On 12th November, the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants (WCoBM) was among the 7,000 participants, 200 horses and 140 floats at this year’s Lord Mayor’s Show in London. The WCoBM float was in support of its new Honorary Liveryman, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, the 689th Lord Mayor of London.
The Lord Mayor’s Show is one of the best-known annual events in London as well as one of the longest-established anywhere. It dates back to 1215 when the King issued a Royal Charter allowing the City of London to elect its own Mayor on condition that every year the newly elected Mayor travelled upriver to the small town of Westminster and swore loyalty to the Crown. The Lord Mayor has now made that journey for over 800 years.
The Show is an opportunity for Livery Companies, the armed forces and police, universities, schools, City institutions, charities and communities to affirm their association and support for the City of London.
WCoBM’s float appeared live on the BBC — you can see it on iPlayer at 44 minutes. The theme this year was ‘Builders’ Merchants: Supplying Britain’s Building Needs’, demonstrating the importance of builders’ merchanting to the UK economy. It also highlighted the many career opportunities in our industry for young people.
A JCB forklift with a mock pallet of bricks led a large curtain-sided lorry with prominent messaging. The float was supported by walkers in imaginative costumes representing high profile supplier brands. These included striking blue raindrops from Alumasc Water Management Solutions; rolls of insulation by Knauf Insulation; a stack of Ibstock bricks; Catnic steel lintels, IKO PLC roofing felt and insulation board; windows and doors by Crystal Direct; Makita drills, walking paint tins by Liberon, colourful pipes printed on stylish Naylor Pipes’ suits, and ACO’s knights…
Walkers not in costume weren’t left out. Responsible for handing out WCoBM’s unmissable bright yellow builders’ hats and rulers to the crowds, they were able to keep warm and dry courtesy of Dickies and NMBS who funded the high quality, WCoBM branded clothing.
WCoBM’s Master Stephen Turner commented: “A lot of hard work goes into preparing a float, from the design through to all the logistics in the run up and on the day. A big thanks to all our sponsors, without whom we wouldn’t have been able to take part.
“Our thanks must go to Court Assistant Andy Williamson for coordinating the Float, and to Past Master John Poore for the catering arrangements,” continued the Master, “while Liveryman Lucia Di Stazio (MRA Marketing) took care of the float designs, placarding, give-aways, photography and social media.
“The TV footage on the BBC was the cherry on the cake. Builders’ Merchants supply over 85% of the building materials used in our built environment. Yet many people are unaware that most of Britain’s building materials for homes, roads, public sector and commercial buildings are supplied through merchants. The Show was an opportunity to raise the profile of our Livery Company and of builders’ merchants, and explain their value to construction and Britain’s economy. We were also able to highlight the many exciting and diverse career opportunities.”
Andy Williamson, who is UK Group Managing Director of IKO in his day job, added: “We had a fantastic float that highlighted what a great industry we work in, and its importance to construction and the economy. It’s a very popular parade — the streets are always full despite the inevitable rain! — and we were able to use the opportunity to show just a few of the career options available to young people.”