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Lord Mayor's Show 2019

The Lord Mayor's Show dates right back to at least the 14th century, when we know Cheapside was lined with viewing stands for the occasion. From our own records we know that in the 1680s the Bowyers' Company had its own set 'standing' in Cheapside, with its own rails, cloths and banner, and had to provide four 'whifflers', whose role was to keep that piece of street clear for the procession. Members of the Company met for drinks at a designated tavern before the Show, then dinner at another tavern after the Show; clearly a big day out. We did something modestly similar in 2011 when our man David Wootton was Lord Mayor, basing ourselves for the day at El Vino, Blackfriars; whiffling was however no longer required.

Huge crowds still turn out for the Show every year; it takes place on the second Saturday of November, the day after the new Lord Mayor takes office. For 2019 the weather stayed dry, and the 90-minute procession included its usual vivid array of military bands and weaponry, traction engines, school marching bands, commercial displays and quite an international presence these days, including a truck from Kazakhstan and a huge dragon from China. The procession culminates of course with the Lord Mayor's gold coach and escort of pikemen, preceded by Aldermanic open carriages containing recent Lord Mayors, including Sir David. It's still a big day out.

Tony Kench

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