Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Historical Pageant

Pageant type


This entry was written and compiled by Tim Savage.

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Place: Wollaton Hall (Nottingham) (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England)

Year: 1935

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 11


10–15 June 1935

Performances at 2.45 and 7pm daily, apart from Friday evening.

The Lord Mayor of London opened the pageant at 2.45pm after a welcome luncheon and procession through Nottingham.

  • 10 June: Royal Day with Duke of Portland, KG
  • 11 June: County Day with Marchioness of Titchfield
  • 12 June: Civic Day with The Lord Mayor of London etc.
  • 13 June: Clergy Day with Lord Bishop of Southwell
  • 14 June: Empire Day with High Commissioner of Canada, Hon G H Ferguson KC
  • 15 June: Industries Day with President of TUC, W Kean Esq., JP

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Director [Pageant Master]: Baring, Edward
  • Producer [Pageant Master]: Monck, Nugent
  • Masters of Designs: J. Else RBS; N. Denholm Davis RA
  • Mistress of Designs: Miss E. Richards
  • Costumes: Mrs Iremonger
  • Costume Adviser: Nevil Truman ACA
  • Master of Grand Stand: T. Wallis Gordon MIM & CE (City Engineer)
  • Press: A.H. Eyre

Names of executive committee or equivalent


  • Chairman: Lord Mayor of Nottingham
  • Councillor R.E. Ashworth
  • Councillor Wallis Binch
  • Sheriff of Nottingham [presumed Frederic Mitchell]
  • H.A. Bennett M.Inst.T MIAE
  • Sir Julien Cahn, Bart, MFH
  • A. Eberlin, JP
  • Mrs E.L. Guildford
  • H.N. Jaffe, MB, BS
  • K. Tweedale Meaby (County Council)
  • A.G. Mellors, FCA
  • A.L. Morrell, FCA
  • Sir Louis Pearson, CBE, JP
  • A.G. Rothera
  • A.M. Webber, MS, FRCS
  • W. Wesson, JP
  • Hon. Sec.: W.J. Board, OBE (Town Clerk)
  • Asst. Hon. Sec.: J.E. Richard (Deputy Town Clerk)
  • Finance Chairman and Hon. Treasurer: J. Boydell, FSAA (City Treasurer)
  • Hon. Sec. Finance: W.S. Hardacre

Historical and Lecture Committee

  • Chairman: Prof F. Granger, DLitt (University College, Nottingham)
  • Vice Chair: Prof H.A.S. Wortley, MA
  • Hon. Sec.: Dr J.D. Chambers

Historical Sub Committee

  • H.M. Leman
  • Dr J.D. Chambers
  • Prof L.V.D. Owen

Performers Committee

  • Chairman: A.H. Whipple, MA, BSc (Director of Education)
  • Vice Chair: C.L. Reynolds, MA
  • Hon. Sec.: J. Cyril Jackson
  • Asst. Hon. Sec.: Mrs C.E. Mills

Designs Committee

  • Chairman: J. Else, RBS (Principal, College of Arts)
  • Vice Chair: N. Denholm Davis, RA
  • Hon. Sec.: Miss P. Savage

Music Committee

  • Chairman: J. S. Scott
  • Hon. Sec.: A.M. Foulds

Publicity Committee

  • Chairman: W.O. Burrows, FISA (Chamber of Commerce)
  • Vice Chair: M.L. Daniels

Grand Stand and Grounds Committee

  • Chairman: T. Wallis Gordon, MIM & CE (City Engineer)
  • Vice Chair: P.A. Dawson

Horse Committee

  • Chairman: Major S. Farr
  • Hon. Sec.: Miss C. Fraser

Properties Committee

  • Chairman: F.W. Davies, MIMechE
  • Hon. Sec.: Herbert Green, BA

Transport Committee

  • Chairman: J.L. Gunn
  • Hon. Sec.: E.I. Boyd

Industrial Exhibition Committee

  • Chairman: E.H. Goddard
  • Vice Chair: F.A. Mellers
  • Hon. Architect: P.A. Dawson
  • Hon. Sec.: A. Collard

Evening Displays and Carnivals Committee

  • Chairman: Councillor J.T. Edlin
  • Vice Chair: Major C.l.H. Dickinson, DSO
  • Hon. Secs.: F.W. Johnson: Madam G.E. Baildon Smith

Ball Committee

  • Chairman: The Lady Mayoress; Mrs R.E. Ashworth
  • Hon. Sec.: Councillor C.P. Hayden

Shop Displays, Competitions and Street Decorations Committee

  • Chairman: Councillor H.O. Emmony
  • Vice Chair: J. Littefair
  • Hon. Sec.: C.E. Akeroyd


Notable guests present on opening day of pageant were involved in a procession through Nottingham to Wollaton Hall in coaches of state. They also had a luncheon before the Lord Mayor of London opened the pageant proper. Guests were mostly Lord Mayors of municipal corporations across the country, but from industrial cities especially – such as Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Newcastle, Leicester, and Stoke-on-Trent.

