Lord Mayor’s show promises pomp, pageantry and a zulu dance troupe


City of London will host the Lord Mayor’s Show this Saturday, celebrating the 683rd Lord Mayor Michael Bear. The parade, which starts tomorrow at 11am, follows the new Mayor as he swears allegiance to the Queen.

The event will be one of the biggest ever, with 6,000 participants, including Hong Kong acrobats, South African Zulu warriors, and hip-hop dancers from East London. The parade also includes the Lord Mayor’s gilded carriage, 20 marching bands, 71 floats, and a mobile post office.

The Lord Mayor is the head of the City of London Corporation, the body that runs the City. Each year, representatives from each livery company elect a new Mayor. As the majority of livery companies are in financial services, the Lord Mayor is seen as representing the UK’s financial industry.

Bear is an Alderman and Sheriff of the City. A trained civil engineer, Bear is regeneration director at Hammerson, managing director of Balfour Beatty Property and a non-executive director of Arup.

The parade will begin when he presents medals to 12 reservist soldiers and one City policy officer at Mansion House. From there he will travel to St Paul’s Cathedral, where the dean blesses the Lord Mayor. The parade then travels down Ludgate Hill and Fleet Street, then takes the Strand to the Royal Courts of Justice. The parade begins its return journey at 1pm, following the Victoria Embankment and Queen Victoria Street. As the Embankment is farthest from the Underground stop, crowds should be thinnest there. Fireworks will be on the Thames at 5pm, between the Blackfriars and Waterloo bridges.

THE best Tube lines are the District (Temple, Mansion House, Monument), Central (St Paul’s and Bank), and Northern Line (Bank ). The Circle, Metropolitan, and Hammersmith & City lines are closed, as are the Victoria and Jubilee lines. Buses will not enter much of the City itself. Buses will go as far as Liverpool Street, Old Street, Kingsway or the South Bank, all of which are near the route.

THE position of Lord Mayor is one of the oldest surviving positions in the UK. The post dates from 1189, when Henri Fitz-Ailwyn became the first Lord Mayor. Since 1215, City liverymen have elected the Lord Mayor. This placed the Lord Mayor outside the Crown’s control, which appointed all other local officials. The new Lord Mayor had to go to Westminster to swear his allegiance to the crown. Westminster was considered far outside of London, so the journey could be treacherous. Over time, the Lord Mayor’s entourage grew, until his journey to Westminster was considered a parade. The Lord Mayor is sworn in during a Silent Ceremony, where no words are spoken apart from a short declaration. The ceremony is always held the day before the Lord Mayor Show.