The Lord Mayors Show

The Lord Mayors Show

The Lord Mayors show is an annual event taking place in November.

The Westminster Journey

Dating back to the 13th Century when King John sat on the throne and, some may say rather foolishly, allowed Londoners to elect their own Mayor.

Upon the King’s command each new Mayor must journey to Westminster and swear loyalty to the Crown.

For more than 800 years this journey has taken place. With each passing year the procession grew in size and popularity to become the vibrant, colourful parade that we know today.

Mayor of London

The Year is 1215 and the disastrous reign of King John is growing weaker by the day. An empty treasury, Barons on the verge of revolt and armies rapidly retreating in France. King John attempts a move which he feels will appease the people of London and raise his popularity.

For many years London had been trying to develop itself as a commune. A type of city state, allowing it to declare its own borders, make treaties and defend itself from attack.

Royal Charter

A Royal Charter was issued. The commune was established and London could elect its own Mayor every year rather than have the Crown appointed Sheriff.

Know ye that we have granted … to our barons of our city of London, that they may choose to themselves every year a mayor, who to us may be faithful, discreet and fit for government of the city, so as, when he shall be chosen, to be presented unto us, or our Justice if we shall not be present… and he shall swear to be faithful to us…

The 1215 London Charter

Magna Carta

Loyalty and gratitude were brief.

London became a hotbed of rebellious barons.

Later that same year soverignty was declared subject to the rule of law and  King John signed the Magna Carta.


The Real Dick Wittington

Richard made his way to London to seek his fortune.

Son (but not the eldest) of Sir William, a Knight from Pauntley Gloucestershire, Richard knew there was little to no chance of him inheriting the family fortune.

Apprentice to a mercer Richard was unusual in that his heritage was from gentry.

In 1392 Whittington sold mercery worth over £3,000 to the wardrobe of King Richard II. He had a good eye and his growing personal wealth led him into the wool trade and money lending to the crown.

Growing Popularity

Whittington grew very wealthy and seemingly developed a strong relationship with the King. In 1397, feeling that the city was badly governed, The King insisted on choosing the new Lord Mayor himself. He chose none other than Richard Whittington.

This decision was supported by the people of London and in October of 1397 Dick Whittington took the official title of Lord Mayor of London.  He was again elected by the people in 1406 and yet again in 1419.

He was indeed “Thrice Lord Mayor of London”.

A Charitable man

During his lifetime Whittington donated much of his profits for the good of the city.

Having died childless he bequeathed a large sum of money for good causes. The rebuilding of Newgate prison, repairing St Thomas’s hospital and installing some of the first public drinking fountains in the City.


The Whittington charity continues to this day and still distributes money to the needy.

His gifts to the city made him popular both before and after his passing.

Later he became imbedded in modern folklore. His tale was adapted to the pantomime stage, featuring a cat as his companion and  a poignant message from The Great Bells of Bow.


Gog and Magog

Towards the head of the procession march two stern wicker giants,Gog and Magog .Sometimes known as Gogmagog and Corineus they  are the traditional guardians of The City of London and have  featured in The Lord Mayors Show since the reign of Henry V.

Steeped in Paganism, Roman mythology and mediaeval legends one version of the story tells the journey of Brutus fleeing the fall of Troy. Brutus brought with him his most able warrior Corineus to an island which he named Britain.

Inhabited by  giants  and led by Gogmagog the two fought in single combat. Corineus hurls Gogmagog over the cliffs to his untmely death.

The cliffs Langnagog (The Giants leap) and the County of  Cornwall are  named in honour of their epic battle. Brutus later travels to the east and founded the city of New Troy which today we know as London.

The 694th Mayor of London

Alderman Nicholas Lyons will serve as Lord Mayor of London for the coming year, 2023.

The Lord Mayor must have served as a Sheriff of the City, and since 1435 he or she is chosen from amongst the City’s Aldermen.


Election happens at Michaelmas (29th September) and the chosen candidate is known as Lord Mayor Elect.

This title is held until the day before The Lord Mayors Show when he or she is sworn into office in the Silent Ceremony.

The process is completed by The Lord Mayors Show. The new Lord Mayor is delivered to Westminster and swears loyalty to the Crown.

His duty is to promote and represent the City of London

It is a great honour to be elected the 694th Lord Mayor of the City of London. I want to put the City back where it belongs at the heart of the economy when the country most needs it to drive growth, create jobs and support investment.

Alderman Nicholas Lyons





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