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 Traditions
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. This 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 served 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 has also coordinated armed forces day parades with both the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and The Royal Regiment of Scotland. While the Lord Provost 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.
Current & past Lord Provosts
The current Lord Provost is Frank Ross.
In total, there have been 256 Provosts and Lord Provosts.
- Anderson, John (1825). Historical and genealogical memoirs of the House of Hamilton. Edinburgh.
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