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Seen at the Lord Mayor's parade

November 16, 2009
by the gentle author


After the heavy overnight downpour following by the early morning thunderstorm on Saturday, it seemed miraculous when the clouds parted, the rain ceased and the sky appeared, enabling me to walk over from Spitalfields to the City of  London to catch the Lord Mayor’s Parade as it assembled. As I turned the corner into Gresham St, I met Jacqueline Brown and Liz Jarman with their coach and horses waiting to pick up some City worthies from the Guildhall. When I admired the fine pair of horses with their attractive mottled coats, Liz explained that the mottling is because they are still young, these horses are born entirely black and gradually turn completely white.

Further down Gresham St where it meets Lothbury at the back of the Bank of England, I encountered the gentlemen of the Portsoken Militia founded to protect the City of London in 1798. Today they were here to guard the Mayor but John Mead and Matthew Ring did me the honour of posing to show off their dashing uniforms for the photograph below. I learnt that the cloth for these uniforms came from the same company who supplied it in Napoleonic times.

Then, as the parade moved off, the downpour began again and I ran home to Spitalfields for a hot cup of tea, grateful that I did not have to spend the day parading around the city in the pouring rain. Later, as the torrent outside my window increased ridiculously, I could not help but  think of those more than six thousand hardy participants in the parade which by the end must have resembled a sad procession of drowned rats.


2 Responses leave one →
  1. Susan Lendroth permalink
    November 17, 2009

    I don’t know which are prettier, the dappled horses or the uniforms of the Portsoken Militia. I’ll have to go with the Militia because I love the name “Portsoken” — or at least the way I am pronouncing it to myself.

  2. Stuart the time traveller permalink
    April 6, 2023

    You have stirred some well-hidden memories of my time as a military musician in the Royal Marines. I have marched through London in the Lord Mayors parade and can tell you this:

    Whenever something bad was happening that we Royal Marines weren’t happy with, the comment ‘After the Lord Mayors show’ may well be heard! This referred to the amount of horse manure we had collected on our boots – not one of us escaped the inevitable conclusion to having marched behind many, many horses for a couple of hours!

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