Preston Children's Pageant

Other names

  • A Midsummer Night's Fantasy

Pageant type

Jump to Summary


Place: Avenham Park (Preston) (Preston, Lancashire, England)

Year: 1928

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 2


25–30 June 1928

The pageant was held at the same venue as that staged in Preston in 1922.`The dates quoted apply to the original schedule; within this, the pageant was due to be performed in three parts, sequentially over three days beginning on Monday 25th June; the intention was to repeat this in a second series from Thursday to Saturday. The first series of performances was scheduled to take place on Monday 25th, Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th at 6 pm, with the second showing to take place on Thursday 28th and Friday 29th at the same time, and completed on Saturday 30th in the afternoon. In the event, heavy rain caused disruption to the schedule. The first performance was delayed and further rain later in the week also caused the second performance to be postponed: it did not begin until Monday 2 July (Manchester Guardian, 3 July 1928, 22). According to a short note in the Hull Daily Mail, rehearsals in the park began on 23 May (Hull Daily Mail, 24 May 1928, 1).

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Pageant Master: Berry, A.J.
  • Deputy PM: J. Reeves
  • Musical director: C.F. Howard


The pageant master, A.J. Berry, was Director of Education in Preston; previously, he had undertaken the role of pageant master and scriptwriter for the 1922 children's pageant in Preston.  Similarly, C.F. Howard had been musical director in 1922.

Names of executive committee or equivalent

Office Holders to committees:

  • Hon. Treasurer: George Brown
  • Hon. Secretary: F.A. Danson

Executive Committee.

  • Mr S. Ashton
  • Mr T. Helme
  • Mr C.F. Howard
  • Mr J. Wred
  • Mr J. Hartley
  • Mr W P. Williams
  • Mr H. Rutter
  • Mr F. Pyke
  • Mr G. Brown
  • Mr F.A. Danson
  • Miss C.E, McCourty
  • Miss l.C. Houseman
  • Miss H. Laidman
  • Miss M.A.P. Gardner

Publicity Committee

  • Mr J. Ward
  • Mr F. A. Danson
  • Mr J. Harley
  • Mr S. Parkinson

Finance Committee

  • Mr G. Brown
  • Mr S. Ashton
  • Mr W.P. Williams
  • Mr J.S. Taylor
  • Mr W.J. Heal
  • Mr A.B. Clarkson
  • Mr E.A. Briggs
  • Mr S.W.A. Luscher

Pageant Site Committee

  • Mr J. Reeves
  • Mr T. Helme
  • Mr H. Rutter

Photography Committee

  • Mr J. Shaw
  • Mr J. Brunton
  • Mr H. Rutter
  • Mr H.C. Pye

Transport Committee

  • Mr T. Turner
  • Mr J. Topping
  • Mr J.R. Ellison
  • Mr W. Moulding.


The chair of the executive is not specified, but A.J. Berry likely performed in this role. Many of the members of individual sub-commitees also sat on the executive. It is assumed that office holders served all of the committees. The membership of all of the committees was made up of local teachers. For information about committee members, see Children's Pageant, Midsummer Night's Fantasy: Programme (Preston, 1928).

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

  • Berry, A.J.
  • Fyleman, Rose


The pageant master also wrote the pageant script. The poem 'The Fairies Have Never a Penny to Spend' by Rose Fyleman was included in the final day's pageant to accompany a tableau representing India (Rose Fyleman, Fairies and Chimneys (London, 1918), 49).

Names of composers

  • Gounod, Charles
  • Harris, Cuthbert
  • Glover, S.
  • Griffith, W.
  • Ratcliffe, F.
  • Mendelssohn, Felix
  • Abt, F.
  • Howard, C.F.
  • Wood, C.
  • Harris, W.H.
  • Schulz, J.A.P.
  • Roeckel, J.L.
  • Gruber, Franz
  • Smart, H.
  • Somervell, A.
  • Felton, William
  • Wagner, Richard
  • Stainer, J.
  • Schuman, Robert
  • Sterndale Bennett, W.
  • Barnes, Lewis
  • Aylward, Florence
  • Richards, Henry B.
  • Fletcher, Edward E.
  • Callcott, W.H.
  • Attwater, J.P.
  • Williams, Ralph Vaughan

For details of individual compositions, see 'Musical Production'. Most of the music was the work of local composers, in particular the musical director, C.F. Howard.

Numbers of performers

6000 - 7000

Advertisements state that the pageant had 6000 child performers, but other news coverage details 7000 (Manchester Guardian, 25 June 1928, 14). Numbers stated included the 3500 strong choir (Yorkshire Post, 1 May 1928, 11).

Financial information


Object of any funds raised

A poor children's fund.


A newspaper report states that proceeds would be directed to 'a local poor children's fund' (Preston Guardian, 26 May 1928, 9). Financial details have not been recovered; unfortunately, copies of the local press (Preston Guardian) have proved unavailable for the second half of July 1928 when financial details were likely published.

Linked occasion

600 centenary of the first recorded Preston Guild Celebration. 

Audience information

  • Grandstand: Yes
  • Grandstand capacity: 5000
  • Total audience: n/a


Not all seating was arranged in covered grandstands; but overall there was seating accommodation for over 5000 spectators (Preston Guardian, 19 May 1928, 1). The park could accommodate 50000 (Manchester Guardian, 25 June 1928, 14). The performances were seriously disrupted by bad weather and audience numbers were badly affected by this.

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


[Tickets entitling entrance to the park and a reserved seat at all three performances of either the first or second series of presentations cost 10s., 8s. and 5s. A ticket for entrance and a reserved seat on any one single day cost 4s., 3s. or 2s. All of these seats had to be booked in advance. Entrance and an unreserved seat (in enclosure D) for any one day, without advance booking, cost 1s for an adult or 6d for a child. Once in the park, it was possible to transfer to a reserved seat in other enclosures, if these were available, on payment of a charge (although this facility was not specified in publicity). Advertisements state that arrangements had been made for car and charabanc parking, but a charge is not specified (Preston Guardian, 19 May 1928, 1). Photographic evidence (from postcards available to buy online) shows many spectators standing: it is not known if a charge was made for this. These images may have been taken at rehearsals.]

