The coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of one of London’s oldest traditions.
Unfortunately, as coronavirus cases rise once more and we head into the colder months, the list of cancelled events is likely to continue to grow. Now, following the abandonment of Winter Wonderland and the New Year’s Eve fireworks display, comes the news that London’s Lord Mayor’s Show has been cancelled for the first time in almost 170 years.
A glittering ceremony (quite literally, given the blingy golden carriage the Lord Mayor rides in) to mark the annual handover of power from one Lord Mayor to the next, the Lord Mayor’s Show is quite the spectacle. Though it may have been scaled down in recent years – with the fireworks display and flotilla of boats on the Thames not seen for a couple of years now – the event is usually worth a watch, and had been scheduled to take place on November 14.
For the first time since 1852, however, it won’t be parading through the streets of the City, the last such cancellation being due to a period of national mourning for former military commander and Prime Minister Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. There won’t be a new Lord Mayor either; incumbent William Russell will stay on as a continuity figure to help maintain stability during the coronavirus pandemic, pending his formal re-election. He’ll make a little history himself, as the first Lord Mayor to serve a second term since Sir Robert Fowler, back in 1885.
The position isn’t just ceremonial, as the Lord Mayor of London is responsible for the financial and professional services sector that fuels the economy of the City of London – and is thus an important figure during a time of economic uncertainty. Upon the cancellation of the 2020 show, our current Lord Mayor noted that “safety must remain our ultimate priority”, and paid tribute to everyone who was involved in the planning of this year’s show: “Our gratitude to them will remain undiminished, as will my hopes that we will be able to hold the Lord Mayor’s Show next year.” Fingers crossed!
Also published on Medium.