The Lord Mayor’s Show 2022

W Bro John Parry PSGD MetGInsp reports – Photographs by Jonathan Woodard

Artistic, imaginative and inventive, it is a 3-milelong parade full of pomp, tradition, colour and eccentricity. Being part of one of London’s oldest traditions and definitely its oldest public spectacle, it really feels like you are walking through history.

The Lord Mayor’s Show is a longstanding London tradition that all Freemasons should experience at least once.

The Lord Mayor’s show dates back to the thirteenth century when London was first permitted by the King to elect its own mayor. Back in the day when roads were nothing more than muddy, rut-ridden lanes, the Thames offered the best route between the City and Westminster. Mayors in centuries past would therefore make the journey in a convoy of boats known as a flotilla. Although the parade has now switched to the tarmac, the elaborately decorated vehicles are still referred to as floats, a term now adopted by processions the world over. Kicking off at 11 am on a beautifully warm autumn morning, with clear blue skies and bright sunshine, the day welcomed the appointment of the 694th Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Nicholas Lyons of the Tower Ward.

The 2022 Show was a truly amazing mash-up of floats. They ranged from Japanese drummers to life-size model elephants, an inflatable penguin, real camels, and entire squadrons of cavalry. Among the marching bands and commandos, there were farmers, bakers and – at No 80 – the Metropolitan Grand Lodge & Chapter of London’s own float. A noisy, colourful and joyous procession.

Our float showcased the support that we, as Freemasons, have given to children in London and across the UK. This year, RW Bro Sir Michael Snyder MetGM agreed that we highlight the 1.8 million children’s toothbrushes and 3.5 million teddy bears (Teddys for Loving Care) that have been donated to A&E depts across England and Wales.

Ten cheerful Scouts, dressed as giant toothbrushes, lent colour to the message, whilst our own W Bro Ben Sergeant-Cain padded his way along the route dressed as a giant teddy bear. The children in the 600,000 strong crowd found him particularly fascinating. It may have been his odour of musk! Walking for 3 miles in the exceptionally warm sunshine, Ben found the suit volcanically hot.

Waving giant toothbrushes, small bears and banners completed our outstanding entry. Forty London Masons again had the privilege of walking with scouts, members of Women Freemasonry and representatives from Lifelites Charity.

On completion of our 5K stroll in glorious sunshine, we made it back to the unsurpassed surroundings of the magnificent 15th century Great Hall, St Bart’s Hospital, where 125 Masons, their friends and families sat down to a post-Show lunch.

Still buzzing from the excitement, the participants, now without their fabulous costumes, relaxed with a well earned drink. The atmosphere was a wonderful mix of euphoria and elation at a job well done.

Freemasons had once again taken their message of continued community support out on to the huge public stage of the Lord Mayors Show, proudly showing Freemason’s commitment to society and its wellbeing.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 50 December 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 50 here.