950-year-old City of London Corporation to march at Pride for the first time

The thousand-year-old City of London Corporation has announced plans to march at Pride for the first time.

The obscure-but-powerful organisation, which dates back to at least 1067, has governed inside the City of London’s Square Mile for centuries – and now governs much of the city’s businesses.

However, apparently being roughly a millennium old and bound by a string of archaic traditions does not prevent the body from being inclusive.

It was announced this week that “around 50 elected Members and staff” from the governing body will take part in this year’s Pride in London march on July 7, along with students from the City of London’s schools and academies.

A statue of a dragon holding the Coat of Arms marks the boundary of the City of London (Dan Kitwood/Getty)

Representatives from the City of London Police and the City Corporation’s staff networks will also join.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said: “City Pride, the City Corporation’s LGBT+ Staff Network, put forward the idea to take part in Pride this year.

“I wholeheartedly welcome the opportunity to get involved in this celebratory and colourful event that reminds everyone of the importance of inclusivity, diversity and acceptance.

“I send my warmest wishes to everyone on the day and hope that they have an enjoyable, safe and memorable Pride.”

The new Lord Mayor of London Charles Bowman waves from his golden carriage during the 802nd Lord Mayor’s Show (Simon Dawson/Getty)

Tim Hailes, the first openly gay Sheriff of London, said: “Pride is the name and proud is, undoubtedly, what we are to be taking part in this wonderful celebration of LGBT+ people, and what has been achieved, in particular, over the last 25 years.

“Society is more accepting, the LGBT+ community is more visible and vocal than ever, and championing diversity is now firmly on the agenda of City businesses, but it would be naïve to suggest that prejudice no longer exists.

“The City of London Corporation’s involvement in Pride is our way of celebrating the growing diversity in the Square Mile, while also standing shoulder-to-shoulder with those working in communities to promote acceptance and tackle homophobia.”

Personnel march through the City of London during The Lord Mayor’s Show (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty)

In addition, the Pride flag will fly over Guildhall; The Mansion House; Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey); and Tower Bridge from Monday July 2 to Sunday July 8 to mark Pride week.

Meanwhile the Corporation’s charitable wing, the City Bridge Trust, “has awarded 16 grants totalling £1.5m for work benefiting the LGBT+ community.”

This year’s Pride in London parade has been rocked by controversy.

LGBT charity Stonewall has vowed to boycott the event after a fall-out with organisers – the first time in decades the group will have no presence at the city’s Pride celebrations.

Stonewall accused Pride organisers of failing to take concerns about race and diversity seriously.

Pride in London 2018: Everything you need to know about London’s annual LGBT+ celebration