The Lord Mayor's Show 1937

09 November 2021

Brewers' Car for the Lord Mayor's Show 1937

In the absence of a Lord Mayor’s Show last year we looked back at the Brewers’ Company floats from 1947, 1962 and 1980. This year the show will go on - on Saturday 13 November - but our Archivist has found details of another show the Company participated in even longer ago.

Among the many significant events of 1937, which included the coronation of George VI and Elizabeth, Neville Chamberlain becoming Prime Minister, the opening of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and the publication of the first issue of The Dandy children’s comic, was the Brewers’ Company 500th anniversary of the granting of their first charter. Granted by Henry VI, who was only 15 years old, on 22 February 1437 (really 1438 in modern dating), records kept by the then Clerk, William Porlond, show it cost the Company £141 and two shillings. With inflation, the equivalent today is around £90,000!

The tableau on the float depicted the granting of the charter by the ‘boy-king’ Henry VI to the Master, Wardens and Clerk of the Brewers’ Company. The King was seated on a throne, mace in hand, under a canopy with Court officials grouped around him, one of whom was reading the charter. Representatives of the Brewers’ Company wore the Company’s blue and chocolate coloured livery and at the rear stood two ale connors wearing robes and leather breeches. They were City officials appointed to test the quality of beer. One of the inscriptions on the float read “1437-1937. Henry VI granting charter to brewers of ale, the authenticall drinke of Englande”.

The two shire horses drawing the float were supplied by Whitbread. Vigor and Ure had also drawn the Speaker’s coach at the coronation. The BBC first televised the Lord Mayor’s show in 1937, one of their first outside broadcasts following the coronation procession earlier that year.