Home » Posts tagged 'City of London'

Tag Archives: City of London

The Short Guide to the City of London

The City of London contains the historic centre and main financial business district of London. Rather confusing for visitors but it is easier to understand the City of London as a city within a city. It was within the boundaries of the City of London that London developed from the Roman settlement in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages.

Since then London has grown dramatically and now the City forms a small part of the capital. Due to its development the city has a number of unusual rules and regulations and has its own mayor and police force.

The City of London is often referred to as the City or by its nickname the Square Mile, the City is a major business and financial centre which grew dramatically in the 19th century into one of the world’s main business centres. Although the City has a very small resident population of around 10,000, over 300,000 people commute to work here every day. Around three-quarters of the jobs in the City of London are in the financial, professional, and business services sectors. There is a large legal profession presence in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas where the Inns of Court are located.

The City of London is not considered a major tourist destination, many of the bars, restaurants and shops close at the weekend. However there are a large number of free attractions and buildings like The Bank of England, Mansion House, The Royal Exchange and the Guildhall that can make a visit to the City, a worthwhile experience.

The ancient City was defended by a London Wall, parts of which can be seen in various locations and the names of streets and roads offer clues to their previous use. The City suffered a disaster with the Great Fire of London in 1666 which destroyed great parts of the City.

After the fire of 1666, there were a number of plans to modernise the City but generally the medieval street pattern still exists. The original St Paul’s was destroyed in the fire and it was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren and is considered to be one of the finest cathedrals in Britain.

From the late 16th century, London became a major centre for banking, international trade and commerce. The Royal Exchange was founded by Sir Thomas Gresham and the Bank of England moved to its present site in 1734.

Like many areas of London, the City suffered considerable damage from bombing raids during World War II and the resulting fires. In the second half of the 20th century, the City changed dramatically with the construction of modern and larger-scale developments.

After the 1970s, saw the construction of tall office buildings including the Natwest Tower, 30 St. Mary Axe (“the Gherkin”‘), Leadenhall Building (“the Cheesegrater”), 20 Fenchurch Street (“the Walkie-Talkie”), the Broadgate Tower and the Heron Tower. Another skyscraper, 22 Bishopsgate the tallest of all has just finished its construction.

These skyscrapers have changed the character of the City but it remains a fascinating mix of old and new.

The City of London is a wonderful place to explore with small green spaces, hidden alleyways, old and modern churches, historic buildings and modern sculptures.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Review: Lord Mayor’s Show 2021 in the City of London – 13th November 2021

The Lord Mayor’s Show is one of the oldest and most important traditions of London, its origins go back to 1215 when King John was in trouble with his Barons, he looked to the City of London for support. In 1215 the King was persuaded to issue a Royal Charter that allowed the City of London to elect its own Mayor, but there was an important condition. Every year the newly elected Mayor must leave the safety of the City, travel upriver to the small town of Westminster and swear loyalty to the Crown. The Lord Mayor has now made the journey for 800 years, despite plagues and fires and countless wars, and more recently Covid to pledged his (and her) loyalty to 34 kings and queens of England.

For the next few hundred years, the Lord Mayor of London was by far the grandest position to which a commoner could aspire, and the Mayor’s journey was the celebrity spectacle of its day. Over the centuries it grew so splendid and so popular that by the 16th century it was known everywhere as the Lord Mayor’s Show. It features in the plays of Shakespeare, the diaries of Pepys and in the pantomime story of Dick Whittington, who was the Mayor of London three times. In the 20th century the Lord Mayor’s Show was the first outside event ever to be broadcast live and it still attracts a TV audience of millions.

The modern Lord Mayor’s procession is a direct descendant of that first journey to Westminster. The state coach is 250 years old and the show features the City’s businesses, Livery Companies, charities, Her Majesty’s Forces, the City Police and Londoners from all walks of life who come together to enjoy a celebration of the City’s ancient power and prosperity.

This is a procession unlike any other in the world: The 2021 Lord Mayor’s Procession included full-size model elephants, Japanese drummers, a horse-drawn bus, the tallest fire engine in Europe and the Lord Mayor’s State Coach, the oldest ceremonial vehicle in the world still in regular use.

