St Albans Mayor’s consort chain of office is finally found - hidden in a desk drawer

The Mayor and Mayoress with the recovered Consort chain.

The Mayor and Mayoress with the recovered Consort chain. - Credit: Archant

It’s always the last place you look...

More than two months after the heartbroken Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Mohammad Iqbal Zia, made a desperate appeal for the return of a missing chain of office, it has turned up safe at his home.

The consort chain was found to have disappeared from his home at the end of June as the Mayor and his wife Farhat prepared for an event for HMS St Albans, and there was even a suggestion that it might have been stolen during a burglary.

But this week the couple discovered the chain had become hidden under a pile of papers in a desk drawer at their home.

Mayor Zia said: “This has caused us untold distress. It was a very upsetting time for me, my wife and the whole family.

“We are ecstatic that it has been found safe and sound. Ever since it went missing we have retraced our steps over and over and thought, ‘where could it be?’.”

The Mayoress said: “We searched every inch of the house when the chain disappeared... except this one drawer, of course.

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“I kept the chain in its pouch there and it must have slipped out and become covered over by some papers. It is the last place in the world that we expected to find it.

“I was heartbroken that such a beautiful and historical piece, part of the heritage of St Albans, had been lost. I am extremely happy that it has been found and I will protect it at all costs.”

Mayor Zia had asked for residents to look out for the distinctive chain which dates back to 1907 and an appeal was made in the Herts Ad.

He said: “We want to thank all those people who kept an eye out for it and supported us through this difficult event. I am just glad for them as well as for us that there has been a happy ending.”

The artefact, valued at £3,000, dates back to 1907 and has been worn by mayor consorts of St Albans on official engagements over the years to indicate that they are accompanying the person who holds the highest public office in the city.

The gold chain consists of a shield-shaped body mounted with the enamelled Arms of the City.

It was presented to the, then, Corporation of St Albans in 1936 with the original silk cord being replaced by a gold chain at a later date.