Call for drone display to replace cancelled Lord Mayor’s Show fireworks

A member of the City of London's ruling body has called for the corporation to consider staging a drone display on the evening of the Lord Mayor's Show to replace the traditional fireworks that were abolished in 2017.

Call for drone display to replace cancelled Lord Mayor’s Show fireworks
Photo by ajps2 used under a Creative Commons licence

Deputy Madush Gupta asked a question at this week's Court of Common Council meeting at the Guildhall, putting forward suggestions for improving the Lord Mayor's Show.

Deputy Gupta described the annual November pageant as "the jewel in the crown of our civic tradition" and offered a number of ideas for future years, "including maybe a substitution of the traditional fireworks display for a drone event - something much more environmentally friendly and cost-effective".

For nearly 40 years of the show's 800-year history the day culminated in a fireworks display launched from barges on the River Thames between Blackfriars Bridge and Waterloo Bridge, with crowds lining both the Victoria Embankment and the South Bank.

The fireworks display was last held in 2017 with subsequent years being cancelled after police raised crowd safety and terrorism concerns.

In his reply to Deputy Gupta, policy chair Chris Hayward alluded to the impact of protests in central London and rail engineering work: "That the Lord Mayor's Show can still draw big crowds despite this year's disruption is a testament to its enduring appeal.

"We should all back the Lord Mayor's Show and pledge to keep it going for another 800 years."

He added: "On a proposed drone show specifically, my sense is there are multiple stakeholders who would need to be engaged in such a proposal.

"That being the case, I will simply say that I like it as an idea but I won't drone on about it any further."

Lord Mayor’s Show fireworks set to be abolished permanently
Free-to-view public fireworks displays on the River Thames in central London will be a thing of the past if City of London Corporation members rubber-stamp plans to permanently axe the pyrotechnics that mark the end of Lord Mayor’s Show day each November.

The abolition of the Lord Mayor's Show fireworks has left the London New Year fireworks as the last regular public display along the Thames in central London.

In 2020 a London Assembly member asked Sadiq Khan to consider replacing fireworks with drones - but the Mayor warned that drones are "sensitive to weather conditions, producing a much greater risk of cancellation, alongside higher costs".

A pre-recorded drone display was incorporated into London's 2022 New Year celebrations whilst drones were also part of the 2023 fireworks display.

Tags: City of London, River Thames, Arts & culture, Politics & local government, Police & crime

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