The procession sets off from Mansion House at 11am and was led off by The Band of The Grenadier Guards and the Band of The Coldstream Guards which are two of the oldest military bands.

Some of the highlights of the procession include: China Chamber of Commerce in the UK

Representatives of the modern Livery Companies.

The Bank of England’s float.

Next came, Gog and Magog, the traditional guardians of the City of London. They first walked at the head of the Lord Mayor’s procession around five hundred years ago.

The many bands provide the music.

The procession marks the first public engagement for the new Lord Mayor of the City of London, Vincent Keaveny. Mr Keaveny, the 693rd Lord Mayor, travelled to the Royal Courts to swear allegiance to the Crown before taking up his role.

The new Lord Mayor is followed by the Company of Pikemen & Musketeers which is a ceremonial unit of the Honourable Artillery Company who provide a ceremonial bodyguard for the Lord Mayor of the City.

The procession lasted for around an hour long and reached the Royal Courts at around 12.30. The return leg left Temple Place at 1.10pm and the tail of the procession arrived back at Mansion House at 2.30.

This eclectic procession is one of the great free shows of the London year, although part of a long tradition, the emphasis is always about fun and spectacle. With marching bands, military personnel, horses, carriages, colourful floats and much more. The Lord Mayor’s Show is one parade that you are never sure what you are going to see next. The dry weather bought out crowds who after enforced lockdowns returned to enjoy the procession.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Hidden London: The Strange Story of Bleeding Heart Yard

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean
There are places in London that on the surface are quite ordinary and not worth a second glance but scratch below the surface and you may be surprised by what you find.
© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean
Bleeding Heart Yard is one of these places, it is a fairly anonymous cobbled courtyard off Greville Street in the Farringdon area of the City of London. The courtyard was probably named after a 16th-century inn sign displayed on a pub called the Bleeding Heart. It was said that the sign showed the heart of the Virgin Mary pierced by five swords.
© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean
There is still a Bleeding Heart Tavern in front of the courtyard and visitors will notice the heart motif as they wander around. It is not by accident because the area was known for the gruesome ‘murder’ of Lady Elizabeth Hatton, relative of Sir Christopher Hatton (known as the dancing ‘Chancellor’ during the reign of Elizabeth I). He lived in nearby Ely Place and owned much of the area around Hatton Garden. It is said that her body was found here in 1626, “torn limb from limb, but with her heart still pumping blood.”
The origins of the legend is not known but a well known version of the story was published in the early 19th century as one of the Ingoldsby Legends by Richard Barham. In a story entitled  The House-Warming!!: A Legend Of Bleeding-Heart Yard.
In this version, Sir Christopher Hatton marries Alice Fanshawe, who is suspected of having made a deal with the Devil so that her husband will have success at the court of Elizabeth I. Sir Christopher success leads to him becoming Lord Chancellor, and the Queen forces the Bishops of Ely to give Sir Christopher the keys to their London residence at Ely Place.
© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean
However, when the Hattons celebrate their good fortune at their housewarming they have an unwelcome visitor who wants to dance with Alice, the Devil it seems wants Alice to pay her part of the contract.
Of poor Lady Hatton, it’s needless to say,
No traces have ever been found to this day,
Or the terrible dancer who whisk’d her away;
But out in the court-yard — and just in that part
Where the pump stands — lay bleeding a LARGE HUMAN HEART!
And sundry large stains
Of blood and of brains,
Which had not been wash’d off notwithstanding the rains,
Appear’d on the wood, and the handle, and chains,
As if somebody’s head with a very hard thump,
Had been recently knock’d on the top of the pump.
Like many legends, there are elements of truth and more than a splash of fantasy. While it was true that Sir Christopher Hatton did benefit from Queen Elizabeth’s patronage and did receive Ely Place from the Bishop of Ely.
Other parts of the story are a confusion of the various Christopher Hattons and Lady Hattons, no Lady Hatton was murdered in Bleeding Heart Yard in 1626.
© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean
Richard Barham was not the only author attracted to this peculiar corner of London, Bleeding Heart Yard features in the Charles Dickens novel Little Dorrit as the home of the Plornish family. Dickens describes the yard and its name.
Bleeding Heart Yard was to be found; a place much changed in feature and in fortune, yet with some relish of ancient greatness about it. Two or three mighty stacks of chimneys, and a few large dark rooms which had escaped being walled and subdivided out of the recognition of their old proportions, gave the Yard a character. It was inhabited by poor people, who set up their rest among its faded glories, as Arabs of the desert pitch their tents among the fallen stones of the Pyramids; but there was a family sentimental feeling prevalent in the Yard, that it had a character.
As if the aspiring city had become puffed up in the very ground on which it stood, the ground had so risen about Bleeding Heart Yard that you got into it down a flight of steps which formed no part of the original approach, and got out of it by a low gateway into a maze of shabby streets, which went about and about, tortuously ascending to the level again. At this end of the Yard and over the gateway, was the factory of Daniel Doyce, often heavily beating like a bleeding heart of iron, with the clink of metal upon metal.
The opinion of the Yard was divided respecting the derivation of its name. The more practical of its inmates abided by the tradition of a murder; the gentler and more imaginative inhabitants, including the whole of the tender sex, were loyal to the legend of a young lady of former times closely imprisoned in her chamber by a cruel father for remaining true to her own true love, and refusing to marry the suitor he chose for her. The legend related how that the young lady used to be seen up at her window behind the bars, murmuring a love-lorn song of which the burden was, ‘Bleeding Heart, Bleeding Heart, bleeding away,’ until she died.
© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean
The Bleeding Heart Yard of today is more sedate than its fictional past but there are still reminders of the legends of the past.
London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Hidden London: Clifford’s Inn in the City of London

