Preston Historical Pageant

Other names

  • Preston Gild, 1922

Pageant type


<p>Preston has a long history of ceremonial guild pageants, which are held every twenty years. An uninterrupted series of guild [sometimes 'Gild'] festivals was held from 1542 to 1922, but this series was finally broken in 1942, as the Second World War took priority over the continuation of this celebration of medieval pageantry. The festival was resumed in 1952 and celebrated again in 1972, 1992 and 2012. The guild pageant takes the form of a series of formal proclamations culminating in a number of civic processions and the convening of the 'Guild Courts' where the town's charters are recited. The processions fill the streets of Preston, showcasing the town’s trades, churches, voluntary groups and schools; they often involve floats carrying participants dressed in historical costumes. The final element is a torchlight procession. In 1922, a historical pageant performed by local children was added to the larger event.</p>

Jump to Summary


Place: Avenham Park (Preston) (Preston, Lancashire, England)

Year: 1922

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 2


7–13 September 1922

In strict terms, this pageant had only two performances. Originally, it was planned to have only a single performance, but the first was so successful, another was held the following week. At the first, the pageant was performed sequentially in three parts over three successive days (7–9 September) during the Gild week (4–9 September). It was then repeated between 11 and 13 September.2 The pageant commenced at 2.30 pm.3

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Pageant Master: Berry, A.J.
  • Special Adviser of Organisation Committee: Miss C.E. McCourty (Head Mistress of St Saviour's School)
  • Special Adviser of Organisation Committee: Mr S. Ashton (Head Master St Matthew's Boys' School)
  • Special Adviser of Organisation Committee: Mr J. Reeves (Head Master English Martyrs' Boys' School)
  • Special Adviser of Organisation Committee: Mr T. Helme (Head Master Eldon Street Council Mixed School)
  • Director of Music [1st & 3rd days] and Special Musical Adviser: Mr C.F. Howard (Head Master of Emmanuel Boys' School)
  • Special Dramatic Adviser: Miss M. Gardner
  • Supervisor of Costume-making: Miss C. Houseman (Head Mistress Christ Church Girls' School)
  • Special Adviser and Executive Officer for Stage Properties: Mr C. Carter
  • Special Adviser and Executive Officer for Stage Properties: Mr H. Rutter
  • Director of Printing Arrangements: Mr F.A. Danson
  • Director of Programme Advertisements: Mr J. Ward (Head Master Deepdale Council Mixed School)
  • Deputy Director of Programme Advertisements: Mr J. Hartley (Head Master St Stephen's Mixed School)


A much larger number of schoolteachers were involved in some capacity with the production of this pageant; many of these are pictured in the pageant programme.4

Names of executive committee or equivalent

Music Committee

  • Mr C.F. Howard
  • Mr H. Howarth
  • Mr Whincup
  • Mr Theaker
  • Mr Reeves
  • Mr Cassidy
  • Miss Dunkley
  • Miss Holliday


Although there undoubtedly was an organising committee (and more than likely many subcommittees), somewhat unusually, committee membership is never explicitly listed—this may be because the membership was so large. It may be expected that Preston's Director of Education, A.J. Berry, who was also Pageant Master and author of the pageant, sat on the executive. Schoolteachers who were in charge of individual episodes were probably also represented. There was a separate music committee and members of this are detailed in the pageant programme.5

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

  • Berry, A.J.


The pageant master, A.J. Berry, wrote the script of the pageant.

Names of composers

  • Arcadelt, Jacques
  • Berry, A.J.
  • Coles, P.G.
  • Gounod, Charles
  • Howard, C.F.
  • Hullah, John
  • Lofthouse, B.
  • Lovatt, F.M.
  • Martin, Frederick John Easthope
  • Parry, Hubert
  • Rubenstein, Anton
  • Schubert, Franz
  • Smart, Henry
  • Smith, I. Sydney
  • Spazier, Johann G.K.
  • Sterndale Bennett, William
  • Sullivan, Arthur
  • Veazie, G.A.
  • Wagner, Richard

Local composers created much of the music specifically for the pageant. These included C.F. Howard, F.M. Lovatt, P.G. Coles, Dr B. Lofthouse and the pageant master A.J. Berry.6 However, other well-known pieces by famous composers were also included.

It is indicated in the Book of Words that the composer of a narrative chorus in Episode V, Scene II is 'I. Sydney Smith'; however, a further record of a composer by this name has not been recovered. This particular piece is said to be reproduced with the permission of 'Messrs. Cary and Co.'7

Numbers of performers

10000 - 11000

The overall figure quoted in numerous publications is 10000; this included the 5000-strong choir; however the official souvenir cites 11000.

