Mayor Making ceremony 2009

The inauguration of The Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Brighton and Hove takes place every year in May; this ceremony is known as ‘The Mayor Making’.  The actual ceremony in the council chamber is off limits to press and photographers. But this year My Brighton and Hove chief photographer Tony Mould was allowed to record the ancient ceremony for the website -  a scoop for us.

History of the office
The history of the term ‘Mayor’ dates back many years (the City of London Mayoralty dates from 1192) but was more uniformly established by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835.  The Mayor is regarded as the first citizen of the Borough and the ceremonial Head of the Council, although the Mayor has few actual legal powers.

First Brighton Mayor
The first Mayor of Brighton was Major John Fawcett and in 1855 the first Mayoral banquet was attended by the Duke of Richmond, the Lord Mayor of London and his Sheriffs. One of the Sheriffs, Mr Jeremiah Pilcher, presented the Mayor of Brighton with his own gold chain of office.

The Brighton and Hove merger
In 1993 a Local Government Commission reviewed the Local Government structure in England.  The Commission recommended that the two towns of Brighton and Hove should merge to form a Unitary Authority, independent of the County Council, which came into being on 1 April 1997.  On 15th February 2001, the Mayor received Letters Patent from the Vice Lord Lieutenant, conferring City Status on Brighton & Hove, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.

Chain of office
The Mayoral Chain currently worn by the Mayor of Brighton & Hove is the Chain which was formerly worn by the Mayors of Brighton. The Badge affixed to the Mayoral Chain depicts the crest of the Brighton & Hove authority and was purchased in 1997 when the authority came into existence.

The ceremonial Mace
The Mace originated as a ‘weapon of war’ and is carried before the Mayor on ceremonial occasions. The Brighton Mace was purchased by private subscription in 1887 and contains a scroll listing the names of those who subscribed. The Hove Mace bears the inscription ‘CHARTER OF INCORPORATION Granted 8 August 1898’. Both Maces are still in good condition and are used alternately at formal ceremonial occasions.

Comments about this page

  • This article has brought back such memories as my dad John Leach was Mayor in 1980/81 the outgoing mayor was Nobby Clark and I flew back home from South Africa to be with my parents for this prestigious event. Dad passed away in 1995 after many years in council service to Brighton.

    By Anne Gee nee Leach (06/03/2010)
  • Nobby Clarke and John Leach did a lot for the town and I hold John and Peggy in high regard.

    By Julian Wadey (04/02/2011)
  • This is for Anne Gee (Leach). My grandfather was Cecil Leach who emigrated to Canada in 1950. I remember on one trip back home he showed us a picture of a family member (John) who was mayor of Brighton. Not sure of the exact relationship. Hoping you’ll contact me. You’ll find me on Facebook (look for my name in Guelph, Ontario Canada) to chat.

    By Kimberly Leach (23/08/2022)
  • Is it possible to contact Anne Gee who makes a comment about her father John Leach?

    By Terry Fowler (20/01/2023)

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