Silver Jubilee Pageant

Pageant type

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Place: Shalford Park (Guildford) (Guildford, Surrey, England)

Year: 1977

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 10


4-16 July 1977

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Devised, Designed and Directed, Master of the Pageant [Pageant Master]: Clarke, David
  • Dance Director: Keith Thomas
  • Drama Director: Susan Main
  • Mistress of the Robes: Susan Price-Davies, Marion May
  • Assistants to Wardrobe: Patricia Pearce, Hilda Short, Carol Taylor
  • Master of Horse: Quita King
  • Chief Assistant to Horse: Shirley Edge
  • Master of Properties: Leonard Farley
  • Director of Sound: Leonard Farley
  • Assistant Sound Director: Simon Curry
  • Director of Lighting: Ian Maxwell
  • Head of Make-up: Maria Ronan
  • Technical Controller: Derek Raper
  • Control Room Assistant: Jennifer Monk
  • Arena Manager and Chief Marshall: Michael Payne
  • Assistant to David Clarke: Francesca Simes
  • Accountant: Peter Sergeant
  • Solicitor: Roy Brockington
  • Box Office: Harold Bartlett, Ronald Farnfield
  • Site Manager: Douglas Gillard
  • Grandstand Manager: Colin Kirkland
  • Car Park Managers: James Fink, George Watts
  • Publicity Officer: John Gill
  • Press Officer: Eve Harlow
  • Site Electrician: Brian Beagley
  • Assistant Site Electrician: Colin Shepherd


Names of executive committee or equivalent

Organising Committee

  • David Clarke
  • Leonard Farley
  • John Gill
  • Peter Sergeant
  • Chief Patron: Princess Anne
  • Patrons: Viscountess Astor, Lord Nugent of Guildford, David Howell MP

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

  • Clarke, David

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information

Object of any funds raised

In support of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Appeal.

Linked occasion

Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II 1977.

Audience information

  • Grandstand: Yes
  • Grandstand capacity: 2500
  • Total audience: n/a

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest

Associated events

A parade, street parties, fetes and shows in Guildford on 8 July to welcome the visit of Princess Anne.

Pageant outline


No script is available, only the episode titles.

Episode 1. Stonehenge Fertility Festival Dance/Drama, 1000BC

Episode 2. Claudius, Caractacus and Queen Cartimundua

Episode 3. The Martyrdom of St Alban, 209 and 597

Episode 4. Beowulf, 680


Episode 5. Alfred and Ethelflaed, 886 and 918

Episode 6. The Coronation of King Edgar, 973

Episode 7. William I and Hereward the Wake, 1069

Episode 8. A Fair. 1370

Episode 9. The Great Revolt, 1381

Episode 10. Tournament, 1467

Episode 11. Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, 1536 and 1540

Episode 12. Queen Elizabeth I and a Royal Progress, 1575

Episode 13. The Civil War, 1645

Episode 14. The Great Plague and Fire of London. 1665-6

Episode 15. Pirates and Smugglers. 1749/1768

Episode 16. Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, 1800/1814

Episode 17. Railway Mania, 1842

Episode 18. Nineteenth Century Sport, 1896

Episodes 19, 20 and 21. The Boer, First and Second World Wars

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Claudius [Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus] (10 BC–AD 54) Roman emperor
  • Caratacus [Caractacus] (fl. AD 40–51) king in Britain
  • Cartimandua [Claudia Cartimandua, Julia Cartimandua] (d. after AD 69) queen of the Brigantes
  • Augustine [St Augustine] (d. 604) missionary and archbishop of Canterbury
  • Æthelberht I (d. 616?) king of Kent
  • Alban [St Alban, Albanus] (d. c.303?) Christian martyr in Roman Britain
  • Alfred [Ælfred] (848/9–899) king of the West Saxons and of the Anglo-Saxons
  • Æthelflæd [Ethelfleda] (d. 918) ruler of the Mercians
  • Edgar [called Edgar Pacificus] (943/4–975) king of England
  • William I [known as William the Conqueror] (1027/8–1087) king of England and duke of Normandy
  • Hereward [called Hereward the Wake] (fl. 1070–1071) rebel
  • Oswald [St Oswald] (d. 992) archbishop of York
  • Warenne, William (I) de, first earl of Surrey [Earl Warenne] (d. 1088) magnate
  • Ball, John (d. 1381) chaplain and leader of the peasants' revolt
  • Tyler, Walter [Wat] (d. 1381) leader of the peasants' revolt
  • Richard II (1367–1400) king of England and lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine
  • Elizabeth [née Elizabeth Woodville] (c.1437–1492) queen of England, consort of Edward IV
  • Edward IV (1442–1483) king of England and lord of Ireland
  • Henry VIII (1491–1547) king of England and Ireland
  • Anne [Anne Boleyn] (c.1500–1536) queen of England, second consort of Henry VIII
  • Anne [Anne of Cleves] (1515–1557) queen of England, fourth consort of Henry VIII
  • Holles, Sir William (1471?–1542) mayor of London
  • Elizabeth I (1533–1603) queen of England and Ireland
  • Sidney, Robert, second earl of Leicester (1595–1677) diplomat and landowner
  • Fairfax, Thomas, third Lord Fairfax of Cameron (1612–1671) parliamentarian army officer
  • Ireton, Henry (bap. 1611, d. 1651) parliamentarian army officer and regicide
  • Brunel, Isambard Kingdom (1806–1859) civil engineer
  • Victoria (1819–1901) queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and empress of India
  • Albert [Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha] (1819–1861) prince consort, consort of Queen Victoria
  • Victoria, princess royal (1840–1901) German empress, consort of Frederick III
  • Edward VII (1841–1910) king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and the British dominions beyond the seas, and emperor of India