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The City of London is a wonderful place to explore to find some of the hidden corners which takes you back into the past. One of hidden corners is Clifford’s Inn between Fetter Lane, Fleet Street and Chancery Lane.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Clifford’s Inn is a former Inn of Chancery which was founded in 1344 and refounded 15 June 1668. It was dissolved in 1903, and most of its original structure was demolished in 1934. Clifford’s Inn had the distinction of being the first Inn of Chancery to be founded and the last to be demolished.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Inns of Chancery evolved with the Inns of Court. During the 12th and 13th centuries, Law was taught in the City of London primarily by the clergy. This changed in the 13th century when a decree was issued by Henry III stating that no institutes of legal education could exist in the City of London; and a Papal Bull prohibiting clergy from teaching law in London.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Legal education led to lawyers carrying out their business within “inns”, which were used for accommodation and offices. The land on which Clifford’s Inn was built was granted to Lord de Clifford in 1310, Isabel, Lady de Clifford granted use of the land to students of the law for £10 annually. It was the first recorded Inn of Chancery.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Society of Clifford’s Inn purchased the freehold of the property in 1618, however in 1903 it was decided that the Inn was not needed anymore, so its members unanimously agreed to dissolve the society, selling the buildings and giving what was left to the Attorney General for England and Wales. The Inn was sold for the sum of £100,000 and the buildings were demolished in 1934.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The only surviving part of Clifford’s Inn is the gatehouse in Clifford’s Inn Passage, which is believed to have been designed by Decimus Burton, a former student of the Inn.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

 

London Statues: Fearless Girl in Paternoster Square

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Fearless Girl by Kristen Visbal was made famous for being sited in 2017 near the Wall Street’s bull in New York. The statue was a hit with tourists and the internet.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

A copy of the statue of was installed in March in the City of London’s financial district to highlight the importance of female leaders in business.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Situated near St Paul’s, Fearless Girl seems a little lonely with only Elizabeth Frink’s sheep statue for company.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The statue is expected to remain in Paternoster Square until the end of June.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Review: Lord Mayor’s Show 2018 in the City of London – 10th November 2018

The Lord Mayor’s Show is one of the oldest and most important traditions of London, its origins go back to 1215 when King John was in trouble with his Barons looked to the City of London for support. In 1215 the King was persuaded to issue a Royal Charter that allowed the City of London to elect its own Mayor, but there was an important condition. Every year the newly elected Mayor must leave the safety of the City, travel upriver to the small town of Westminster and swear loyalty to the Crown. The Lord Mayor has now made the journey for 800 years, despite plagues and fires and countless wars, and pledged his (and her) loyalty to 34 kings and queens of England.

