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 a year of follow-on funding for Impact and public engagement. This will support a programme of events, exhibitions and other activities. 

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PAGEANTS EXHIBITION AT ST ALBANS

In collaboration with our project partner St Albans Museums, The Redress of the Past is doing an exhibition on the three major pageants that took place in St Albans (1907, 1948 and 1953). The exhibition is free entry, and runs between 15 November 2019 and 20 February 2020. For further details, see the St Albans Museum website

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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, opens on 29 January 2020. For further details of the exhibition please see the Cecil Sharp House website. On 21 March 2020, we will also be holding a day of talks, exhibitions and performances of historical pageantry from local history organisations, museums, theatre groups, musicians and dancers. This will be followed by a separate evening event featuring exciting scenes, music and dance from selected pageants, some of which have not been staged for many decades. Both the Historical pageant day and the evening performance are free entry. For further details see the Cecil Sharp House website.

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PAGEANTS DATABASE

We have now published our pageants database, also accessible via the 'Pageants' 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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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 just added a new 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?

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