The Silent Ceremony, Guildhall

Friday 9th November 2018

The admission of the Lord Mayor Elect into office takes place on the 'Friday next preceding the second Saturday in November in every year'. This year the Lord Mayoralty passed from Alderman Charles Bowman to Alderman Peter Estlin, a Past Master of the International Bankers, in a time honoured ceremony that is conducted in silence.

The Silent Ceremony, as it is known, is conducted in the packed Great Hall at Guildhall. At 2.55pm precisely, the procession arrived with all of the City's senior and ceremonial officials including the Lord Mayor and Lord Mayor Elect. With no word spoken, the ceremony begins entailing procedures that symbolise the passing of power; the outgoing Lord Mayor first passes over the Sceptre, the Seal of office and the Purse to the incoming Lord Mayor. He then passes the Sword and the Mace to the incoming Lord Mayor. All of these are accepted by the incoming Lord Mayor who then places the Sceptre, Seal and Purse into the care of the Chamberlain, the Sword into the care of the Swordbearer and the Mace into the care of the of the Common Cryer and Serjeant-at-Arms.

Further similar procedures take place to mark the transfer of obedience of other offices all followed by a rotation of the Aldermen, Recorder, Sheriffs, Officers, Chief Commoner, members of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs' Committee who extend their congratulations. The procession then left the Great Hall and the new Lord Mayor Peter Estlin, the 691st individual to hold the office, emerged onto Guildhall Yard to the apllause of a thronging crowd and the flashing cameras of the press.

The whole ceremony was performed with clockwork precision. The silence in which it was conducted imbued the ceremony with great dignity and meaning. Something so ancient and traditional in its form and execution and yet so sharply of the moment; the renewal of leadership in the modern City of London.

My thanks go to the Clerk Sandra Stocker and Assistant Elise Rasmussen for supporting me at the event and to Elise, in particular, for her wonderful photograph of the newly minted Lord Mayor!