The Lord Mayor’s Show and Rising from the East

13 11 2009

Some interesting London events this weekend.

The Lord Mayor’s show is on Saturday the 14th of November, It begins at 10.53 with a one mile race in which London’s best young runners will represent their boroughs, then at 11 an RAF flypast will mark the start of the Lord Mayor’s procession as Nick Anstee, the 682nd Lord Mayor of London, makes his way to the Royal Courts in the State Coach to pledge allegiance to the Crown.

The Lord Mayor’s procession winds through nearly 800 years of London’s history, marching unscathed through everything from the black death to the blitz. In the 17th century it was inconvenienced by the building site that would later become St Paul’s Cathedral. In the twentieth it was the first event ever to be broadcast live on television.

The loyalty of the Lord Mayor is probably less questionable now than it was in 1215, but the newly elected Mayor must still make his way to the Royal Courts of Justice to pledge allegiance to the Crown, just as Dick Whittington did in 1397 (and again in 1406 and 1419). As you watch the Lord Mayor’s coach go by, remember that someone stood in exactly that spot 450 years ago and marvelled at the sight of a camel on its way to meet Elizabeth I.

The modern procession is over three miles long – 1.3 miles longer than the route it follows – and starts at 11am after an RAF flypast. It travels from Mansion House to the Royal Courts of Justice, where the Lord Mayor takes an oath of allegiance to the sovereign before the Lord Chief Justice and the judges of the Queen’s Bench Division. The procession sets off on the return journey from Victoria Embankment to Mansion House at 1pm and returns to Mansion House at about 2.30, then the day finishes with one of London’s grandest firework displays at 5 o’clock from a barge moored in the Thames between Blackfriars and Waterloo bridges.

At 3pm the City of London’s Guide lecturers offer guided walks around her labyrinth of ancient streets, and then at 5pm the Lord Mayor’s Fireworks display will light up the sky over the Thames.

Rising from the East

Rising from the East is a mixed event of talks, discussions and book signings abut East End history, principally about political activists and activism in the East End, ranging from the East India Company, Cable Street, Anarchists, Feminists, to Bengali activists. 

The event is on Sunday the 15th and Toynbee Hall, organised by the Jewish Socialists Group. You can see a flyer with a programme here.

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