Associated events

  • Each performance had an opening ceremony where a dignitary gave a speech. In the original schedule, those invited to open the pageant were as follows:
  • Monday: The Right Honourable Lord Eustace Percy, MP (President of the Board of Education)
  • Chairman: The Right Worshipful the Mayor (Mr Alderman R. Durham, JP)
  • Tuesday: The Right Honourable The Earl of Derby, KG, GCB, GCVO
  • Chairman: Sir Meyrick Hollins, Bart.
  • Wednesday: The Right Rev. P.M. Herbert, DD (Bishop of Blackburn)
  • Chairman: The Rev. Canon Morris, MA, Vicar of Preston (Chairman of the Preston Education Committee)
  • Thursday: The Right Honourable C.P. Trevelyan, PC, MP
  • Chairman: Mr Alderman Astley-Bell, JP
  • Friday: The Right Rev. T.W. Pearson, OSB (Bishop of Lancaster)
  • Chairman: The Very Reverend Monsignor Pyke, VG
  • Saturday: Professor A.S. Peake, MA, DD
  • Chairman: Mr Councillor H.E. Rhodes (Vice-chairman of the Preston Education Committee).
  • This programme was disrupted by bad weather and dates were rearranged.

Pageant outline

Opening ceremony

The pageant was officially opened by a different dignitary at each performance; see 'Associated Events' for details.

The National Anthem

There was singing of the national anthem by choir and audience.


The pageant master speaks a short prologue in verse, introducing the idea of going back in time. [Unless otherwise indicated, all details and quotations in synopses text is taken from Children's Pageant Entitled A Midsummer Night's Fantasy to Be Held in Avenham Park, June 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th, A. J. Berry, Master of the Pageant (Preston, 1928).]

Evening Prayer

The choir sings an 'Evening Blessing'.

Episode I

Scene [1]: Invocation to the Spirit of Years Gone By [Avenham Park, Preston]

The opening scene begins with the chorus singing an 'Invocation to the "Spirit of years gone by"'. At this, the Spirit appears, attended by a bodyguard of fifty girls from St Ignatius School. She 'waves her wand on many sides' and elves and fairies then appear. They dance while a 'Minuet Song' is sung; the choir then sings a verse entitled 'Sister Elves'. A large rhythmic chorus were part of the performance in this scene, and throughout the pageant.

Scene [2]: At Myerscough Forrest

The book of words explains that during his reign, King James I made a royal progress through Lancashire and visited such places as Ashton Park (near Lancaster), Myerscough Lodge, Hoghton Tower and Lathom House. At the start of the scene, James and his retinue appear. The choir performs a 'Hunting Song' and the rhythmic chorus accompany this. Witches peep through the bushes, unseen by the royal party. The king then speaks in verse, describing a 'vanished hare':

The dogs in chase, and she almost caught.
Then at the instant, when I dust have her laid
My life a wager, my dog had seized her,
To vanish into nothing?

Sir Richard Houghton addresses the king stating that his majesty must believe in witches, but he is sceptical that they exist. A jester jokes that Sir Richard can never have met the king's mother and remarks that nonetheless, she was a beauty—unlike the witches of their own times who are 'ugly old beldames'. The king replies that his mother came of 'two ancient families and names these as 'Charm' and 'Culture'. A 'Hunting Chorus' is performed. The hare remains undiscovered and the royal party retire to Myerscough Lodge. At this, the witches emerge; as they do, the choir sings a recessional song entitled 'The Hunter's Farewell'. The witches remain until the line 'I will sing thy Maker's praise' is sung, whereupon they run off and the fairies and elves again appear on the scene. As they cavort around the arena a song entitled 'The Fay's Frolic' is performed. While the song ends, the elves and fairies hurry away and the scene changes back to Avenham Park. The witches reappear bringing a cauldron around which they dance. The choir accompanies their cavorting with a song; at the end of this, the witches converse among themselves. A witch called Maud tells the others that the king is coming to Preston to 'root out all witches'; at this, they decide to curse the king and a song entitled, 'Curse Him' is sung. The witches work themselves into a frenzy, after which they again retire and are replaced once again by the fairies and elves who perform their own dance to a chorus called 'Round the Mystic Ring'. The scene had around 250 performers playing witches and members of the royal party; the rhythmic chorus were approximately 200 strong, and the fairies and elves were roughly 200 in number.

Scene[ 3]: The Preston Market Place

The ordinary activities of the market are taking place; stocks are seen in the background. The mayor strides onto the scene and is accosted by a soldier who is begging. The mayor is derisive of his request for help. The soldier responds that he would rather work for his keep and explains that he is originally from Yorkshire, but has been away at war. A miller who is in charge of a mill owned by the mayor then arrives; he displays injuries and states that these have been caused by huge cats. He refuses to return to the mill, whereupon the soldier states that he was a miller before he embarked on soldiering and he offers to run the mayor's mill; the mayor agrees to this. The soldier makes his way to the mill and the others disperse. The witches return to the scene accompanied by music. When the witches disperse, it is the next morning and a character called Doughty enters the arena, accompanied by the erstwhile miller and his son. The miller's son has given information about alleged witches to Doughty and together they are committed to hunting the women down. The miller agrees that given what he has experienced recently, this should be done. At this the soldier returns to the scene and states he has had a bad night and describes being 'ripped, pulled and pinched / By a company of hell cats'. The soldier states that he gave chase to this company and managed to injure one of them with his sword: he shows this bloodstained weapon to the assembled company. They resolve to hunt down the witches and the town officers are called upon. Numerous witches are then arrested and 'marched off under escort'; the scene ends with singing by the choir. In addition to the witches, approximately one hundred more performers took part.

Episode II

Song and Chorus

This begins with the re-entry of the fairies and elves; 'Fairy Revels at Night' is sung; at the conclusion of the singing, all leave the arena.

Scene: At Preston Market Place

James I and his retinue arrive at the Market Place and in an address delivered in verse, the mayor states that the town has been made ready for the arrival of the royal party. He then hands over to Mr Breares (the town recorder) who also delivers a welcome. The mayor presents the gift of a bowl to the king, and in turn, is thanked by him in verse as follows:


The elves and fairies return and dance to the song 'Fairy Flight'.

