River Pageant

When the Lord Mayor's journey began, London and Westminster were two small towns separated by open countryside. The quickest and safest way to get from one to the other was to travel up the Thames, and for the first few hundred years the Lord Mayor's Show did just that.

In this Canaletto you can see the blue canopy of the State barge. The fabric is called "Plunkett" and shows that this is a civic event. "Murrey", a red cloth, would have been used on Royal occasions.

If you've ever wondered why a carnival is made up of floats, that's why. Crowds would watch from the banks of the Thames and a host of little Thames boats would tag along, causing the proper London traffic jam that you see in Canaletto's paintings.

The flotilla

After several centuries, the Lord Mayor's flotilla is back in the water. The new Lord Mayor will travel in QRB Gloriana, the traditional Thames barge made famous in the Jubilee celebrations, with an accompanying procession of 24 traditional Thames boats from London's livery companies and port authorities.

The Lord Mayor will board Gloriana in Vauxhall at 08:30 then the flotilla will make its way downstream, passing under Vauxhall, Lambeth, Westminster, Waterloo, Blackfriars, London and Tower bridges before finally disembarking at HMS President, just below St Katherine's dock. The journey will take about an hour, and the Lord Mayor will reach Mansion House ready to join the procession to the Royal Courts.

Timetable

  • 08:30: Lord Mayor boards QRB Gloriana at Westminster Boating Base, Pimlico
  • 08:35: Flotilla sets off
  • 09:00 Flotilla reaches Waterloo Bridge
  • 09:20 Flotilla reaches London Bridge
  • 09:25 Tower Bridge opens in salute
  • 09:30 Lord Mayor disembarks at HMS President