For the next few hundred years, Lord Mayor of London was by far the grandest position to which a commoner could aspire, and the Mayor’s journey was the celebrity spectacle of its day. Over the centuries it grew so splendid and so popular that by the 16th century it was known everywhere as the Lord Mayor’s Show. It features in the plays of Shakespeare, the diaries of Pepys  and in the pantomime story of Dick Whittington, who was the Mayor of London three times. In the 20th century the Lord Mayor’s Show was the first outside event ever to be broadcast live and it still attracts a TV audience of millions.

The modern Lord Mayor’s procession is a direct descendant of that first journey to Westminster. The state coach is 250 years old and the show features the City’s businesses, Livery Companies, charities, Her Majesty’s Forces, the City Police and Londoners from all walks of life come together to enjoy a celebration of the City’s ancient power and prosperity.

This is a procession unlike any other in the world: this year there were over 7000 participants, 20 bands, 200 horses, 150 floats and hundreds of other carriages, carts, coaches and other vehicles including vintage cars, steam buses, tanks, tractors, ambulances, fire engines, steamrollers, giant robots.

The procession sets off from Mansion House at 11am,  and was led off by the Band of HM Royal Marines (HMS Collingwood) .

Some of the highlights of the procession include:

Other Royal Marine units followed by The Bank of England’s float returns to the Lord Mayor’s show for the fourth year running.

Next came, Gog and Magog, the traditional guardians of the City of London. They first walked at the head of the Lord Mayor’s procession around five hundred years ago.

The Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office, London focus on artificial intelligence and smart city technology look with two 5m-tall robots.

There were plenty of pandas in a China float.

The City officials bring up the rear of the procession with Late Lord Mayor, the Light Cavalry, and Pageantmaster

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment Band struck up the music for the new Lord Mayor.

The new Lord Mayor is Peter Estlin who becomes the 691th Lord Mayor and rides in the procession within the magnificent State Coach.

The new Lord Mayor is followed by the Company of Pikemen & Musketeers which is a ceremonial unit of the Honourable Artillery Company who provide a ceremonial bodyguard for the Lord Mayor of the City.

The procession lasted for around an hour long and reached  the Royal Courts at around 12.30. The return leg left Temple Place at 1.10pm and the tail of the procession arrived back at Mansion House at 2.30.

This eclectic procession is one of the great free shows of the London year, although part of a long tradition, the emphasis is always about fun and spectacle.  With an inflatable bear and pig, marching bands, military personnel, horses, carriages, colourful floats and much more. The Lord Mayor’s Show is one parade that you are never sure what you are going to see next.  The warm weather bought out huge crowds estimated at around 500,000 who enjoyed the procession and the free family festival fun in Paternoster Square and Bloomberg Arcade.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Review : Sculpture in the City in the City of London – 27th June 2018 until April 2019


Sculpture in the City returns for its eighth year with 18 artists exhibiting work in the City of London. This year, the event features work from artists like Tracey Emin, Marina Abramovic, Sean Scully, David Annesley and Sarah Lucas.

Many of the sculptures are located alongside some of the City of London’s most iconic buildings which offers interesting perpectives between sculpture and background.

Some of our favourites include:  

Untitled David Annesley

‘Untitled’ (1969) is a mandala-like form, which satisfyingly contains smaller shapes within itself in perfect equilibrium.

UNIVRS – Michail Pirgelis

Michail Pirgelis works exclusively with authentic aviation materials, which he selects from aircraft scrapyards in the American desert.

Perceval – Sarah Lucas

Sarah Lucas’ sculpture Perceval – a life-size bronze horse and cart – presents a large-scale replica of a traditional china ornament, of the kind that took pride of place on many British mantelpieces forty years ago.

Stack Blues – Sean Scully RA

Part of Sean Scully’s Landline series of works, Stack Blues is a sculpture borne out of the artist’s preoccupation with the horizon. 

Numen (Shifting Votive One & Two) – Thomas J Price

In the “Numen” series Price continues his exploration of a new mythology in which the ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian traditions of monumental sculpture are deployed in the depiction of the twenty-first century social subject.

Opening the Air – Jyll Bradley

Opening the Air is a three-dimensional drawing made up of a geometric field of fluorescent Plexiglas discs or ‘coins’. The coins bear intricate etchings derived from plans of early eighteenth-century glasshouse design.

