The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth’s traditions are also associated with a number of historical artefacts – browse each heading below for further details.
Mayoral record panels
There are ten Mayoral record panels, grouped in twos, in the Council chambers of Portsmouth Guildhall – they carry the names of the Mayors and Lord Mayors of Portsmouth since the corporation’s records of the annual election of the Mayor began in 1531. The panels include information such as their years in office and brief summaries of national and local events of consequence.
Following much careful research, artists F Angello del Cauchferta, MGLC (Spain), and Beryl Hardman, ARCA, of London, illuminated each panel with scenes, both momentous and whimsical, from the period it encompasses. Entries have continued to be made and illuminated for each successive Lord Mayor.
The Lord Mayor’s chain and badge
The chain and badge are the outward signs of the office of the Lord Mayor. The chain is worn within the city when performing official civic functions, important ceremonial occasions and also as appropriate at other times, such as opening conferences, fetes and new businesses.
The chain may also be worn when paying visits to such places as schools, churches and the emergency services, at the Lord Mayor’s discretion. The badge is only worn outside the city on official engagements and is worn according to protocol – permission is sought from the Mayor or Chairman of the Borough to be visited.
The chain comprises a clasp in the shape of the ancient Domus Dei, from which plain rectangular links (with the names of successive Mayors and Lord Mayors inscribed on them) pass on either side to shields engraved with the obverse and reverse of the corporate seal. The links then change their shape to a handsome bold curb; part plain and part engraved. On the next shields the maritime anchors stand in full relief and the centre shield bears the crest of Henry Ford, Mayor in 1859, when the chain was acquired.
From the Chain hangs the badge, a massive pendant in rich scrollwork supporting a shield with the star and crescent crossed at the back by the mace and sword of state. Engraved on the back of the badge is the legend:
“Purchased by subscription amongst the burgesses and presented to the Worshipful the Mayor of Corporation of the Borough during the Mayoralty of Henry Ford Esq., under a committee composed of G Cressweller Esq. (Chairman), Mr Alderman Orange, Mr LA Vandenburgh, Mr WO Marshall, Mr E M Frost, Mr H D Davey, Mr E M Wells, Mr Dudley, Mr G Rake, Mr W Treadgold, Mr G Long, Mr William D King (Hon Sec) Portsmouth, September 1859
The diamond-studded crown over the enamelled scroll bears the words “Jubilee V 1887 R Year” and now surmounts the Mayor’s crest in the centre of the Chain, with the following inscription “Presented by A S Blake Esq., Mayor, 1885-86”.
The Lady Mayoress or Consort’s chain
This is a smaller, more slender replica of the Lord Mayor’s chain. The badge bears the following inscription
“In commemoration of the 60th year of the reign of Queen Victoria, this Chain and Badge was purchased by members of the Council and presented to Mrs Couzens for the use of herself and her successors in the office of Mayoress/Consort, 1897”
This chain was worn for the first time on the occasion of the election of Mayor by Mrs H Kimber, Mayoress, 1897-98.
The Three Maces
A mace was originally a heavy club used as an offensive weapon, but later became a staff of office symbolising authority, with the head often elaborately worked in precious metal or bejewelled.
The Great Mace is silver gilt, similar to several others which Charles II ordered to be made and presented to various Corporations that had lost their regalia during the Civil Wars between his father and Parliament. The pattern of the shaft leaves little doubt that the Mace was made earlier than 1678 – it was probably made during the Commonwealth period and converted into a Royal Mace at the Restoration.
The two smaller maces used in the procession appear to date back to Tudor times. One is a small antique silver Mace with a cup shaded head and a slender stem. On one side of the head is the Tudor Rose crowned, and on the other side a Fleur-de-lis crowned, both repoussé and gilt. On the circular top of the head are the Arms of James I, somewhat defaced. The other small Mace is of silver parcel gilt about the same size as the first but with a much stouter stem. On either side of the head is a star rudely engraved. The cresting or coronet at the top is composed of Fleur-de-lis and Lozenges alternately within which, on a raised boss, are the Arms of King Charles II.