Looking back at a throw away conversation with the Clerk and the Second Warden back in the spring…..how do you feel about the Lord Mayor’s Show? Their response….”if you can get the Courts approval, then fine, go ahead”. To secure that all important Court approval, we needed to decide what we could do.
The idea was to take the Leathersellers story to the City, and to tell that story through our people, our Liverymen, our pupils and students, the leather industry, the charities and their young people along with colleagues from our military affiliations.
Sounds simple enough, and we do have a great story. The initial team comprised the then Master (now IPM), Paul Jupp and designer Gareth Witham who we had worked with in 2010. Early ideas included a huge and colourful Roebuck, some large scale graphics, two leather upholstered cars and young people who would clearly get across what their charities were about.
Geoff Russell-Jones suggested Snowcamp, Ebony Horse Club, Edmonton Eagles Boxing Academy and TS Challenger Sea Cadets. Jonathan Muirhead and James Lang suggested that sourcing two UK leather upholstered cars would be no problem. Then followed calls to Colfe’s and Leathersellers Federation Schools, surely no problem there….but the show date would clash with Colfe’s most important open day of the year. The 11th November would be Remembrance Day so all of our military affiliations were looking at an already very busy day.
We decided not to go down the large artic or bus route…..ours would be a procession of our people, our Leathersellers family, a family that would extend to around 100+ people! And they would need some organising…..enter Hilary Westlake (previously Disney Head of Creative Entertainment) to complete our team.
We persuaded the Pageant Master and Helen Field to “stretch the envelope” in terms of how many people and how long our procession would be, they were so supportive. The BBC research team were pointed in our direction as a “good story”.
We visited all the schools, ICLT, all our charities and QDG….and were hugely grateful that all embraced our idea and plans. Like all projects, the devil is the detail…..umbrellas, ponchos, lunches, windage, how to actually construct a 5.5m mobile roebuck, to say nothing of the task of persuading the car companies to actually loan us £400,000+ of beautiful motor cars, upholstered in the most beautiful UK leather of course( thank you Aston Martin and McLaren Automotive).
By the morning of Saturday 11th November, each section had rehearsed their routines….but we had just one hour (in the rain) to put the whole procession together. At times we wondered whether we had bitten off more than we could chew….but the call went out at 10.15 to move out of St Helens Place and move to London Wall. Now we had to do it for real….having enjoyed Chef Sams very tasty bacon butties.
The atmosphere was building, adrenaline pumping, a great sense of one team coming together….and the rain stopped.
Ten minutes to 11am and we are now forming up behind the RAF Band….routines rehearsed, Trooper Jones (QDG regimental mascot) ready to become the star of the show. A immaculately respected two minutes silence and then we were off.
None of us could have been prepared for the crowds, or the reception we would receive on the route. This was a real “I was there moment”; for our pupils, students and the young people representing our charities….this was a day that would live long in their memory, performing in front of 200,000 spectators and 2 million+ viewers on BBC 1. For our part, they were a credit to the Leathersellers family and we cannot thank them enough.
At 2.30pm we returned to St Helens Place, exhausted but still with a spring in our step. Sams cakes were waiting, with some something stronger for the grown-ups and a warm welcome from our brilliant Hall team. Beadle David had the BBC coverage in the Court Room……how good did it look, and how well our story had been told; surely we had enjoyed more coverage than any other company.
We Leathersellers should be so proud of our schools, ICLT, UKLF, our charities and military affiliations……The Leathersellers Story took to the streets in a style that was beyond what we could have hoped for. We hope you enjoy the photo gallery and the short film that accompanies this new item.
Thanks must go to the Master for his support, also Clerk David and Paul Jupp without whom the project would not have happened.
From the Master, “I haven’t had so much fun since kindergarten! It was a brilliant day to be among my fellow liverymen and our friends in front of so many people who had gathered in our great City. The Lord Mayor has sent his personal thanks to the Leathersellers’ Company for their magnificent contribution to the show…….thank you to everyone” – Antony Barrow
To view more pictures of the day click here
We hope you enjoy watching a short video captured of the day….