Episode III

Scene [1]: Hoghton Tower

The king arrives at the Tower and is greeted by 'the household Gods and Vestal Virgins with four players in these roles. An unspecified speaker delivers an address in verse. The address tells a little of the history of the Hoghton family who arrived before Norman times, and delivers a greeting to the king; it ends with the following:

And ever thrive in spite of Envy's frown,
Faithful and true alike to Church and Crown,
May thou, O King, live years to ten times ten,
To which let Saints and Angels say Amen!

The king is then entertained to a dinner and at the conclusion of this he knights 'Sir Loin'. It is likely that most of the cast from the previous scene (at the market place) were involved with this.

Scene [2]: Rushbearing Ceremony

The book of words states that the 'King having heard that there had been a rushbearing ceremony a few months before, in the neighbouring Church at Whalley, expressed a desire to see a similar spectacle, which was therefore staged for his benefit'. A group of pipers lead a procession and the ceremony takes place whereby new rushes are placed on the floor of the church at Hoghton. During this, the choir sings 'A Rushbearing Hymn'. This scene had a large number of players roughly 180 in number.

Scene [3]: Close of the King's First day at Hoghton

The celebrations come to an end and the choir sings 'Fairy Elves'.

Scene [4]: Jacob's Ladder

Preparations are made to present a playlet to the king on the theme of 'The Thistle and the Rose'; while these take place, 'inhabitants of the neighbourhood' present him with a petition. In this they ask that 'people be not disturbed, letted or discouraged from lawful recreation such as dancing, May games, Whitsun-ales, Morris dances, and should have leave to carry rushes to the Church for the decorating of it'. The book of words states this petition inspired James's 'celebrated' work known as the 'Book of Sports'. The book of words further states that in the light of the petition 'the actors add "topical" references to their playlet'. A chorus entitled 'A Divine Message', which tells of Jacob's dream, is sung. The book of words indicates that this performance suggests 'more adulation for James' since the Latin for his name is Jacobus and in tradition, the stone upon which Jacob rested his head became a coronation stone. The performance of this song refers to James's belief in the divine right of kings. 

Scene[ 5]: Ceremony of the Thistle and the Rose

Ahead of performance of the playlet, 'St. George, the emblem of Piety allies himself with Una (Truth)'. The remainder of the drama of the playlet is not described in the book of words but it is assumed that this symbolically depicts the Union of the Crowns. Several narrative choruses accompany the drama. This scene had a cast of around 50 players.

Scene [6]: The Fairies of Time

The following chorus is sung:

We're fairies of time, and speed our flight
O'er river and ocean, vale and height,
And some in the silver dawn are grey,
And some are bright in the noon-tide ray;
Some glow in the Evening's purple light,
And some are dark in the silent night,
But round the round world we speed our flight
O'er river and ocean, vale and height.

It is presumed that the fairies and elves resume the stage for this scene though this is not specified in the book of words. The cast list for this scene in the pageant indicates that they were arranged in groups to represent different times of the day. No further details are supplied. Around 50 girls performed as fairies. 

Scene [7]: Dialogue between Cupid, Sport and Kill-Joy

Cupid and Sport come forward, followed by Kill-Joy; each of the allegorical figures address the king in verse on the various merits or threats posed by 'Love and Sport'. All three then retire.

Scene [8]: The Lesson of ‘Peace on Earth’

The book of words states that 'Angels appear and attend near the Crib with the Holy Child. Thereupon man's petty bickerings are hushed'. A hymn entitled 'Angels' Song' is sung. Around 60 players were involved with the enactment of the scene.

Grand Tableau

All the performers re-entered the arena in a final tableau; this ended the first day's pageant.

Recessional Hymn

The traditional hymn, 'It came upon a Midnight Clear' is sung; the pageant programme indicates that spectators were asked to join with this.

Second Day's Pageant

Episode IV

Scene [1: In the Parish Church]

The book of words introduces the episode by stating that 'News is brought to Preston that the King has attempted to arrest the five Members of Parliament, and that his action will in all probability lead to Civil War. Isaac Ambrose, the Vicar of Preston, assembles people in the Parish Church to pray for peace'. A litany entitled 'Thou to whom all things are known' is sung, followed by a song—'Prayer for Peace'. Lord Strange (son of Lord Derby) then calls for a meeting to be held on the moor 'in the interests of the King', but the assembly 'breaks up in great confusion'. Around 200 players were involved. A choral hymn entitled 'Peace' [My Soul there is a Country] is performed. The programme indicates that the rhythmic chorus moved in a choreographed arrangement to form the word 'Peace'.

Scene [2: Market Day]

At the Market Place buying and selling is taking place and apprentices have 'a little by-play on their own'. A messenger wearing military uniform enters, as do the mayor, the recorder and two bailiffs. The messenger hands a letter from Prince Rupert to the mayor who proceeds to read this aloud. The letter asks the town to remain loyal to the king or expect 'all that war will inflict on you'. Excited conversation takes place in which the example of the recent sacking of Bolton is discussed. Prince Rupert arrives and arrests the mayor and members of the town council. He calls on the men assembled to come to the aid of the king; most of the apprentices respond to this, except one who hangs back stating he is a cripple; Rupert does not believe him. The mother of the young man attempts to assault Rupert and is dragged off to the duckstool, while the young man is sent to join the council members in prison. In the excitement that ensues, however, he manages to escape. Rupert announces that Preston will be dealt with when he returns and the army marches off. A song, 'Prince Rupert's Men' is sung and this concludes the scene. Around 200 players took part.

Scene [3]: District Near Preston in the Neighbourhood of Longridge

The scene opens with a chorus entitled 'A Lovely August Morn'. The remainder of the scene consists of a comic skit presented by a 'Cavalier wag' in which he impresonates three characters: Mrs Grace-is-Sufficient-For-Me, Reverend Standfast-in-the-Lord and Reverend Get-Thee-Behind-Me-Satan. The joke is centred on the eating of pig meat and the hypocrisy of all is exposed. Scottish toops under the Duke of Hamilton who have arrived in Preston, together with townspeople, look on. The cavalier's satirical tale ends with both clergymen agreeing that they may eat and enjoy the pork cooked by Mrs Grace-is-Sufficient-For-Me, for in doing so 'we can profess our hate and loathing of Judaism'. The townspeople talk among thelselves and agree that they are tired of the 'dull behaviour and want of wit' of the Puritans. The Scotsmen agree and brandishing their arms march off. Cromwell's arrival is imminent and a conversation takes place between apprentices, at the conclusion of which they declare for the king. The talk includes the use of a Latin phrase and the book of words makes the aside that apprentices might well have learned Latin at the town's grammar school. The scene then moves to news of Cromwell's victory in which he pursues the Royalists 'beyond Walton Bridge'; Cromwell and his troops then arrive. Around 70 performers took part in the scene. The scene ends with singing of a choral hymn which uses the words of Psalm 68 and which the book of words alleges was used by Cromwell after the Battle of Dunbar [1650]; during this, the troops depart.

