Phyllida Scrivens spoke to us on the subject of “The Lady Lord Mayors of Norwich”, about whom she has recently published a book. Norwich is the first place in Great Britain to have had a lady Lord Mayor – Ethel Mary Colman, from 1923 to 1924. Since then, there have been 16 other lady Lord Mayors (their official title is simply ‘Lord Mayor’) and at the time of writing the book Phyllida was able to interview the nine who were still living in Norwich. She had researched the background of all 17 and showed us what a full schedule of public service Lord Mayors have (despite contending in some cases with ill health). This public service included not only official engagements but also many other significant contributions on the civic scene – for example, work with various charities. There were sometimes difficult events to cope with, as in 1994 when there was a fire in the Central Library of Norwich; then in 1995 there was another major fire, this time in the Assembly House. Towards the end of her talk, Phyllida showed us slides depicting various scenes in the public life of the lady Lord Mayors, such as one showing the mayoral robes: black and gold upon being made Lord Mayor, and red for more ‘informal’ occasions. There were also slides of the civic coach (no longer in use), the Lord Mayor’s procession, a royal visit to the city, and a mayoral visit to HMS Norfolk before it was decommissioned.
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