Sunday, November 13, 2011
The job in question is that of the man who gets to ride in that beautiful golden carriage. By another name, the Lord Mayor of the City of London.
Yesterday, we braved the tube into central London to witness the Lord Mayor’s Show, basically a processional (aka parade) for the new Lord Mayor. So, here we go for another history lesson. According to the Lord Mayor’s Show website, there has been a Lord Mayor of London since 1189 (whoaaa), and in 1215 King John decided that the people of London were allowed to elect their own mayor but he had to swear his allegiance to the Crown every year. So, clearly he can’t just walk up to the Queen, he has to bring 6000 people in funny outfits along with him.
And just as a side note, the City of London is the historic centre of London, just one square mile. The regular ol’ Mayor of London is an entirely different person (Boris Johnson) and is the mayor of the all of Greater London.
One of the most noticeable thing about those participating in the procession were those with signs that read “The Worshipful Company of ________,” be it “Clockmakers” or “Insurers” or “Farmers.” These are known as Livery Companies and were originally developed as trade guilds that were in charge of controlling wages, labour conditions, etc. I think now they’re basically charity organisations, giving scholarships to students aspiring to their craft. If you’re really interested, Wikipedia (the all-knowing) has a list of all 108 Livery Companies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livery_Company).
Other processional participants included the military, representatives from different countries (Mexico and the Philippines spring to mind), advertisements (like for the Animal Olympics (?) and the new movie, Puss in Boots), and of course, countless marching bands.
Now, I did a little research on how you get to be the Lord Mayor, and found out that there’s only been one female Lord Mayor (out of 700!), Dame Mary Donaldson. So, I’ll work on that.