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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.
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The Prospect of Whitby
Location – 57 Wapping Wall, Wapping, London, E1W 3SH
The Prospect of Whitby in Wapping is one of the most famous pubs in London, its origins was a simple tavern on the site in 1520.
However it was in the 17th century that it became known as a meeting place for smugglers and river pirates, it was at this time known as the ‘Devil’s Tavern’. It is also claimed that patrons watched the hanging of pirates at the nearby Execution Dock from its balcony.
In recognition of this claim there now stands a noose and gallows outside the back of the pub overlooking the Thames.
In the 19th century it became a place where artists used for a vantage point for their paintings of the Thames, Whistler and Turner amongst others painted many pictures of Wapping.
Famous customers have included Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens, however in the 20th Century it became the pub of choice for many celebrities and famous people.
In the 1950s Princess Margaret was a regular visitor and the pub became a regular stop on the tourist trail.
Although the pub building is mostly 18th century, its original flagstone floor, wooden barrels, pewter bar, odd shaped alcoves and large terrace with great views of the river are very atmospheric of days of smugglers and pirates.