070417.Bath, Naked Came the MayorApril 17, 2007 at 1:47 AM | Posted in Actors in Period Costumes, Bath, people, somerset | 6 Comments
When meeting important dignitaries or on other specific occasions, the mayor and her costumed private army of attendants parade through town wearing their ceremonial robes and holding their ceremonial weaponry. Life goes on.
Stored in the Guildhall, every robe and weapon is specific for a position, though I can’t tell you which goes to which with the exception of the red outfit one hiding in back. (It looks like the Crimson graduate robes of Harvard or Cornell). Red robes, you see, are worn by all English mayors.
Why, you ask?
It all starts back in Victorian England, the Empress of India’s workaholic husband Prince Albert traveled the rails on royal ceremonial functions. Since he was the queen and empress’ husband, he should have been titled emperor, or at least king, but he was only licensed to use the title Prince. Nevertheless, as a royal, it was a big deal when he visited towns and cities, and as such he had to be greeted at the train station by the mayor and his council. These mayors and their assistants naturally dressed their best in the latest fashions to greet the prince, which meant that they all wore black.
This troubled Albert, who after failing to locate a certain mayor at a train station in a sea of black-cladded officials and being thoroughly embarrassed for it, mandated that all mayors should wear bright red.
Now, whenever Bath City Mayor Paradise goes to Bath Spa Station to greet someone important, they immediately recognize her. It also proves handy in distinguishing her from all the other crime-fighting superheroes running about this town.
(I may very well not have taken this shot. Today’s photo credit goes to Rajeesh G.)