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Electing Lonoon's Lord Mayor

One of the most important functions of the City's eighty- bur Livery Companies* is the election of London's Lord Mayor at the Guildhall** at 12 noon on Michaelmas Day (September 29th). The public are admitted to the ceremony. It provides one of the many impressive and colourful spectacles for which London is famed. The reigning Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, carrying posies, walk in procession to the Guildhall and take their places on the dais, which is strewn with sweetsmelling herbs. The Recorder announces that the representatives of the Livery Companies have been called together to select two Aldermen*** for the office of Lord Mayor of London. From the selected two, the Court of Aldermen will choose one. The Mayor, Aldermen and other senior officials then withdraw, and the Livery select their two nominations. Usually the choice is unanimous, and the Liverymen all hold up their hands and shout "All!". The Sergeant-at-Arms**** takes the mace from the table and, accompanied by the Sheriffs,***** takes the two names to the Court of Aldermen, who then proceed to select the Mayor Elect. The bells of the City ring out as the Mayor and the Mayor Elect leave the Guildhall in the state coach for the Mansion House.******

* (Livery Companies - companies of the City of London (guilds), called livery companies from the distinctive costume worn by members from the reign of Edward III (1327-1377).)

** (Guildhall - the seat of municipal government in the City of London, built in 1411-1426 and altered and extended at various times.)

*** (Alderman - (here) the head of a guild.)

**** (Sergeant-at-Arms (usually, Serjeant-at-Arrns) - the title of certain court, parliamentary and city officials with ceremonial duties.)

***** (Sheriff - the chief officer of the crown in the county or shire, charged with the keeping of peace, administering justice under the direction of the courts, presiding over the elections, etc.)

****** (the Mansion House - the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London in the City of London.)

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