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History of the Lord Mayor

The history of the Office of Lord Mayor and the Local Government Act of 1972.


History of the Office of Lord Mayor

The word "mayor" comes from the comparative "major" of the Latin word "magnus" meaning "great".

The first English Mayor was the Mayor of London, appointed in 1189 by Richard I.

Historic Powers

In the days past, the Office of Mayor had very considerable authority, and carried with it executive powers over the finances and affairs of the Corporation.

The Mayor carried out many of the duties later attached to the office of Town Clerk, and as well as presiding over the meetings of the Corporation, the Mayor also presided over the Bench of Magistrates as Chief Magistrate of the Borough Court.

Sheffield Council

In Sheffield, our beginnings as a Saxon settlement at the joining of the rivers Don and Sheaf, saw the siting of a Norman castle.

The community developed on the skill and fame of the blade-smiths leading to the establishment by Act of Parliament in 1624 of "the Company of Cutlers' in the County of Hallamshire".

Skill in the fashioning of precious metals led to the establishment of an Assay Office in 1773. As a result of the Municipal Act of 1835, and the Act in 1839 allowing the setting up of local police forces, Sheffield had its first Council formed following an Act of Incorporation on 31st August, 1843.

The Council comprised 56 members with William Jeffcock as the first Mayor of Sheffield.

Past Mayors of Sheffield.

In 1893 the style and title of "City" was given by Royal Charter. The building of the present Town Hall was started in 1891 and opened by Queen Victoria on 21st May 1897. By Royal "Grant of the Title" dated 12th July 1897, the title and dignity of Lord Mayor was conferred on the Chief Magistrate of the City who was in fact the Duke of Norfolk.

Past Lord Mayors of Sheffield.


Local Government Act 1972

The Lord Mayor's position has most recently been laid down by the Local Government Act 1972. This requires 

  • that they shall be elected annually by the Council from among the Councillors
  • the term of office is for one year, commencing at the Annual Meeting of Council, on the third Wednesday in May
  • during the term of office they shall continue to be a member of the Council
  • the Lord Mayor shall have precedence in all places in the district, but not so as to prejudicially affect Her Majesty's Royal prerogative
  • the Council may pay to the Lord Mayor for the purpose of enabling them to meet the expenses of office such allowance as they think reasonable

On the 1st August 1974, following the 1972 Act, our Local Government was re-organised and Sheffield became a Metropolitan District and the Chairman of the Council was granted the use of the style Lord Mayor.


Lord Mayors entitled to be called "The Right Honourable"

The following Lord Mayors are entitled to be called "The Right Honourable":

  • London

  • Belfast

  • York

  • Cardiff


Lord Mayors entitled to be called "The Right Worshipful"

Other cities or boroughs who have been granted the dignity of a Lord Mayor are entitled to the term "The Right Worshipful":

  • Armagh
  • Birmingham
  • Bradford
  • Bristol
  • Canterbury
  • Chester
  • Coventry
  • Exeter
  • Kingston-upon-Hull
  • Leeds
  • Leicester
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Norwich
  • Nottingham
  • Oxford
  • Plymouth
  • Portsmouth
  • Sheffield
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Swansea
  • Westminster
  • Modified: Dec 17, 2012 11:26:17 AM