The Silent Ceremony
On 10 November the Clerk and I attended the Silent Ceremony at Guildhall. This is an ancient ceremony dating back 800 years when the newly elected Lord Mayor is officially admitted as the Lord Mayor of the City of London. It is conducted in complete silence.
As well as representatives of the Livery, members of the public may also attend by applying for tickets, and this year was no exception. However, on this occasion there was an unexpected occurrence during the ceremony. As we were all silently waiting for the proceedings to begin, suddenly a gentleman wearing a top hat arose to his feet and declared that the streets of London were filthy and he was protesting against fossil fuels. We were stunned, and it was a few minutes before he was escorted out.
Decorum was restored and the ceremony proceeded with Professor Michael Mainelli making and subscribing to the Declaration. Thereafter under great solemnity and in silence the symbols of office were placed in turn on the table before him. These included the Seal of office of mayoralty, the Purse, the Sword, the Sceptre, the Mace, and other items. These were then returned in the same manner. At the end of the ceremony both the outgoing and incoming Lord Mayors returned to Mansion House.
It was a very moving twenty minute ceremony which has changed little in eight centuries.
The Lord Mayor’s Show
In keeping with tradition, the Lord Mayor’s Show took place the day after the Silent Ceremony on 11 November. It is the world’s largest unrehearsed pageant. This year we were proud to take part as a Company with Livery, carrying our own banner advertising our presence. The Upper Warden, Freeman Jack Saunders, and I walked the total of six miles with the Modern Livery Companies. Jack gamely carried the banner all the way round – thank you Jack. I felt the pace was a little quicker than usual. Afterwards I was told on the grape vine we had covered the distance in record time!
It was a moving and emotional occasion setting off with the other participants. Crowds lined the route and we all received a noisy and enthusiastic reception. Thank you to all those from the Worshipful Company of Nurses who came out to support us. The children enjoyed the ‘high fives’ and we paid particular attention to the disabled spectators lining Queen Victoria Street.
As the newest Livery Company taking part I was interviewed briefly by the BBC, so I hope that too has raised our profile. For those of you who missed it, the show can be seen on BBC iPlayer. What a wonderful start to the Lord Mayor’s year.
Service of Remembrance, St Paul’s Cathedral
The day after Armistice Day, on 12 November the traditional service of Remembrance took place in the historic setting of St Paul’s Cathedral. It was a period of reflection when we remembered all those who had died in war. All three armed services were represented as well as veterans. The Aldermen processed to take their places in the Quire, followed by the clergy and the Lord Mayor, who was received by members of the Chapter.
When everyone was in position the service began. The first lesson was read by a cadet from the Combined Cadet Force, Honourable Artillery Company, and the second by the Lord Mayor. The choir led the congregation and sang the two anthems beautifully. The service concluded with the two minute silence followed by Reveille.
It was a memorable service and one of many which took place throughout the United Kingdom when we remembered the fallen.
Wreath laying Royal Exchange
Following the service, Masters clothed in their Livery gowns together with their Clerks and Consorts, processed down Cheapside to the Royal Exchange. Service personnel and veterans were well represented and multiple wreaths were laid in gratitude, and to honour the memory of those who served to defend us.
After the wreath laying, we regrouped in order to watch the march past of service personnel including the Honourable Artillery Company. The Lord Mayor took the salute from the balcony of Mansion House.
This concluded a weekend of unforgettable ceremony.