One of the delights of being Mayor is the Mayor’s Parlour in the Town Hall. This is the room where all the “civic treasures” are kept – and they go back a very long way, because despite only being created in 1984, the Town Council has inherited the traditions and treasures of all the various Morpeth councils that existed before then – and the Corporation and Guilds before that. You can read all about it in the booklet “Morpeth Town Hall & Civic Treasures” – available at a very reasonable £5 from the Town Hall.
Anyway – the Mayor’s Parlour is reserved for civic receptions and other occasions when the Mayor entertains special guests, and it is only rarely open to the public. So far this year, I’ve had a number of rather special groups along, including:
Children from St Robert’s First School and from Newminster Middle School who were both learning about the history and heritage of the town – the St Robert’s First School children subsequently produced this excellent picture of me!
Students from KEVI who were hosting exchange students from Morpeth School in London, brought their guests for a visit to the Parlour and Council Chamber and learned a bit about what the council and mayor do. I think a number of students may have been “inspired” to pursue a political career after sitting in the Mayor’s Chair at the head of the Council Table.
The other two groups that made a real impact on me were:
Refugees from the Newcastle West End Refugee Centre who were on a day out in Morpeth, hosted by Contact and Morpeth Sanctuary. I have to admit I was a little wary showing off all the civic wealth and heritage the town to a group of people who have lost everything – but I was quite wrong about that. They were lovely, intelligent people who were very interested in the town and our political system – and by all accounts, thoroughly enjoyed their visit to Morpeth
And – of course – the Pearl of Africa choir who showed a great interest in the pictures of the Royal Family and really tested my knowledge of the dynastic genealogy. Although it was just me and my Mayoress hosting the visit that day – the choir gave an full-scale impromptu performance of not just music, but dance. It was quite superb – and a fine taster for their concert later in the month – but I was a little worried about the structural stability of the Town Hall!
And I look forward to welcoming more groups to “my” Parlour over the next few months. If you are part of a community group who might be interested in a visit, do get in touch.