Scene [4]: Coming of Bonnie Prince Charlie

The Prince and Jacobite troops arrive at Preston and are met with great rejoicing. The song, 'Charlie is My Darling' is performed as they march off to Derby. The return of the troops in defeat is seen and a song, 'Farewell Lancashire' is sung. Approximately 70 performers took part.

Scene [5]: The Industrial Age

The book of words explains that the 'defeat of the Stuarts allowed England to turn from political to economic questions. The mining of coal and the introduction of the cotton manufacture soon completely changed the face of Society, especially in Lancashire'. The scene opens with the arrival of 'King Coal, attended by Miners and Smiths'; this entrance is accompanied by the song 'Old King Coal' sung to the tune of the traditional nursery rhyme Old King Cole. 'Queen Cotton' then enters attended by 'negroes carrying baskets of cotton, and representatives of India and Egypt'. The company also includes girls 'dressed in beautiful cotton fabrics' demonstrating the 'beauty of Queen Cotton's Court'. The pageant programme states that they are dressed as water nymphs in colours of blue, silver and grey succeeded by 'colours of the rainbow' in order to represent Lancashire's 'humid climate'. A marriage ceremony between King Coal and Queen Cotton then takes place accompanied by a 'Bridal Chorus', after which the 'industrialists' depart. The 'Spirit of Years Gone By' then re-enters accompanied by choral singing; she ushers in seven female figures dressed in classical robes and adorned with leaves and flowers: these represent the virtues of 'Faith and Love, Truth and Mercy, Humility and Constancy, and lastly, Hope'. The book of words does not describe the various tableaux that proceed, each of which are accompanied by singing (see Musical Production); it is assumed these figures were made to represent idealised and alternative views of the industrial age. The book of words states that industrialization 'usually occasioned great hardship, and often the worst sides of human nature were exhibited by the new masters. The 'virtues' set forth the principles which should have guided the new employers in their relations to their operatives'. The scene ends with all of the virtues forming a fan and the song, 'Dawn, Gentle Flower, accompanies this formation. The fairy kingdom is then portrayed accompanied by music; it is supposed to represent 'the life that might have been when Queen Cotton came to reign in Preston'. This scene had a large cast of over 300 players.

Grand Tableau

All the performers re-entered the arena in a final tableau; this ended the second day's pageant.

Recessional Hymn

A traditional hymn entitled, 'Oh! Had I Wings to Fly' is sung as the performers leave the arena.

Third Day's Pageant

Part 1: [Historical Sketches]

Song and Chorus

'The Soul of England' is sung as an opening to the pageant.

Historical Sketch-Number One, [scene 1 no title]

'Time and his Children' enter and a 'Druid procession with native Britons chanting' follows on. The chant reveals that a sacrifice is about to be made, but also that the Romans are in the vicinity. The procession halts in response to the escape of one of the captives, and the Romans come on the scene. Lucenum asks the Arch-Druid if he will use his healing powers to help Agricola's young son who is ill. The Druid agrees and performs a healing ceremony but the child dies. Approximately 70 players took part.

Historical Sketch-Number One, [scene 2]: The Triumph of Christianity

Monks appear and chant in Latin. No further details of the drama for this scene are included in the book of words but it is assumed that it is meant to represent the arrival of Christianity. Around 25 players took part.

Historical Sketch-Number Two: Preston of the Early Middle Ages

  • Scene A: Daily Activities

This opens with singing of a folk song and 'ordinary activities' going on. Approximately 100 performers took part.

  • Scene B: King John Presents his Charter to Preston

King John presents a charter to the town stating that he wishes to help Preston's trade by additions to the earlier charter granted by his father. A leading burgess, on behalf of the town, gratefully receives the charter. John ends by asking for payment. Another folk song is performed while the king and his courtiers leave the arena. Around 140 performers were involved with the scene.

  • Scene C: The Grey Friars

The mayor delivers an address in which he gives a conveyance of land to the Franciscans to build a friary. The book of words states in an aside that the religious orders were 'the greatest of all civilising factors' of their times. A small cast of 12 players took part in this scene.

Historical Sketch-Number Three: Conquest of Wales by Edward I

This scene begins with a song and chorus; the Welsh chiefs and their men gather before King Edward. The Welsh submit to the English king so long as he gives them their own prince. The king presents his baby son and there is disquiet among the Welsh and the chieftains state: ‘Your majesty has tricked us. Yet true to King Arthur's memory we will remain faithful to our plighted word. You [sic] preach troth, we will practise it.’ The scene ends with all singing 'God Bless the Prince of Wales'. Approximately 100 performers were involved in this scene.

Historical Sketch 4 [no title]

The book of words indicates that this sketch opens with Drake 'and other sea dogs' seen playing a game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe. The cast includes Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir John Hawkins, Sir Richard Grenville, Sir Martin Frobisher and Lord Howard. The game is disrupted by news that the Armada has been spotted. Some of the sea captains make haste to gather up their bowls but Drake does not panic and following a patriotic reminder of the bravery of their queen, urges his comrades to finish their game. All then sing a chorus:

Time we have to finish our fun,
Then to make the Spaniards run,
And England will be merry when
Our village folk begin their sports again.

This scene then gives way to celebrations following the defeat of the Armada. typical entertainments on a village green, including maypole dancing 'and other forms of amusement' are  depicted. The book of words states that the 'danger all have shared has helped to bring all ranks of society together, and Court Ladies are to be found mixing with the ordinary village folk'. The sketch ends with singing of a song entitled, 'Drake's Drum'. This sketch had a large cast of around 250 players.

