Common Hall: Election of the Lord Mayor

Friday 29th September 2017

St Laurence Jewry, Guildhall and Stationers' Hall

It was back on with the morning coat, just 24 hours after we installed the new Sheriffs. In the crypt below the Great Hall at Guildhall, Masters and their beadles put on gowns, chains and, where relevant, hats. It was hot down there and we spent 15 minutes being organised into our numerical positions in the order of precedence. I always make a bee-line for Master Air Pilot and Master Furniture Maker - or do they make a bee-line for me? Prime Warden of the Fishmongers, HRH the Princes Royal, had her own assembly point above the crypt and seamlessly slipped into line as we processed in the sunshine across to St Laurence Jewry. I don't know whether my Lord Mayor, Andrew Palmley, had a hand in it but the music for the church service was particularly moving. As the sun illuminated the interior of Wren's church, the service seemed to me to be an uplifting experience. The sun also weighed upon my heavy woollen gown and morning coat. We prayed for guidance in our choice of candidate for Lord Mayor. The rules are simple: three candidates; one man, one vote and two of the three candidates should not receive votes this year (next year, maybe). The provision of guidance to the congregation was not going to be too taxing a task for the Almighty.

After our blessing, it was back over the yard to process into Common Hall. Master Air Pilot and Master Furniture Maker were both close at hand. All was well. Once seated in Common Hall, we are invited to stand as the Assistant Rembrancer led the final procession of City officials, Aldermen, The Mace, The Sword and, finally, the Lord Mayor. The Common Cryer called Common Hall to order and ordered non-liverymen to leave the Hall on pain of imprisonment. By the end of the proceedings, prayers had been answered, and Charles Edward Beck Bowman, Alderman and Grocer, was duly elected Lord Mayor of the City of London for the year ensuing. We were then treated to speeches thanking the former Sheriffs and the current Lord Mayor for their magnificent year. Willian Russell and Peter Estlin responded with a novel Two Ronnies news sketch. Once we had processed out again, it was a short walk over to Stationers' Hall for the traditional post Common Hall lunch. The Mistress and I were accompanied by our Learned Clerk, Elise Rasmussen, Fran Morrison and Paul Woodley.