Southgate Charter Day / Historical Pageant

Pageant type


Information drawn from 'Survey of Historical Pageants' undertaken by Mick Wallis.

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Place: Broomfield Park (Palmer's Green) (Palmer's Green, London, England)

Year: 1933

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 1


The pageant was held on Saturday 30 September 1933, at 7.30pm

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Pageant Master: Gamble, H.G.F.


A Mr H.G.F. Gamble was listed as the Pageant Master.

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion

Southgate Charter Day: presentation of the charter of incorporation by HRH Prince George.

Audience information

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events

Presentation of the charter of incorporation by Prince George in the afternoon; children’s tea for 1,000 in a marquee; dancing and athletics displays; a supper for ‘old residents’; fireworks display after the pageant, at 9.15pm; and an all-day funfair. There was a ‘treasure hunt’ in the park, organised by the Daily Mail, with two prizes of £5 each.

Pageant outline

King James I and his advisers discovering the ideal spot for the village of South Gate

Presented by Palmers Green Players.

First Meeting of the Southgate Local Board.

Presented by Southgate Rotary Club.

Treatment of Infectuous Diseases 50 years ago and to-day

Presented by Southgate Isolation Hospital.

Sir Hugh Myddleton discussing the lay-out of the New River through Southgate

Presented by South Ward Ratepayers’ Association.

Southgate’s Fire Brigade 50 years ago and to-day

Presented by Broomfield House-Owners’ Association.

The first Village School Master and some of his Scholars.

Presented by Bowes Rd. Old Boys.

Southgate’s first Town Clerk and Surveyor

Presented by Mr W. M. Ellenor and Mr C. G. Lawson.

Cycles and Cyclists during the past 50 years in Southgate.

Presented by Southgate Cycling Club.

Care of the Young 50 years ago and to-day

Presented by the Maternity and Child Welfare Committee.

Ladies’ Dress 60 years and 30 years ago and to-day

Presented by the Ladies of the Rotary Club.

Walker Family of Famous Cricketers

Presented by Butelands Athletic Club.

Some of Southgate’s Oldest Residents

This was ‘Real’ – i.e. the cast played themselves.

Key historical figures mentioned

  • James VI and I (1566-1625) king of Scotland, England, and Ireland
  • Myddelton [Middleton], Sir Hugh, baronet (1556x60-1631) goldsmith and entrepreneur

Musical production

The pageant was both preceded and followed by community singing, conducted by Mr T. P. Ratcliff of the News Chronicle.

Newspaper coverage of pageant


Book of words


Other primary published materials

  • Souvenir programme: copy in Enfield Local Studies Library and Archive

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Enfield Local Studies Library and Archive: copy of programme

Sources used in preparation of pageant



This pageant—entitled simply ‘Historical Pageant’—was part of the Southgate Charter Day celebrations in 1933. Southgate had been an urban district from 1894, but in 1933 became a municipal borough. The name is derived from its location at the south gate of Enfield Chase, a royal hunting park, and James I was the only royal character represented in the pageant. Another of the historical figures depicted was Sir Hugh Myddelton, one of the leading figures in the early seventeenth-century establishment of the New River, which took running water from Hertfordshire into London. The New River runs through Enfield, Palmers Green and Bowes Park.

The pageant contained 12 scenes, most of which dealt with the nineteeth and twentieth centuries, which was perhaps not surprising given the relatively recent development of Southgate. Each episode was performed by a community group or organisation: thus, for example, the Southgate Cycling Club depicted ‘Cyclists and Cycling during the past 50 years in Southgate’. There is various film footage of the charter celebrations available via the British Film Institute, but most does not feature the pageant.1 There is a British Pathé film of the presentation of the charter by Prince George, with sound.2

The pageant was one of many performed in this period in the outer areas of London. Outlying boroughs and surrounding towns were performing their identity and independence in the context of the rapid expansion of housing and industry across and beyond the metropolitan district. The creation of the borough was certainly a cause for civic celebration, but the new local government organisation was short-lived: it was abolished in 1965, when Southgate was subsumed into the borough of Enfield.

How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Southgate Charter Day / Historical Pageant’, The Redress of the Past,