Part 2: The Colonies

A tableau representing Canada enters the arena. The book of words gives no details, but the pageant programme states that this consisted of a representation that 'embodies the distinctive elements of the land—its snows and canoes, its industries and Red Indians, its mounted police and backwoodsmen'. The entrance of Canada was accompanied by singing of 'An Empire Song'. South Africa is represented next and the song 'Ye Mariners of England' accompanies this entrance in order to highlight the country's crucial position on the first sea route to India. The tableau 'incorporates the recently adopted flag of South Africa, which has been lent for the pageant by the High Commissioner for the Colony'. Other elements include 'the profusion of the land's flowers and fruit, while the native element supplies other spectacular features'. India comes next; the programme states that this 'Sleeping Beauty of the East' is destined 'some day' to be 'roused by a Fairy Prince to full life and high endeavour'. Accordingly, the song 'The Fairies Have Never a Penny to Spend' accompanied the tableau. Included in the scene are 'Native and British troops', Clive of India and Queen Victoria. A further two songs on the theme of fairies heralds the arrival of the Antipodes beginning with a tableau of Australia, which includes an undisclosed 'emblematic representation' accompanied by attendants dressed in the country's colours of blue and yellow. A 'Queen of Rivers', a 'Queen of Forests' aborigines and a 'modern airman' are included in the tableau and these are said to bring the presentation of Australia 'completely up-to-date'. New Zealand is the final tableau; in this, 'Captain Cook heads the Historical Section. Primitive Maoris then mingle with English settlers, and Maoris of modern times to produce a picturesque spectacle'. When all are assembled, the formation of combined tableau called a 'Maze' takes place. This is described in the book of words as follows: ‘The maze conveys in a symbolic form, the idea of the federation of the States, comprising the British Empire. There is unity amid diversity, the ‘heart’ attracting to itself what the members have to bestow.’ The cast list indicates that the 'heart 'may have been represented by the figure of Britannia. The song 'In Preston Town' is sung to accompany this final tableau in this section. This was intended as a reminder of the pageant's 'charitable object' of impoverished children. The various tableaux contained a large cast of about 500 children. 

Recessional Hymn

The hymn 'God of Our Fathers, Known of Old' was sung. The words of this by Kipling were meant to warn the audience 'against pride of Empire'.

Grand Tableau

All of the performers from the Third Day's Pageant return to the arena. The hymn 'For all the Saints, Who From Their Labours Rest' was sung by all.

Key historical figures mentioned

  • James VI and I (1566–1625) king of Scotland, England, and Ireland
  • Ambrose, Isaac (bap. 1604, d. 1664) Church of England clergyman and ejected minister
  • Stanley, James, seventh earl of Derby (1607–1651) royalist army officer
  • Rupert, prince and count palatine of the Rhine and duke of Cumberland (1619–1682) royalist army and naval officer
  • Hamilton, James, first duke of Hamilton (1606–1649) politician
  • Cromwell, Oliver (1599–1658) lord protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland
  • Charles Edward [Charles Edward Stuart; styled Charles III; known as the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie] (1720–1788) Jacobite claimant to the English, Scottish, and Irish throne
  • John (1167–1216) king of England, and lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and of Aquitaine, and count of Anjou
  • Edward I (1239–1307) king of England and lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine
  • Drake, Sir Francis (1540–1596) pirate, sea captain, and explorer
  • Ralegh, Sir Walter (1554–1618) courtier, explorer, and author
  • Hawkins, Sir John (1532–1595) merchant and naval commander
  • Grenville, Sir Richard (1542–1591) naval commander
  • Frobisher, Sir Martin (1535?–1594) privateer, explorer, and naval commander
  • Howard, Charles, second Baron Howard of Effingham and first earl of Nottingham (1536–1624) naval commander
  • Clive, Robert, first Baron Clive of Plassey (1725–1774) army officer in the East India Company and administrator in India 
  • Victoria (1819–1901) queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and empress of India
  • Cook, James (1728–1779) explorer
  • Britannia (fl. 1st–21st cent.) allegory of a nation, emblem of empire, and patriotic icon

