A private visit to the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London since 1752.
The visit offered nearly 40 members of The Chelsea Society a unique opportunity to see “behind the scenes” at the Mansion House, and we thank Gaye Murdoch for arranging it.
The Lord Mayor is elected every year, and the current holder of the office is Charles Bowman – the 690th Lord Mayor. As Lord Mayor he is responsible for the City’s governmental, civic and, (as the chief magistrate of the City) judicial functions, with its own court of law. Within the City (the “square mile”) only the Sovereign takes precedence over the Lord Mayor. Outside the City his status is equal to a Cabinet Minister. During his year in office the Lord Mayor is an international ambassador for the UK’s financial and professional services sector.
The tour included the fabulous gold and silver plate in the Plate Vault which is one of the finest collections in the world. It houses the Pearl Sword which according to legend was used by Elizabeth I at the opening of the first Royal Exchange in 1571, the Fire Cup of 1662 the only example of City of London plate to survive the Great Fire of London in 1666, and the Swords and Maces used on ceremonial occasions, including the funeral sword, last used at the funerals of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. We also saw the priceless art collection and the famous Egyptian Banqueting Hall, although there is nothing Egyptian about the decoration. We were also able to admire the Harold Samuel Collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings dating from the 17th century.