The Master, John Browning, took part in the Lord Mayor’s Show on Saturday 14 November. Together with Masters of the other “Warrior Companies”, and some members of the committee responsible for organising the commemoration of the 600th anniversary of the victory at Agincourt, he rode in an open brake, drawn by four black Friesian horses.
The Company has not taken part in the Lord Mayor’s Show since Past Master Clive Richards paraded in a carriage with the Deputy Master, Wardens and Clerk in 2011, followed by some apprentices on foot, drawing attention to the part of the Company in the City. This year’s participation was thanks to the hard work undertaken by Deputy Master John Jackman and the Clerk, John Allen, both of whom were on the organising committee for the Agincourt commemorative events.
The day followed the awful events in Paris, for which a one-minute silence was called – and the fireworks were cancelled in respect for those who died and suffered. In spite of this, the only visible sign of extra security was a helicopter hovering above and the absence of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police from the parade. Such is the way it is done in the City.
As a condition of being granted the right to elect its own Mayor in 1189, the City agreed that, on his election, the Lord Mayor should leave the City walls and proceed to the Royal Courts of Justice to swear allegiance to the Monarch. In the intervening 800 years, the parade has only failed to take place on its appointed day once – in 1852 when the date was changed to accommodate the funeral of Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington.
Altogether, there were over 150 floats in the parade representing all aspects of the City: commercial, the Livery Companies, youth, and the military with whom the City is so closely associated. The Household Cavalry band, by permission of HM The Queen, parade in their gold cloaks as a recognition of the financing by the City of such apparel as long ago as the 17th century.
Every year there is something special about the Lord Mayor’s Show. A couple of special features, this year, were the appearance of the Dublin State Coach, made in 1791 and never before seen outside Ireland. Secondly, the adoption of the 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment as only the tenth military regiment accorded the right to march through the City “with colours flying, drums beating and bayonets fixed” – in thanks for its work in defusing explosive devices.
The weather was unkind and, whilst this and concerns about security may have caused some to stay away, the route was still crowded The day passed with the usual sense of carnival combined with the serious ceremony. In addition to swearing his oath to the Monarch, the new Lord Mayor, Alderman Jeffrey Mountevans, was blessed by the Dean of St Paul’s.
The accompanying Commemorative Programme made several mentions of the Gunmakers’ and included its special role among the City Liveries in the “testing of safety of guns in the UK”.
For the second year arrangements had been made for lunch to be provided for Liverymen and their families at Stationers’ Hall (close by St Paul’s on the route of the parade) along with other Livery Companies. The Master’s lady, Dianne, was present, together with the Deputy Master and the Clerk.