Pageant of York

Other names

  • York 1900 Anniversary Celebrations: The York Pageant

Pageant type


The pageant was only one event in a yearlong programme of anniversary celebrations held to celebrate the 1900th anniversary of the foundation of York.

Jump to Summary


Place: Museum Gardens (York) (York, Yorkshire, West Riding, England)

Year: 1971

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 23


21 June–17 July 1971

[The first performance was held on Monday 21 June 1971 at 8 pm. Thereafter, all weekday performances (Monday to Friday) were held in the evening commencing at 8pm. Performances on 26 June and 3, 10 and 17 July were matinees and commenced at 2.30 pm. There were no Sunday performances and no performance at all on Wednesday 14 July.

The museum gardens are close by the city walls and roughly equidistant between the railway station and the remains of York's medieval centre.]

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Producer [Pageant Master]: Taylor, Edward
  • Organiser and Director of 1900 Celebrations: Richard Afton
  • Set Design: Patrick Olsen
  • Lighting Design: Ian Richardson
  • Fight Director: George Wann
  • Wardrobe Mistress: Kay DeLittle
  • Wardrobe Mistress: Mary Robinson
  • Stage Director: Neville Wright
  • Stage Manager: Glenn Booth
  • Stage Manager: Paul Turner
  • Lighting Supervisor: Graham Mitchell
  • Lighting Assistant: Michael Wrigglesworth
  • Lighting Assistant: Malcolm Ransom
  • Sound Operator: Nicholas Coope
  • Sound Operator: Paul Hudson
  • Sound Operator: Nigel Lowey
  • Sound Operator: Robert Long
  • Sound Operator: Ian Anderson
  • Property Mistress: Ruth Dawson
  • Publicity Officer: A. Clarke-Dunn


In addition to those named staff included, there were 13 Property Assistants (11 women and 2 men), 9 'stage staff' (gender not specified but probably male) and around 25 members of a 'wardrobe group' (mostly women but including two men).1

Names of executive committee or equivalent

1900 Anniversary Celebrations Committee

  • Chairman: Alderman R. Scruton, JP
  • Vice-Chairman: Alderman R. S. Oloman, MBE, JP
  • Other members: Alderman W. Bridge
  • Alderman W. T. Burke
  • Alderman E. L. Keld, JP
  • Alderman R. Scobey, JP
  • Alderman W. Ward, JP
  • Alderman J. M. Wood
  • Councillor M. M. Armitage
  • Councillor P. H. Booth
  • Councillor P. Higginson
  • Councillor C. W. Oliver
  • Councillor E. T. Oxtoby
  • Councillor R. Thompson
  • Dr J. D. Hunt
  • Mr G McGivern
  • Mr D. D. Nicholson
  • Mrs M. Piercy
  • Mr J. Shannon, OBE, JP
  • Mr L. P. Wenham
  • Mr L. C. Wilson.


Women are poorly represented on the Anniversary Celebrations Committee, with only a single woman on a committee of 22 members.2 A specific pageant sub-committee almost certainly existed however, but the membership of this has not been recovered; it likely consisted of many of the named staff and representatives from the anniversary committee.

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

  • Reed, George


Locally-born author George Reed wrote the pageant script. At the time he was an established scriptwriter for television and radio; he was best known for having been a writer on the long-running soap opera, Coronation Street.

Names of composers

  • Jackson, Francis

Francis Jackson was the organist and director of music at York Minster.

Numbers of performers


The figure of 250 is an estimate. Horses were used in the pageant.

