Tuesday, 13 November 2012

After the Lord Mayor's Show 2012 , Where there's brass. there's ..Selling Philanthropy

Yesterday afternoon executives from Google, Amazon and Starbucks were explaining the low level of taxes they pay to the UK at  of the Public Accounts Committee meeting at the House of Commons.

Later that evening at the Lord Mayor's banquet at the Mansion House ,  Prime Minister David Cameron stressed the huge contribution the City makes through taxes, trade and employment - though he did mention the " utterly terrible mistakes" made and promised to crack down on law-breaking , boost transparency  and " clear up the regulatory mess".

He warned that those who think the answer is merely to trash the banks would end up trashing Britain. The financial sector even through the recession had contributed 1/8th of the exchequer's  revenues.

The City does does other good works as I found out last weekend.

The philanthropic work the City  does not often hit the headlines so it is good at least once a year through the medium of the Lord Mayor’s show that the charities and good causes get some exposure.

These include the City Music Foundation, Futures for Kids, Gifford Wood Appeal, Harold Samuel Collection, and the Lord Mayor’s Scholarship programme.

Lord Mayor Gifford waving to the crowds outside St Paul's Cathedral on his way to take the oath of allegiance to the monarch  at the Inns of Court on Saturday November 10th 2012. The coach is the oldest ceremonial vehicle still in regular use
The Lord Mayor’s show is also one of the longest running civic processions in the world.

For my short you tube clip of Lord Mayor Roger Gifford waving to the crowds 2012 show Click here
The 250-year-old horse drawn coach carried the new Lord  Mayor of London down to the Inns of Court for his swearing of allegiance  to the crown without a hitch.

Sadly the  coach broke down on the return journey from the Royal Courts of Justice to Mansion House where it stopped at Victoria Embankment approach the steep incline to the Blackfriars bridge roundabout.

The beautiful coach  needed to be
 towed home to the museum of London

“At this time of uncertainty, the City’s role in our society needs to be seen in perspective – and that needs re balancing. This is a theme that I shall promote during the year.  London is a global centre for philanthropy and the City’s massive contribution to the economy and for instance the arts is well worth shouting about.” Lord Mayor Gifford

The  685th Lord Mayor of London  plans to spend 90 days abroad promoting the city as well as business-focused visits in the UK. He will address 10,000 people a month and will make 700 speeches over the year.

His official residence is the mansion house.

The first person to serve as Mayor of London was Henry Fitz-Ailwyn holding the office from 1189-1212. 800 years ago !

King John granted citizens  the right to elect their own mayor in 1215.

The Lord Mayor of London is the sovereign’s representative in the city.

The amazing coach reflects how in ceremonial importance the Lord Mayor is second only to the Queen. The monarch even has to ask his permission to enter the City!
 The History bit
The return trip of Lord Mayor Gifford was eventful
 on November 10th 2012 .
No broken leg like Sir Gilbert Heathcote in 1711
 for this Lord Mayor but he had to return to the Mansion House
  by Land Rover
after the old coach broke down on Victoria Embankment.
 The robes of the  attendants look splendid
even though perhaps  not in keeping with the era of the Land Rover!
 In 1711, the then Lord Mayor Sir Gilbert Heathcote fell off and broke his leg when riding to Westminster Palace which was the mode of transport usually taken by the Lord Mayor.
Ever since then, the Lord Mayor has ridden in a coach.
On 4th April 1757 Sir Charles Asgill commissioned the magnificent State Coach from Joseph Berry of Holborn.
The coach cost £1,065.0s.3d, making it both older and more expensive than the similar coach used for coronations, but the cost was met by the Aldermen of the day.
 In today's money that's about £120,000, but it has been estimated that just to construct a replica today would cost over
£2 million. Its real value is incalculable.

The Lord Mayor's Show is one of the longest established and best known annual events in London which dates back to 1535.

A new Lord Mayor is appointed every year and the public parade that is made of his inauguration reflects the fact that this was once one of the most prominent offices in England. The ancient position of Lord Mayor of London has a role in the Square Mile. ( the Mayor of London (which has existed only since 2000) is a different individual entirely, namely the elected head of the Greater London Authority. Mayor Boris Johnson rides a bike  but I guess he would fancy a coach as glorious as the Lord Mayor's!)
The Company of Pikemen and Musketeers Company
of the Honourable Artillery Company
 at the 2012 Lord mayor's Show

Originally, the Show occurred annually on 29 October.

In 1751, Great Britain replaced the Julian Calendar with the Gregorian Calendar; the Lord Mayor's Show was then moved to 9 November.

 In 1959, another change was made: now, the Lord Mayor's Show is held on the second Saturday in November.

The Lord Mayor's Show has regularly been held on the scheduled day; it has not been moved since 1852, when the Show made way for  Prime Minister Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington's funeral.

 The Show was not interrupted by the Second World War.

 The Lord Mayor has been making that journey every year for 477 years, surviving plague and fire and countless wars and insurrections. The modern Lord Mayor's procession is a direct descendant of that first journey to Westminster. And he'll get back to his official residence the Mansion House by any means including Land Rover!

In 1747, the Lord Mayor went to the City of Westminster on a barge via the River Thames. These were the original parade "floats."

Float for the Gifford Wood appeal

Boatman reminding us of the connection of the River
 Thames with Lord Mayor Show
Formerly, the route was varied each year so that the procession could pass through the Lord Mayor's home ward; since 1952, however, the route has been fixed.

Wells Fargo coach at Lord Mayor's Show 2012
The Great Twelve Livery Companies—

the Mercers, Grocers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Merchant Taylors, Skinners, Haberdashers, Salters, Ironmongers, Vintners and Clothworkers—participate as of right;

 other Livery Companies participate by invitation, though the Lord Mayor's own company is always among these.

Other participants include bands and members of privileged regiments of the City of London such as the Honourable Artillery Company and The Royal Fusiliers.

"Privileged regiments" have the right to march through the Square Mile with bayonets fixed, colours flying, and drums beating.

The many other participants lend a unique flavour to the occasion which include organisations that the Lord Mayor wishes to support or has belonged to, such as charities, old schools and business associations before becoming Lord Mayor.

Gog and Magog are two woven willow giant reproductions of a pair of statues in Guildhall.

These characters reflect the pre-Roman past of the City of London and they  are paraded by volunteers each year.

 The representations were created by members of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers.

Jessica Ellis smiling to the crowds at the
 Lord Mayor's Show 2012
Some travelled in modern luxury at the show such as Olympic Champion Jesssica Esllis in a F type Jaguar .

After all the glitz and glamour along the 3 mile route, of 6000 people in the parade, the many floats the City has to return to normality pretty quickly.

There is a  proverb "After the Lord Mayor's show comes the dust-cart" (or "donkey-cart", or "shit-cart") which goes back to the 1830s.
After the 2012 Lord Mayor's show !

Bringing up the rear of the 2012 Lord Mayor's Show was a team of  cleaning machines and 'good old elbow grease' in order to clean  up the manure of the pageant's horses.

The City district streets were cleaned up and opened to traffic in just a couple of hours.

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