The annual Lord Mayor’s Show will be confined to dry land this November, after organisers confirmed they have pulled the plug on the traditional river pageant along the Thames. One of the biggest events on the Square Mile’s calendar, the show celebrates the appointment of a new...

The annual Lord Mayor’s Show will be confined to dry land this November, after organisers confirmed they have pulled the plug on the traditional river pageant along the Thames.

One of the biggest events on the Square Mile’s calendar, the show celebrates the appointment of a new lord mayor with a morning procession of river boats, followed by a parade through the City and a fireworks display in the evening.

But the 691st Lord Mayor will not be making his traditional journey from Westminster to Tower Bridge on the Queen’s rowbarge Gloriana this year, after its owners were told they had been axed from the programme.

The Gloriana has led the show’s river pageant since the flotilla was reinstated in 2011 to recreate the traditional journey taken by lord mayors in ancient times when the safest route from Westminster to London was by the water.

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Lord Mayor’s Charles Bowman during the 2017 River Pageant in November.

Gloriana events manager Malcolm Knight said organisers pulled the plug on the river pageant because of the costs involved with chartering the royal barge and the early morning start made the show’s programme of activities too long.

“It was very disappointing news,” he said. “For the past eight years an ever increasing number of livery Companies, City organisations and rowing clubs (from as far afield as Whitby!) have supported the event which is a return to the historical origins of the Lord Mayor’s Show when it was all on the River Thames.”

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation said: “The flotilla was designed to run as a one off in 2011 but has continued into recent years.”

“It has since been decided to expand the main Show, which brings together so many diverse groups and communities from London and the UK, including hundreds of young people who love taking part.”

Mr Knight said the royal barge would be “standing by” should its role in the Lord Mayor’s Show be reinstated, and a tweet from show pageantmaster Dominic Reed hinted at the possibility of a similar event during the warmer months.

The Corporation spokesperson said this year’s expanded offering could include food stalls, exhibitions and open house-style events.

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