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

  • McIntire, W.T.


Pageant Writer: W.T. McIntire, BA, FSA

Names of composers

  • Smith, Arthur
  • Rawlings, Grace
  • Whitehall, Harold
  • Gunn, Stanley
  • Hopkins, H.J.
  • Harrison, Ralph
  • Smyly, Cecil F.
  • Bellringer, Mrs Frances

Numbers of performers


500 in the chorus and a 100-piece orchestra.

Financial information

Production staff: £1513
Print, stationary and publicity: £1474
Grandstand and preparation: £1305
Properties, costumes and wigs: £342
Orchestra and music: £270
Transport of school children: £167
Horses: £121
Street decorations: £150
Cost of production: £5981
Total expenditure of all sections: £7180

Ticket sales: £6103
Subscriptions to expenses: £2915 (Sir James Cahn donated £500)
Catering and refreshments: £163
Car park fees: £144
Commission on hire of rugs/cushions: £11
Admission to industrial exhibition: £113
Rent of stands and lighting: £485
Admission to carnival: £2571
[Total income, i.e. sum of above = £10191]

Stated surplus was around £4000

Object of any funds raised

A surplus of around £4000 was generated, and allocated to Nottinghamshire hospitals as follows:

  • Nottingham General: £2215. 18s. 4d.
  • Nottingham Women’s Hospital: £886. 7s. 4d.
  • Nottingham Children’s Hospital: £886. 7s. 4d.
  • Nottingham Eye Infirmary: £443. 3s. 9d.
  • Worksop Hospital: £25.
  • Newark Hospital: £25.

Linked occasion


Audience information

  • Grandstand: Not Known
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: 53600


A total of 53600 people paid for admission to the pageant and 5700 paid to witness the carnival procession.2

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest

11s. 6d.–1s. 3d.

Seats could be booked and (including tax) cost 11s. 6d., 8s. 6d., 5s. 6d., 3s. 6d., and 2s. 6d. Standing enclosures 1s. 3d.3

Associated events

  • Special services in Churches of all denominations (Sunday 9 June).
  • A Great Carnival Procession (Friday 14 June) with various displays at Wallaton Hall including mass jazz band torchlight spectacle, mass physical training by 1000 school children, Girl Guides, folk dancing, women’s league of health and beauty, Boys’ Brigade, Boy Scouts’ jamboree, Gordon Boys, cycle display, and pageant fancy dress ball.
  • Industrial exhibition of Nottingham and district at Victoria Hall (10am-10pm daily). Admission 6d. 

Pageant outline


The scene of the prologue is the secret garden of Time, where ‘the great events of History are born.’ Groups of Nottinghamshire children wander in, followed by three ‘Fates’: Lachesis, who blindly chooses each thread of human destiny; Clotho, who weaves the threads together into one fabric; and Atropos, who ruthlessly cuts life-threads short. They are surrounded by the children, who sing about the desire to ‘seek the clue to history’. The Fates reply in song, rebuffing the children, but, eventually, they relent. Trivona, the goddess of the Trent, appears accompanied by the nymphs of her tributary streams. She calls forth fairies of the field and countryside; gnomes of the mines and factories; and nymphs of Sherwood Forest. Robin Hood, Little John, Friar Tuck and others then appear – to the delight of the children. He declares that the children will once more see Old Sherwood as it was in ‘days of yore’. A dance then takes place of all the performers in the scene.

The following synopses are taken verbatim from Nottingham and Notts. Historical Pageant June 10th-15th 1935, Book of Words. Nottingham, 1935.

Episode I. Destruction of the Roman Camp at Margidunum in the Revolt of Boadicea, AD 60.

‘The British inhabitants of the vicus or village which has sprung up around the Roman fort of Margidinum (Castle Hill) are overjoyed at the tidings of the successes of Boadicea. A brawl between them and some of the soldiers of the Roman garrison is interrupted by the entry of Lucius Petilius, the prefect of the fort, who is sending away to a place of safety his wife, Domatilla. His farewell is interrupted by the news, brought by a scout, that Boadicea’s army is already in sight. Lucius has the garrison called out and addressing his men bids them go out to die sword in hand and not to perish like rats in a trap. The troops cheer, and singing their marching song, go out to meet their death. Domatilla insists upon accompanying her husband. The Britons meanwhile, aided by Cathbad, a Druid who has escaped the massacre of his companions in Mona, sacrifice to their gods and pray for Boadicea’s victory. Boadicea presently enters in her war chariot with her victorious warriors, and orders the destruction of the fort. She bids Cathbad into a wild denunciation of the gods who deny her vengeance for her wrongs, and swearing never to fall alive into the hands of the Romans, rides off to pursue her career of violence and slaughter.’

Episode Two. Paulinus Baptises at Southwell, AD 630.

