The Lord Mayor is Chairman of City of York Council and the first citizen of the city. We would normally make this appointment each year in May.
This year, following the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, it's been agreed that Councillor Janet Looker will continue as caretaker Lord Mayor and the first resident of York for another year. For the first time in over 80 years The Lord Mayor of York and her consort will stay in position for a second term, thereby covering municipal years 2019/21.
At the same time each year, we also appoint the Sheriff of York, the city's other civic head.
York's Lord Mayor is second only to the Lord Mayor of London in precedence and its Sheriff holds the oldest office of Sheriff in England and Wales.
The current Lord Mayor
The Lord Mayor for the civic years 2019/21 is Councillor Janet Looker.
Janet came into local politics in 1985 standing for North Yorkshire County Council to represent the Guildhall ward in York.
She remained a North Yorkshire County Councillor until 1996 when York became a unitary council, standing for Guildhall ward, as a founder member of the new City of York Council and has continued as a member for over 20 years.
As well as being a local councillor, Janet worked as a solicitor in private practice in York, retiring in 2003. She was a long standing governor of what was then St. John's College, when she was offered the post of Clerk to the Governors. During this time she supported the successful bid for the college to convert to a university. She later retired from that role in 2015.
As a councillor she has always been committed to the wellbeing and the education of children and young people, and continues to maintain a keen interest in this area.
Role of the Lord Mayor of York
The Lord Mayor chairs meetings of full council and, together with the Sheriff:
- represents the city on ceremonial occasions
- welcomes international visitors
- attends events organised by local people and community groups
Invite our Civic Party to your event
We are adjusting to different ways of working during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which means the staff in the Civic office are working remotely and the Lord Mayor’s meetings and engagements are currently being held virtually. The Lord Mayor and Civic party would still welcome the opportunity to keep in touch with the Citizens of York, particularly during these difficult times, and is available to attend any virtual events on Zoom, Skype or MS Teams that you may be arranging. Please email the Civic office with further details if you would like to invite the Lord Mayor (and/or the Civic party) to a virtual event.
The Lord Mayor will also consider recording messages or sending certificates in recognition of special achievements and to mark key dates such as a 100th birthday or 60th wedding anniversary, please feel free to email the Civic office if you would like to arrange this. Please note, we normally require 21 days’ notice to consider and process any requests.
If you are considering an event in 2021 and would like the Lord Mayor, Sheriff and/or Civic party to join you in person (subject to the Government guidance at that time), please complete the Civic Engagement Questionnaire for your request to be considered.
If you prefer, download a form to invite the Lord Mayor to your event.
This year's Civic Party
Our Civic Party for 2019/21 is:
- The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Janet Looker
- Lord Mayor’s Consort, Mrs Patricia Castle
- Sheriff of York, Mrs Jo Trythall
- Sheriff's Consort, Mr Bill Trythall
The Mansion House
The Lord Mayor hosts formal and informal functions at the Mansion House, the Lord Mayor's residence during their year of office.
The Mansion House is also available for tours and private hire - see further information on The Mansion House website.
We hold full council meetings, chaired by the Lord Mayor, in the council chambers within the Guildhall.
The Guildhall was built in the 15th century and is situated on the River Ouse behind the Mansion House.