All Lit Up For Christmas – Leadenhall Market, Bow Lane & Cheapside

Magicians say you should never reveal the secrets of what goes on behind the scenes, but I can share some cheer with a tale about last month’s recording of three Christmas lighting up ceremonies for the City.

Leadenhall Market has always been a special ‘lighting up’ ceremony for my family.  Elisabeth & I have been there virtually every year with our daughters and with our friends, drinking some mulled wine, a bit more mulled wine, greeting the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, Aldermen, and Councillors who come by, and then drinking even more mulled wine.

In 2019 it was special to be the Sheriff at the lighting up and visit all the glorious boutiques I never have the nerve, or budget, to enter. All of the shopkeepers were wonderful, sharing Christmas food and cheer, which amazingly prised open Elisabeth’s and my purse and wallet. Last year as Sheriff I was able to add Bow Lane and Cheapside lights to the list of fun lighting up ceremonies.

A covid-19 Christmas was always going to be a challenge for our City’s markets. Although my term as Sheriff was most unusually extended by a year, nevertheless due to covid-19 I was forewarned that the lighting up ceremonies wouldn’t happen. The I was pleasantly awakened from my November lockdown slumber at home this year, I was asked to step in for the Lord Mayor at short notice for the television production of the Leadenhall lights.

When I got to Leadenhall I found myself largely on my own, just a professional camera crew being watched by a few stunned tourists. The crew were patient and accommodating while I recorded a welcome speech and gave an Apollo-style count-down from 10 with a T-handle blast detonator to activate the lights, all this technology held together through the all-important engineering magic of duct tape.

Then we cleaned the stage of foam, and we shot it again. Then we headed to a ‘green room’ so the camera team could have footage that they could cut in and out during their edits.  First we re-recorded the Leadenhall speech in front of the green screen, when a car backfired. So we shot it again. Then they told me I should record the Bow Lane lights speech, which I did, and an ambulance went by. So we shot it again. Then I found out I should record Cheapside Business Alliance’s lighting up ceremony, which I did, and a motorbike went by. So we shot it again. And then we recorded Bow Lane and Cheapside on site, but then I had to go back to Cheapside a week later.  So we shot it again, twice. Ahh, the tribulations of stardom.

Actually, going back to Cheapside meant I had the delight of meeting City of London Police Commander, David Evans, and Detective Chief Inspector John Osibote. These two gentlemen drive the City of London Police “Charity For Children” Christmas Appeal. If you need another good cause this Christmas, I do commend it.

A dozen drummings (sic) later the final results came out.  I do hope they somehow encourage people to go shopping now that the alder-manic guy in the red robe who has delusions of being Santa has disappeared…

Anyway, the final results came out and I do hope they somehow encourage people to go shopping now that the monster in the red robe has disappeared…

Leadenhall Market:

Bow Lane:

Cheapside Business Alliance: