Herne Bay Pageant in Celebration of the Coronation of Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
Place: Grand Pier Pavilion (Herne Bay) (Herne Bay, Kent, England)
Number of performances: 2
13–14 May 1937
Name of pageant master and other named staff
- Written and Directed by [Pageant Master]:
- Production: L.H. Salmon
- Organisation: T. Frend Paine
- Musical Direction: Ethel Le Gallienne
- Chorus Direction: Edith Stanton
- Dance Direction: Phyllis Jackson and
- Assistant Production: Tom Pitt
- Stage Direction: Stanley A. Turnpenny
- Deputy Stage Direction: Charles
- Assistant Stage Direction: John Hawkins
and W.H. Bristow
- Effects: A.H. Turnpenny
- Marshals: A.W. White and D. Rawlins
- Lights: John. C. Clague, Denis Welman,
- Call Boys: Roy White, R. Turnpenny
- Wardrobe Mistress: Mrs L.H. Salmon
Names of executive committee or equivalent
Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)
- Scott, Will
Names of composers
Numbers of performers
Object of any funds raised
Coronation of George VI
Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest
Prelude: National Anthem
Episode I. 19 July 1821. Coronation of George the Fourth.
The ship inn in 1821. The Doctor’s wife and daughter arm-in-arm with an old fisherman mending a net, a young fisherman staring out to sea. The women discuss their wanting to be in London to see the coronation. The old Fisherman describes a friend who was recently killed by smugglers. They all discuss the changing fortunes of the village, predicting it will become a spa.
Episode II. 8 September 1831. Coronation of William the Fourth
The Doctor’s daughter complains again about missing the coronation, and talks about coming innovations such as the hotel and pier. The old man complains that such developments are spoiling the place. The daughter is going to the coronation ball. The young fisherman has given up fishing to work on building the pier. The daughter picks up a handkerchief and has it returned by a young man. Though they haven’t formally been introduced, they plot how to dance together at the ball.
Episode III. 28 June 1838. The Coronation of Victoria.
The scene is the new clock tower. The old man criticizes the new developments. The Doctor’s daughter enters with her husband, the young man of the previous episode, and they talk about the various events including Sailing Races and a Ball. The old man notes the unrest and doubts that the present monarch will last very long. A band plays ‘God Save the Queen.’ The couple look at various ships. They decide they are too old for the ball and instead resolve to stay in playing music.
Episode IV. 9 August 1902. Coronation of Edward VII.
A holidaymaker and his wife and daughter are talking to an old man. They all complain about the over-commercialisation of the place, and the rowdy tourists. A young holidaymaking man enters and talks to the daughter. They exit arm-in-arm.
Episode V. 22 June 1911. Coronation of George V.
The holidaymakers of the former scene and a townsman on deckchairs are talking about the new theatre, town hall and cinemas. A holidaymaker complains that the place has lost its rural charm. The townsman talks about the decorations and rates.
Episode VI. The present Day.
A speaker announces the election of Miss Herne Bay 1937, the beauty Queen. Land of Hope and Glory and Procession of all the characters.
Key historical figures mentioned
Newspaper coverage of pageant
Book of words
- Herne Bay Coronation Pageant 1937. Herne Bay, 1937. 6d.
Other primary published materials
References in secondary literature
Archival holdings connected to pageant
- Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone, Reference K Herne Bay SCO
Sources used in preparation of pageant
Like many pageants held in connection with the 1937 Coronation (see, for instance, entries for pageants at Tonge and Reigate), this was a relatively small-scale pageant. In its content, it was homely rather than spectacular or grandiose. As the prologue to the programme declared:
No attempt has been made, as is done so often on such occasions, to drag a cavalcade of Kings and Queens, Knights and Ladies, having at least a doubtful connection with their setting. Herne Bay’s history is slight, and for this reason the attention in this Pageant has been directed not to the big happenings of the past, but to the little happenings. The keynote is domestic.1
The Pageant was written by the famous writer of short stories, plays and children’s books, William Matthew Scott.2 Eileen Knight was crowned Miss Herne Bay (which seemed to be an annual title) for the Coronation celebrations.3 The pageant itself described the changes seen in Herne Bay over 115 years, charting its transformation from a small village to a tourist resort. Interestingly enough, some of the episodes are rather downbeat in tone. New developments such as hotels, piers, theatres and cinemas are criticised, and the two scenes set in the early twentieth century feature holidaymakers themselves complaining about over-commercialisation, and lamenting that the place had lost its rural charm. While the pageant closed with the crowning of Miss Herne Bay and the upbeat strains of Elgar’s ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, the overall impression given here is rather pessimistic, the downsides of modernity and ‘progress’ being given as good an airing as the benefits.
FootnotesHerne Bay Coronation Pageant 1937 (Herne Bay, 1937), 3.
‘William Matthew Scott, 1893-1964’, The Times, 19 May 1964, 15.
‘The Early Years’, Herne Bay History, accessed 2 August 2016, http://www.hernebaycarnival.co.uk/HBCA%20History.pdf
How to cite this entry
Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Herne Bay Pageant in Celebration of the Coronation of Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1465/