The Redress of the Past: Historical Pageants in Britain

Welcome to the online home of The Redress of the Past, a major Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project examining historical pageants in twentieth-century Britain. In July 2019, we were awarded follow-on funding for Impact and public engagement. This funding supports a programme of events, exhibitions and other activities. 

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NEW PUBLICATIONS BY PROJECT TEAM!

The Redress of the Past team is pleased to announce some new publications:

  1. Restaging the Past: Historical Pageants, Culture and Society in Modern Britain. A book of essays by team members, project partners, colleagues and friends. Available for free download via the UCL Press website, from 17 August 2020.
  2. Mark Freeman's wonderful Illustrated History of the pageants of St Albans, available via the publisher's website.
  3. Our Local History Study Guide to pageants research, available as a free download here.

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HISTORICAL PAGEANTS AND FOLK ARTS: EXHIBITION AND SPECIAL EVENT AT CECIL SHARP HOUSE

In collaboration with the English Folk Dance and Song Society, we are holding an exhibition focusing on the close connections between the historical pageantry movement and folk song and dance. This exhibition, which is free, opened in January 2020. For further details of the exhibition please see the Cecil Sharp House website; once Cecil Sharp House re-opens, it will run until April 2021. On 20 February 2021, we will also be holding a day of talks, films, exhibitions and performances of historical pageantry from local history organisations, museums, theatre groups, musicians and dancers. This event will also celebrate our project publications, including our Local History Study Guide to pageant research, a free e-version of which can be downloaded here. This will be followed by a separate evening event featuring scenes from pageants, including the forthcoming Axbridge Pageant 2021 (postponed from Aug. 2020 due to coronavirus), as well as music from pageants past and present. 

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PAGEANTS DATABASE

Our Pageants Database can be found at historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/. You can also access it via the 'Pageants Database' tab at the top of the screen. We'd be really interested to hear what you think about the database. Thoughts, comments, suggestions for amendments and corrections all much appreciatedas we will be updating the database for many years to come. Please email us about the database on historicalpageants@kcl.ac.uk. We'd love to hear from you!

Please see the database FAQs for information about how to use and cite the database.

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MUSIC AND PAGEANTS

In January 2020, we collaborated with St Albans Museums to stage an evening of pageant film and music. Our friend Parker Gordon has made available some excerpts from the music he played at that event. To listen to these, visit his website, here

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THE DAVID CLARKE COLLECTION

We are delighted to announce that a treasure trove of historical pageants-related material has been donated to King’s College London by Juliet Renny. Juliet’s husband David Clarke was one of the leading pageant-masters of the post-war period, responsible for major productions such those held at Guildford and Carlisle (both 1977), Farnham (1988), and many others. David’s friend Bob Page remembers him as “a creative and dedicated author and inspirational pageant master” whose “enthusiasm gave his cast members and helpers, most whom had little or no acting experience, with a sense of theatre and drama that would live with them for future years.”

The David Clarke Collection includes "books of words" and programmes related to David’s own historical pageants, as well as a fascinating set of scripts and souvenirs related to earlier pageants staged by other exponents of the art of pageantry, such as Louis Napoleon Parker and Frank Lascelles. David himself had a keen interest in history, and indeed wrote a book about historical pageants, drawing on and recounting his own experiences. The typescript of the book has also been donated to King’s as part of the David Clarke Collection. An online exhibition of the collection can be viewed on the King's College London website. There's also this interesting article on Clarke himself, by archivist Sarah Coggrave.

We are extremely grateful to Juliet for this generous gift, which will help ensure that David’s important contribution to historical pageantry is fully appreciated now and in years to come. As Juliet has told us, “I know that David would be so pleased that everyone who was involved, or saw a Pageant, would be able to find and re-live the amazing 'Pageant' experience.  He loved enthusing people towards a combined achievement, getting them to do something different—'a new world'. The excitement overcame all the difficulties—rehearsing when they were exhausted, waiting in the pouring rain and mud, and wearing strange costumes that they did not always like! I am relieved that all his research and creative work will be saved for the future.”

The David Clarke Collection is held at King’s College London, and is free for the public to consult. For inquiries about accessing the collection, please contact archives@kcl.ac.uk. The Clarke collection catalogue is available here.

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NOEL STREATFEILD'S PAGEANTS

We have added an article on the (fictional) historical pageants of Noel Streatfeild. This article, by Rebecca Morris of the University of Hull, can be found in the 'Featured Pageants' section of the website.

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We need your help!

Do you have any materials relating to historical pageants?

Interested in helping shape the direction of the Historical Pageants website?

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