Lord Mayor's Show and Fireworks 2013
Sat Nov 9
© Clive Totman
Time Out says
Thu Jan 10 2013
The flamboyant procession involves thousands of people from a huge variety of London organisations and hundreds of horses, along with marching bands and floats. Starting from Mansion House at 11am, it winds its way through the historic streets of the Square Mile to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. At 11.45am the State Coach leaves Guildhall and travels to Mansion House to pick up the new Lord Mayor, joining the procession near the back. Going out, the parade travels past St Paul’s Cathedral, where the Lord Mayor will pause to receive a blessing. On the way back, between 1pm and 2.30pm, the route goes via Embankment.
It’s not Boris who’s the centre of attention on this occasion. The new mayor being celebrated is the annually elected ambassador of the City of London. In 2013 the incumbent is leading lawyer Fiona Woolf, only the second woman ever to hold the post (the first, Mary Donaldson, served from 1983 to 1984).
What began as a reassuringly public way for the Lord Mayor to swear an oath of loyalty to King John had become a popular pageant by the sixteenth century. It featured in Pepys’s diaries and in works by Canaletto and Hogarth. Originally, the mayor travelled by river; later he rode on horseback – until 1711, when Sir Gilbert Heathcote fell off and broke his leg. The magnificent State Coach subsequently commissioned from Joseph Berry of Holborn cost £1,065. But it’s been used in every parade since and continues to earn its keep as a star exhibit at the Museum of London the rest of the time.
Around half a million people will gather to watch the celebrations, which traditionally end with a spectacular fireworks display over the Thames, between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges. The pyrotechnic finale was cancelled in 2012 but it’s back for 2013. The fireworks are set off from a barge moored between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges. Watch from the bankside roads (they will be closed to traffic, as will both bridges) or grab a prime position on one of the spans.
Looking for more fireworks in London? See our guide to Bonfire Night 2013