The coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of one of London’s best known events for the first time in over 150 years.
The Lord Mayor’s Show, which dates back hundreds of years, was due to have been held on 14 November, but the decision has now been taken to call it off.
Due to the pandemic, the annual event, which normally comprises a three-mile parade around the Square Mile, was going to take place as a televised spectacle without an audience.
However, due to “serious and increasing” concerns over the swelling numbers of infections, it will now not go ahead at all, Lord Mayor William Russell said.
According to historical records, the last cancellation of the Lord Mayor’s Show was in 1852 to allow for a period of national mourning for the Duke of Wellington.
“The Lord Mayor’s Show is a unique event but, because of serious and increasing concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic over the coming months, we believe that cancelling it is the right decision”, Russell said.
“Safety must remain our ultimate priority. I would like to thank everyone who has worked on this show. Our gratitude to them will remain undiminished, as will my hopes that we will be able to hold the Lord Mayor’s Show next year.”
Alderman Tim Hailes, who chairs the board that runs the show, said it would “untenable” to carry out even the revised show if new restrictions are brought in, as is widely expected.
“It seems likely that, as we head towards winter, London and the UK will face increasingly challenging times so, with deep regret, the Board of Directors of the Lord Mayor’s Show Limited has taken this difficult decision”, he said.
“Instead of relaxing the public health restrictions, they look set to be tightened, so it would have become untenable, if not impossible, to hold this popular event, even in its scaled-back format.”
The parade has its origins in the thirteenth century, when King John granted a royal charter to the City of London and created the position of Lord Mayor.
As a condition of the post, the Lord Mayor was expected every year to travel to Westminster to swear allegiance to the king, thus giving the procession its origins.