We thought it would be useful to provide a simple guide for ordinary citizens on how to become Lord Mayor of the City of London.
Step 1 – Become a resident within the City of London (The Square Mile).
According to the 2011 Census, there were 4,400 households in the City of London with 7400 residents. If the multi-million property prices are off-putting, you could always apply for a council house within the Square Mile.
Step 2 – Register on the City of London Electoral Roll,
and wait 12 months (Then go to Step 3)
Or, alternatively; Skip Steps 1 & 2, and instead become a member of one of the City Livery Companies,
Join ‘The Worshipful Society of Whatevers of London’ (For your convenience a list is here). Application for membership of livery companies is purely a domestic matter for each individual company. Some only accept trade or trade-associated members, others embrace a wider membership. It is not uncommon for a person to be a member of more than one livery company, but the first one joined, or the company through which the freedom of the City was obtained, is the ‘mother’ company.
This is the example of the ‘The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London’
“You must be recommended for membership by two Liverymen.
There will be a period of Apprenticeship (as a Yeoman) during which time you may apply to gain your Freedom. After your apprenticeship you may be considered for promotion to the Livery (after paying the Livery fine). Liverymen are expected to contribute financially to the Societies Charitable work.“
Step 3 – Apply for the Freedom of the City of London.
This will be granted automatically if you have been on the City of London Electoral Roll for over 12 months or, if you are a member of one of the Liveries, you can apply through them.
There are several ways to apply for the Freedom: by servitude (for apprentices who have served a full apprenticeship to a Freeman), by patrimony (for children of Freemen – provided one parent was a Freeman prior to the applicant’s birth), by nomination or by presentation via a Livery Company.
New members of the City Livery Companies are generally encouraged by the Company to apply for the Freedom. The process of becoming a Freeman through a Livery Company is explained in full by the Clerk of the Company.
Finally, persons who have been on the City of London Electoral Roll for a minimum of one year may obtain the Freedom without the need for an application visit or Common Council approval. There is no fee in such cases and applicants should advise that they are on the Ward List.
Step 4 – Stand as Alderman
These are elected by the registered voters in your Ward. Although this does have a bit of a twist to it, because although in 2013 there were 6,804 resident voters, the companies who reside in the Square Mile are also permitted to appoint voters, and these outnumber the residents by more than 2 to 1.
In order to stand as Alderman, you will be required to be a Freeman (see steps above). You will also need to be considered suitable by the Lord Chancellors Advisory Committee for an appointment as Justice of the Peace on the City Bench, and show a record of high professional achievement.
You should also be prepared to participate, as part of the preparation for higher office, in a system of regular appraisal by the Court of Aldermen
Finally this document also mentions that; ‘There are financial implications to carrying out the Office of Alderman and preparing for higher office’, but provides no other details (although if you have to ask, you know you probably can’t afford it).
So, now you are an Alderman in the City of London, which form the Court of Aldermen, which in turn are part of the City of London Corporation.
The Court of Aldermen is made up of the twenty five Aldermen of the City of London, presided over by the Lord Mayor (who is one of the Aldermen). The Court of Aldermen meets nine times a year in the Aldermen’s Court Room at Guildhall. Some of the duties of the Court include approving people for Freedom of the City and approving the formation of new livery companies.
Step 5 – Become a Sheriff of the City of London.
If you decided to avoid joining one of the Liveries earlier because you didn’t have the right connections then, now is the time to do it.
Sheriffs are only appointed from members of the Liveries, and only two Sheriffs for the City of London are elected by the Liverymen each year.
To stand, you will need to be nominated by 15 Liverymen, have the support of the Court of Aldermen and the Livery.
Once again, there is this reference that might be mildly off-putting;
There are financial implications to carrying out the Office of Sheriff. For example, the Corporation provides a Sheriff’s Budget Allowance which meets most of the costs of the Shrieval Year. In addition, a Sheriff is likely to make a further contribution from his/her private resources towards the costs of the Shrieval Year.
The bonus is that you will be able to take advantage of living in the court house complex during your year of service.
Step 6 – Become Lord Mayor.
Since you have been both an Alderman and a Sheriff you meet two of the qualifications for the role. You will have to be elected by the Court of Aldermen following your nomination by the Livery at Common Hall, from the list of Aldermen, who have served the Office of Sheriff.
Big bonus though, is that you will now reside at the Mansion House for your year in office (November to November). However, after your term in office, you will have to remain an Alderman for at least another six years. Also, the words about financial implications appear yet again;
There are financial implications to carrying out the Office of Lord Mayor. For example, the City of London Corporation provides a Mayoral Budget Allowance which meets most of the costs of the Mayoral Year. In addition, the Lord Mayor is likely to make a further contribution from his/her private resources towards the costs of the Mayoral Year.
Step 7 – Congratulations, you are now an ordinary citizen and also The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of the City of London.
Within the City you have precedence over all individuals except the Sovereign and retain assorted traditional powers, rights and privileges. Even then, the Queen will request your permission to enter the city of London at Temple Bar. How bad is that?
We suspect it helps to have very deep pockets, and being married to a former Arthur Anderson tax partner is probably handy.
Btw, we didn’t mention all the dinner parties, gala events, riding in gold coaches, wearing lavish clothes, and networking activities, but you get the idea.
Let us know how you get on.