Financial information

Production costs: £27000

Estimated loss: £3500

Object of any funds raised

The Times newspaper reported that the pageant cost £27000.3 Many documents in respect of this pageant were unavailable to consult in 2016 due to data protection restrictions imposed at York Archives. This likely includes surviving accounts. However, the minutes of a meeting of the Anniversary Celebrations Committee held on 28 July 1971 state that the expected shortfall of income over expenditure for the pageant was £3500.4

Linked occasion

1900th anniversary of the founding of the city of York

Audience information

  • Grandstand: Yes
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: n/a

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Prices of admission are included in a pamphlet detailing all of the events being held during 1971 to celebrate the 1900th anniversary of the city.5 However, for the last two weeks of the pageant, 1000 unreserved seats were made available at the reduced price of 25p.6

Associated events

A vast programme of events was held throughout 1971 to celebrate the 1900th anniversary. These included art exhibitions, theatre performances, special concerts, recitals, lectures, sporting fixtures, and an international festival of youth that included a number of events aimed at the young, notably day-long drama and music concerts held in the Theatre Royal and as well as open-air pop concerts. A military tattoo was also held at Knavesmire from 13 to 18 September. The anniversary programme commenced on 31 December 1970 with a Grand New Year's Eve Ball in the city's Assembly Rooms attended by the Lord Mayor. It ended in December 1971 with events such as a choir recital of Handel's Messiah on 7 December and a carol concert on 12 December. In addition to the historical pageant, items on the programme that had a historical orientation included a re-enactment of the Battle of Marston Moor performed by the Sealed Knot Society and held at Castle Howard on Sunday 27 June, and a Jousting Tournament held between 16 and 18 June.7

Pageant outline

Act One

Episode One: AD 60-410

The pageant begins with Cartismandua [sic], Queen of the Brigantes, receiving 'gifts from Rome and in return gives allegiance to the Emperor; until Venutius overthrows her and declares war on Rome. The Romans, having defeated Venutius, arrive at the junction of the Ouse and Foss.'8 The Roman governor, Petilius Cerealis, founds a Roman camp. Some time passes and Hadrian arrives; he proclaims, 'As this is our main base and the northern capital of our Empire, to commemorate my visit I confer the title—"Colonia Eboracensia" the city of Eboracum'.9 Still later, in AD 410, 'the Emperor Constantius dies in Eboracum, and his son Constantine receives the Emperor's purple before the cheering crowds'.

Episode Two: AD 410-650

King Edwin, ruler of much of Britain, marries Princess Ethelburga of Kent, who is a Christian and who brings with her the monk Paulinus as her spiritual adviser. The pagan priest Coifi finally submits to Paulinus's Christian teaching. King Edwin and his court are baptised in the Ouse and the first Minster is built.

Episode Three: AD 725-1066

Alcuin, the famous scholar of York, and teacher at St Peter's, accepts an offer to become adviser to Charlemagne. York is now the Danish capital of Northumbria, ruled by Sihtric Coach, the one-eyed. King Athelstan, Saxon ruler of the rest of Britain, makes peace with Sihtric and offers his sister in marriage as sign of his good faith. The Danes break the peace and Athelstan returns and defeats them, killing Sihtric. The conflict between Saxon and Dane reaches its conclusion in York in 1066 when Tostig and Harald Hadrada fight the Saxon King Harold and are defeated at Stamford Bridge. After his victory Harold leaves York immediately to march south to meet the Normans.

Episode Four: 1066-1200

Before the walls of York, King William of Normandy gives orders that York and Northumbria are to be completely destroyed. St Mary's Abbey falls into disrepute and Archbishop Thurstan dissolve it, giving orders for the building of Fountains Abbey. Under Richard I anti-Jewish feeling reaches its climax in York, where all of the Jews die in Clifford's Tower.

Episode Five: 1389-1485

Richard II and Queen Ann visit York and the king announces that in future the city will have the status of a county. He knights the mayor and declares that in future all mayors will be Lord Mayors as in London, and he gives the city his sword and cap of Maintenance. Heads on the walls of York! The White Rose of York suffers its worst defeat as Margaret of Anjou and Henry VI wait for news of the battle of Towton. The victorious Edward of York enters and replaces the heads with those of three of his own captives. Richard III, popular in York, offers his son to the people as Prince of Wales.

Episode Six: 1536-1650

Under Henry VIII the monasteries in York are dissolved. Robert Aske leads an army of citizens in rebellion on a Pilgrimage of Grace. They are tricked by Henry and Aske's bones are left to bleach on Clifford's Tower. Henry VIII visits the city to accept promises of their future loyalty and the Lord Mayor and Corporation meet him as supplicants.

