Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Election of the Lord Mayor 2012

It is rather nice that my last official function before handing over to my successor is to participate in the election of the Lord Mayor. The Lord Mayor is elected by Common Hall, all Liverymen of the City’s Livery Companies. The sitting Lord Mayor summons Liverymen to the Guildhall for the election. The Masters of the Livery Companies, in their robes and chains process through the packed Hall and all the (civic) City dignitaries and officials then process in.

Common Hall is opened by the Common Cryer and Sergeant at Arms (who does shout Oyez, Oyez – and sitting close to the front the volume of his voice is quite terrifying!).

After a bit of ceremony the Lord Mayor and the senior Alderman (who have already been Lord Mayor) leave the Hall and go to the Print Room with the Recorder. Town Clerk. the City Marshall  and the Sword Bearer  (an old photo but the only one I could find – the uniforms are wonderful).  The Marshal closes the door.

The Sheriffs and the Common Sergeant then present the list of those Aldermen “below the chair” ie have not yet been Lord Mayor, who have served as Sheriff. Three Aldermen are named as potential candidates and two are required to go forward. The voting is by a show of hands.  Traditionally the first candidate is accepted with a show of hands and also a shout from the Liverymen of “All”, the second with “Next” and the third with “Later”.  After a bit of faux conferring they then deliver the two names to the Lord Mayor.

The Assistant Town Clerk addresses the Livery.  Although the subject of his speech was fairly serious – about the facility at Heathrow, which the Corporation of London manages, for the supervision of animals being imported into the UK, it is delivered in a very light-hearted way and punctuated with jokes.

The Mayoral party return to the Hall – the Lord Mayor Elect assents to take up office and then he speaks to the Hall, followed by the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs.

I have not given the full detail – it is largely ceremonial but very enjoyable and an interesting thought that one is participating in a ritual that has gone on since the 12th Century.

A group of Needlemakers then repaired to the Butchers’ Hall for an excellent lunch of – oh yes - Roast beef!

The Lord Mayor Elect - the 685th Lord Mayor will be Alderman Roger Gifford. He takes office on 9 November in the Silent Ceremony at the Guildhall.

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