Abolishing the Lord Mayor

Former Lord Mayor Cllr Harry Lyons hands over the chain of office to Cllr Elaine Boyes, May 2012. Click on image to jump to Manchester Evening News article

When the Left gained the majority after the local election on 3rd May 1984, the abolition of the pomp, ceremony and cost of the post of Lord Mayor was a way of asserting their political ideals. But there was a failure to recognise its symbolic role and the importance to the general public. Antagonism generated from the Manchester Evening News, mitigated against any possibility of building support for other more important measures.

Ending the practice of the Lord Mayor and family actually living in the Town Hall for a year, with attending servant, was not the issue, and was a wise cost saving measure. But the title and the chain of office are invested in such symbolism that the position was reinstated after a few years of turmoil. 
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Out with the Old Pomp and Ceremony
History of the Lord Mayor and the Royal Charter
Reintroducing Proportionality
Change of Control, Change of Plan
Harold Tucker, the Last Live-in Lord Mayor
The ‘Piece of Furniture’ title
Three Years of ‘Chair of the Council’
Return of the Lord Mayor


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Editor’s Comments

This chapter was completed before a different standard formatting was chosen. It has been revised now to be in the same format at other chapters. The editing was minor typographical and adding sub-headings. There is a small addition in brackets and italics in the first paragraph which will not appear in the printed version. It was for clarification about the timing of the 1984 election so this chapter can be read in isolation of other chapters.


[1] The working party membership included David Black, Frances Done, John Shiers and Tim Ferguson.

[2]Sir Bob: the Autobiography of Sir Robert Thomas’, Senior Publications, Glossop, 1984

[3] Corrected from estate agent according to Pete Keenlyside

[4] Although where he got 92 years from is a mystery, since 1853 to 1984 is 131 years

[5] I find it interesting that for many years the term ‘Chair’ was consistently denigrated by the ‘furniture’ allegory whereas the use of the word ‘Cabinet’ in relation to the government’s most powerful committee was (so far as I know) never similarly denigrated.

[6] [Note added 202/10/17] According to Margaret Roff’s sister Janet, this is incorrect. She says they did not know Margaret was a lesbian. Their father died in October 1984 and mother in October 1985, so only shortly before Margaret’s nomination was put forward (14th November 1985) and before she was outed as a lesbian in the Manchester Evening News (19th November 1985). Margaret was very affected by her parents’ deaths and so presumably the pressure of attention was too much on top of her grief at that time. There is more information about Margaret Roff in this blog post http://manchester1984.uk/30th-anniversary-of-the-hotel-fire-in-nicaragua-that-killed-margaret-roff/

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