Body – Jean-Luc Moulène

Body pays tribute to the automobile as sculpture within the urban landscape.

Crocodylius Philodendrus – Nancy Rubins

As part of her series Diversifolia– which in the scientific names of plants indicates a single species possessed with a considerable variety of leaf, Crocodylius Philodendrus employs clusters of bouquet like arrangements comprised out of a variety of animal forms that explode into space in all directions.

We visited the sculptures at the weekend when the Square Mile is relatively deserted and on a weekday when the area is very busy. It is remarkable how the presence of people make a great difference in perspectives and ideas of scale.

All the sculptures offer an interesting take on the urban landscape setting.  Sculpture in the City, now in its eighth year is unusual that it places contemporary works from leading artists into an area that is an intriguing mix of old and modern.

 Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information, visit the Sculpture in the City website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

Lloyd’s Choir Summer Concert at St Katharine Cree Church – 12th July 2018

One of the delights of the City of London is the series of concerts that take place in many of the historic churches dotted around the Square Mile.

One of the oldest choirs in the City not connected directly to the churches is the Lloyd’s Choir which was first formed in 1922. The choir first performed in 1922, within the Underwriting Room at the Royal Exchange and concerts were then given regularly, mainly in the Public Hall of the same building.

After the Second World War, the choir was re-established and performed with considerable success.  In the 1980s, the choir moved to St. Katharine Cree in Leadenhall Street which is still home to the choir today.

Jacques Cohen – Musical Director

Since then, a series of professional conductors have greatly enhanced the reputation of the choir. The choir regularly perform concerts in various locations around the city and has featured on television several times.

One of the highlights of the choir’s year is the Summer Concert to be held in the St Katherine Cree Church,  Leadenhall Street, London EC3A 3DH on Thursday 12th July 2018 at  6.30 pm.

The programme will feature Rheinberger’s Mass in E flat ‘ Cantus Missae ‘  and Bruckner’s Ave Maria, Locus Iste, Os Justi, Jacques Cohen the music director will be conducting the choir.

Tickets £ 15 ( £10 Students).

For more information about the Lloyd’s Choir, visit their website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Lloyd’s Choir Christmas Concert at St Katharine Cree Church – 14th December 2017

One of the delights of the festive season in the City of London is the series of concerts that take place in many of the historic churches dotted around the Square Mile.

One of the oldest choirs in the City not connected directly to the churches is the Lloyd’s Choir which was first formed in 1922. The choir first performed in 1922, within the Underwriting Room at the Royal Exchange and concerts were then given regularly, mainly in the Public Hall of the same building.

lloyds-5555

After the Second World War, the choir was re-established and performed with considerable success.  In the 1980s, the choir moved to St. Katharine Cree in Leadenhall Street which is still home to the choir today.

Since then, a series of professional conductors have greatly enhanced the reputation of the choir. The choir regularly perform concerts in various locations around the city and has featured on television several times.

lloyds333

One of the highlights of the choir’s year is the Christmas Concert to be held in the beautiful St Katharine Cree Church in Leadenhall Street  on Thursday 14th December 2017 at  6:30pm.

lloyd222

The programme will be a mixture of new and traditional favourites with Jacques Cohen conducting the choir with Meridian Brass and Hilary Norris on the Organ

Tickets £15 including refreshments on the door

For more information about the Lloyd’s Choir, visit their website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Lord Mayor’s Show 2017 in the City of London – 11th November 2017

The Lord Mayor’s Show is one of the oldest and most important traditions of London, its origins go back to 1215 when King John was in trouble with his Barons looked to the City of London for support. In 1215 the King was persuaded to issue a Royal Charter that allowed the City of London to elect its own Mayor, but there was an important condition. Every year the newly elected Mayor must leave the safety of the City, travel upriver to the small town of Westminster and swear loyalty to the Crown. The Lord Mayor has now made that journey for 800 years, despite plagues and fires and countless wars, and pledged his (and her) loyalty to 34 kings and queens of England.