Act Two

Episode Seven: 1700-1800

The eighteenth century, when York's prosperity is in decline. A musical episode in which the townspeople voice their grievances to the Lord Mayor and Council in Micklegate Butter Market. Dick Turpin on his way to the gallows, Elizabeth Fry is improving conditions in the prisons, and John Wesley is preaching in the streets. This gives a composite picture of York and the people who visited it.

Episode Eight: 1800-1871

After the decline of the city's prosperity, two men help to bring York up-to-date with the new industrial Britain of the nineteenth century. The first was George Hudson, the Railway King, who more than anyone else helped to give this country its rail communications. He makes York 'capital of t'railways in t'north' and his efforts provide much needed employment. His decline and fall do not belittle his achievements as one of the city's greatest men.

Episode Nine: 1870-1914

The second man was Joseph Rowntree, who when he was 33 left his shop in the Pavement and joined his brother Henry in the Cocoa Works. The episode traces the rise of Rowntree's from the tiny room in Tanner's Moat employing 11 men, to the new factory at Haxby Road employing thousands. The episode ends with Joseph receiving the highest honour – the freedom of York.

Episode Ten: 1939-1945

York under aerial attack during the second world war [sic] and the bombing raid that destroyed the Guildhall. From the ruins, Alderman Edna Annie Crichton, the first Lady Lord Mayor, announces the Guildhall will be rebuilt and with it the spirit and traditions of the city that for 1900 years have made York unique.

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Cartimandua [Claudia Cartimandua, Julia Cartimandua] (d. after AD 69) queen of the Brigantes
  • Hadrian [Traianus Hadrianus] (AD 76–138) Roman emperor
  • Platorius Nepos, Aulus (fl. 119–c.125) Roman governor of Britain
  • Constantine III [Flavius Claudius Constantinus] (d. 411) Roman emperor proclaimed in Britain
  • Eadwine [St Eadwine, Edwin] (c.586–633) king of Northumbria
  • Æthelburh (d. 647)
  • Paulinus [St Paulinus] (d. 644) bishop of York and of Rochester
  • Alcuin [Albinus, Flaccus] (c.740–804) abbot of St Martin's, Tours, and royal adviser
  • Æthelstan [Athelstan] (893/4–939) king of England
  • Sihtric Cáech [Sigtryggr Cáech] (d. 927) king of York
  • Tostig, earl of Northumbria (c.1029–1066) magnate
  • Harald Hardrada [Haraldr inn Harðráði, Haraldr Sigurðarson] (1015–1066) king of Norway
  • Harold II [Harold Godwineson] (1022/3?–1066) king of England
  • William I [known as William the Conqueror] (1027/8–1087) king of England and duke of Normandy
  • Thurstan (c.1070–1140) archbishop of York
  • Malebisse [Malebysse], Richard (c.1155–1209/10) justice
  • Richard II (1367–1400) king of England and lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine
  • Anne [Anne of Bohemia] (1366–1394) queen of England, first consort of Richard II
  • Margaret [Margaret of Anjou] (1430–1482) queen of England, consort of Henry VI
  • Henry VI (1421–1471) king of England and lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine
  • Edward IV (1442–1483) king of England and lord of Ireland
  • Richard III (1452–1485) king of England and lord of Ireland
  • Henry VIII (1491–1547) king of England and Ireland
  • Katherine [Catherine; née Katherine Howard] (1518x24–1542) queen of England and Ireland, fifth consort of Henry VIII
  • Aske, Robert (c.1500–1537) lawyer and rebel
  • Turpin, Richard [Dick] (bap. 1705, d. 1739) highwayman
  • Fry [née Gurney], Elizabeth (1780–1845) penal reformer and philanthropist
  • Wesley [Westley], John (1703–1791) Church of England clergyman and a founder of Methodism
  • Hudson, George [called the Railway King] (1800–1871) railway promoter and fraudster
  • Rowntree, Joseph (1836–1925) cocoa and chocolate manufacturer
  • Rowntree, (Benjamin) Seebohm (1871–1954) sociologist and businessman

Musical production

There was a specially composed pageant anthem. It was played at the commencement of the performance. Although no firm record stating the contents or mechanism for delivering music has been recovered, it is almost certain that music used in the pageant was recorded. The programme advertises a recording which included music made by the 400-strong York Celebration Choir, the Grimethorpe Colliery Band and the Hammond Sauce Works Brass Band.10 At least some of the music was original and was composed by Francis Jackson.

