Dominic Reid: the Lord Mayor’s Show Pageantmaster


Peter Estlin may be the star of the show, but he couldn’t hope to achieve his lavish introduction without a sprinkling of magic from a certain Dominic Reid.

For it is he who holds the impressive title of Pageantmaster and is responsible for organising the entirety of the Lord Mayor’s Show.

On 10 November you’ll spot him riding the ceremonial car through the City of London’s streets, donning an impressive Ruritanian uniform and a Duke of Wellington hat adorned with large black feathers.

He’s been meticulously planning the 2018 edition of the annual parade for over 15 months now, and has already started organising the 2019 instalment, such is his hefty workload.

He is certainly all over it. After all, this is the world’s largest unrehearsed procession, and has to be planned down to the second. Nothing can be left to chance.

news london
Dominic Reid will make sure each and every person participating in the procession is in the right place at the right time. Pictures by Clive Totman.

“Fortunately, much of the event is similar each year, so you can start fine tuning and making small adjustments to the process early on,” he explains modestly.

“But the world makes things more complicated. The demands of running the event now are all much greater than when I first started.

“For instance, there are an awful lot of processes built around everything from counter terrorism to health and safety.

“But on the other hand you become more experienced and, once everyone knows what their part is, it is likely to run very smoothly.”

Dominic will ensure everyone is assembled and ready to go from Mansion House before leading them through to the Royal Courts of Justice, eventually returning to Mansion House as the procession completes its loop of the City.

london magazine
The golden Stage Coach carrying the new Lord Mayor will be the focal point of the day.

There are a great many people to keep in formation, and Dominic is thankful to a great deal of his expertise learned from watching his father, from whom he inherited the title of Pageantmaster when he passed away.

“I worked with him on the Lord Mayor’s Show for years. I was in the Army and then trained as an architect – which is a pretty unusual combination – before my father taught me how to run the show. He gave me a sort of apprenticeship.”

Despite its legacy, the running order has changed down the years. For instance, this year there won’t be any fireworks display post-show, nor a flotilla down the Thames in the morning.

This has been done to actively keep showgoers nearer the centre of the City to help create a more exciting party atmosphere.

In place of these traditions, Bloomberg Arcade and St Paul’s Churchyard will act as two main areas for people to congregate, with food stalls, activities for kids, and live performances and workshops scattered about the sites.

business magazine
When he isn’t the Pageantmaster for the Lord Mayor’s Show, Dominic Reid is planning other large and complicated events around the world, including the Invictus Games.

And while Dominic has left this to the City Corporation to organise, he has had to integrate the changes into all his own plans.

The tinkering, however, is also inkeeping with the new Lord Mayor’s interests.

Dominic says: “It’s very much the Lord Mayor’s personal show. He has a lot of input and it reflects his personal interests, business contacts, service associations and so forth.

“His interest is very much in the digital City. You have autonomous cars, driven by AI, which the Lady Mayoress will travel in, as well as several other tech companies taking part in the day.

“It reflects the theme for his mayoral year – Shaping Tomorrow’s City, Today.”

In all, the show promises to celebrate the past while acknowledging the Square Mile’s more recent embrace of the modern needs of a global city, and Dominic has played a bigger part than anyone in making that a reality.

The Lord Mayor’s Show takes place on Saturday November 10.