Up to one thousand boats, a reflection of our maritime heritage, will make up one of the largest flotillas assembled on the River since Charles II ( l660 – 1685), when the procession is estimated to be seven miles long.
|The pictorial on the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant site|
Moving downstream from their mustering point at Hammersmith Bridge, the Pageant itself starts from the Chelsea Bridge area and once it reaches Tower Bridge the flotilla will, with regimental precision, disperse.
|George Frideric Handel (left) with King George I on the|
River Thames on 17 July 1717.
(Painted by Edouard Jean Conrad Hamman !819 - 1888)
The flotilla will pass 14 bridges and take 75 minutes to pass any given point ... the Royal Barge will stop at Tower Bridge for The Queen to review the flotilla as each section passes.
A floating belfry, with eight new bells commissioned by the 17th century St James Garlickhythe Church, will lead off the Royal Barge and jubilee pageant, with its peals echoed by other river bank churches.
|St James Garlickhythe Spire|
The bells, cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, will then be permanently installed in the Church’s tower.
St James Garlickhythe is dedicated to the disciple St James and is a stop on a pilgrim’s route ending at the cathedral of Santiago da Compostela, Spain;
.... while Garlickhythe refers to a nearby landing place, or “hythe”, from which garlic was sold in medieval times. The ships coming from France loaded with wine also carried garlic – a common association for medieval wine merchants.
The Church is off Garlick Hill, near Vintners’ Hall, Southwark Bridge and the Millennium Bridge, opposite Shakespeare’s The Globe theatre ....
|The Gloriana - to be escorted by Royal Watermen|
The Worshipful Company of Vinters (wine merchants) is one of the livery companies (trade associations) associated with the Church - their trade will be well tested on Sunday!
Another Worshipful Company to participate in the ceremony is that of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen – the Queen’s Bargemaster and Royal Watermen will accompany the Queen as part of the Royal Household’s escort.
We need to remember that until the middle of the 19th century (150 years ago) our rivers were the main arteries for trade, commerce and travel and were ‘policed’ by these watermen – who now operate or regulate the tugs, lighters and launches on the river.
|The Spirit of Chartwell being inspected by the Queen|
The tradition of Bargemaster dates back to 1215, with the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede – a water-meadow alongside the River Thames, a few miles east of Windsor Castle.
Back to the Pageant ... a privately owned charter vessel, the Spirit of Chartwell has been transformed into the Royal barge.
The hotel barge was designed to evoke the timeless grandeur of the 1929 Cote d’Azur Pullman Express de luxe train – so was already luxuriously kitted out ... with rich hardwood finishes and large panoramic windows ...
... it was also chosen for its size, opulence, safety and manoeuvrability, while has been made to echo the richly decorated royal barges of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Crimsons, Golds, Purples and highlights of Creamy Gold will feature in the floral arrangements – a reference to the Commonwealth, the Coronation and the Queen’s Gold Stage Coach.
|Preparing the Gilding for the Gloriana|
Among all the majestic colours there will also be lots of greenery with blues to make it festively ‘pageanty’ and bright.
There will be roses and the scented beauty of masses of sweetpeas – giving the barge a lovely British garden feel. There will be scented herbs too ... lavender and rosemary.
There will be 90 garlands festooning the Royal Barge, while Shamrocks, Thistles and Daffodils will, along with the roses, represent each of the countries of the United Kingdom.
There are eight small remotely controlled cameras placed discreetly around the Royal Barge ... so we will see a great deal and feel we’re part of the whole setting – perfume doesn’t come down the internet does it – pity!!??
Everything has been tried and tested ... with one thousand boats there is going to be a lot of wave and wash.
Ø the Royal Jubilee Floating Belfry will lead off
Ø followed by the majestic gilded royal row boat “Gloriana”, being crewed by, among others, two Rowing Olympians – Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent.
Ø A section of 250 Rowing Boats, followed by Sea Kayaks;
Ø the Academy for Ancient Music will lead off the Royal Section: royal barges representing Commonwealth countries
Ø Trumpet Heralds on their barge announce Her Majesty The Queen aboard the Spirit of Chartwell
There will be ten sections ... including Little Ships from the Dunkirk rescue in 1940; Dutch Barges – larger than ours; ...
.... 40 Narrowboats – 8 rows of 5 abreast (one of our resident’s nephews is captaining one of these – pictures coming ... I’m promised!) Cornish Pilot Gigs;
|Cornish Pilot Gigs|
Cruisers – ‘floating Gin Palaces’, ‘Tupperware’ boats, ‘Trip Trip’ boats, Clippers, Hydrofoils and at the end after Tower Bridge the Tall Ships and Avenue of Sail stretch their wings ...
Interspersed and leading each section will be other music barges and two fountain barges ... playing New Water Music, the Mayor’s Jubilee Band, a Jubilant Commonwealth Choir, a Pipe and Dhol band from the Indian sub-continent ...
|Westminster Bridge - Lord Mayor's Day|
by Canaletto 1746 (detail from)
The London Philharmonic Orchestra brings up the rear – their repertoire has been chosen to chime in with London landmarks – the James Bond theme as they pass the MI6 building, music from The Dam Busters at the RAF memorial, and finally at about 5.30 pm, as the boat approaches the finishing point of Tower Bridge, the National Anthem.
Along the way plenty of boats will be moored as a backdrop to the Pageant – Working Fireboats, Historic and Service vessels, Dunkirk Little Ships (1940), Royal Squadron, et al ....
|Royal Banner for HM Queen|
Terry’s narrowboat will be moored on Friday 1st June at Lime House, West India Docks until Sunday comes around ... there have obviously been security checks and will continue to be so ... no-one is allowed on the roof of their boats; there is no uniform – just be boat-trip pageant tidy, and adverts are not allowed.
The Thames Barrier will be closed – so there will be no river flow, which will make life considerably easier to maintain a discipline within the procession – apparently there’s an allowance of one boat length between each row ....
|St Michael's Mount State Barge|
c/o Classic Boat Company
Coincidences happen don’t they ... to round off this post ... the oldest boat on display is the St Michael’s Mount State Barge, which was reputedly built in Cornwall in 1740 ...
I was reading about Cornwall to my mother – she corrected me about some pronunciation! – but what interested me when reading about St Michael’s Mount, which has belonged to the St Aubyn family since 1660, is that The Lord St Levan has liveried boatmen to row him to and fro ... to his home on the Mount.
|A Skerry = the speed of a Skiff and the comfort of|
a Wherry - racing on the Thames
c/o Classic Boat Company
Penzance Bay at high tide makes this sanctuary, now marooned away from the mainland, an island – while it is almost certain, that like that at Borth (Uppingham-by-Sea), the whole surrounding bay and Mount were part of a forest.
I have to say this has really helped me appreciate the Nautical Celebration and Royal Jubilee Pageant that will occur on Sunday – I feel like I have done my homework!!
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories