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The worshipful company of butchers

November 17, 2009
by the gentle author


Here you see a happy bunch of butchers who had been let out from behind the counter for a day and were eager to set out on their annual bicycle tour around London as part of the Lord Mayor’s Parade last Saturday. The Worshipful Company of Butchers (first recorded in London 957 AD, arms granted 1540) were just one of an astounding array of guilds in the parade, dating back to medieval times, and representing all the trades and professions of the ancient City. And then you also have the City schools, various regimental bands and other parts of the armed services (including some just returned from Iraq), the Salvation Army, the Pearly Kings and Queens, Peter Blake’s Art Bus, the farmers of Bridgenorth, citizens of Kidwelly and the Two Fat Ladies on motorbikes – not the mention the Lord Mayor himself in his distinctly Disney carriage followed by all the other City dignitaries in smaller carriages.

You may wonder why I chose to photograph the butchers when I had so many guilds to choose from. The truth is that they came to me – as I was freezing at the kerbside – with hot sausages that I could not resist. Then I was captivated by the strangely realistic inflatable rack of lamb that you see below, for which four squaddies had been assigned to prevent it sailing away through the City in the gale force winds anticipated that afternoon.

From henceforth, I shall make a point to photograph all the other Guilds for you systematically over the next twenty six Lord Mayor’s Parades, so you may now expect this as a regular feature of the third week in November each year, for the next quarter century at least.


3 Responses leave one →
  1. November 17, 2009

    I look forward to seeing the photo’s as they come!
    I have for several years tried and failed to attend this parade but next year I will definitely make a real effort to watch it.
    Great blog by the way.

  2. the gentle author permalink*
    November 17, 2009

    Dear Maggie, the trick is to be outside the Guildhall in the City of London around 11am on the second Saturday in November. There are few crowds at this point and you have a wonderful view of the parade.

  3. October 13, 2010

    Anyone out there who knows what happened to Durrants the butchers at the top of Brick Lane Bethnal Green end used to go in there regularly he had my photo on the wall when I was
    five at a christmas party,when I went back for a visit the shop had gone.

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