Taking Tea with the Lord Mayor

Three proud citizens of Liverpool. Sarah Horton, Erica Kemp, Lord Mayor and Ronnie Hughes.

Three proud citizens of Liverpool. Sarah Horton, Erica Kemp, Lord Mayor and Ronnie Hughes.

It’s not every year that your allotment neighbour is the Lord Mayor of Liverpool. But this past year that has been so. And Sarah and I were delighted to get an invitation to come into our Town Hall and visit our friend Erica as she nears the end of her term of office.

Along Castle Street we walk.

Along Castle Street we walk.

Ready to go in.

Ready to go in.

Sarah’s never been in here before, and me not for a long time.

In we go.

In we go.

Looking back out at the street where I spent so much of the 1980s demonstrating in support of the City Council.

Looking back out at the street where I spent so much of the 1980s demonstrating in support of the City Council.

Officially welcomed.

Officially welcomed.

Naturally we have a look round.

Naturally we have a look round.

The building is mid-18th century and was designed by John Wood the Elder of Bath and James Wyatt. Containing many architectural treasures and details much better described by Wikipedia than me. We’re here for a look around.

The floor out here is special.

The floor out here is special.

Made of encaustic tiles, like in St George's Hall.

Made of encaustic tiles, like in St George’s Hall.

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Apparently there's only ever been one other staircase like this. And that was on the Titanic.

Apparently there’s only ever been one other staircase like this. And that was on the Titanic.

Arty shot of Sarah on the staircase.

Arty shot of Sarah on the staircase.

Your eyes are drawn upwards to the dome of course.

Your eyes are drawn upwards to the dome of course.

And so are our cameras.

And so are our cameras.

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The motto of the Corporation of Liverpool: God has given us these days of leisure.

The motto of the Corporation of Liverpool: ‘God has given us these days of leisure.’

Upstairs now.

Upstairs now.

Looking out on the balcony where the great dignitaries of the City have stood: Liverpool and Everton football teams and the Beatles.

Looking out on the balcony where the great dignitaries of the City have stood: Namely Liverpool and Everton football teams and the Beatles.

And here, our friend William Rathbone.

And here, our friend William Rathbone.

The great slavery abolitionist and friend of William Roscoe. We’ll be seeing a fireplace he gave to the building in a bit.

We wander through reception rooms and ballrooms.

We wander through reception rooms and ballrooms.

Where Sarah is particularly delighted by the chandeliers.

Where Sarah is particularly delighted by the chandeliers.

One of her few regrets about our Liverpool terraced house is...

One of her few regrets about our Liverpool terraced house is…

That there's simply no room in it for chandeliers!

That there’s simply no room in it for chandeliers!

Oh well, we collectively own these.

So we stand and gaze upon them for a while.

So we stand and gaze upon them for a while.

Next we go downstairs to the Council Chamber.

Next we go downstairs to the Council Chamber.

As well as all her representative, ceremonial and charitable duties, Erica as Lord Mayor chairs the full Council meetings in here.

Like all of her recent predecessors.

Like all of her recent predecessors.

And I remember back in the 1980s.

And I remember back in the 1980s.

Hughie Dalton being listed as ‘Chairman’ rather than ‘Lord Mayor’ for three years as the office was suspended by the Labour led Council during those days of struggle.

Roy from the Office of the Lord Mayor points everything out to us both as we walk around.

Roy from the Office of the Lord Mayor points everything out to us both as we walk around.

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Like this late 18th century chair.

Like this late 18th century chair.

We’ve seen one in a portrait from then and Roy tells us there are still 25 of them about the place.

He takes us into the Hall of Remembrance where all of the Liverpool fallen from the Great War are listed.

He takes us into the Hall of Remembrance where all of the Liverpool fallen from the Great War are listed.

We see Nelson Mandela's Freedom of the City scroll.

We see Nelson Mandela’s Freedom of the City scroll.

And Sarah has a sit in William Rathbone's grand old fireplace.

And Sarah has a sit in William Rathbone’s grand old fireplace.

We also took tea with the Lord Mayor.

We also take tea with the Lord Mayor.

Spending an hour with Erica we talk democracy, allotments and how much she has enjoyed her year which will come to an end late in May.

And when our time is almost up and she puts on her chain of office to go and see some young photographers from St Margaret’s in Breck Road, Anfield, she asks Roy to take our photograph on the grand staircase of the Town Hall.

Standing up for Liverpool.

Standing up for Liverpool.

It was a pleasure and an honour Erica, thank you.

3 thoughts on “Taking Tea with the Lord Mayor

  1. Cathy Alderson

    So good to have a peep inside a glorious building. I had a tour of it on an open day in 1967 and my overriding memory is of those chandeliers!
    Also good to see our City coat of Arms. It used to be on the sides of the buses, school exercise books etc, but you never see it now. Shame.
    Thanks for sharing your personal tour!

    Reply

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