‘The inhabitants of the Anglian village of Tivolfingchester are troubled by a blight which seems to have fallen upon their land, and furtively hint their disapproval of Woden, their god. Beortric, the Ealdorman of the district, returns to his wife Gertha from an unsuccessful hunt. He is moody and not even the songs of his minstrel Goddard can soothe him. He complains of Woden who helps him not and ever requires more blood offerings. Fain would he serve a gentler god. Despite the passionate protests of Coifi, the priest of Woden, he questions his Christian captive, Leowine, concerning his faith, and is advised to seek the advice of the great missionary Paulinus, the friend of the mighty King Edwin of Northumbria. Even as they speak, singing is heard and Paulinus appears accompanied by James, his deacon, and a procession of nuns. Beortric, torn by doubt, puts his faith to the test. Undismayed by the furious threats of Corfi, he orders the image of Woden to be brought forward and challenges Paulinus to destroy it, if he trusts that his God is the greater God. Paulinus cheerfully accepts the ordeal, and hews off the idol’s head. The crowd, at first filled with superstitious terror, when no evil results follow the act, denounce Woden and clamour to be received into the Christian faith. Paulinus promises to instruct them, and leads them away singing joyfully as they go, to be baptised in the Trent.

Episode Three. William the Conqueror Hands Over Nottingham Castle to William Peverel (AD 1068) Who Founds the Priory of Lenton AD (1105).

‘At the opening of the episode a quarrel is going on between the English inhabitants of Nottingham and the Norman settlers in that city. This quarrel is fanned by the entry of Ulf of Rufford and Sweyn of Welbeck, two English lords who have been disposed of their manors at the Conquest and who are come to take vengeance on Roger de Busli, upon whom the Conqueror has bestowed many manors in Nottinghamshire. Roger defies them and despite the efforts for peace of the Town Reeve, hostilities are about to commence, when they are interrupted by the arrival of William the Conqueror and his train. William sternly restores order and, pointing towards the Castle rock, proclaims that he will enlarge and strengthen the Castle, and set a faithful follower in charge to keep order in this turbulent district. He appoints William Peverel his governor at Nottingham and after saying farewell to his queen, Matilda, who is returning to Normandy, departs to quell a rebellion in the West. In the second part of the episode we witness the foundation, six years later, of a priory for monks of the Cluniac Order at Lenton, a place now included in Nottingham, by William Peverel.’

Episode Four. Henry II Grants Nottingham its First Charter AD 1155 and Later Meets with the Miller of Mansfield.

‘In the first part of this episode the scene is laid in Nottingham market-place where a crowd of buyers and sellers are haggling. They are disturbed by the arrival of William Peverel (the younger) who is in flight from Henry II against whome he has unsuccessfully rebelled. He appeals to the Prior of Lenton to grant him sanctuary and his prayer is granted. Henry himself arrives immediately afterwards, accompanied by his queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Thomas of London, his Chancellor, and several members of the local nobility and gentry. He demands the surrender to justice of William Peverel, and when the Prior of Lenton refuses to deliver him up, bursts out in fury, but is appeased by his queen, who intercedes and wins his favour for the priory. Henry then addresses the burgesses of Nottingham, exhorts them to preserve order after the troubles of his predecessor’s reign, and grants the City its first Charter. He then makes ready to go hunting, and while the preparations for the expedition are in progress, a band of millers sing a chorus and the second part of the episode, supposed to take palce at Sutton, commences. In this second part we witness the adventure of John Cockle, the miller of Mansfield, and King Henry II. The King, having lost his companions in the hunt, is entertained by John Cockle, who, ignorant of his identity, regales him with a pasty made from the King’s venison, and in confidence boasts of his poaching exploits. The miller is in consternation when, upon the tardy arrival of the King’s hunting party, he discovers the rank of his guest. Henry, after feigning severity, finally forgives Cockle and gives him a post among his forest officials.’

Episode Five. Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest.

‘At the opening of the episode the arena is filled by a crowd of forest folk who have assembled at “The Parliament Oak” and await the meeting of the “Swainmote” or local forest court. They pass the time of waiting by indulging in rustic sports, the course of which is disturbed by the arrival of Robin Hood and his merry men, who have come to deliver their comrade, Little John, out of the hands of his captors. Meanwhile, two fugitives to the forest seek the protection of Robin Hood. They are Wilfred, a young Englishman, and Yolande, the daughter of a rich merchant, Gilbert the Norman. The lovers have married secretly and are now feeling from Gilbert’s vengeance. Robin Hood promises his aid. The Swainmote court assembles and Robin Hood claims Little John from the presiding verderer. Upon the latter’s contemptuous refusal to deliver over his prisoner, Robin and his companions free him by force, but in the hour of triumph are surprised by the arrival of the King in company with his queen and a royal hunting party. Robin Hood is seized and accused by the angry verderer, but manages to make his peace with the king by reminding him ofm a former service, and is taken into the household. Gilbert the Norman arrives and demands the life of the man who has stolen his daughter. He is foiled, however, by Robin Hood who reveals to the King Gilbert’s peculations while in a position of trust at Nottingham. Eventually, he is pardoned upon promising to restore his ill-gotten wealth and to give his approval of his daughter’s marriage. The episode ends happily and the forest folk conclude the day with a rustic dance.’

