Story Of London


Every November the new Lord Mayor of London holds his Show – a colourful procession of the City Guilds and dignitaries through the streets of the City. At the head of the procession are two enormous effigies of giants. These are Gog and Magog, the traditional guardians of the City of London and they have been carried in the Lord Mayor’s Show since the reign of Henry V. Their origins lie in the distant past and are quite unknown to us. Over the centuries, many people have produced various “explanations” of their origins. Perhaps the most entertaining was that of John Galt who published his History in 1819. In this series we will present his full text, Chapter by chapter. Here is Chapter 11.

CHAPTER XI.HOW THE PRINCESS RESOLVED TO BUILD A CITY, AND CALLED IT LONDON, AFTER HERSELF.The Title Page of John Galt's History of Gog and Magog.NEXT morning the Princess summoned a council of all her followers, the friends and companions of Gog and Magog; and, having informed them, that being happily restored to the throne of her ancestors, with dominions extended by the overthrow of the giant Humbug, she was determined to build a capital city, and that she thought the families who had taken refuge within the fortress of her gallant deliverers, should remain on the spot, and become the first inhabitants.The proposal was received with great approbation and Gog and Magog advisedthe Princess to honour with particular privileges all the brave young men who had cooperated in the storming of the castle. This suggestion not only met the disposition of Londona, but of all present ; and she accordingly declared, that those who had united themselves to the enterprise of Gog and Magog, should be distinguished from the rest of the inhabitants as her special vassals; by which, in the process of time, they came to be known as the liverymen of Londona. To these, as they were too numerous for purposes of business, she gave authority to elect a certain number of the most intelligent members of their body to form a council ; and out of this institution grew the now far-famed common council of London.When she had thus given a foundation and a constitution to the city, and called it London, after her own name; as Rome, several ages later, was named from its founder Romulus; the brother of Remus, who, as every classical scholar knows, were suckled by a wolf.