Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A crowd, a host

To borrow from Wordsworth "I saw a crowd, a host ..........of people"

I was in my early twenties and hadn't seen a crowd like this before. I had seen crowds, of course, London rush hour, football matches and even from in a CND march, but they were moving crowds. This one was standing still and I didn't know what was going on.
This was a Monday and I was on my way to work at the GPO in the City of London from where I lived in Downham, just over ten miles.  I cycled everyday and never had a problem but that day I was completely baulked. Cycling in London back in in the 1950s was not as dangerous as it is today, a lot less traffic then but there was a special hazard of the tramlines which are not there anymore.
I discovered that the reason for the crown  was the Lord Mayors Show and the way to work was completely blocked.  I might just as well have been on the other side of the river as the other side of this mass of people just waiting to see a  hangover from medieval times. But of course a free show always attracts crowds.
The show was always held on the 9th November in those days no matter what day of the week it was and at the time I remember thinking it should have been held on the fifth! They have a bit more sense about it now and it always held on a Saturday, probably because when they changed it people still worked a five day week!
No matter which diversion I tried, down towards Cannon Street, up every side street but was still blocked.   I was still stuck until the parade had left the Guildhall area and some of the barriers had been removed so that I could get through.
Even without the bike I would still not been able to get through.  Have you ever tried to push your way through to the front of a crowd? Over an hour late for work, stopped two hours pay which I could ill afford still being on the lowest pay in the place.
I was never greatly enamoured of pageantry and stuff associated with the aristocracy and the upper classes before, but this confirmed an innate antipathy.  Almost joined the Communist Party!


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