Episode Six. Edward IV Visits Nottingham AD 1467.

A crowd of Nottingham folk awaits impatiently the entry into their city of King Edward IV, who has come to concoct measures to suppress local risings against his government with local members of the nobility. The mayor, burgesses and craft gilds of the city enter in procession and prepare to receive the King, who presently arrives accompanied by his queen and her kinsfolk, the Woodvilles. The King conducts himself at first in a somewhat flippant manner, cutting short the ceremony of welcome to Nottingham. In the discussion of the causes of the discontent which is causing the trouble in the neighbourhood, mutual accusations lead to a quarrel between the Woodvilles and John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, who has been deprived of his office of Grand Constable of England to make room for Richard Woodville, Earl Rivers, the father of the Queen. The King cuts short their recriminations and by the advice of Sir John Byron and Sir Henry Pierrepont, sends the Earl of Pembroke with a body of followers sufficient in number to overawe possible revels. He then turns with relief from business, and the episode concludes in a stately dance performed by the ladies of his court.

Episode Seven. Cardinal Wolsey at Southwell Palace AD 1530.

‘The scene of this episode is the palace of Southwell, where the fallen Cardinal Wolsey has been in residence for the last few months. At the opening of the episode, some of Wolsey’s servants enter, and while preparing for the evening meal, discuss the straitened circumstnaces of their master. They are interrupted by the entry of George Cavendish, Wolsey’s faithful usher, who bids them prepare to receive the Cardinal and his guests. Wolsey presently enters and in a conversation with Cavendish, betrays a lingering hope of the return of the royal favour, and expresses regret for the pride and wordliness he has displayed in his days of prosperity. Though weary, he insists upon seeing the visitors who wait upon him, and a group of local notabilities, clerics and laymen enter, to consult him upon matters connected with the government of his see of York. Wolsey courteo8usly invites them to partake of his scanty fare, and his guests are taking their places, when they are interrupted by the arrival of Wriothesley and Brereton, two gentlemen of the King’s Privy Chamber, who demand an interview with the Cardinal. Wolsey, at first is buoyed up by the hope that they are bearers of a pardon from the King. He is quickly undeceived, for producing a document they demand his signature. Noting that this document is a letter from the nobles of England to the Pope in favour of the royal; divorce, Wolsey realises that he is irretrievably lost. Though sore smitten, he behaves with touching dignity and prepares to leave for Scrooby. Accompanied by his sympathising guests he leaves the arena to celebrate one last Mass in Southwell Minster, to the mournful accompaniment of the strains of the “Via Crucis.”’

Interlude. “Bess of Hardwick” and Mary Queen of Scots at Worksop Manor AD 1583.

‘The episode has for it’s scene Worksop Manor, newly competed by the famous Countess of Shrewsbury, “Bess of Hardwick.” The house is being prepared for the reception of the Earl of Shrewsbury, who is bringing Mary, Queen of Scots, entrusted to his charge as a prisoner from Sheffield. The Countess of Shrewsbury, in company with her sons and daughters, receives the royal prisoner whom she at first treats with characteristic insolence, but, warned by a reminder of her previous imprisonment in the Tower for giving free rein to her tongue, sullenly consents to do the honours of her house to the captive queen.’

Episode Eight.

Part I – Charles I Raises his Standard at Nottingham, August 22nd, 1642.

‘A group of prominent Nottinghamshire Royalists has assembled to meet the King who arrives from Leicester, after having been foiled in an attempt to seize Coventry. The King orders Sir Edmund Verney to raise his royal standard upon the spot subsequently known as Castle Hill, and causes his proclamation against the Earl of Essex and his supporters to be read. The blowing down of the Standard is taken by many of those present as an ill omen, and the number of recruits who join the King is disappointing. The King, however, puts on a brave countenance, and his troops depart singing “Here’s a health unto his majesty.”’

Part II – the Defence of Nottingham Castle by Colonel Hutchnson, AD 1643.

‘Colonel Hutchinson, who has been appointed governor of Nottingham Castle for the Parliament, is seen directing its defence. He is hampered by the timidity and jealousy of the Committee of Defence but cheered in his labours by his courageous wife, Lucy Hutchinson. By an act of treachery a body of Royalist troops obtain possession of part of the town beneath the Castle, but Hutchinson continues the defence with unabated vigour and scornfully rejects the offer of a bribe by Sir Richard Byron, the governor of Newark, as the price of the surrender of the Castle. His trials are ended by the arrival of a relieving force of Purtain soldiers under Captian White, who sing as their marching song a verse of the Psalm, “Let the Lord arise and let his enemies by scattered”.’

Part III – Charles I and Prince Rupert at Newark, October, 1645.