Musical production

  • The National Anthem (Prologue)
Music was played live and there was a large choral section. Unless otherwise specified, words of songs are by A.J. Berry:
  • 'Evening Blessing', sung to music composed by Charles Gonoud (Prologue)
  • Minuet Song: 'Elves and Fairies Dance', music composed by Cuthbert Harris (Episode I, Scene 1)
  • Chorus: 'Sister Elves', music composed by S. Glover (Episode I, Scene 1)
  • Chorus: 'Hunting Song', music composed by W. Griffith (Episode I, Scene 2)
  • Chorus: 'Hunting Chorus', music composed by F. Ratcliffe [S. J.] (Episode I, Scene 2)
  • Recessional: 'The Hunter's Farewell', music composed by F. Mendelssohn (Episode I, Scene 2)
  • Chorus: 'The Fay's Frolic', music composed by Franz Abt (Episode I, Scene 2)
  • Chorus: 'Round the Cauldron', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode I, Scene 2)
  • Chorus: 'Curse Him', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode I, Scene 2)
  • Chorus: 'Round the Mystic Ring', music composed by S. Glover (Episode I, Scene 2)
  • Canon: 'The Ride of the Witch', music composed by C. Wood (Episode I, scene 3)
  • Chorus: 'Like to the Bubble', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode I, scene 3)
  • Song: 'Fairy Flight', music composed by W.H. Harris (Episode II)
  • Hymn: ''A Rushbearing Hymn' music composed by J.A.P. Schulz (Episode III)
  • Song: 'Fairy Elves' music composed by Cuthbert Harris (Episode III)
  • Chorus: 'A Divine Message', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode III)
  • Chorus: 'Una', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode III)
  • Chorus: St George', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode III)
  • Chorus: 'St Andrew and His Cross', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode III)
  • Chorus: 'The Thistle and the Rose', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode III)
  • Chorus: We're fairies of Time', music composed by J.L. Roeckel (Episode III)
  • Hymn: 'Angels' Song', music composed by Franz Gruber (Episode III)
  • Hymn: 'It Came upon a Midnight Clear' [traditional] (Episode III)
  • Sung Litany: entitled 'Thou to whom all things are known', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 1)
  • Song: 'Prayer for Peace', music composed by H. Smart (Episode IV, scene 1)
  • Choral Hymn: 'My Soul There is a Country', music composed by A. Somervell (Episode IV, scene 1)
  • Song: 'Prince Rupert's Men', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 2)
  • Chorus: 'A Lovely August Morn', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 3)
  • Choral Hymn: 'Let God Arise' [words from Psalm 68], music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 3)
  • Song: 'Charlie is my Darling' [words by Lady Nairn, music traditional] (Episode IV, scene 4)
  • Song: 'Farewell Lancashire', music composed by William Felton (Episode IV, scene 4)
  • Song: 'Old King Coal' [traditional] (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Bridal Chorus, music adapted from Wagner (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Chorus: 'Spirit of Years Gone By', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Song: 'To a Violet', music composed by J. Stainer (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Chorus: 'Faith', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Chorus: 'Love', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Song: 'Thou'rt Like a Lovely Flower', music composed by Robert Schuman (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Chorus: 'Truth', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Chorus: 'Mercy', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Chorus: 'Humility', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Song: 'Dawn, Gentle Flower', music composed by W. Sterndale Bennett (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Chorus: 'Constancy', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Chorus: 'Hope', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Song: 'The Fairy Kingdom', music composed by Granville Bantock (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Song: 'Where Fairies Be', music composed by C.F. Howard (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Recessional Hymn: 'Oh! Had I Wings to Fly' [attributed as a traditional German hymn] (Episode IV, scene 5)
  • Song: 'The Soul of England', music and words by Lewis Barnes (Opening to Third Day's Pageant)
  • Druid Chant: [no details of composition] (Historical Sketch-Number One, scene 1)
  • Monks' Chant: [no details of composition] (Historical Sketch-Number One, scene 2)
  • Song: 'The Spring is Coming', Traditional Folk Song (Historical Sketch-Number Two)
  • Song and Chorus: 'Hope the Hermit' (Historical Sketch-Number Two)
  • Song and Chorus: 'Song of the Bow' music composed by Florence Aylward (Historical Sketch-Number Three)
  • Song: 'God Bless the Prince of Wales', music composed by Henry Brinley Richards (Historical Sketch-Number Three)
  • Song: 'Drake's Drum', music composed by C.F. Howard (Historical Sketch-Number Four) .
  • Song: 'An Empire Song', music composed by Edward E. Fletcher (Third day's Pageant, the Colonies)
  • Song: 'Ye Mariners of England', music composed by W.H. Callcott (Third day's Pageant, the Colonies)
  • Song: 'The Fairies Have Never a Penny to Spend', words by Rose Fyleman, unknown composer
  • (Third day's Pageant, the Colonies)
  • Chorus, 'The Fairies', music composed by C.F. Howard (Third day's Pageant, the Colonies)
  • Song: 'The Song of the Fairies', music composed by J.P. Attwater (Third day's Pageant, the Colonies)
  • Song: 'In Preston Town' [traditional tune - Derry Dale] (Third day's Pageant, the Colonies)
  • Hymn: 'God of Our Fathers, Known of Old', words by Rudyard Kipling, musical arrangement by E. S. Carter (Third day's Pageant, Recessional)
  • Hymn: 'For all the Saints, Who From Their Labours Rest', words by W. Walsham How, music composed by R. Vaughan Williams (Final Grand Tableau)

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Hull Daily Mail
Manchester Guardian
Preston Guardian
The Times
Yorkshire Post

Book of words

Children's Pageant Entitled A Midsummer Night's Fantasy to Be Held in Avenham Park, June 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th, A. J. Berry, Master of the Pageant. Preston, 1928.

Other primary published materials

  • Children's Pageant, Midsummer Night's Fantasy: Programme. Preston, 1928.

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Lancashire Archives and Record Office holds 1 copy of the book of words, ref: CBP12/4 and 1 copy of the programme, ref: CBP12/3

Sources used in preparation of pageant

  • Fyleman, Rose. Fairies and Chimneys. London, 1918.
  • 'The Song of the Fairies', written and composed by J. P. Attwater (?London, 1909).
  • Kipling, Rudyard. Recessional. 1897.

  • The children's poetry book Fairies and Chimneys supplied the poem, 'The Fairies Have Never a Penny to Spend' which accompanied the tableau of India within the third section of the pageant. 
  • 'The Song of the Fairies', written and composed by J.P. Attwater, has lyrics based on text Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. This song was performed in the third section of the pageant. 
  • Rudyard Kipling's poem, Recessional was employed as the final recessional hymn in the third section of the pageant. It is more commonly known as 'God of Our Fathers, Known of Old' and has been set to music by different composers.


Pageantry comes to Preston every twenty years when its ceremonial guild festival is held and street processions, special receptions and all kinds of ceremony attract locals and visitors alike.1 This festival took place in 1922 when a highly successful children's historical pageant was added to the programme of attractions. The guild festival would not come around again for many years to come, but in 1928 an anniversary fell that was important to the history of Preston's guilds—for this year was the 600th centenary of the first recorded Preston Guild Celebration and there was a general will to mark this occasion. The undoubted success of the 1922 children's pageant made this mode of historical commemoration an obvious choice, and accordingly it was decided to hold another pageant featuring children from schools in Preston and its surrounding districts. The 1922 event had been widely praised for being a tremendous feat of organization that had been put together in only a few short months. The 1928 anniversary pageant would have the luxury of time, for it was planned a full eighteen months in advance, and Preston's teachers, who were the organizers, had previous experience to draw on; therefore, it was expected that the pageant held in 1928 would exceed the success of that delivered in 1922. Many of the same personnel were involved, with the town's Director of Education—A.J. Berry—again taking overall charge of the writing, direction and organization. Berry asserted that the 'second bids fair to eclipse the first' and he was ambitious with the pageant he planned.2

In 1922, the history re-enacted had been local in content and mostly concerned with the history of the town's guilds, but it did have a unifying and wider underlying theme: this was the idea of peace and communal goodwill promoted through centuries of adherence to the Christian faith. The same approach was taken in 1928. On this occasion, however, the theme of peace and co-operation had a more direct focus, and was projected squarely at the topics of the British Union and the British Empire. Although Berry's treatment of history had been generally praised in 1922, if there was any muted criticism at all, it was aimed at the sometimes heavy-handed religious message. Berry must have been aware of this, and for his second attempt at pageantry he took a slightly different tack: the religious message remained but was diluted and made less solemn through the use of allegory. The main symbolic figures he chose were fairies and elves. These figures were of course commonplace in pageants and their presence in otherwise straightforward retellings of the past were rarely analysed in any depth. Dancing fairies added spectacle and colour, and were roles that easily accommodated child players. In twenty-first century parlance, we would see them as adding the necessary 'cute' factor, to which audiences responded positively. For Berry, however, fairyland folk and other allegorical characters included in this pageant were there for a reason. Whether contemporary audiences were able to discern this reason is, however, a moot point; for Berry's pageant provided rather a confused narrative that is—and doubtless was—often difficult to follow.

