Roddam School Centenary Pageant

Pageant type

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Place: Roddam School (Roddam) (Roddam, Northumberland, England)

Year: 1950

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 1


15 June 1950

The pageant took place on Thursday 15 June as part of a day of celebration in commemoration of the school's centenary.

Name of pageant master and other named staff

Pageant Master: Thornton, Miss


The school's head teacher—a Miss Thornton—produced the pageant. The school's 'managers' organised the event.

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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


There is no note of a scriptwriter; this was probably the head teacher—Miss Thornton.

Names of composers



The music played was probably all traditional.

Numbers of performers

30 - 40

The school had a roll of 30 pupils and all took part; some former pupils joined them. 

Financial information


Object of any funds raised

Non Known


This event does not appear to have been aimed at fundraising; however, if a surplus was made it is presumed this benefited the school's funds.

Linked occasion

Centenary of the foundation of Roddam School.

Audience information

  • Grandstand: No
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: 80 - 120


Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest

It is unlikely this event was ticketed. 

Associated events

Unspecified Centenary celebrations

Pageant outline

Episode I: Prehistoric Times

The children enact a scene depicting life in 'prehistoric times' in the area.

Episode II: Scottish Raid, 1385

A scene depicting 'local inhabitants preparing to repel a raid by the Scots in 1385'.

Episode III: The Opening of the School

'Mr and Mrs Roddam of that day' opening the school in 1850. The children wear original costumes preserved from this time.

Episode IV: School after 100 years

A display of singing and dancing involving traditional songs.

Key historical figures mentioned


Musical production

The children provided singing of traditional songs, particularly in episode IV, which included the song 'Bobby Shaftoe'. Music was likely recorded.

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Northumberland Gazette

Alnwick Mercury

Book of words


Other primary published materials


References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant


Sources used in preparation of pageant



The owners of Roddam Hall had originally endowed the small rural school at Roddam in 1850; the pageant commemorated the centenary of this. Local press coverage states that the school had 30 pupils in 1950 and all took part in the pageant, which was directed by the head teacher. The article further states that one of the children taking part was the daughter of a former German prisoner of war, who had settled in the area.1 The current owner of Roddam Hall—Major G.C. Holderness Roddam—opened the pageant. Mrs Gilroy of 'Roddam Home Farm' baked a 'birthday cake'—indicating that this was still a working estate.2 The audience of around one hundred people all came from the surrounding area. The pageant had only four episodes and these were linked by narration briefly describing the 'the events which took place' in the intervening years. The second episode is typical of pageants in the northeast and was set while the famous Henry Hotspur was warden of the East Marches, although it is not known if Hotspur (Sir Henry Percy) featured in the action.


1. ^ 'Centenary Day Pageant Recalls School History', Northumberland Gazette, 16 June 1950, 3.
2. ^ Ibid.

How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Roddam School Centenary Pageant’, The Redress of the Past,