‘A crowd of Newarkers are gathered to welcome the King returning from Naseby. The King is despondent and he had his men make a striking contrast with the spirited Newarkers whom he thanks for their bravery. They cry “No Surrender.” The King seems encouraged, but at this moment Princes Rupert and Maurice, Lord Willis and Lady Willis and officers enter. The King senses trouble He dismisses Willis and appoints Lord Bellasis to be Governor of Newark. Rupert strongly supports Willis. The King laments dissensions and presages the ultimate surrender of Newark, but the Mayor bids him take courage and the crowd shouts approval of his brave words.’

Epilogue – The Surrender of Charles I to the Scots at Southwell, May 5th, 1646.

‘In this brief final scene is depicted the arrival of Charles I at Southwell with his Chaplain, Dr Hudson, and John Browne, of St Ives, his guide. The King is received by the French ambassador, who has acted as intermediary in the negotations with the Commissioners. Charles surrenders to the Commissioners and rides off with them to Kelhan, while his two faithful followers sadly depart.’

Episode Nine. Goose Fair at Nottingham, Early 18th Century. [summarised from synopsis and dialogue in the Book of Words.]

The scene is the ancient market-square of Nottingham. A fair is set up, with stalls and animal pens, showmen and dancing booths, people from all levels of society, a press-gang, and a group of French prisoners. Various casual and fun incidents take place, from amusing conversations with the prisoners; bartering at the stalls; a girl leaving her boy for another boy; a man joining the war against the French; a bull-baiting; circus freaks; a man put in the pillory; wrestling; the discovery of a witch; and ending with a country dance.


Trivona and her attendants reenter the arena, followed by all the performers from the previous episodes. Famous figures from Nottinghamshire are then introduced and celebrated by Trivona. Trivona then calls for the Spirit of the Future, a small child, who is brought in. The pageant ends with the audience and performers singing ‘O God, our help in ages past.’

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Hood, Robin (supp. fl. late 12th–13th cent.) legendary outlaw hero
  • Tuck, Friar (fl. 15th cent.) legendary outlaw
  • Boudicca [Boadicea] (d. AD 60/61) queen of the Iceni
  • Paulinus [St Paulinus] (d. 644) bishop of York and of Rochester
  • Ulf Fenisc (fl. 1066) magnate
  • William I [known as William the Conqueror] (1027/8–1087) king of England and duke of Normandy
  • Matilda [Matilda of Flanders] (d. 1083) queen of England, consort of William I
  • Odo, earl of Kent (d. 1097) bishop of Bayeux and magnate
  • Peverel, William (b. c.1090, d. after 1155) baron
  • Henry II (1133–1189) king of England, duke of Normandy and of Aquitaine, and count of Anjou
  • Eleanor [Eleanor of Aquitaine], suo jure duchess of Aquitaine (c.1122–1204) queen of France, consort of Louis VII, and queen of England, consort of Henry II
  • Becket, Thomas [St Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas of London] (1120?–1170) archbishop of Canterbury
  • Edward IV (1442–1483) king of England and lord of Ireland
  • Elizabeth [née Elizabeth Woodville] (c.1437–1492) queen of England, consort of Edward IV
  • Woodville [Wydeville], Richard, first Earl Rivers (d. 1469) magnate
  • Woodville [Wydeville], Anthony, second Earl Rivers (c.1440–1483) magnate
  • Tiptoft [Tibetot], John, first earl of Worcester (1427–1470) administrator and humanist
  • Wolsey, Thomas (1470/71–1530) royal minister, archbishop of York, and cardinal
  • Cavendish, George (b. 1494, d. in or before 1562?) biographer and poet
  • Talbot [née Hardwick], Elizabeth [Bess; called Bess of Hardwick], countess of Shrewsbury (1527?–1608) noblewoman
  • Talbot, George, sixth earl of Shrewsbury (c.1522–1590) nobleman
  • Cavendish, Henry (1550–1616) soldier and traveller
  • Cavendish, William, first earl of Devonshire (1551–1626) nobleman
  • Talbot, Gilbert, seventh earl of Shrewsbury (1552–1616) landowner
  • Mary [Mary Stewart] (1542–1587) queen of Scots
  • Byron, John, first Baron Byron (1598/9–1652) royalist army officer
  • Stanhope, Sir Michael (b. before 1508, d. 1552) courtier
  • Pierrepont, Henry, marquess of Dorchester (1607–1680) royalist nobleman
  • Mowbray, John (VI), third duke of Norfolk (1415–1461) magnate
  • Stanhope, Philip, first earl of Chesterfield (1583/4–1656) royalist nobleman
  • Sutton, Robert, first Baron Lexington (1594–1668) royalist nobleman
  • Cavendish, Charles (1620–1643) royalist army officer
  • Hacker, Francis (d. 1660) parliamentarian army officer and regicide
  • Charles I (1600–1649) king of England, Scotland, and Ireland
  • Rupert, prince and count palatine of the Rhine and duke of Cumberland (1619–1682) royalist army and naval officer
  • Maurice, prince palatine of the Rhine (1621–1652) royalist army officer and naval officer [also known as Maurice, Prince]
  • Cavendish, William, first duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (bap. 1593, d. 1676) writer, patron, and royalist army officer
  • Cavendish [née Lucas], Margaret, duchess of Newcastle upon Tyne (1623?–1673) writer
  • Verney, Sir Edmund (1616–1649) royalist army officer
  • Hutchinson, John (bap. 1615, d. 1664) parliamentarian army officer and regicide
  • Hutchinson [née Apsley], Lucy (1620–1681) poet and biographer
  • Pierrepont, Francis (b. after 1607–1658) politician
  • Ireton, Henry (bap. 1611, d. 1651) parliamentarian army officer and regicide
  • Belasyse [Bellasis], John, first Baron Belasyse of Worlaby (bap. 1615, d. 1689) royalist army officer
  • Willoughby, Sir Hugh (d. 1554?) sea captain
  • Brewster, William (1566/7–1644) separatist leader
  • Robinson, John (1575/6?–1625) Church of England clergyman and separatist theologian
  • Clifton, Richard (c.1553–1616) separatist minister in the Netherlands
  • Thoroton, Robert (1623–1678) antiquary
  • Byron, George Gordon Noel, sixth Baron Byron (1788–1824) poet [also known as Byron, Lord]
  • White, Henry Kirke (1785–1806) poet and essayist
  • Sandby, Paul (bap. 1731, d. 1809) painter and engraver
  • Sandby, Thomas (bap. 1723, d. 1798) architect and draughtsman
  • Bonington, Richard Parkes (1802–1828) landscape painter
  • Lee, William (d. 1614/15?) inventor of the stocking frame
  • Arkwright, Sir Richard (1732–1792) inventor of cotton-spinning machinery and cotton manufacturer
  • Heathcoat, John (1783–1861) inventor of the bobbin net machine and lace manufacturer
  • Turpin, Richard [Dick] (bap. 1705, d. 1739) highwayman

