Pageant of South Norwood
South Norwood was part of the county borough of Croydon until the redrawing of the boundaries of Greater London.
Place: Stanley Halls (South Norwood) (South Norwood, Surrey, England)
Number of performances: 4
25 and 28 September 1951 at 8pm.
Name of pageant master and other named staff
- Producer [Pageant Master]: Dugard, Donald
- Compere: Joy Medland
- Lighting: Tom Pay
Names of executive committee or equivalent
Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)
Names of composers
- Coleridge-Taylor, Samuel
- Attwood, Thomas
Numbers of performers150
Churches taking part: St Mark’s Church of England, Church of the Holy Innocents, Selhurst Road Congregational, Enmore Road Congregational, Holmesdale Road Baptist, South Norwood Hill Methodist.
Object of any funds raised
Festival of Britain
- Grandstand: No
- Grandstand capacity: n/a
- Total audience: n/a
Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest
Key historical figures mentioned
Music performed by Mr Stanton Rees and His Orchestra
Newspaper coverage of pageant
Book of words
- Pageant of South Norwood. N.P., 1951. [Price 3d.]
Other primary published materials
References in secondary literature
Archival holdings connected to pageant
- Copy of programme in Surrey History Centre, Woking, reference 8220/8/70.
Sources used in preparation of pageant
- Conan Doyle, Arthur. Complete Sherlock Holmes Short Stories.
Permission granted by John Murray, the publisher
This was one of many pageants held alongside the Festival of Britain in 1951. It was unusual in mixing historical and fictional material, as well as including very recent history in the form of an episode depicting Air Raid Precaution (ARP) wardens during the recent war. The last scene was a tableau inspired by the Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan Doyle. The organisers were aware that this was a departure from some of the established traditions of twentieth-century historical pageantry, and offered this explanation in the programme:
It is possible that some of you will be disappointed with this pageant. People and events which are of significance may not be mentioned. If this be the case, we ask for your indulgence. We do not set out to portray a full history of South Norwood. Instead, we have chosen events and incidents in the lives of different people and attempted to make a unity from this material. Ideas, clothes, social conditions and habits change, for time never stands still. As the old lay down the torch, youth takes it up; but there is surely some power which moves history and shapes it according to its will. The history of South Norwood does not extend from the distant past. Indeed, it is only about 150 years since the forest was cleared; and yet, there are some who have lived in these parts who belong, not only to us, but to the whole world. Wherein lies the greatness of any nation or city? in its wealth, its size, its buildings and industry? Surely not. It lies in the vision of its leaders and the comradeship of its people.
‘In this Festival Year, let us remember our spiritual heritage and dedicate ourselves to the tasks which lie ahead, that those who follow after may not be ashamed of us, but may catch a glimpse of the true greatness and purpose of life.1
- Pageant of South Norwood (n.p, 1951), unpaginated.
How to cite this entry
Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Pageant of South Norwood’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1200/