Berry very much believed that pageantry should be educative as well as entertaining and all of his efforts were aimed at enjoining these two objectives. The first guild festival is recorded as being held on the feast of St John in 1328, which in pre-Christian times was celebrated as Midsummer's Day. In order to highlight this, Berry took as a running influence on the drama Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The fairies and elves that performed, as well as the fairy theme present in much of the sung narrative, were intended as a constant reminder of the commemorative element that had inspired the pageant. Berry explained that:

In the realm of folk-lore, Midsummer Day was associated with the activities of elves and fairies, and both Shakespeare and Ben Johnson, for the benefit of Elizabethan audiences, took pains to connect Midsummer with fairy land.3

Hence, his subtitle for the pageant of a Midsummer Night's Fantasy begins to make some sense. Fairy and elf figures provided a linking element across the whole performance—even when this meant that these fantastic creatures turned up in some improbable moments of historical drama. The fairies and elves were there, Berry claimed, 'to suggest the "romantic" side of the British Empire'.4 Presumably, what he meant by this is that fairies can roam everywhere, and recreate fairyland wherever they wander—much as British colonisers had done so successfully. This view of empire can make for some uncomfortable reading decades hence, but for Berry (and indeed for many of his fellow British subjects), it is clear the colonial spirit was overwhelmingly viewed as a benevolent influence, and one which potentially had no boundaries.

As it had done in 1922, the Preston pageant of 1928 had quite an unusual structure, for it was performed as a series of episodes over three days, rather than in a single performance on a single day. Moreover, each day's performance was not uniform in terms of its arrangement of episodes. The reasons for this structure were not made clear at the time, but we can surmise that it was done this way because of the logistical difficulties inherent in shepherding thousands of children to and from the venue and arena. While the pageant of 1928 had considerably fewer performers than that held first time round (when 11000 children had taken part), the 6000–7000 involved with the Midsummer Night's fantasy pageant still presented something of a logistical nightmare.

Added to this novel arrangement in 1928 was the fact that the narrative presented was far from linear. In his desire to blend Shakespearean influences with history and allegory, Berry paid little heed to chronology. In part, this may have been because he recognized that some spectators would not attend on all three days and so, to some extent , each day's presentation was potentially a standalone event. Erroneously, many press reports in advance of the pageant stated that the story would begin with the establishment of the guilds in the fourteenth century.5 However, this history had been covered in the 1922 pageant, and it is clear that Berry had no wish or need to repeat it. Instead, the first day's performance re-enacted aspects of the visit of James I to Preston, when he was returning to London from Scotland in 1617, and in so doing several local landmarks were incorporated into the pageant narrative. Over three episodes, James's fame as the monarch who united the crowns of England and Scotland is celebrated within the local Lancashire landscape. History and local legend were brought into play in these scenes. The king's interest in witchcraft is foregrounded, his infamous Declaration on Sports, which originated from disputes in Lancashire about frivolity on the Sabbath, is covered in the storyline, and the legend that James knighted a side of beef as 'Sir Loin' is displayed. The conceit of a play within a play is also part of the performance, when a 'playlet' entitled 'The Marriage of the Thistle and the Rose' is performed for James's entertainment.

Yet although all three episodes deal with one moment of important local historical lore, and have this unifying focus at their heart, there is a lack of clear structure to the composition of the episodes, or at least, one is not evident from the text provided in the book of words. One scene seems to flit to another without much in the way of a linking narrative. The episodes did contain spoken dialogue—much of this in blank verse—and its delivery was aided by amplification, but the content of the verse is far from expositional. Indeed, it is almost as if Berry took for granted that the audience would already know this history well, and consequently, his efforts concentrated more on providing a Shakespearean-type literary flavour to the theatrical experience provided. A huge choir and a 'rhythmic chorus' performed sung accompaniments and 'artistic movement' that was supposed to reflect the sentiment of songs included. Berry perhaps intended that all of these elements of movement, music and dialogue would work together to provide an engaging spectacle: sadly, whether they did or not can only be guessed at.

Given its scale – probably running longer than Richard Wagner’s entire Ring Cycle – news coverage is a little paltry for this pageant. Even the local press (usually supportive of pageants) seem to have been a bit cautious about stating how it was received. In a final review following the last performance, the Preston Guardian did include a poem from one reader praising the 'feast of colour and delight' that had been served up, but the suspicion is that this single poetic contribution was a substitute for editorial comment on the audience's response to what was on offer.6 What the press do comment on, however, and at length, is the weather. Bad weather was ever the nemesis of outdoor-staged pageants, and the arrangement of this particular pageant into a three-part series simply magnified this problem. In the first series planned for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of pageant week, the attempt to put on the first day's performance was simply abandoned altogether because of heavy rain and only days two and three managed to get an airing. The second performance of the pageant, which was due to be held in the latter part of the week, had to be moved wholesale to the following week because of the continuing downpour. At this point, the first day's pageant was seen for the first time, but to a much-reduced audience.7

Tickets were sold as single day admittance permits, or as vouchers granting admittance to all three parts over three days. For those who purchased a three-day pass for the first performance, the fact that they missed its opening episodes because of the weather was really no impediment, for chronology or any form of integrated narrative were not guiding rules in this pageant. Day two introduced episode IV, which encompassed hundreds of years of history from the civil wars to the height of industrialization. The narrative for this carried quite a lot of dialogue, and what seems to have been a lot of action. Some comedy was even inserted into the dramatization of the civil war in scene 3 of the episode, in which the worst excesses of Puritanism were satirised; overall, however, a hodgepodge approach to the past seems to reign. Indeed, the Guardian described it as a 'historical stew'.8 Allegory was also prominent in scene 5 of this episode in which the industrial age was depicted. In 1922, Berry had clearly revealed his social conscience in the narrative he provided, indicating that in his view, much of the economic progress of Preston had been made at the cost of the wellbeing of the labouring classes. This conviction was again prominent in 1928, particularly within this scene. Here the allegorical figures representing industry—Queen Cotton and King Coal—make a marriage; this union is commented upon by the 'Virtues' who demonstrate that an alternative history could have been achieved if a more moral approach to economic development had been followed. This utopian theme, notably, was not depicted using an overtly religious framework, but instead was placed within an allegorical narrative, with the result that its agenda of showing man's inhumanity to man was perhaps less powerful and realistic than it could have been.

