With a history dating back to 1215, the world’s largest and oldest unrehearsed procession, The Lord Mayor’s Show highlights all that is great about the City of London, London as a whole and the UK.
It was our privilege as Liverymen of The Worshipful Company of Distillers to participate in this venerable, global spectacular. Furthermore, it marked the first full day in office of our new Lord Mayor, Vincent Keaveny, himself a Liveryman of our Company.
The day began early, just after dawn, for the Liverymen who had been chosen to cycle the Wee Toast Tours bike as they collected the bike from Smithfield.
After a breakfast at The Ironmongers’ Hall we assembled. Our ‘hot air balloon’ had been filled with Helium, the bikers were in position and the barrel, to be presented as gift to the new Lord Mayor, was ready to be rolled by Bryan Burrough and Chris Porter, ably supported by Matthew Russell.
We had all donned our beautifully embroidered aprons, our Mappin & Webb engraved commemorative hipflasks, had been filled by the good works of Messer MacKillop and Szor.
The pipers of the London Scottish filled their lungs, The Master was in his full regalia, and we were off!
Immediately behind us in the parade were the band of The Zunft zu Rebleuten, the honourable guild of winemakers from Basel and linked to our Company by a friendship of many years.
We processed the route passing Guildhall, the Bank of England and then at Mansion House greeted the new lord mayor. He was given the barrel as our gift and the Master led all in procession in a toast from our.
This moment was captured by the BBC and it was noted that the Lord Mayor is a Distiller.
A very proud moment.
The streets and galleries were packed with families and well-wishers enjoying the Show as we passed many more landmarks including St Paul’s Cathedral and the Royal Courts of Justice.
During a break for lunch we were able to reflect not only on the sense of honour of being a part of such a wonderful event, but also how much fun it was and what a privilege. It was a privilege to be involved and even one esteemed member of our group, Fellow Liveryman and Honorary Chaplain the Rev’d Canon David Parrot, confessed to a certain sense of emotion in walking the route for the first time.
The return journey to Mansion House took us along the embankment and back into the City to more crowds of flag waving enthusiasts.
The Master saluted Mansion House with a dignified wave of the Master’s cap.
As we neared Guildhall, there was a shared sense that not only had we participated in a tremendous event, but that we had added a great deal to it. We knew this from the warm and generous waves and cheers that greeted us as we walked the route, and this was due in a very large part to the expert and dedicated leadership of Past Master Burroughs and the team in planning every detail.
Back at Ironmongers’ Hall, we drank a toast with our friends from the Zunft and all raised a glass to one of our own, the new Lord Mayor, Vincent Keavney.