Mary Kelly And The Lord Mayor’s Show

Making your way through Bank junction, at the historic hub of the City of London, you will encounter a grand building with a row of fine columns supporting its portico.

The building is the Mansion House, and it is the home of the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of London. Not to be confused with the Mayor of Greater London, the Mayor of the City of London is the leader of the City of London Corporation.


The office of Lord Mayor is one of the oldest continually elected civic offices in the world, and he, or she, is in post for one year. The annual election of the Lord Mayor takes place at Common Hall in the City’s Guildhall. Common Hall is composed of Liverymen who belong to the City Livery Companies.

The vote is held on Michaelmas day, which is the 29th of September, or, should Michaelmas Day fall on a weekend, on the closest weekday to it.

Voting is done by a show of hands, although any Liveryman has the right to demand that a ballot be taken, which is done two weeks later should such a demand be made.

A portrait of Lord Mayor Polydore de Keyser.
Polydore de Keyser. Lord Mayor In 1888.


Once elected, the new Lord Mayor is sworn in on the second Friday in November, and then, on the second Saturday, the new Lord Mayor is introduced to the citizens of the City with the Lord Mayor’s show, a procession through the City of London to the Royal Courts of Justice that combines colourful pageantry with elements of carnival, during which the Lord Mayor travels in the City’s State Coach and is “shown” to the people of London.

During his, or her, one year in office, the Lord Mayor’s Official residence, when he or she is not overseas promoting the City of London, is here at the Mansion House, designed by George Dance the Elder, and built between 1739 and 1752.


It was on the day of the Lord Mayor’s Show, Friday the 9th of November, 1888, that Mary Kelly, who is generally considered to have been the last victim of Jack the Ripper, was murdered.

The weather over the preceding days had been unsettled, and there was a good chance that it would rain on the day of the show.


Mrs. Elizabeth Prater, who occupied the room directly over Mary Kelly’s in Miller’s Court, told a representative from the Central News agency that she had stopped by Mary Kelly’s room on the Thursday morning, the day before the murder, and, as they were chatting, Mary, who was doing some crochet work at the time, had said:- “I hope it will be a fine day tomorrow, as I want to go to the Lord Mayor’s Show.”


Instead, Mary’s murder would disrupt the procession, as, according to the Dundee Courier, reporting in its edition of Saturday the 10th of November:-

“In the midst of the popular demonstration yesterday morning connected with the Lord Mayor’s Show, the tens of thousands of persons who had assembled along the line of the route from the City to the West end to watch the civic pageant pass were startled and horrified by the hoarse cries of the street newspaper hawkers announcing the perpetration of another terrible murder in Whitechapel.”