Musical production

Director of Music: Fred Mountney
Assistant Directors of Music: Charles E Riley, W Turner, Charles Wyndham. 

Performed pieces included:

  • Arthur Smith – Gracious Nymph; Maiden’s Dread
  • Grace Rawlings and Harold Whitehall – Groping, Creeping; Marching Song of the Legionaries; the Song of the Mill; Nottingham Castle; Song of the Masons; Hunting Song; Southwell Palace.
  • Stanley Gunn – The Wars of the Roses
  • HJ Hopkins and Ralph Harrison – The Song of the Sword
  • Cecil F Smyly – Music for Folk Dances
  • Mrs Frances Bellringer – March to Hymn

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Nottingham Evening Post
Nottingham Journal
Nottingham Guardian
Gloucestershire Echo
Tamworth Herald
Lichfield Mercury
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer
Derby Daily Telegraph
Sheffield Independent
London Standard
Swindon Advertiser and North Wilts Chronicle

Book of words

Nottingham and Notts. Historical Pageant June 10th-15th 1935, Book of Words. Nottingham, 1935.

Cost: 1s.

Other primary published materials

  • ‘What the Pageant Stands For’. Nottingham, 1935. Nottingham Central Library. L94 1935.
  • Civic Day Pamphlet. Nottingham, 1935. University of Nottingham Special Collections and Manuscripts Library. Pamphlet Coll. Not 3.D34 NOT.
  • Nottingham and Notts Historical Pageant 1935—Programme. Nottingham, 1935. Nottingham Reference Library, L79.85 Nottm.
  • Nottingham and Notts. Historical Pageant Pamphlet. University of Nottingham Special Collections and Manuscripts Library. Pamphlet Coll. Not 1.D34 NOT.

References in secondary literature

  • Wallis, Mick. ‘Delving the Levels of Memory and Dressing up in the Past’. In British Theatre between the Wars, 1918-1939, edited by Clive Barker and Maggie B. Gale. Cambridge, 2000, 190-214.

Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • See preceding section for archival holdings, locations and references.
  • Nottingham Corporation, Council Minutes (1934-1935). Nottinghamshire Record Office. CA/TC 1/2/68-70.
  • Box file: Nottm and Notts Historical Pageant 1935. ‘News Cuttings and Ephemera’. (Nottingham Local Studies Library). L. 79.85.

Sources used in preparation of pageant



The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Historical Pageant took place in June 1935, in Wollaton Park. According to a correspondent writing in the Nottingham Guardian, the city’s effort was inspired by Leicester’s large and successful pageant three years earlier.4 But, more generally, the pageant was yet another example of a large industrial city turning to popular pageantry in order to promote its local economy, while also trying to stimulate a sense of community and continuity in a time of strife. Indeed, and in direct comparison to Leicester, Nottingham had fared badly during the economic downturn in the 1930s. In 1933, 20455 people were unemployed and workers’ wages were below what was required for an acceptable standard of living.5 Housing was in greater demand due to population growth and the industrial hosiery base of the city was declining.6 Thus, while the pageant was ostensibly staged to raise money for hospitals in Nottingham and the surrounding area, the fact that it also included an expansive Industrial Exhibition makes it clear that promoting the city – economically and socially - was a key factor as well.

