A ceremonial cord is stretched out as a symbolic boundary and

Martin Parr reveals the Square Mile’s secrets

canada goose parka uk The City of London canada goose outlet online uk is one of the world’s oldest and wealthiest financial hubs. Located in the heart of the capital, the historically self governing area, centred on Canada Goose Outlet the Square Mile, is the home of the UK financial sector, which generates a staggering 41% of the world’s foreign exchange turnover every day, some trillion ($2.7 trillion). canada goose parka uk

canada goose shop uk But while this modern face of the City is widely known, few people are aware of the medieval institutions that continue to shape its business and politics. canada goose shop uk

canada goose coats uk British photographer Martin Parr spent two years behind the scenes in the City of London, documenting its old guilds and elaborate customs. He was given wide but not completely free access for the series Unseen City, which opens canada goose outlet online to the public at London Guildhall Art Gallery on 4 March. canada goose coats uk

“They don’t want to have their secret rituals canada goose outlet new york city made public,” Parr says of the City insiders. “It’s like the Freemasons: they’re not going to let you see everything.”

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canada goose outlet las vegas The City special form of governance dates back a thousand years; it has its own police force, a Lord Mayor who is canada goose factory outlet distinct from the Mayor of London and an administration backed by a web of powerful canada goose outlet nyc guilds. canada goose outlet These guilds, or livery companies, range from traditional trades such as fletchers (arrow makers), coopers (cask makers), loriners (stirrup makers) and mercers (merchants of luxury fabrics) to the rather more recent Worshipful Company of Information Technologists. canada goose outlet las vegas

canada goose outlet toronto location View image of Catching swans from the Thames in the Swan Upping ceremony, 2015 (Credit: Credit: Martin Parr/Magnum Photos) canada goose outlet toronto location

With his unfailing eye for the odd canada goose outlet uk and offbeat, Parr depicts the guild members in all their quirky splendour. Men in ceremonial garb catch swans from the Thames for the annual “swan upping” in which the birds are counted and then released a tradition dating canada goose outlet parka back to the 12th Century, when the animals were considered a delicacy. Guards in feathered hats march through the financial district. A pair of empty spurred boots stands on the sidelines of the Silent Ceremony during which the new Lord Mayor is sworn into office as if marking the presence of an invisible bystander.

View image of Empty boots at the Silent Ceremony which installs the new Lord Mayor in canada goose outlet shop 2014 (Credit: Credit: Martin Parr/Magnum Photos)

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canada goose outlet winnipeg At first glance, Unseen City seems to show a quaint, charming community far removed from the fast paced world of canada goose outlet store uk modern finance: a scene of leisurely banquets and elaborate costumes. canada goose outlet winnipeg

View image of The election of Lord Mayor Alan Yarrow in 2014 (Credit: Credit: Martin Parr/Magnum Photos)

But the two worlds very much overlap. The City of London Corporation, which is the City’s local government, is also a powerful lobbying group for the banking sector. It has its own lobbyist in Parliament, an official called a And while a mere 7,400 people live in the City, some 400,000 work in it and give it political heft: businesses are allocated a number of votes depending on how many employees they have.

canada goose outlet real While a mere 7,400 people live in the City, some 400,000 work in it and give it political heft canada goose outlet real

canada goose outlet washington dc Meanwhile, although the livery companies are still named after their original trades, many have opened up their membership to other professions, including financial services. canada goose outlet washington dc

canada goose outlet canada View image of Behind the scenes goose outlet canada at the 2014 Lord Mayor’s Show in Guildhall (Credit: Credit: Martin Parr/Magnum Photos) canada goose outlet canada

“They’re clubs really,” Parr says. “It’s the classic domain of the white middle class.”

Given the diversity of London financial sector, this homogeneity is perhaps the most surprising aspect of Parr series. A shot of an average trading floor would probably show a much more international group of people than Parr’s images of pageants and banquets.

canada goose outlet los angeles View image of The guilds have formal dinners for their members, like this Drapers’ Livery Dinner (Credit: Credit: Martin Parr/Magnum Photos) canada goose outlet los angeles

Parr photographed only a fraction of the City more than 100 livery companies and in the process became aware that this hidden world canada goose outlet black friday was much larger than he had assumed. “You could spend the next 10 years just doing livery companies,” he says. Certain rituals remained off limits to him, such as the swearing in of a guild new master.

Since the livery companies play a crucial role in the election process for the City’s offices, such secrecy has its critics. In 2011, the Occupy London movement camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral in the Square Mile in 2011, calling for the City’s government to be made more transparent and accountable.

For centuries the City granted loans to kings and queens

canada goose outlet usa The complex links between the City, canada goose jacket outlet finance and power have a long history. For centuries the City granted loans to kings and queens. Its 17th Century coffee houses served as markets for insurance, stocks and bonds. One of them Jonathan’s Coffee House in Exchange Alley evolved into the London Stock Exchange. canada goose outlet usa

canada goose https://www.scrubsuniforms.ca outlet online reviews View image of Fiona Woolf preparing for the Lord Mayors Show in 2013 (Credit: Credit: Martin Parr/Magnum Photos) canada goose outlet online reviews

Even today, the special relationship between the City and the crown is commemorated when the Queen makes an official visit to the City. A ceremonial cord is stretched out as a symbolic boundary and canada goose black friday sale then withdrawn to let her carriage enter, writes journalist Nicholas Shaxson in his book Treasure Islands. One of Parr’s most striking pictures shows the Queen from behind as she steps out from the Drapers’ Livery Hall, toward a crowd of ordinary people snapping away with their mobile phones.

View image of The Queen visits the Drapers’ Livery Hall for 650th anniversary of the Drapers’ Company (Credit: Credit: Martin Parr/Magnum Photos)

Parr says one of the positive aspects of the City he noticed was the charitable work of the guilds. Often very affluent because of their property portfolios, canada goose outlet in usa they donate substantial amounts to schools, hospitals and charities. The Worshipful Company of Mercers gave almost million ($10 million) to charity in one year up to March 2013, the latest public accounts available on its website. In fact, one of Parr’s favourite scenes in the City was the Mercers’ traditional visit to their almshouses.

canada goose outlet winnipeg address “These quiet little moments are the most exciting. You’re seeing a real tradition that goes on quietly, assuredly,” he says canada goose outlet winnipeg address.

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