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 on the Thames.
If you have ever wondered why a carnival is made up of floats, it's because for the first several hundred years the Lord Mayor's procession travelled by boat up the river. 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 2012 flotilla
After a successful trial run last year, the Lord Mayor's flotilla is back in the water. The new Lord Mayor will travel in QRB Gloriana, the traditional Thames barge you may have seen 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.
- 08:30: Lord Mayor boards QRB Gloriana at Westminster Boating Base
- 08:35: Flotilla sets off
- 09:00 Flotilla reaches Waterloo Bridge
- 09:20 Flotilla reaches London Bridge
- 09:25 Tower Bridge opens in salute
- 09:35 Lord Mayor disembarks at HMS President