London Sheep Drive 2023: When is it, where is it and who is leading this year’s event?

This weekend come along and see 50 sheep driven across Southwark Bridge.

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This weekend 50 north of England mule sheep will be driven across Southwark Bridge by Freemen of the City to raise money for charity.

The London Sheep Drive is an annual event that has been running for the last decade, but its origin dates back to the 12th century.

Here’s everything you need to know about the event.

What is the London Sheep Drive?

In medieval times, sheep farmers drove their sheep across London Bridge into the City of London to sell them at market.

Freemen of the City were excused from the bridge toll that had to be paid by other people crossing the bridge, in recognition of their status as local traders.

In 2013, the Worshipful Company of Woolmen took up the ancient right of driving sheep across London Bridge again in an annual event to raise funds for the Woolmen’s Charity and the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

London Bridge has now been switched out for Southwark Bridge, which will close to vehicles during the event.

The annual sheep drive will take place this weekendThe annual sheep drive will take place this weekend
The annual sheep drive will take place this weekend

When is this year’s London Sheep Drive?

This year’s London Sheep Drive will take place on Sunday September 24 from 10am to 4pm.

Who is leading the event?

This year Great British Menu winner Richard Corrigan will become a would-be shepherd for the day leading the sheep across the bridge.

Previous celebrity sheepherders at the event include Barbara Windsor, Alan Titchmarsh, Mark Rylance, Michael Portillo and Mary Berry.

Corrigan will be joined by Sir Andrew Parmley as Lord Mayor Locum Tenenshe and Sheriffs of the City of London.

Mary Berry had a go at leading the Sheep Drive in 2017.Mary Berry had a go at leading the Sheep Drive in 2017.
Mary Berry had a go at leading the Sheep Drive in 2017.

Where do the sheep come from?

50 sheep are provided for the event by Bedfordshire farmers David and Barbara Seamark, from their flock of 600, with just 10 participating in each drive at any one time.

There will also be the opportunities to watch sheep shearing demonstrations and meet rare breeds.

The animals will be under the observation of their usual shepherd, a vet and the RSPCA will be in attendance.

What is the Livery Fair?

Along with the Sheep Drive, a Livery Fair will take place in the pedestrianised area of Queen Street Place.

Here, there’ll be plenty to see and do, including stalls selling woollen clothes and accessories; sheep shearing demos; and representation from various City livery companies including the Worshipful company of Weavers, Basketmakers and Bakers.

Freemen and their families often choose to arrive in fancy dress, as characters such as Little Bo Peep and Shaun the Sheep.

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