These heavily-armed wicker giants are Gog and Magog, the traditional guardians of the City of London. They first walked at the head of the Lord Mayor's procession around five hundred years ago.
The old giants were carnival figures standing 14 feet high and made from ‘wickerwork and pasteboard’. They required constant repair and reconstruction until eventually in the early 18th century they were replaced with wooden statues: more durable, but sadly no longer light or mobile enough to take part in the procession.
So it remained until 2006, when the Company of Basketmakers offered to recreate the mediaeval figures. Dozens of people, led by the inexhaustible Olivia Elton Barrett, worked for months to produce the two giants you now see. Thanks to these volunteers, Gog and Magog are back at the front of the Lord Mayor’s Procession, connecting the Show to its origins in mediaeval pageantry and standing at the head of a line of guardians that runs all the way back to pre-christian London.