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South Shields premier political blog

A morning with the Mayor

with one comment

Cllr. John Anglin and Mrs. Chris Anglin, Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside

Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Cllr. John and Mrs. Chris Anglin

Town Hall treat

I spent an interesting morning with the new Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside Cllr. John Anglin and his wife Chris in South Shields Town Hall ostensibly to photograph the couple for South Shields Daily Photo. We had a good genial (non political) chat over coffee and browsed through some of the old visitors books which have recorded Mayoral events in the eyes of visitors for the past century and more, it was also interesting to look at the official Mayoral “scrapbooks” with pictures of previous Mayors and to recall some of those who I knew quite well, old Harry Marshall, Ernie Mackley, Frank Firth, Warden Newby, all of whom have sadly passed away. However, they all looked the part, dignified in their pictures, you just knew that they represented an historic office and carried the pride of South Shields, Jarrow, or South Tyneside on their shoulders. For the year in office they assume the responsibility of representing us all, regardless of political persuasions, race, colour, creed, or faith. I know that we ought to judge people on their behaviour and not their outward looks but they were all pictured in the ceremonial Mayoral robes with ermine and tri-cornered hats which were abolished by the council (I think) when South Shields amalgamated with the other boroughs to form South Tyneside in 1976, the ceremonial dress for our Mayors and Mayoresses is now stored in a Newcastle Museum under strict environmental conditions, never worn for over thirty years.

That got me thinking, at the time of the decision to dispense with the Mayoral robes we had a stridently left wing council facing up to the prospect of a decaying Labour government and the ensuing years of Thatcherism, the robes were probably seen as an elitist symbol of class, money, power and privilege by those at the time, even viewed as “fancy dress”, and I doubt whether such attitudes persist now. I didn’t press the matter with our new Mayor but I did mention that I thought it would be rather nice to see our Mayors in the traditional robes for those special ocassions (probably less than fifteen) during the year. I had in mind meetings of the full council, the annual Cookson Parade, and to receive either a member of the Royal family visiting the borough, or the Queen’s representative The Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear.

Being a bit of a traditionalist at times, I think the Mayoral robes actually add to rather than subtract from the office of Mayor, and I wonder if I am the only one around here to have missed them?

My thanks to the Mayor and Mayoress for making time available to spend with me and my camera this morning.

This is not the picture that I have chosen to publish in my photoblog on Saturday by the way.

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Written by curly

May 21, 2009 at 1:36 pm

One Response

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  1. This Moonraker is glad to see a West Country Man (both of us now adopted) at the helm for the next 12 months. Hope you have a good year John. All the very best.


    May 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm

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