DSCN7594

The Mayor was a power equal to any of John’s unruly Barons, and only two months later the first elected Mayor would put his signature to the Magna Carta. He was no doubt responsible for the wording of part 13:

13. The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs.

For the next few hundred years, Lord Mayor of London was by far the grandest position to which a commoner could aspire, and the Mayor’s journey was the celebrity spectacle of its day. Over the centuries it grew so splendid and so popular that by the 16th century it was known everywhere as the Lord Mayor’s Show. It features in the plays of Shakespeare, the diaries of Pepys and the adventures of James Bond and of course in the pantomime story of Dick Whittington, who was the Mayor of London three times. In the 20th century the Lord Mayor’s Show was the first outside event ever to be broadcast live and it still attracts a TV audience of millions.

DSCN7583

The modern Lord Mayor’s procession is a direct descendant of that first journey to Westminster. The state coach is 350 years old and the show features the City’s businesses, Livery Companies, charities, Her Majesty’s Forces, the City Police and Londoners from all walks of life come together to enjoy a celebration of the City’s ancient power and prosperity. The new Lord Mayor is Charles Bowman who will become the 690th Lord Mayor. He will take office after the Silent Ceremony on Friday 10th November at the Guildhall in the heart of the Square Mile with the annual Lord Mayor’s Show taking place on Saturday 11th November 2017.

DSCN7545

The show itself is in three main parts, the River Pageant, the Lord Mayor’s Procession and the Lord Mayor’s Fireworks. Each have their own attractions and for those who want to find out more about the City of London there will be Guided Walks  in the afternoon. The timings are as follows:

The 2017 Lord Mayor’s Show is on Saturday 11th November. There are events all day and many other family activities and special exhibitions will be laid on in the area. From the Lord Mayor’s arrival by river to the fireworks finale, the Lord Mayor’s Day is packed with spectacle.

09:00: River Pageant

The original Lord Mayor’s journey was always taken by river. The modern Lord Mayor celebrates that history by travelling to the City in a splendid flotilla of traditional Thames barges and small boats, including the famous QRB Gloriana. Tower Bridge opens in salute at 09.25 and the new Lord Mayor alights at HMS President ten minutes later.

11:00: Lord Mayor’s Procession

This is a procession unlike any other in the world: last year there were over 7000 participants, 20 bands, 150 horses, hundreds of other carriages, carts, coaches and other vehicles including vintage cars, steam buses, tanks, tractors, ambulances, fire engines, unicycles, steamrollers, giant robots, helicopters, ships, penny farthings, beds and bathtubs.

The procession sets off from Mansion House at 11am. It pauses at the Royal Courts while the Lord Mayor gives his oath and then returns up the Victoria Embankment at about 1pm. The Lord Mayor will get back to Mansion House just after 2.

15:00: Guided Walks

In the lull between procession and fireworks you will find the remarkable City of London Guide Lecturers giving walking tours around the strange old streets of the City of London. The walks are easy and free, but we hope you will make a donation to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

17:15: Lord Mayor’s Fireworks

The new Lord Mayor completes his first day in office with a magnificent fireworks display over the Thames. The launchpad floats in the river between Blackfriars and Waterloo and all the roads in that area are still closed, so you can walk freely around either bank of the river and find a good spot to enjoy the end of the Show.

It’s one of London’s most spectacular annual displays  but for the best view head down to the riverside between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges, either on Victoria Embankment or on the South Bank. The display will last about 15-20 minutes.

The procession will set off from Mansion House at 11:05am. It is led away by the Band of the Coldstream Guards and at a steady marching pace they will take 27 minutes to get to the Royal Courts. The procession that follows is over an hour long, so the City’s sanitation department (who always bring up the rear) will reach the courts at around 12.30. The return leg leaves Temple Place at 1.10pm and the tail of the procession arrives back at Mansion House at 2.30.

Crowds

The busiest parts of the route are around St Paul’s and Mansion House. If you’re at all concerned about the crowds, or might be a bit unsteady on your feet, please avoid those areas. In quieter places like Fleet Street the crowd should be much more manageable and you should be able to use folding chairs. There is also less of a crush during the return leg of the procession.

Two of the most interesting aspects of the show is the magnificent State Coach which is over 250 years old and the wicker giants are Gog and Magog, the traditional guardians of the City of London. They first walked at the head of the Lord Mayor’s procession around five hundred years ago.

For more information, visit the Event website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here