Lord Provost of Edinburgh
The Right Honourable Lord Provost of Edinburgh is the convener of the City of Edinburgh local authority. They are elected by the city council and serves not only as the chair of that body, but as a figurehead for the entire city. They are ex officio the Lord-Lieutenant of Edinburgh. They are equivalent in many ways to the institution of Mayor that exists in many other countries.
While some of Scotland's local authorities elect a Provost, only the four main cities (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee) have a Lord Provost. In Edinburgh this position dates from 1667, when Charles II elevated the Provost to the status of Lord Provost, with the same rank and precedence as the Lord Mayor of London. The title of Lord Provost is enshrined in the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994.
Roles and TraditionsEdit
Prior to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 the City of Edinburgh was run by a single-tier body called the Edinburgh Corporation, of which the Lord Provost was chair. Akin to the Corporation of the City of London, the body included council representatives from the Incorporated Trades of Edinburgh and the Merchant Company of Edinburgh. The corporations security was provided by the High Constables of Edinburgh, who also serve as the Provost's bodyguard. Although the 1973 Act changed the governance of the City, the Lord Provost retains a relationship with the Merchants Company and Incorporated Trades. The High Constables continue to serve as the Lord Provost's bodyguards.
The Lord Provost chairs meetings of Edinburgh City Council at the Edinburgh City Chambers, originally opened in 1760 by Lord Provost George Drummond as a meeting place for Edinburgh merchants and known as the Edinburgh Royal Exchange. The Lord Provost takes part in a number of ceremonies and traditions, including The Edinburgh Ceremony of the Keys, the Kirking of the Deacons, The Riding of the Marches and the Edinburgh Hogmanay. The Lord Provost also coordinates armed forces day parades with both the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
While the Lord Provost technically has no official residence, Lauriston Castle - a property bequeathed to the Edinburgh Corporation and now under the ownership of Edinburgh City Council - has been used to host the Lord Provost's annual Garden Party. It was suggested in 2013 that Lauriston Castle be renovated and turned into an official residence for the Lord Provost, however the cost at the time was deemed too prohibitive.
When a Lord Provost is elected two ceremonial Baillie's Lamps are installed outside their home in the city. These are green and gold street lamps. These lamps remain in place for the duration of the Lord Provost's term in office. When they demit the office one is removed, while the other remains for the duration of the Lord Provost's life.
The Lord Provost's official car bears the licence plate S0. This licence plate was issued specially by the Ministry of Transport after the Edinburgh corporation missed out on acquiring Scotland’s first number plate, S1 at the turn of the 20th century. A number of other licence plates are owned by the council for other official vehicles, including S10 and SS10. In 2012 it was proposed that the licence plates could be sold to help raise funds for the city, however this plan does not appear to have gone ahead.
The Lord Provost has a reserved pew at Kirk of the Canongate. This is because historically the gift of the living lay with the bailies of Canongate, but when Canongate merged with Edinburgh in 1856, so too did this power.
Current & past Lord ProvostsEdit
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The current Lord Provost is Frank Ross.
In total, there have been 256 Provosts and Lord Provosts.
- "In Pictures: First Lord Provost garden party". www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com.
- "Lord Provost wanted Lauriston Castle for parties". www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com.
- "Ceremonial Lamp Posts outside the home of Edinburgh's Lord Provost at 10 Wellhead Close, South Queensferry, 2011Ceremonial Lamp Posts outside the home of Edinburgh's Lord Provost at 10 Wellhead Close, South Queensferry, 2011". www.edinphoto.org.uk. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- Henry, Jayne (18 April 2012). "Lord Provost's numberplate S 0 is to be sold". Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- Stewart, Kirsty (13 January 2016). "Lord provosts urged to sell car registrations for funds as plates worth £3m". Daily Record. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- "High praise for city's first police". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- "A History of Canongate Kirk – Canongate Kirk". 6 July 2020. Archived from the original on 6 July 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
- Anderson, John (1825). Historical and genealogical memoirs of the House of Hamilton. Edinburgh.