Melton Mowbray Pageant, 1949
Place: Egerton Park (Melton Mowbray) (Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England)
Number of performances: 11
6–11 June 1949 at 7.30pm
Name of pageant master and other named staff
- Pageant Master: Irving, George
- Announcer: Capt. Radford RAVC
- Chairman: R. Gates
- Vice-Chairman: A. Bramley
Names of executive committee or equivalent
- Chairman: R. Gates
- Mr K.S. Almoy
- Mr H. Anderson
- Mr F. Bailey
- Mr H. Barnes
- Mr J.E. Brownlow
- Mrs W.B. Chambers
- Rev C.M.S. Clarke
- Mr D.H.I. Cronin
- Mr H.V. Dyson
- Mr W. Greaves
- Mr E.D. Hayes
- Mr G. Irving
- Mrs G. Irving
- Mr W.E. Katz
- Mr L.C. Leader
- Capt. W. Richey
- Mr A.I. Salter
- Capt. C.W. Short
- Miss B. Smart
- Miss B. Smith
- Mr R.W. Snelson
- Mr E.M. Summers
- Mrs G.K. Ward
- Mrs A. Wise
- Chairman: Mr R. Gates
- Chairman: Mr A. Salter
- Chairman: Mr K.S. Almey
Central Wardrobe Committee
- Chairman: Mr A. Wise
Ticket and Programme Committee
- Chairman: B. Maishment
- Chairman: Mr E.D. Hayes
- Chairman: Mrs G.K. Ward
Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)
- Irving, George
- Cornelius, Miss L.
- Irving, Mrs M.
- Smart, Barbara
- Bradshaw, Norman
- Brownlow, Jack
Names of composers
- Barnes, Harold
Numbers of performers
Object of any funds raised
400th Anniversary of the Town Borough
Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest
Sunday 5 June
- 10.45am: Civic Service at Parish Church
Monday 6 June
- 10.30am: Egerton Park Cricket Club v.
Hawks Cricket Club (Yorkshire)
- 2.30pm: Opening of Hunting Pictures
(exhibited every day thereafter until end of pageant)
- Pageant opened by the Duke and Duchess
- Exhibition of Polish Handicrafts at Hall
of Girls’ Modern School (daily until Friday)
Tuesday 7 June
- Exhibition and display by the Residents
of Polish Hostels.
- Pageant opened by the Bishop of
Wednesday 8 June
- 6.30pm: Mammoth bowls drive and display
by Toy Soldiers’ Dance
- Pageant opened by Lady Newtown Butler
Friday 10 June
- Leicestershire Agricultural Show at
Stapleford Show (also on 11 June)
- Pageant Opened by the Baroness
- 10pm: Pageant Costume Dance in Corn
Saturday 11 June
- 2.30-7pm: Egerton Cricket Club v Oakham
- Pageant Opened by Miss Burns Hartopp
Episode One. The Danes Come to Melton, 9th Century A.D.
Episode Two. The Lords of Melton, 1160-1194.
Scene I. Roger de Mowbray, 1160 A.D.
Scene II. William de Mowbray, 1194 AD.
Episode Three. The Gilds and the Genesis of the Town Estate, 1549.
Episode Four. The Elizabethan Fair, 1567.
Episode Five. The Civil War. 1645. Cavalier and Roundhead
Episode Six. Scenes from 19th Century Melton.
Key historical figures mentioned
- Mowbray, Sir Roger (I) de (d. 1188) magnate
- Mowbray, William de (c.1173–c.1224) baron
Choir made up of members of local churches and choral societies of Melton and Hinckley conducted by Harold Barnes with Melton Mowbray Town Band. Bandmaster: Cyril Walker.
Newspaper coverage of pageant
Nottingham Evening Post
Book of words
- None known
Other primary published materials
- Melton Mowbray town estate, 1549–1949: programme of events & pageant, Whit week, June 6–11th, 1949. Melton Mowbray, 1949.
References in secondary literature
Archival holdings connected to pageant
- Leicestershire Archives. Copy of Programme, Reference M985.
Sources used in preparation of pageant
Melton Mowbray Pageant was held to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of the town estate. George Irving, the Pageant Master, declared in the souvenir programme:
The ordinary day to day in any small town may seem insignificant compared with the highlights of a Westminster, York or Nottingham. Yet, in the long run, it is the smaller communities, providing the unique range of colour and incident, which shoot through and illuminate the glorious tapestry of England’s story.1
Performed eleven times over the course of a week of quite elaborate celebrations (one highlight being a ‘mammoth bowls drive’), the pageant seems to have been a relatively significant event for the town. The focus of its narrative was, unsurprisingly, the establishment of the town estate in 1549, but other events covered included the marauding of the Danes in the ninth century (a perennially popular subject for pageantry) and the Civil War—now far more popular than it had been in the early Parkerian pageants of the Edwardian period. Performed in the midst of postwar austerity, the Melton Mowbray pageant demonstrates the continued popularity of the form in civic celebrations of the late 1940s and 1950s. It was one of a number of historical pageants held in 1949, one major local example being Nottingham, which staged a large one in association with the commemoration of the city’s quincentenary. Melton Mowbray held a further pageant in 1971.
George Irving, Melton Mowbray town estate, 1549-1949: programme of events & pageant, Whit week, June 6th - 11th, 1949 (Melton Mowbray, 1949), 28.
How to cite this entry
Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Melton Mowbray Pageant, 1949’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1379/