Directing the pageant was Edward Baring, with Nugent Monck as producer – a role that seemingly more resembled the perhaps by then old-fashioned title of ‘pageant-master’.7 Both men had extensive experience of creating historical pageants. Edward Baring had first become involved with pageantry when working as a business manager for the Gloucestershire Pageant in 1908. In the interwar period he more commonly worked on historical pageants in industrial cities such as Newcastle (1931), and especially with Frank Lascelles (who died in 1934), such as Carlisle (1928) and Stoke-on-Trent (1930). Monck was an experienced theatrical actor director, and had founded the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich. He produced a Northampton Pageant (1926), as well as the Northampton Pageant (1930), Wolsey Pageant in Ipswich (1931), and the Ramsgate Pageant (1934), amongst others. The executive committee included several civic worthies, including the Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Sir Julien Cahn and many other County Council members. A number of subcommittees, each with their own chair, included a wide range of figures from local civic culture, including the Director of Education, the City Engineer and two professors from University College, Nottingham. Assistance from the county was sought, and Long Eaton and Mansfield produced Episode III.

The pageant took place in Nottingham, but – like Gloucester’s pageant in 1908 or Leicester’s in 1932 – the extravaganza was billed as being for the county as well. The inclusion of an official ‘County Day’ on 11 June was the centrepiece of this more inclusive focus. As the Nottingham Evening Post noted, ‘an unusually large section of the audience were people from outside Nottingham’ on this day.8 The organisers were also keen to make sure that the pageant had an even wider impact beyond the county. A huge number of civic dignitaries from around the country were invited to attend the Civic Day on 12 June, including the Lord Mayors of London, York, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Grantham, various Sheriffs and Mayors, Mayoresses and Town Clerks.9 The Lord Mayor of London and other civic guests were part of a huge procession around Nottingham and a luncheon at which the toast ‘The City of Nottingham’10 was made, before opening the pageant in the afternoon. Such a municipal focus perhaps reflected the attention being given to local government and its achievements in the mid-1930s, as municipal officials and contemporary commentators reflected on the centenary of the Municipal Reform Act of 1835.11

Reflecting the difficult economic context of the region during the pageant, some of the unemployed were given work; the Nottingham Association of Unemployed Workers, for example, made costumes and props for the pageant, including a Roman chariot, market stalls, and a throne for Henry II.12 While on the one hand this may have been a philanthropic gesture, it could also have been a necessity, since it seems that, at first, support for the pageant was slow to develop in Nottingham. A letter to the Nottingham Guardian on Wednesday 2 January 1935 proclaimed: ‘Sir, your appeal on behalf of the Pageant is opportune for it has become obvious that up to the present the public have shown little interest in it.’13 Around three months later, at least, the picture had seemingly changed, with the same paper reporting that Nottingham had caught the Jubilee Spirit and some parts in the pageant had been doubled or even tripled.14 There was also more general national interest, with the Tamworth Herald, Swindon Advertiser, London Standard and Sheffield Independent all featuring articles about the event. The Nottingham Evening Post even reported that the role of Boadicea received 400 applications ‘from all parts of the country’ with 20 interviewed.15

Instead of depicting a linear narrative showing just the rise of Nottingham, different episodes involving the city’s hinterland were devised. They featured famous historical figures in not just Nottingham, but several county places as well. Monck claimed to have developed the practice of historical pageantry without influence from the first pageant-master, Louis Napoleon Parker.16 But, in terms of themes and style, Monck was perhaps the most faithful interwar interpreter of Edwardian historical pageantry. He used dialogue extensively; mixed both serious and more light-hearted pageantry; and utilised allegory as a presentational device. At the same time, however, there were some of the artistic flourishes of the more modern pageant-masters, such as Lascelles, that came through especially in scenes that featured the ‘common-folk’ in large crowds. The pageant began, as was common, with an allegorical prologue, where various muses of history instructed local children to watch the portrayal of history. As well as fairies of the field and countryside, ‘gnomes of the mines and factories’ were also portrayed – a nod to the industrial lifeblood of the city. Naturally, being a pageant of Nottinghamshire, Robin Hood and his band of merry men featured in this episode, as well as having a whole episode later in the pageant, set in Sherwood Forest.

