Freemasons out in the open: the Lord Mayor’s Show Parade 2021

Meandering gently through the streets of the City of London with W Bro Joseph J. Kershaw

After a year’s hiatus, the Lord Mayor’s Show jubilantly returned to the bustling streets of London – words not spoken since 1853. Indeed, the previous year, the show had been put on hold for the Duke of Wellington’s Funeral.

I had the privilege of joining the throng of Metropolitan Grand Lodge representatives, along with over 7000 other participants, to welcome Alderman Vincent Keaveny as the 693rd Lord Mayor of the City of London, in what can only be described as the world’s most spectacular unrehearsed public parade.

The parade continues a historical tradition lasting over 800 years since, in 1215, King John’s Mayoral Charter decreed that the Lord Mayors of London must present themselves to the Sovereign on assuming office. Thus, was born the public display that we have come to know and love.

This year, the procession followed the Lord Mayor’s splendid State Coach with full-size model elephants, Japanese drummers, a horse-drawn bus, and of course, the tallest fire engine in the UK, which has recently become a symbol of London masons’ generosity.

This ‘Super Hi-Lift’ turntable appliance can deploy in under ninety seconds to the impressive height of sixty-four metres. London freemasons have donated over £2.5m for the purchase of two out of the three appliances that are joining London Fire Brigade’s operational fleet.

London Fire Brigade had suitably parked one of these gargantuan appliances between the Bank of England and Mansion House, inviting the Lord Mayor to witness the ladder in action and discuss its operational procedures with some firefighters. This also made it (and us) a great talking point within BBC’s coverage of the parade.

As the show began, we were treated to an incredible fly-past from the Royal Air Force, including a Chinook helicopter and C-17 Globemaster plane, both of which looked as though they were within touching distance of the firefighter at the very top of the towering ladder!

Joining us this year on the route were representatives from the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (HFAF) and the Order of Woman Freemasons (OWF), as well as a number of our well-supported charities, including the Scouts, Action for Kids, Lifelites, Suited and Booted and Dementia UK.

The immense warmth from the crowd was palpable and invigorating. It is truly one of the most enjoyable experiences for any London freemason, and I simply cannot recommend it highly enough.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 47 January 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 47 here.