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Yorkshire Evening Press
The Guardian
The Times

Book of words


A book of words was not produced but surviving copies of the original script can be consulted at the York Archives: 1900th Anniversary Celebrations: The York Pageant by George Reed.

Other primary published materials

  • Pageant of York, Museum Gardens York June 21st-July 17th: Programme. Scarborough, 1971.

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • General correspondence file, ref: Y/CUL/1/8/287
  • Pageant meeting papers and correspondence, ref: Y/CUL/1/8/149.
  • York Archives:
  • Two copies of the original typescript see 1900th Anniversary Celebrations: The York Pageant by George Reed, shelf number: Y 394.5.
  • Several copies of the pageant programme at shelf number: Y/CUL/1/8/285.
  • A large number of miscellaneous documents relating to the pageant (some of which are not yet available for consultation under data protection law) under the following headings and general shelfmarks:

Sources used in preparation of pageant


In the introduction to the pageant programme, written in a satirical manner supposed to be in the style of Charlotte Brontë, the writer George Reed alludes to having taken advice from the archaeologist, Peter Wenham; he also states that he consulted local history books in York's library although he does not specify titles.11


The alleged 1900th anniversary of the founding of the city of York in 1971 was employed by the city council to stage a yearlong programme of celebrations. The varied programme produced was without doubt an attempt at economic regeneration, and designed as a tourist attraction. This was in an age when the sun, sea and sangria available on the Costa del Sol had begun to become more alluring and more attainable for British holidaymakers, and in addition, it was perhaps felt that York was not sufficiently on the map for overseas travellers to the UK. York wanted to reassert itself as England's second city and as the heritage capital of the north—the anniversary provided a timely opportunity to do this. The central attraction of the programme, held during the summer months, was a historical pageant; and the plan was to stage this 24 times over several weeks in the central and historic location of the city's Museum Gardens. This was conveniently sited for public transport and all of York's usual attractions that lay around the ancient and famous York Minster Cathedral. What could go wrong?

The first and most obvious flaw in the plan to hold a spectacular pageant that would be the highlight of the anniversary was that it was being staged outdoors: sadly, the weather was unkind to the pageant organisers in June and July 1971. The second problem was that this celebration probably did not get wholehearted support. It was stated that it would cost £80000, and the director of the festival, Richard Afton, was extremely defensive about this expense, saying, 'if people want events of this sort they must be prepared to pay for them'.12 However, clearly not everyone wanted the events planned for York. The large-scale opening for the year was a grand ball held on New Year's Eve 1970, which proceeded to lose money. Afton dismissed this inauspicious start, saying that the major money-spinners would come in the summer and attract more visitors.13 One of these supposed income generators was, of course, the pageant; but as Afton would discover, it too would lose money. Indeed, after the first couple of weeks, ticket prices were slashed in the face of disappointing attendance. Of the estimated £80000 in expenditure for the festival, £27000 was needed for the pageant, so losses made on this particular event must have come as a significant blow. The relatively small cast of volunteers in this pageant also suggests a low level of interest: it had only 250 players, though organisations such as the Townswomen's Guild helped by providing catering to the cast, so the roll call of volunteers was a little big bigger. Yet in a city with such a strong and present awareness of its historical heritage, it is surprising that more people did not involve themselves with the pageant. Thirdly, although there would be further large-scale pageants held in the north of England (Carlisle in 1977 for example), pageants were certainly becoming less popular by the 1970s. They were a risky venture for this reason alone, and in the context of a much bigger festival there was always a high chance they would struggle in the competition for audiences.