Other episodes were fairly generic pageantry fare, and illustrated several common themes. Firstly, the connection of important figures and events to the life and history of the county (Episode I featured Boadicea’s revolt; Episode II featured Paulinus, Archbishop of York, spreading Christianity; Episode III featured William the Conqueror, giving Nottingham Castle to William Peveril; Episode VI featured Edward IV, bringing the splendour of the Royal court to the city; Episode VII featured Cardinal Wolsey at Southwell Palace; and Episode VIII featured Charles I, Colonel Hutchinson, and Prince Rupert, and the Civil War). Secondly, and in contrast, cultural events of a more local character (most notably Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest, Episode V; the final episode, which showed the locally celebrated Goose Fair; and the epilogue, which introduced historical figures associated with both the industrial and cultural life of the county). The pageant also showed something of the municipal development of the city, by portraying the granting of the city’s first charter in AD 1155 (Episode IV).

Throughout, there was opportunity for grand spectacle and massed movement, using the 6000-strong cast to good effect. Dancing and singing was present in many episodes. According to Monck (in an interview several years later), ‘the central theme of modern pageantry’ was the depiction of the ‘influence of the crowd’, by which he meant ‘the increasing power of the man in the street to organize his life’.17 In the context of economic depression, such an ethos likely aimed at creating some local hope and buoyancy, and was a simple yet effective way to make pageants more relatable to large crowds of urban-industrial workers. This was especially evident in the final Goose Fair scene, which featured no famous faces, and instead concentrated on small incidents of a local and humorous character.

Despite poor weather, the pageant was a huge success. Over the duration of the week, 53600 people paid for admission, and a further 5700 paid to see the Great Carnival Procession.18 On the County Day, 4000 people were ready at the start of the day to witness the festivities19 and on Wednesday 12 June it was reported that ‘The departure of the civic party was witnessed by 10000 people who defied the rain and cheered to the echo.’20 Public demand meant two extra performances of the pageant were put on the following Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.21 A very impressive £4000 profit was made to donate to hospitals - largely awarded to Nottingham General Hospital, which received £2215 18s. 4d. The next largest donation was £886 7s. 4d., which went to Nottingham Women’s Hospital; and the smallest was £25, which was given to Workshop and Newark Hospitals.22 Of the six institutions listed as receiving money, four were in Nottingham.23 The perceived collective achievement was summed up by Nugent Monck when he said, to all involved, ‘Your efforts have placed Nottingham on the map.’24 Certainly, Nottingham’s pageant had been a great success. But, by the mid-1930s, it was perhaps most simply another example of the widespread shift of historical pageantry to large industrial cities, and the adaptability of the form to contemporary concerns and policies.

Nottingham held a further pageant in 1949.

[Written by Tim Savage]


  1. ^ Nottingham Evening Post, 6 October 1935, 3.
  2. ^ Nottingham Evening Post, 6 October 1935, 3.
  3. ^ Nottingham Evening Post, 6 October 1935, 3.
  4. ^ Nottingham Guardian, 18 February 1935, 2.
  5. ^ Colin Griffin, ‘The Identity of a Twentieth-Century City’, in A Centenary History of Nottingham, ed. John Beckett et al. (Manchester, 1997), 425.
  6. ^ John Beckett, The Book of Nottingham (Buckingham, 1990), 125
  7. ^ Nottingham and Notts. Historical Pageant, Book of Words. 1935. Nottingham Central Library. L94.
  8. ^ ‘The Pageant Continues’, Nottingham Evening Post, 11 June 1935, 5.
  9. ^ Civic Day Pamphlet, 1935, 1–8. Pamphlet Collection, Manuscripts and Special Collections Library, University of Nottingham. Not 3.D34 NOT.
  10. ^ Ibid., 8.
  11. ^ Tom Hulme, ‘Putting the City back into Citizenship: Civics Education and Local Government in Britain, 1918-1945’, Twentieth Century British History, 26, no. 1 (2015).
  12. ^ ‘Pageant Properties’, Nottingham Evening Post, 8 May 1935, 9.
  13. ^ Nottingham Guardian, 18 February 1935, 2.
  14. ^ Ibid, 3 May 1935.
  15. ^ ’20 Boadiceas Interviewed’, Nottingham Evening Post, 30 March 1935, 1.
  16. ^ Mick Wallis, ‘Delving the Levels of Memory and Dressing up in the Past’ in British Theatre between the Wars, 1918–1939, ed. Clive Barker and Maggie B. Gale (Cambridge, 2000), 190–214.
  17. ^ Nugent Monck, ‘English fond of pageantry’, Portsmouth Evening News (7th June 1938), 6.
  18. ^ Ibid.
  19. ^ ‘The Pageant Continues’, Nottingham Evening Post, 11 June 1935, 5.
  20. ^ Nottingham Evening News, 12 June 1935, 1.
  21. ^ ‘Scenes at the Council House’, Nottingham Evening Post, 12 June, 1935, 12.
  22. ^ ‘£4.000 PAGEANT SURPLUS’, Nottingham Evening Post, 6 October 1935, 3.
  23. ^ Ibid.
  24. ^ ‘Last Curtain at the Pageant’, Nottingham Evening Post, 20 June 1935, 5.

How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Historical Pageant’, The Redress of the Past,