Stationers' Company to parade print’s history at The Lord Mayor's Show

The Stationers' Company has organised a float displaying the history of print, which will feature in The Lord Mayor's Show this Saturday (8 November).

It marks the first time since 1998 that the livery company has participated in the procession. Elaine Pooke, an industry consultant who joined the Stationers’ livery committee in 2008, has organised the float, which takes 'the story of communication' as its theme.

“I thought it was about time the Stationers’ Company got involved in this event again. I’d put together a proposal, and last year one of our members gave us a donation to pay the deposit to take part. I was asked to put a committee together and start to find everything that we would need for the float. It has been a year in the making,” said Pooke.

The float, which consists of a hybrid electric van and 48 walkers, will cover 600 years of communications and print history from the Middle Ages through to Caxton, Shakespeare, newspaper and book printing and digital print.

Most of the walkers will wear tabards with images showing stages of communications history on the front and printed information on the reverse. Four of the adult walkers will wear tabards carrying sponsor logos and stories while the master and the wardens will wear gowns.

The tabards, which are coloured cyan, magenta, yellow or black, and a banner displaying the Stationers' Company name, were produced by five different designers and sponsored and printed by Colyer London.

“The walkers are an equal split of 24 adults and 24 children. The children are either those of Stationers’ members or children that have been sponsored by us in the past,” said Pooke.

The vinyl covered hybrid electric van will show images of people the Stationers’ Company currently sponsors including the Stationers’ Crown Woods Academy, Saturday Schools, the Wiltshire Barn Project, the Shine Awards and bursary winners.

Sustainable office supplies business Wiles Greenworld has sponsored the printing of the vinyl, which was produced by fleet livery specialist MediaFleet. All of the materials used for the Stationers’ float will be recycled after the event.

The float will also feature specially composed music based on an old printing press. “I was visiting a printer and there was an old letterpress machine there that was making a fantastic sound. It was exactly what I was looking for so I recorded the sound and took it to the committee,” said Pooke.

“Our bursary winner has a friend called Thomas Mason who is a budding composer and he went away and produced these funky sounds with the only words being ‘printing press’, so we’re going to play that on a loop during the parade.”

Most of London’s livery companies, as well as a number of other City-based organisations, take part in the annual three-mile march through London.

A total of 154 floats will take part in the parade, which begins with the new Lord Mayor’s inauguration at Mansion House at 11am. The procession will be televised on BBC1 and the first 60 floats will be featured on-screen, including the Stationers’ float, number 27.


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