Yet York pushed ahead with its plans; and undoubtedly, there was no lack of ambition for this anniversary festival, nor indeed, specifically for the pageant as its high point (given the success of the 1907 York Pageant). A professional writer, known for his successful contributions to popular television dramas, was drafted in to write the script; surviving copies of his work show that he made every attempt to update the genre for a modern audience. Dialogue is brisk and not overlong, with each episode covering historical events over several centuries; and it seems clear that he had an eye to the needs of the audience in the television age. The pageant also had a designated 'fight co-ordinator', suggesting that it was action-packed.14 The ten episodes included were performed in two 'acts'. The first of these ranged from York's Roman roots to the dissolution of the monasteries, and the second started neatly at 1700 and brought York's story into the mid-twentieth century. However, trouble over the content began even before the script was completed, when it was revealed that one of York's most infamous sons would not be included: Guy Fawkes, who had been born in the city in 1570. The scriptwriter, George Reed, defended this position, stating that Fawkes belonged 'to national rather than local history'.15 However, it is difficult not to conclude that this sixteenth century terrorist may have been a historical character who was too hot to handle in the context of the late 1960s and early 1970s when the Irish 'troubles' had begun to be very troubling indeed within the British mainland. Although Reed may have concentrated on local history and, to some extent on the ordinary citizens of York, there was no shortage of nationally known figures in this pageant, and his argument was disingenuous.

The script that Reed produced did the job, so to speak; and though it certainly does have pace it was not sufficiently outstanding or novel to have attracted the level of interest that this pageant really needed in order to succeed. Predictably, the story began with York's foundation by the Romans; this was done without human sacrifices, but even so, the Romans yet again came riding in to the rescue of the primitive Britons. The Brigandes, who were subdued by the Romans at the start of the episode, gave way several centuries later to the Emperor Constantine who by this time was given a hearty cheer by the locals when he arrived in York.16 The second episode was also in traditional pageant mode and recalled the arrival of Christianity when, under the influence of his pious wife Ethelburga, King Edwin is converted from paganism by Paulinus.17 It is in third episode that Reed's desire to foreground local lore comes to the fore. The narrative begins with the famous scholar, Alcuin, is seen teaching his pupils about the history of York. He is depicted as a brilliant but modest individual in a scene featuring the arrival of a representative from Charlemagne's court, who comes to tell Alcuin that he is commanded to attend the emperor. The conversation between Alcuin and the emissary makes mention of the assaults by Vikings then taking place on the coast, and it is the Vikings who storm onto the stage in the second scene just after Alcuin makes his exit. Foremost among these is Sihtric who, in the company of his treacherous cousin Anlaf, awaits the arrival of King Athelstan and his sister, Martha. The arranged marriage between Sihtric and Martha is the reason they meet, but the scene ends when Sihtric, following the demise of the rapprochement between the Danes and the Saxons later deserts Martha, though she is pregnant with his child. This melding of two races is demonstrated in the narrative when Martha pleads for the life of her husband and tries to blame Anlaf instead for the abandonment of the peace accord. The last part of the episode again deals with Viking invaders and is a re-enactment of the Battle of Stamford Bridge. The divided loyalties of the nation run through the introduction to this battle scene; and the result of the battle where Harold is victorious, of course, signals the end of the Viking Age on the eve of the arrival of yet another invader, this time from Normandy.18

Episode four stays local to York but enters potentially contentious ground. The Normans are dealt with in the first scene when a taciturn and humourless William the Conqueror orders the sacking of York. This grim event is leavened with some humour in the next scene when some monks are seen enjoying a wheelbarrow race. This comic introduction leads into the main historical point, which is the foundation of a new abbey by Archbishop Thurstan. The comedy is short-lived, however, and in the final scene, a dark chapter in York's history is enacted very graphically. In this, the fact that the crusades are underway is shown in a short interlude where exasperated parents say goodbye to their gung-ho son as he departs for Palestine. At the conclusion of this, a member of the local gentry - Richard Malebysse (or Malebisse) stirs up anti-Semitism by calling out to an assembled crowd:

So our young knight is off to fight the Jews... What I'd like to know is - who's fighting the Jews for me? (laughing) Here in York we've got more Jews than they've got in the Holy Land! And I'll let you into a secret.... they own me! And my land.19

The mob responds in agreement and Jews are attacked, including an elderly man. The drama then turns to a small group of Jews who run to the castle seeking safety. Here they all meet their end, many by suicide rather than awaiting death at the hands of the rabble. This scene pulled no punches and was far from sympathetic to the local citizens of York.

