070417.Bath, Naked Came the Mayor

April 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.
Mayor's Office
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.)


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  1. Well, you inspire me to check your facts.


    I remember my dad and I were discussing different academic wear and meanings after graduation. I think he mentioned both Harvard and Cambridge as examples of… interesting academic dress.

    I can’t find anything about the “red in a sea of black” thing, though.

    This is a wonderfully creepy photo… all these faceless faces staring directly at me.

  2. beaux costumes. vu comme ça, cela fait penser à un film de fantastique ;o)

    beautiful costumes. seen like that, that made think of a film of fantastic ;O)

  3. Great photo. Intersting text.

  4. I thought we were backstage at a Shakespearean play…Interesting story.

  5. such a wealth of information! i can see you looking dapper in all of those. did you try any on?

  6. […] Bath, people | TODAY I saw a mayoral procession from the Guildhall to the West Door of the Abbey. They marched just as I had earlier reported that they would. I’ll try and find out what was going on. Anyone […]

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