Lord Mayor’s Show Celebrates 800th anniversary
The Lord Mayor’s Show is celebrating its 800th anniversary on Saturday 14th November. The ancient carnival is loved the world over and regarded as a classic piece of British pageantry in the UK calendar.
This year, maritime expert Alderman Jeffrey Mountevans has been elected as the 688th Lord Mayor of the City of London to serve as the global ambassador for UK-based financial and business services. The Lord Mayor’s Show will be his first public engagement.
Thanks to the ancient paranoia of King John, since 1215 every newly-elected Lord Mayor has to leave the safety of the City of London and travel through the winding medieval streets of the Square Mile to Westminster to swear loyalty to the Crown.
Over the centuries this journey has become London's favourite street party, with hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets to watch. It moved from river barges (hence the term ‘floats’) to horseback and then into the magnificent State Coach, and around it grew a splendidly rowdy and joyful mediaeval festival known as the Lord Mayor's Show. That ancient procession is still alive today.
This year’s pageant is 7,000 strong, including 173 horses, 140 vehicles, Taiko drummers, vintage steamrollers, tractors, fire engines, armoured vehicles, the Batmobile, Noah’s Ark and a tank. To celebrate the Lord Mayor’s Show's 800th birthday, the world famous St Mary-le-Bow church bells will ring out a special 800-change at noon, with more than a nod to the fairy tale Dick Whittington.
The artwork for this year’s show has been specially created by legendary British pop artist Sir Peter Blake, who is most famous for his iconic album cover for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The artwork also features on the front cover of a new book, Lord Mayor’s Show: 800 Years 1215-2015, edited by Hannah Bowen and Dominic Reid OBE, the Show's Pageantmaster.
Dominic Reid, Pageantmaster of The Lord Mayor’s Show, said: “An unbroken tradition of 800 years is an extraordinary thing. The Lord Mayor’s Show is the only event of its kind in the world that has taken place annually over eight centuries. The Show occupies a unique place in the culture of London and the nation. This year’s Show will be fantastic and I know that the crowds will be out in force for this great British day out.”
With 155 participating organisations hailing from all over the UK and from China to Mexico, this year’s Show demonstrates exactly why London is widely regarded as the most cosmopolitan city in the world. The route is over three and a half miles long and fills the whole space between Bank and Aldwych from 11am until about 2.30pm, cheered by hundreds of thousands in the crowd and watched live on BBC1 by millions more. The new Lord Mayor completes his first full day in office with a magnificent fireworks display over the Thames at 5:15pm.