The penultimate episode in Act One concerns the Wars of the Roses and begins with a young, naive and slightly arrogant Richard II, who nevertheless manages to endear himself to the people of York. A scene set in 1460 featuring Henry VI in 'one of his mad periods' follows this up.20 This includes a very unflattering portrayal of Margaret of Anjou, who is shown as an ambitious and disagreeable woman. The final scene shows Richard III in York accompanied by his wife, Anne and their young son, Edward. In this, he is notably not depicted as a hunchback but as 'a small virile man of thirty'.21 This is a sympathetic portrait of the monarch, which underplays the business of the princes in the tower; at one point Richard answers a query about the boys by saying 'for thirty years England has been torn by Civil War. A boy king would mean further anarchy. As Protector I had not the power to keep peace. As king I have. In Yorkshire they understand these things'.22

The last episode of Act One dramatises the whole debacle of the dissolution of the monasteries, the Pilgrimage of Grace—including the fate of Robert Aske—and lastly, Henry VIII's visit to York in the company of Katherine Howard. This episode and the first act then comes to a close with a short and fairly bland exposition featuring a conversation between some sentries on the York walls in 1644; this makes clear York's loyalty to the monarch during the Civil War.23 The three episodes that make up Act Two move from 1700 to the twentieth century. Once again, local interest is privileged in Episode Seven, which is entirely set in the Micklegate Market. It is described in the script as a 'composite scene' in which 'everything should be happening' and all of York society is on view.24 Song and dance are the principal components within a fictional narrative. A few well-known figures from history and myth turn up including the Methodist preacher John Wesley, the highwayman Dick Turpin and the prison reformer, Elizabeth Fry. The episode was clearly intended to be lively and light-hearted.25

For Episodes Eight and Nine, locally important figures and events are central to the storylines, but such figures also had a national profile, hence Queen Victoria and Prince Albert put in an appearance. The coming of the railways is depicted in Episode Eight through bluff Yorkshireman, George Hudson, who becomes mayor of York in 1836. His entrepreneurial genius, alongside his generosity to the poor, is dramatized, and his financial shenanigans are treated flippantly in an affectionate portrayal that includes him being introduced to Queen Victoria. However, by the end, his disgrace as a man who used unscrupulous financial practices is revealed, though not in a manner that detracts from what was a sympathetic rendering of his career.26 Another of York's favoured sons features in Episode Nine. Joseph Rowntree builds up his cocoa business, bringing international fame to the city of York. His business genius however, is also set against his humane treatment of employees and his social conscience.27 The final episode of the pageant brings the story of York into near contemporary times and depicts a bomb raid during the Second World War in which the city's Guildhall is destroyed. The scene ends with York's first female Lord Mayor declaiming that in the wake of this all must recall:

The active and leading part the city played in the making of the Nation's history; the long list of names which adorn England's roll of fame... the memory of generation after generation whose names have not endured, but who in their day upheld the honour and fame of the city - all these are York's. What city can claim more?28

The pageant was thus brought to a neat end, given that it was this very legacy that the 1900th anniversary pageant sought to celebrate. This commemoration had been conducted with a good deal of razzmatazz, with special medals being struck, collectible china manufactured and a plethora of entertainments provided. The pageant was supposed to be the jewel in the crown of these shows, but for myriad reasons failed to live up to expectations. York had waited more than sixty years to stage its second large-scale pageant, the first having been held at the height of pageantitis in 1909 and directed by none other than the great pageant inventor, Louis Napoleon Parker. The performance staged in 1971 took place in a very different age when historical pageants were on the back foot. Though the scriptwriter and producer had tried hard to modernise the genre, this event failed to reignite pageant fever, and its story provides a good example of the reasons why pageants were in decline. For despite the large investment of public money, this was probably not quite large enough. Moreover, community involvement, while it may have been enthusiastic, was also not widespread enough to meet the challenges of providing an outdoor spectacle, come rain or shine.

