Dorchester Town Council
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The Mayor Making Ceremony

The bare bones of what happens at the Mayor Making ceremony (more properly called the Annual Meeting of the Council) are set out in law - particularly the requirement for the election of the Mayor to be the first item on the agenda.  But every council does it differently.  Some will just elect their Mayor (or Chairman) at the start of an ordinary meeting and then carry on with the normal business of the meeting.  Others, like Dorchester, make more of it.

Dorchester has been the county town since at least 1305 and has elected a Mayor since 1629, with the Mayor of Dorchester playing an important role in the social and cultural life of the town.

The Mayor Making ceremony is one of a relatively small number of occasions each year when the Council processes with full insignia.  The maces are carried by two mace bearers with tricorn hats and gold trimmed capes, the Mayor, Councillors and Town Clerk all wear their robes (the purple robes, which were worn by aldermen until 1974, are now worn by the six longest-serving councillors) and the Beadle brings up the rear.

When the Mayor has been elected the new Mayor receives the robe and chain of office from the previous Mayor who routinely becomes Deputy Mayor.  The Mayoress or Mayor's Escort also receive their insignia.

The new Mayor makes a speech outlining the way in which they intend to carry out their mayoral duties.  The outgoing Mayor also makes a speech, reviewing the highlights of their year in office, before the Annual Meeting is adjourned.

The meeting is followed by a reception for civic dignitaries and the Mayor's guests.  The Annual Meeting, with its formal and routine business, continues on the following evening.

Dorchester has a long tradition of wearing civic insignia.  The photograph below was taken in the Corn Exchange and shows the Corporation (as the Borough Council was sometimes known) in 1935.  The councillors and the Town Clerk are dressed more or less as they do today.Dorchester Corporation in 1935