A Cavalcade of Famous Women of Britain, Folkestone

Pageant type

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Place: Leas Cliff Hall (Folkestone) (Folkestone, Kent, England)

Year: 1953

Indoors/outdoors: Indoors

Number of performances: 2


4 June 1953 at 5.15pm and 8pm

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Devised and Produced by [Pageant Master]: Barron, Sylvia Innes
  • Presented by Townswomen’s Guilds of Folkestone and Sandgate
  • Treasurer: Mrs K. Steddy
  • Secretary: Mrs M. Rye
  • Assistant Secretary: Mrs Upton
  • Stage Manager: Major Elliot
  • Assistant Stage Managers: John Woolley, David Ullyett, Alison Mitchell
  • Lighting: Len Griffiths
  • Continuity: Emmeline English
  • Costume Advisor: Mary Ireland
  • Wardrobe Supervisor: Mrs D. Johnson
  • Hair Stylist: Nora Hebditch

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

  • Barron, Sylvia Innes

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion

Coronation of Elizabeth II

Audience information

  • Grandstand: No
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: n/a

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest

5s–2s 6d.

Associated events

Folk Dancing

Pageant outline


1. Queen Boadicea and Her Daughter, 65AD

2. Queen Matilda and the Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070AD

3. The Fair Maid of Kent, 1352AD

4. Henry VIII and His Wives, 1509AD

5. Gloriana, Queen Elizabeth I, 1558AD

6. Mary, Queen of Scots, 1587AD

7. Nell Gwynn, 1665AD

8. Queen Anne, 1702AD

9. Flora Macdonald and Bonnie Prince Charlie, 1746AD

10. The Tragic Muse, 1755AD

11. Emma, Lady Hamilton, 1798AD

12. Women of Letters, 1811-40

Jane Austen and the Brontes

13. Elizabeth Fry, the Prisoners’ Friend, 1817AD

14. Grace Darling, 1838AD

15. Victoria Regina, 1837AD

16. The Lady of the Lamp [Florence Nightingale], 1854AD

17. Nurse Cavell, 1916AD

18. Catherine Booth, Salvationist, 1912AD

19. Mrs Pankhurst, 1913AD

20. Amy Johnson, 1933AD

Grand Progress and Finale

Key historical figures mentioned


Musical production

Performed by the Neapolitan Concert Orchestra, conducted by Jan Ralfini

Newspaper coverage of pageant


Book of words

None known

Other primary published materials

  • Programme of special pageant at the Leas Cliff Hall on 4th June: ‘A cavalcade of famous Women of Britain’. Folkestone, 1953. [Price 6d]

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of Programme in Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone, Reference Fo/CL1/9

Sources used in preparation of pageant



The early 1950s saw the staging of numerous historical pageants. The vast majority of these were held in connection with two events: the 1951 Festival of Britain and the 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (see Benfleet, Sandy and Warwickshire for examples of other Coronation Pageants). The Folkestone pageant of 1953 presents one such example. Devised by Sylvia Barron, it seems to have been quite a sizeable event, and is notable for its focus on the lives of women—a theme that was doubtless seen as appropriate given that the event was being held to mark the crowning of a female monarch. Perhaps predictably enough, the pageant dealt with famous British queens, from Boadicea of the Iceni, through Good Queen Bess, Anne and Victoria. But notwithstanding the attention paid to royalty, the pageant did not just deal with crowned heads, but with heroic commoners such as Florence Nightingale, the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, and Grace Darling—the latter’s fame as a rescuer of shipwrecked seamen perhaps playing especially well in the coastal community of Folkestone (for all that her exploits had occurred on the far-distant coast of Northumberland).


How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘A Cavalcade of Famous Women of Britain, Folkestone’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1425/