Sound the fanfares! There’s a special meeting of Greenwich Council next Wednesday. Never mind that there’s a normal meeting of the council that night, but there’s now a special meeting added to it too.
What can this be about?
Motion Signed by Councillors Chris Roberts and Spencer Drury Regarding Royal Borough Status and the Name of the Borough
This Council welcomes that Her Majesty the Queen has announced her intention to convey Royal Borough status on Greenwich as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
The Council notes that the new status of Royal Borough is expected to come into force on 3rd January 2012; and, that the event will be marked by the issue of Letters Patent.
The Council welcomes the honour and resolves, in line with Section 74(1) and (2) of the Local Government Act 1972, to agree to change the name of the Borough to the Royal Borough of Greenwich with effect from 3 January 2012.
So there’s just 166 days left of being a dull old London borough, before Greenwich becomes a royal borough on 3 January. Curiously, that’s a Tuesday, and will be the first day back at work for most of the borough’s population, so don’t go expecting a flurry of street parties on the big day.
The setting of a date starts the countdown, though, and we’ll be seeing more of this in the weeks and months to come as the council gets set to change over to the new name.
One thing to go will be the old borough crest – with the hourglass of Greenwich and the cannons of Woolwich – since a royal borough demands a proper coat of arms. Mayoral chains will change. But more visibly, so will signs and notepaper. Those “millennium borough” signs as you come in from Lewisham, Bexley and Bromley haven’t got long left.
So expect a PR coup on 3 January, on what’s usually a deathly quiet day for a news media who’ll be desperate to fill column inches and airtime – and the expectation of lots of lovely tourist lolly in what’s going to be a big, big year for the borough, even without the regal trinkets.
Yes, expect the likes of London Tonight and BBC London News to be in town – but get it on Good Morning America and it’ll be worth its weight in royal diamonds. Old Labour firebrands might be crossing their fingers and humming the Sex Pistols’ version of God Save The Queen, others might be wincing at the cost of a shedload of new signs.
But’s a little like the Olympics – except we aren’t losing a park for a month here. The moment the Royal Borough of Greenwich gets its first mention on US TV, or in Japan or China, even cynics might begin to agree it’s all worth it.