Bristol’s home of in-depth journalism
Powered by 2,000+ members
The Bristol Cable

Ever wondered what the Lord Mayor’s world is like?

Illustration: Becky Howes (

When I was 11 years old, my father, a Justice of the Peace, was invited to the Lord Mayor’s House along with the rest of the family.

Oh Lord (mayor)!
To what cost?
  1. Former Lord Mayor’s Dinner
    £1194.7 – 15/1/15
  2. Lord Mayor’s Guild of Guardians Dinner
    £1,224.55 – 6/5/14
  3. Lord Mayor’s Guild of Guardians Dinner
    £1208.63 – 14/5/14
  4. Lord Mayor’s Business Summit Lunch
    £931.90 – 16/1/15
  5. Rush Sunday Lunch, Sherry & Madeira Cake
    £758.3 – 8/6/15

(Figures from inspection of Council Account related documents by the Bristol Cable)

The event was a Christmas reception hosted by the Lord Mayor, the Lord Mayor’s Consort and the Deputy Lord Mayor. My mother, a staunch republican, scoffed when my father talked lovingly about the Lord Mayorship bestowed on Bristol by Queen Victoria and the Lord Mayor’s responsibility to host Royal visits. After this speech, I was none the wiser as to what the role meant.

“Is he in charge of Bristol then?” my brother asked.

“No, no, it’s more of a ceremonial thing. Even when chairing the council meeting…” my father began to reply.

“And who pays for it all and his time in the Mansion?” my mother interjected.

The look on my father’s face forbade further questions.

As we drove our Vauxhall Cavalier up the wide, leafy road near the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, the world surrounding us felt very different to our humble commuter satellite market town, some 20 miles away.

When we arrived, the opulence of the Mansion House intimidated my brothers and me as we gazed upon the high ceilings and oil paintings. We stared intrigued at other guests’ children wondering if, like us, they’d been forced to wear silly suits or whether that was their habitual gear.

Wandering around the bafflingly large stately house, I came across the kitchen as a harried-looking woman in a Bristol City Council-branded polo shirt bustled out, brandishing a pile of small papers.

She dropped two and I called to her, but she was gone. picked them up. It was a receipt which read:

“Guild of Guardian’s Dinner for 33 people – £1,225”

“Gosh,” I gasped, “that’s a lot of money!”

I felt a presence behind me, so I crunched the other receipt in my hand, and turned around.

It was the Lord Mayor. Grinningly resplendent in ermine robes and gold chain.

“Fear not, little one,” he boomed, “the TAXPAYERS will take care of THAT! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!”

I scuttled back to the party, told my mother what had happened and gave her the other receipt. It read “Tea and Biscuits for 81 people – £12.”

She pursed her lips and said: “I bloody knew it.”

This story of me at the Lord Mayor’s House is not true. But what it tells us about what the Lord Mayor of Bristol represents is true.


Support the journalism Bristol needs.

Thanks to the 2,000+ members who support the Cable, our in-depth journalism is free for everyone. Together, we empower readers with independent and investigative local reporting. Join us and be a part of Bristol’s reader-owned media cooperative.

Join the Cable

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Bristol Council questioned over social media ‘spying’

City Reports

Council approves major new development plans in Lawrence Hill


£17 million could be wiped off value of Bristol Energy

Fight For Fair Air Banner Home Page

Watch: Lessons from lockdown – how can Bristol battle air pollution?


£37.7 million later: Council announces sale of debt-ridden Bristol Energy

Scrutinising Institutions Reports Coronavirus In Bristol

Council will have to make spending cuts, as cost of Covid-19 passes £100 million

In Bristol

The essential round-up

Sent to your inbox every Friday