Musical production

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Surrey Advertiser
The Times

Book of words


Other primary published materials


Silver Jubilee Pageant [Programme]. London, 1977.

References in secondary literature

  • Mark Edwards. ‘Archive pictures show fabulous 1977 Guildford Pageant celebrating Queen's :Silver Jubilee’, 31 March 2016, Get Surrey, (accessed 7 June 2016).
  • Mark Edwards. ‘Queen's Silver Jubilee: Amazing video unearthed of 1977 Guildford parade and pageant’, 19 April 2016, Get Surrey:
  • (accessed 7 June 2016).
  • ‘People Profile: Marion May’, Cranleigh Magazine, 25 February 2016: (accessed 7 June 2016).

Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of programme in Surrey History Centre, Woking, reference 8147/2.

Sources used in preparation of pageant



There was a revival of historical pageantry in 1977 on the occasion of the queen’s silver jubilee, and David Clarke’s pageant in Guildford was one of the most notable examples. Clarke had worked with Christopher Ede on the Guildford Pageant of 1957, some twenty years earlier, and had also produced one in 1968 – as well as many others in various places. For the 1977 pageant, Clarke received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his efforts, and further recognition came with the attendance of Princess Anne at the opening performance.1 There were 3000 performers and 55 horses – the Master of Horse later recalled that ‘with careful planning it seemed there were far more’ of the latter.2 This was one of the largest pageants of the 1970s, and surviving video footage shows the impressive production. There was a large replica of parts of Stonehenge, for example, and an enactment of Beowulf fighting the dragon.3

Clarke wrote the following encapsulation of the history of pageantry in the programme:

A pageant presents a Director with the unique opportunity of treating a subject largely, to convey the philosophy of history through its presentation and to give abstract ideas strong dramatic expression. It also presents a Pageant Master with an original mind and imagination the chance of raising it above the conventional, to a place where its possibilities as drama are realised and use as a potent form of dramatic expression.

With the advent of the cinema, attracting as it did vast passive audiences, and latterly of television, and with the intervention of the Second World War, the historical pageant as a form of popular public entertainment and participators venture, has tended to appear much less frequently, but there are other reasons for this too, the greatest being that of cost. York Pageant cost £13677, today would cost double that amount…there are only one or two in the world capable of undertaking and supervising what is in effect a highly specialised and complex form of theatre.

Another reason is that people are not as geared as they were in the past to going out and doing something with others for the sheer pleasure of it, not in the numbers required by a pageant anyway. They have too many other interests. Who could today obtain the services of 15,000 people every evening for six months, as Frank Lascelles did for the Pageants of Empire at Wembley in 1924?

Historical Pageants too had fallen somewhat into disrepute and an element of bad taste had, justifiably, attached itself to them. Often in the past they became little more than the vehicles for the public aggrandisement of organisation and individuals…But occasionally they aspired to something more than a mere costume frolic, patronised by bored, uncritical audiences. They became works of theatre art. The opportunity is ripe for this to happen again.4

Clarke went on to stage major Pageants, the Pageant of Monarchy at Shalford Park in 1987, and at Farnham in 1988. In 2005, as part of the Guildford Summer Festival, David Clarke staged an exhibition and series of talks about pageantry in the town.5


  1. ^ ‘People Profile, Marion May’, Cranleigh Magazine, 25 February 2016: (accessed 7 June 2016).
  2. ^ ‘Queen's Silver Jubilee: Amazing video unearthed of 1977 Guildford parade and pageant’, 19 April 2016, Get Surrey: (accessed 1 July 2016).
  3. ^ Ibid.
  4. ^ David Clarke, ‘Reflections of Pageantry’, in Silver Jubilee Pageant (London, 1977), unpaginated.
  5. ^ ‘Historical Pageantry for 100 Years’: (accessed 1 July 2016).

How to cite this entry

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