Pageant of the History of Sheffield

Pageant type

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Place: Garden of Rye Lodge (Sheffield) (Sheffield, Yorkshire, West Riding, England)

Year: 1924

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 4


26 June at 6.30pm, 27 June at 6.30pm, 28 June 1924 at 3.30 and 6.30pm.

  • 26 June introduced by Mrs M. Ryder
  • 28 June, evening, introduced by Albert Harland, MP

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Pageant Master: Taylor, S.
  • Dress: Mrs Hartley, Miss Gillott, Miss Mellor, Miss Preston
  • Properties: Mr Cooper, Mr Gapes
  • Advertisement and Printing: Mr Hayward, Mr Heppell
  • Refreshments: Mrs Gapes, Miss A. Blackwell
  • Music: Rev C.T.E. Birks, Mr Wragg, Miss Mellor
  • Side Shows: Mr Adams, Mr Moody, Miss H. Mellor

Names of executive committee or equivalent

General Committee

  • Rev. Canon L.E. Day
  • Rev. C.T.E. Birks
  • Mr Barnaby
  • Mr Brakes
  • Mr Gapes
  • Mr P.A. Taylor
  • Mr Harvey Williams
  • Miss Douthwaite
  • Miss Gillott
  • Miss Lockwood
  • Miss Widdowson

Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)

  • Brakes, Mr.
  • Douthwaite, Miss
  • Widdowson, Miss

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion

Audience information

  • Grandstand: Not Known
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: n/a

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Season ticket 2s.6d., Thursday and Friday 1s.6d., Any day 1s.

Children under 14 half-price.

Associated events


Pageant outline

Episode I. The Vale of Rivelin, 124 AD

Episode II. The Aula of Waltheof, Lord of Hallam, 1075

Episode III. 1199

Scene 1. A Room in the first Sheffield Castle

Scene 2. Wedding Tableau of Maud de Lovetot and Gerard de Furnival

Episode IV. Sembly Green, 1297

Episode V. The Grounds of Sheffield Manor, 1530

Episode VI

Scene 1. Wedding Tableau of the Earl of Shrewsbury and Lady St.-Loe, 1568

Scene 2. A Room in Sheffield Castle, 1570

Scene 3. The Shrewsbury Room in the Turret House, 1584

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Waltheof, earl of Northumbria (c.1050–1076) magnate
  • Richard I [called Richard Coeur de Lion, Richard the Lionheart] (1157–1199) king of England, duke of Normandy and of Aquitaine, and count of Anjou
  • Hood, Robin (supp. fl. late 12th–13th cent.) legendary outlaw hero
  • Talbot, George, fourth earl of Shrewsbury and fourth earl of Waterford (1468–1538) magnate
  • Talbot, George, sixth earl of Shrewsbury (c.1522–1590) nobleman
  • Talbot [née Hardwick], Elizabeth [Bess; called Bess of Hardwick], countess of Shrewsbury (1527?–1608) noblewoman
  • Wolsey, Thomas (1470/71–1530) royal minister, archbishop of York, and cardinal
  • Talbot, Gilbert, seventh earl of Shrewsbury (1552–1616) landowner
  • Cavendish, Henry (1550–1616) soldier and traveller

Musical production

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Book of words


Other primary published materials


Pageant of the History of Sheffield Depicted in the Garden of Rye Lodge Consisting of Stirring Scenes in Sheffield’s History. Sheffield, 1924. [Price 3d.]

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of programme held in Sheffield Local Studies Library, PAMP 907 S.

Sources used in preparation of pageant



Taking the form of a mixture of dramatic episodes and tableaux, this was probably the first pageant held in Sheffield. Held in the gardens of Rye Lodge in the relatively affluent south-west suburbs of Sheffield, it benefitted from the support of local notables, principally Albert Harland, the newly-elected Conservative MP for the Eccleshall division of the city, who introduced the last of the four performances, on the evening of 28 June. In terms of its chronological coverage, the pageant followed the classic pattern established by Louis Napoleon Parker before 1914, the action beginning in Roman times and ending in the sixteenth century. A great deal of attention was paid to the medieval period, with one scene featuring the Saxon martyr Earl Waltheof, whose ‘aula’ (hall or court) was located in the manor of Hallam near Sheffield. The sixteenth century also featured prominently, reflecting the still-persisting fascination with all things Tudor and Elizabethan. It might seem curious that a pageant held in Sheffield, a city so closely associated with industry – and heavy industry in particular – should focus so much on the pre-modern past. This perhaps reflected a desire to demonstrate the antiquity of a place that might otherwise seem entirely modern, the exposition of a longer history serving to bolster a sense of identity amid the turbulence of the early twentieth century. If so, it was a desire that was shared by the other, more elaborate, pageants that would be held in the towns and cities of the north and midlands later in the interwar period (see entries for pageants in Manchester (1926), Bradford (1931) and Birmingham (1938), for example). For all that the significance of these places seemed centred on the modern period, the large civic pageants that they hosted also emphasised the medieval and early modern past, if not perhaps to the same degree as at Sheffield in 1924.

Sheffield held a further pageant for its city centenary in 1943 and a Pageant of Production in 1948.


How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Pageant of the History of Sheffield’, The Redress of the Past,