Time’s Daughters

Pageant type


Organized by Bedford College.

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Place: The Regent's Park (Regent's Park) (Regent's Park, London, England)

Year: 1930

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 2


17 May 1930

The Pageant appears to have been repeated in the College Hall that evening.

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Producer and Writer [Pageant Master]: fforde, Phyllis

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

  • fforde, Phyllis

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised

In aid of the Bedford College Extension fund.

Linked occasion


Audience information

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


Spectators had to be turned away, suggesting that attendance was large and that the pageant made a profit.

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

'Time's Daughters'

The scenes included a ‘kaleidoscope’ of huntresses of early England, Plantagenet queens and ladies weaving tapestry, Queen Elizabeth ‘dancing before the Spanish Ambassador, but not, if you please, to his tune’, before ending with ‘the Woman of To-day’ which focused on students of the college.[1]

[1] Zoë Thomas, ‘Historical Pageants, Citizenship, and the Performance of Women’s History before Second-Wave Feminism’, Twentieth Century British History, 28 (2017), pp. 319–43

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Elizabeth I (1533–1603) queen of England and Ireland

Musical production


Newspaper coverage of pageant

Sheffield Independent
Yorkshire Post
Bedford College Magazine

Book of words


Other primary published materials


References in secondary literature

  • Chapman, Siobhan. Susan Stebbing and the Language of Common Sense (Liverpool, 2013). At pp. 79-80.
  • Thomas, Z. ‘Historical Pageants, Citizenship, and the Performance of Women’s History before Second-Wave Feminism’, Twentieth Century British History, 28 (2017). At pp. 340-2.

Archival holdings connected to pageant


Sources used in preparation of pageant



Bedford College was the first women’s institute for higher education in the United Kingdom; founded in 1849, it became part of the University of London in 1900. At a time when few women had opportunities to attend university, the college played an invaluable role. By 1913, when the college had moved to Regent’s Park, it had 300 students, which rapidly rose to 600 by the 1920s, owing to growing demand.1 This led to a push to expand the site, requiring funds, at least some of which were raised by a pageant, ‘Time’s Daughters’. The pageant, which featured the role of prominent women in British history, was evidently highly popular: spectators were turned away from Regent’s Park.2 As Zoe Thomas has argued, the pageant reflected a growing tradition of feminist historical pageants, which began with the Suffragette Pageant of Great Women (1909) and continued with a large number of pageants organized by county Women’s Institutes throughout the interwar period.

Nonetheless, the pageant met with sexist commentary from male journalists, with the reporter from the Observer commenting that ‘To a mere man, it seemed much more a conspiracy to demonstrate the splendid beauty and fitness of the girl student to-day, for these young women looked captivating enough in the period costumes with which they marched under the trees of the College garden and across the lime-lit stage of their fine new hall.’3

The College’s fundraising attempts were further boosted when Prince George attended a dinner in December of that year, which gave the press the opportunity for more sexist comments about the students.4 Building continued at Bedford College throughout the 1930s and after the Second World War (the site was hit by several bombs, with the faculty and students evacuated to Cambridge). The Regent’s Park site was given up after the college merged with Royal Holloway in 1985.5


1. ^ Negley Harte, University of London: An Illustrated History, 1836-1986 (London, 1986), p. 197.
2. ^ Zoë Thomas, 'Historical Pageants, Citizenship, and the Performance of Women’s History before Second-Wave Feminism’, Twentieth Century British History, 28 (2017), p. 340.
3. ^ Observer, 18 May 1930, p. 21.
4. ^ Siobham Chapman, Susan Stebbing and the Language of Common Sense (Liverpool, 2013), pp. 79-80.

5. ^ Carol Dyhouse, 'Students: A Gendered History (London, 2016), pp. 155-71; ‘The 20th Century’, Royal Holloway Website, accessed 3 January 2018 <https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/aboutus/ourhistory/the20thcentury.aspx>.

How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Time’s Daughters’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1612/