Accordingly, the local press—which tended to be supportive of pageants—provided commentary in York that was hardly generous in terms of column inches. The one exception to this trend being when the Queen made a visit to York on 28th June; disappointingly however, she did not attend an entire performance of the pageant (as many royals in the past had done) but instead, watched selected highlights which were specially staged for her in the afternoon. The royal retinue then made their stately way to a garden party.29 Ironically, too, the kinds of celebratory events which the Yorkshire public actually supported eclipsed the pageant. In order to make some kind of recompense from the specially erected stage and grandstand, the festival organisers allowed pop concerts to take place in Museum Gardens on Sundays (when the pageant was not staged) as part of the anniversary year's international festival of youth. On 18th July, the band Hawkwind headlined a concert introduced by the well-known DJ, John Peel.30 The concert was a sell-out and is recalled as featuring on-stage nudity. The York historical pageant really could not compete with this type of spectacle.


  1. ^ See Pageant of York, Museum Gardens York June 21st-July 17th: Programme (Scarborough, 1971), 18; this item—consulted in York Archives—is evidently a pre-publication copy and some handwritten annotations and corrections had been made to the list of credits.
  2. ^ Members' names are listed on the back cover of City of York, Anniversary Celebrations: Diary of Events 1971 (Bradford, 1971). Surviving copy of this pamphlet held at York Archives, ref: Y/CUL/1/8/108.
  3. ^ 'York's History in £27,000 Wide-ranging Pageant by Ronald Faux', The Times, 26 May 1970, 10.
  4. ^ See folder of minutes re the Anniversary Celebrations Committee, held at York Archives, ref: CUL/1/8/5.
  5. ^ City of York, Anniversary Celebrations: Diary of Events.
  6. ^ See advertisement in Yorkshire Evening Press, 2 July 1971, 2.
  7. ^ City of York, Anniversary Celebrations: Diary of Events.
  8. ^ Unless otherwise specified, all information in the synopses is quoted from Pageant of York, Museum Gardens York June 21st-July 17th: Programme (Scarborough, 1971), 8-9.
  9. ^ Original typescript — 1900th Anniversary Celebrations: The York Pageant by George Reed, 8.
  10. ^ Pageant of York, Museum Gardens, 19.
  11. ^ George Reed, 'Writing the York Pageant', in Pageant of York, Museum Gardens, 6-7.
  12. ^ 'Festival Critics Answered', The Guardian, 3 February 1971, 7.
  13. ^ Ibid.
  14. ^ The fight director was George Wann; see list of credits in Pageant of York, Museum Gardens, 18.
  15. ^ 'No Place for Guy in York Pageant', The Guardian, 24 April 1970, 5
  16. ^ Episode One, 1900th Anniversary Celebrations: The York Pageant by George Reed, 1-15; copy of original script held at York Archives, ref: Y 394.5
  17. ^ Episode Two, ibid., 16-27.
  18. ^ Episode Three, ibid., 28-41.
  19. ^ Episode Four, ibid., 42-51, at 47.
  20. ^ Episode Five, ibid., 52-60, at 54.
  21. ^ Ibid., 58.
  22. ^ Ibid., 59.
  23. ^ Episode Six, ibid., 61-72.
  24. ^ Episode Seven, ibid., 73.
  25. ^ Episode Seven, ibid., 73-86.
  26. ^ Episode Eight, ibid., 87-100.
  27. ^ Episode Nine, ibid., 101-10.
  28. ^ Episode Ten, ibid., 111-13, at 113.
  29. ^ 'Pageant of History Unfolds for the Queen', Yorkshire Evening Press, 29 June 1971, 9.
  30. ^ Advertisement for a 'great Open-air Pop Concert', Yorkshire Evening Press, 2 July 1971, 2.

How to cite this entry

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