Lord Mayor then travels in the Lord Mayors Coach back to Mansion House, the Mayor’s official residence.

The coach is over 250 years old and has been much used ever since it was first made. It is designed to highlight significance of the City’s trade and London’s port. Each corner of the coach contains a cherubic figure to represent Europe, America, Asia and Africa.

The seat of the coachmen is deigned in mythical creatures from the sea and tritons. The City’s coat of arms, complete with fire breathing dragons, detail the back of the coach.

Viewing the parade from the Mansion House terrace, The Lord Mayor will join the procession at the end.
The Lord Mayor then pledges loyalty to the Crown at the Royal Courts of Justice in Westminster. The processional route was much longer in the past. In 1882 the Royal Courts were moved from Westminster to the Strand, therefore shortening the route. The early days of the parade were on a barge down The Thames, the typical mode of transport back in the early days.

The Lord Mayor’s role is within the Square Mile, also known as the City of London. It is a long standing traditional position and is representative of the City of London’s commercial endeavours. Known as ‘The Square Mile,’ the City of London is the original Roman City. It is the smallest city in England and is really a city within a city.

London is the capital and represents the London region and Greater London Administrative area.

The position is different from that of the Mayor of London, who is the head of the Greater London Authority. The Mayor of London is elected and the current modern post has only been in existence since 2000. In contrast, the position of Lord Mayor has been in existence since 1189.

This year’s parade will take place on Saturday 9th November and starts at 11am. It will have an estimated 7000 members, 21 bands, 23 carriages carts and coaches, 150 horses, and well over a hundred other vehicles. The Lord Mayor’s Flotilla will set off from close to Westminster Bridge on the River Thames at 8.30am and will travel downriver, passing through Tower Bridge at 9.25am. At 5 p.m. the fireworks show will commence over the Thames between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges.

photo credit: Swamibu and Fortune Live Media via photopin cc

Spotted an Error?

  • Karen119

    This article has me thoroughly confused. How can she be the 686th Mayor AND the 86th at the same time?

    • Ellen Couzens

      Thanks very much for pointing out this typo, she is of course the 686th Mayor. I have corrected this now.
      Ellen Couzens, News Editor

  • Tahira Nawaz

    It’s great to see Fiona as a second female Lord Mayor, My heartiest fecilitations.

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