18 Mar A visit to the Lord Mayor’s Office
An enlightening experience in the Lord Mayor’s Office.
By Ruby and Jamie – Year 7 Young Reporters
On Monday 10th February 2020 a group of students from Whitley Academy paid a visit to the iconic and well-known masterpiece of building in Coventry: The City Lord Mayor’s Office.
It was 10:00am when we left our school and were taken to Coventry City Council House by the school mini-bus. The cloudy and grey sky amidst the wintry breezes did not dampen our spirit as we were about to the meet the Lord Mayor of Coventry! The opportunity was even more special with the presence of Mr. Takahashi and his two students Junon and Atsuki from our link school Kamokita in Hiroshima, Japan.
10:20am – we entered the fantastic, historic and alluring structured building: Coventry City Council House. Here we met Mr. John Hartley waiting to join us to meet the Lord Mayor. Mr Hartley was the person who helped us to start our international school link with Kamokita School back in 2012.
Do you know that the Coventry City Council House building work started in 1913, and was finished in 1917?
In the Lord Mayor’s office, there were whole walls of pictures of the previous Lord Mayors. The majority of these photos were of male Lord Mayors and the first female Lord Mayor was in the year 1954.
On the big wall opposite the beautifully decorated fireplace, there was a missing photo. Later on we learnt that the reason for this was that the Lord Mayor in that period of time wanted his wife to be included in the photograph. Unfortunately his request was declined as it was traditional that the Lord Mayor was alone in the picture. Because of this, the picture wasn’t taken and the spot has remained empty since.
When the Lord Mayor Councillor Linda Bigham arrived, we all were invited to have tea and cakes. It was all delicious! We were all sitting around an oval shaped table and talked to the Lord Mayor. Our conversations were around the history of our friendship with Kamokita Senior School and especially our upcoming international school exchange trip to Kamokita school!
We then left the Office and moved on to visit some precious artefacts on display and a short visit to the Council Chamber.
In a glass case, we spotted an exquisite sword and mace made of gold. These are vital as the Council meeting cannot commence without two specific individuals laying the two weapons before the Lord Mayor.
In the Council Chamber, which was constructed in the 1920’s, there were gorgeous stained glass windows and leather seats. The Lord Mayor would sit at the front on the highest of three chairs. On the western wall, a painting of the Queen in her formal robes resides, made in 1948. Opposite the chair where the Lord Mayor would sit there was the Coventry Coat of Arms with an elephant, a phoenix and a lion. The elephant represented Coventry’s strengths and the phoenix represented Coventry rising from the ashes!
After getting together for some group photos standing next to the three SPECIAL seats at the front of the council Chamber, we all received a beautifully decorated notebook and an exquisite gold pen. We thanked the Lord Mayor for these special gifts and left the Council Chamber.
It is not a normal day in your life that you were given the opportunity to meet and talk to the Lord Mayor. The stories and laughters we shared, the memories we gained today will stay with us in the years to come.
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“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” –Voltaire.