The third day's pageant, somewhat peculiarly, returned to a more familiar pageant outline; though by this point, Berry evidently abandoned any pretence that he was presenting history in chronological episodes across three days. His reasoning for this might have been that day three of his pageant was not about local history but instead celebrated national and international aspects of the past. In the final presentation, a kind of mini-pageant on well-known themes took place with the presentation of four 'historical sketches' beginning with Druids and Romans and ending with the defeat of the Armada in the reign of Elizabeth I. It is a sort of playful take on the classic Parkerian pageant that Berry had so assiduously avoided imitating in other parts of his work. The four sketches serve a purpose however, in that they raise the rafters of English patriotic sentiment as a prelude to the final part of the pageant, which explores Berry's central theme of empire head on. In this last scene, successive human representatives and figurative emblems of the British 'colonies' parade across the arena, with each entering to an accompaniment of music. The procession presented was replete with children blacked-up as 'natives'; and somewhat eccentrically, the fairies made a return.

Empire pageants and parades were of course quite popular at this time, but there is something deeply unsettling about this particular example—with its explicit combination of indigenous people alongside fantastical creatures. Performers dressed as people of the Indian subcontinent, for example, were brought into the arena to the strains of a song entitled 'The Fairies Have Never a Penny to Spend'. The first verse of which goes as follows:

The fairies have never a penny to spend,
They haven't a thing put by;
But theirs is the dower of bird and of flower.
And theirs are the earth and the sky.
And though you should live in a place of gold
Or sleep in a dried-up ditch,
You could never be poor as the fairies are,
And never as rich.

Like many others, Berry managed to sentimentalise the poverty at large in India, placing it within the context of an exotic landscape, and avoiding any head-on confrontation with British culpability for exploiting social inequalities; indeed, he betrayed this attitude clearly when he proclaimed, echoing Seeley, that the British Empire had been founded 'almost in a fit of absentmindedness'.9 His attitude to empire was undoubtedly grounded in the idea that it was a proponent for 'the displacement of heathenism by Christianity', and therefore a necessary historical development.10

It is very doubtful that this second Preston children's pageant exceeded the celebrity of that held in 1922; buoyed by the success of 1922, Berry was simply overambitious. While he believed in the ability of pageants to wield 'together all sections of the community' and was undoubtedly an able facilitator of this in Preston, which had the reputation of being a divided town denominationally, in 1928 he tried to do even more. In a bid to be simultaneously artistic and educational, deliver local history together with larger social messages, and alongside all, provide a creative but still effective means of proselytising Christianity, he forgot about the most essential element of any successful pageant.11 This is that it should tell a story about the past that engages the audience. If those attending were engaged by anything in this pageant, it was the spectacle of thousands of child performers, exactingly trained to appear on cue. Reportedly, the scenes provided were very colourful, and the work of the choir was admirable. Yet however well-drilled the children of Preston were, this was a pageant that had a messy narrative. The occasional efforts to provide a popular touch were outweighed by a clumsy structure and a use of allegory that probably caused a good deal of head scratching. It certainly did not function well as a connected series.

If this were not enough to discourage audiences, the unseasonal weather and subsequent disruption to the programme badly affected turnout.12 Although much of the pageant was 'home made' in terms of costumes and organization, there must have been significant expense incurred on the likes of rehearsal spaces over many months, transport costs, amplification, and—almost certainly—the hire of professional musicians. When this is set against disappointing audiences, it probably did not make the large surplus desired.13 This pageant also bears a sad postscript. A.J. Berry, who devoted so much of his life to the improvement of educational provision and gave 26 years to directing this in Preston, was forced to retire only a year or so following the pageant on the grounds of ill health. He died in September 1930.14 In his obituaries, it is evident that he was a popular figure and greatly admired for his scholarship, particularly for his writing of popular histories of Preston.15 Liking for Berry, as well as the fact that this was a pageant involving youngsters and teachers who gave up hundreds of hours of their own leisure time, probably discouraged too much negative comment of this event. Moreover, it had been horribly unlucky with the weather. Even so, it seems fairly clear that this was not Preston's finest pageant hour.


1. ^ See Preston City Council website accessed 25 November 2016:
2. ^ A.J. Berry, 'Foreword', Children's Pageant… Programme, 7.
3. ^ A. J. Berry, 'Foreword', Children's Pageant Entitled A Midsummer Night's Fantasy, 5.
4. ^ Ibid.
5. ^ See, for example, 'Preston Pageant', Manchester Guardian, 24 May 1928, 14.
6. ^ 'Preston Pageant: an Appreciation', Preston Guardian, 7 July 1928, 9.
7. ^ 'Preston Historical Pageant: a New Viewpoint', Preston Guardian, 7 July 1928, 9.
8. ^ 'Preston Pageant: Joyous Colours of a Historic Medley', Manchester Guardian, 27 May 1928, 13.
9. ^ A.J. Berry, 'Foreword', Children's Pageant Entitled A Midsummer Night's Fantasy, 5.
10. ^ Ibid.
11. ^ Berry used the example of school pageants held in the USA and their role in making 'the heterogeneous more homogenous' as an example here; in respect of Preston he was probably alluding to the fact that the pageant brought children from different religious denominations and social backgrounds, together. See A.J. Berry, 'Foreword', Children's Pageant… Programme, 7.
12. ^ Poor turnout is alluded to in newspaper reports, see for example 'Preston Pageant: Joyous Colours of a Historic Medley', Manchester Guardian, 27 May 1928, 13.
13. ^ Unfortunately, a financial statement has not yet been recovered.
14. ^ See obituaries for A.J. Berry in Manchester Guardian, 11 September 1930, 14, and Lancashire Evening Post 25 September 1930, 8.
15. ^ Berry was the author of a children's history of Preston entitled The Story of Preston (London, 1912) and another general history published in the same year as the pageant: Proud Preston (Preston, 1928).

How to cite this entry

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