Freeman Mark Huxley reflects on this year’s installation of the new Lord Mayor and the annual Lord Mayor’s Show.
As I approach my own anniversary of becoming a GofE Freeman, so the opportunities it has afforded me within the City of London continue. This time, the ability to be part of one of the City’s oldest and grandest traditions, the installation of the new Lord Mayor.
On Friday 9th November 2018, Peter Estlin was installed as the 691st Lord Mayor, in a tradition that began in 1189, when Henry Fitz-Ailwyn was appointed by Richard 1st, which by 1215 having become the election of peers that continues today, when under a Mayoral Charter granted by King John, Serlo de Mercer was the first elected Mayor.
Move the clock on and I found myself sitting in the Guildhall watching the so-called Silent Ceremony where the incoming Lord Mayor had all the mayoral insignia, seals, purses, sword and mace passed to him from the outgoing Mayor; Charles Bowman. Why called the Silent Ceremony? The clue is in the name. Apart from a very brief pledge and declaration from the incoming Mayor, the entire ceremony is conducted in complete silence.
With the room full to the brim with 500 plus in attendance this gave the whole thing a deep gravitas and the long-practiced “dance” of ceremony demonstrated just how deeply engrained the whole process is within the City’s core DNA. It was quite simply a beautiful ceremony that left a deep impression with my eyes seeing it for the first time.
Move to Saturday and we again returned to London to enjoy the Lord Mayor’s Show. Something that I used to go to as a child but hadn’t been to for probably fifty years! None of the magic had passed and it was still a thrill to see the City at its finest.
Marching band after marching band filed past, along with all the military regiments with a City connection. Major City businesses celebrated on their ornately adorned floats and even the City’s own guardians Gog and Magog!
Perhaps most wonderfully, pretty much every Livery Company was out in force. I have to say that whole parade took on a new perspective, standing in the crowd as a Freeman and in a very small way being part of this historic tradition. I cannot now wait for the time when we might be an active part of this grand parade.
The Worshipful Company of Drapers with whom we have developed a close relationship very kindly extended an invitation for those of us at the Guild attending the Show to join them as their guest for lunch. This was very gracious of them and was warmly accepted. Their Hall is truly beautiful and the lunch delicious. Their hospitality was warm and I cannot now wait to be back there for our own Installation Dinner on 28th November. Click here for tickets
Did the weekend leave any impression on me? It most certainly did and has reminded me once again just how important the Livery movement is to the City and how entirely intertwined we are as Freemen, and as a Guild to the Lord Mayor and its governance.
It took me back to the pledge I made to the Master and the Guild to promote excellence in the profession of Entrepreneurship, support the Lord Mayor, encourage the growth of the City and promote its full potential to Entrepreneurs, foster fellowship among Entrepreneurs and donate money and time for charitable works that support the development of Entrepreneurs and help to bring the opportunities of Entrepreneurship to young people.
I for one will therefore continue to play an active part and the ever-growing fellowship it is bringing me. I would encourage anyone reading this with a thought to being considered as a Freeman in the Guild to make the first move and get in touch.
Some pictures of the day