The Golden Chain

Pageant type


This entry is based on information supplied by Dr Joan Darcy.

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Place: St Paul's School (Derby) (Derby, Derbyshire, England)

Year: 1950

Indoors/outdoors: Indoors

Number of performances: 3


13, 14 and 15 April 1950

Evenings, at 7.30pm

Name of pageant master and other named staff

Producer [Pageant Master]: Pamplin, Mrs E. M.


Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

Pamplin, Mrs E. M.

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


The cast comprised members of an amateur theatrical group, the Derwent Players; and members of St Paul's Church, St Paul's School and Mansfield Street Methodist chapel.

Financial information


Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion

Centenary of St Paul's Church and opening of St Paul's School.

Audience information

  • Grandstand: Not Known
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: n/a


There are no audience figures, but it appears that the pageant was very popular (see summary).

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

The New Church of St Paul's

Footsteps of the Great

The Sacrament of Light

Triumph of the Century

Saints and Martyrs

The Babe of Bethlehem

The Challenge

Key historical figures mentioned


Musical production

Choir of St Mark's Church, directed by Mr Clifford Burton.

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Derby Evening Telegraph
(There is a photo of the cast on 21 April 1950)
Derby Daily Telegraph

Book of words


Other primary published materials


References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant


Sources used in preparation of pageant



Derby was no stranger to historical pageants in the early post-war years: pageants had been staged there in 1946, 1948 and 1949. In 1950 'The Golden Chain' was performed in St Paul's School hall to mark the centenary of St Paul's Church, Mansfield Road, Chester Green; it also celebrated the opening of the new school. Performed by around 70 adults and children over three nights, it was written and produced by Mrs E. M. Pamplin, a writer of plays and pageants who was also producer of 'The Derwent Players', a local Dramatic Society. The script was organised chronologically, with tableaux based on local and national events and the history of the church from its foundation in 1850. The title and theme of 'The Golden Chain' were explained by the character Time:

This is the hour when we who gather here
Shall rally forth in brief array
Those valiant souls, who, as the years have fled,
Have forged for us a living mighty chain,
Each link a link of gold, each golden link bound fast within its fellow,
The whole strong chain linking the past with present.

It is said that the pageant was so popular that people queued and latecomers were turned away.

St Paul's Parish newsletter for May 1950 carried further information about the pageant, noting the success of the event, which had been 'presented before crowded audiences' during its three-night run: some people, indeed, had to be turned away. Those who did manage to obtain a seat, the newsletter reported 

could not fail to have been impressed by the spirit in which the Pageant was staged. It was not merely a team spirit, it was the spirit of true Christian Fellowship. Ask anyone who took part! Grouses and grumbles there were, but they only served finally to make the group like one big happy family. Included in the family, we welcomed one, whom we may claim as a son of St. Paul’s, Mr. Clifford Burton, who 'came with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him'!

One particularly admired feature of the pageant seems to have been a model of St Paul's Church, made by Mr Evan Wells. Scripts of the Pageant were sold after the performance, as were Centenary Souvenirs. It seems also that two photographs of the pageant (one of the final Tableau, and one of the Tiplady Sisters), taken by the Derby Evening Telegraph, were also made available for purchase. It was, all in all, a highly successful pageant - and indeed stands as evidence of the popularity of parish-level pageantry, with a strong Christian message, deep into the twentieth century. 


How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘The Golden Chain’, The Redress of the Past,