Mayflower 2020

Presentation of the Scroll by the UK Speaker of the House of Commons to the USA Speaker House of Representatives

Thames Trip for MP’s gift to US House of Representatives - Mayflower 400 London

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Lord West signing US Ambassador signing Speaker signing

Speaker, Lord West, US Ambassador Speaker, Lord West, US Ambassador Ahoy rib transports the scroll

Approaching Tower Bridge Signed Scrol Scroll at Mayflower PH

Approaching Tower Bridge Port Health escort launch Maisie Ronald & Malcolm Knight

The Mayflower PH Edwardian

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UK and US Speakers ‘meet’ to mark the voyage of the Mayflower (December 2020)

The incredible journey taken by the Mayflower from the UK to the USA has been marked by a special virtual meeting between Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and his counterpart in the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

Sir Lindsay ‘presented’ an illuminated scroll, commemorating the arrival in Massachusetts in 1620 of the Pilgrim Fathers and Adventurers, to Speaker Pelosi in Washington DC during an online ceremony via MS Teams.

The Commons Speaker also used the opportunity to congratulate the newly elected President following the US election.

The specially commissioned scroll was sealed on the banks of the Thames in September – just miles from where the Mayflower set sail 400 years’ earlier - in a ceremony attended by Sir Lindsay, Admiral Lord West and the US Ambassador to the UK, Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson.

It was flown to Washington DC, where it was received by Speaker Pelosi, Congressman Ron Kind, the Democratic Chief Deputy Whip and chair of the House British-American Parliamentary Group, and Congressman George Holding, vice chair of the House BAPG.

Opening the online ceremony on Tuesday, Sir Lindsay said: ‘Firstly, as Speaker of the House of Commons – I would like to offer my congratulations to the newly elected president.
And, when the time is right, I would like to invite you – Madam Speaker – and President-elect Biden to visit us in the House of Commons.

Sir Lindsay said the courage of the Founding Fathers and the compassion of the Native Americans was ‘an example to follow in these troubled times’ in that ‘they pulled together and shaped our world’.

While the impact on the Indigenous people of the initial settlers should not be forgotten, he said the enterprise ‘built a bridge across the Atlantic of ideas and shared values - and a friendship that has endured the test of time’.

Madam Speaker, in recognition of our close relationship – Parliament to Parliament, Government to Government and People to People – may I present you with this commemorative scroll.

Speaker Pelosi said: ‘Four hundred years ago, more than 100 brave men, women and children set sail on a perilous journey to a new world in search of the promise of opportunity and freedom for themselves and their descendants.

Today, this historic event serves as a poignant symbol of the friendship, spirit of courage and commitment to progress that unites the people of America and the United Kingdom.

As Speaker of the House, it is a privilege to virtually join Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, representatives of Thames Alive and so many outstanding British and American leaders as I accept this beautiful scroll on behalf of the House of Representatives in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s momentous voyage.

The Mayflower left the London port of Rotherhithe with dozens of adventurers and pilgrims on board to meet other English pilgrims who had fled to Leiden in the Netherlands, and were sailing in their own ship, the Speedwell. The plan was for the two ships to meet in Southampton, before heading off across the Atlantic together. However, the smaller ship proved to be unseaworthy, forcing them to turn back twice, before the Mayflower took on some of her passengers. She finally set sail from Plymouth with 102 passengers on board – just under half of whom were fleeing persecution for their religious beliefs.

Rep Ron Kind said he was ‘honoured’ to be involved in the virtual gathering. ‘Having an ancestor who sailed aboard that ship so many years’ ago, it brings me deep pride to be part of this ceremony – and it also serves as a reminder of the lasting and enduring ties our two countries share,’ he said.

I look forward to strengthening those ties as our countries work together to address shared opportunities and challenges.

Sir Lindsay was particularly interested in the event as Myles Standish, one of the passengers on the ship, was from his constituency of Chorley and was hired by the Pilgrims to be their military captain.

Roger Mutton, event producer at Thames Live, which promotes the river’s history, business and culture, said: ‘Despite the limitations, we still wanted to mark this special date in our shared history.

Part III of the commemorations will take place in London in 2021 when we will celebrate ‘The Return of The Mayflower’ – more details to follow as circumstances develop.


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