The first mayor of Chesterfield, Ralph Clarke, was elected in 1598. Since then there has been a mayor elected every year, some serving more than once, or in office for more than one year. In 1598 Chesterfield received a new Charter from Queen Elizabeth I, giving the town the right to have a mayor. A copy of this Charter is in the Council Chamber, the original Charter is on display at the museum and a detailed booklet on its significance is also available from the Museum.
A list of every Mayor of Chesterfield.
Until the Local Government Act 1933, any eminent local citizen could become mayor, but after that the mayor had to be an elected councillor. This explains why the Duke of Devonshire was able to become mayor in 1911.
Chesterfield’s right to have a mayor was reaffirmed in the new Charter from Queen Elizabeth II in 1974, when Staveley and Brimington were added to the borough to form the new local authority, Chesterfield Borough Council.
Chesterfield chooses its mayors according to length of service, so the longest-serving councillor who has not yet been mayor will be invited to stand for election regardless of political party. If two members of council were elected at the same time, they are given the opportunity to become mayor in alphabetical order by surname. A member of council may decide not to be mayor, when asked, but they will be approached again, in case their circumstances have changed and now wish to be mayor.
It is the custom of this council to be elected deputy mayor for a year and then become mayor the following year. This occurs subject to them being re-elected as a councillor, should a local election be held during their deputy year.
It should be noted that Chesterfield has a civic mayor, appointed for a single year, with a largely symbolic role, representing the council and community. This is quite different from the elected mayors who hold office in some councils, in a high-profile, paid executive role, like the mayor of London. Although the title is the same, the role of an elected mayor is very different, and they may hold office for several years.