Financial information

Following the pageant, it was estimated that the gross receipts in respect of ticket sales would amount to around £7000, but in this case, £1300 would be 'payable to the Government in respect of entertainments duty'.9

According to Vernon, there was a net profit of £1240.10

Object of any funds raised

A children's seaside home


Advertisements for the second performance of the pageant specify that the proceeds of the pageant would go towards a children's seaside home.11

Linked occasion

Preston Gild Pageant

Audience information

  • Grandstand: Not Known
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: 100000


The Lancashire Daily Post reported that total ticket sales (both those sold in advance and at the gate) on the first day amounted to 22435; on day two the number was 18720; and on the final day, ticket sales swelled to 37735.12 Yet figures quoted for attendance vary wildly. For example, following first performance of the pageant, the Times newspaper estimated that between forty and fifty thousand people were in attendance.13 The official souvenir programme published in 1923 states that some 60000 people attended the third day of the first performance.14 While some exaggeration may have been at play, the huge discrepancy perhaps suggests that there was acceptance that many of those people who attended at Avenham Park were not, in fact, ticket holders. Towards the end of September a final figure for attendance was released, presumably based on ticket sales; this concluded that 79940 people attended.15 Surviving photographic demonstrates how vast the crowds were; no grandstand is visible, although there may have been one. Instead, photographs show tiered seating set into the slope which looked down on the pageant arena.16

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest

10s.6d. – 1s

An example of a newspaper advertisement has not been recovered. It is possible handbills and posters, as well as Gild festival literature, were used to advertise the pageant to a greater extent than the press. An article in the Lancashire Daily Post states that 'season' tickets and tickets for individual performances were made available.17 Advertisements for the second performance of the pageant were placed in the Guardian newspaper but these state only that reduced prices operated for these shows.18 It is very probable that attendance at the second performance, which took place after the conclusion of Gild week, was much smaller than at the first. According to Keith Vernon, who has examined minutes of meetings of the Guild Merchant Committee, tickets were priced on a sliding scale, with the cheapest costing 1s and the most expensive (for a prime reserved seat) costing 10s.6d.19

Associated events

The pageant initially took place as part of the week-long Preston Guild festival (4–9 September 1922). Events held during this time are too numerous to mention, but the main programme can be outlined as follows:

Saturdays: 19 and 26 August and 2 September

  • Proclamations of the coming Guild Week.

Sunday 3 September

  • Guild Mayor attends the Parish Church; and also receives 'nobility and gentry'.

Monday 4 September

  • 10.00 am: the Guild Court held in the Guild Hall.
  • 11.30 am: Guild Mayor processes through the streets to the Parish Church and attends a service there.
  • Then returns to the Guild Hall where 'Latin orations of Headmaster and Head Scholar of Grammar School, are replied to by the Recorder'.
  • 'High Mass' sung at the Roman Catholic churches at 10.00 am.
  • 2.00 pm: A procession of Sunday School scholars through the streets.
  • 7 - 9.00 pm: the 'Band of the 88th Bde. R.F.A. will play for Dancing in the Market Square'.
  • 9.00 pm: Guild Inaugural Ball.

Tuesday 5 September

  • 10.00 am: Procession of the Catholic Guilds through the streets.
  • 1.00 pm: Guild Mayoral luncheon in the Public Hall.
  • 2.30 pm: Procession of Nonconformist Sunday School scholars through the streets.
  • 4.00 pm: Unveiling of 2nd Batt. The Loyal (North Lancashire) Regiment war memorial in the Parish Church, by the Right Honourable the Earl of Derby, KG.
  • 8.00 pm: Miscellaneous Concert, in the Public Hall.

Wednesday 6 September

  • 8.30 am: Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show in Moor Park
  • 9.15 am: Trades Procession (Textile Trades and 'General Trades') through the streets [these started from different points but appear to have converged].
  • 1.15 pm: The Guild Mayor's visit to the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show in Moor Park [procession through streets to Moor Park].
  • 2.30 - 4.30 pm: Selections of music in the Market Square, by the Band of the 2nd Batt. The Loyal (North Lancashire) Regiment.
  • 7.30 - 9.30 pm: Selections of music in the Market Square, by the Band of the 2nd Batt. The Loyal (North Lancashire) Regiment.
  • 7 - 9.00 pm: The Band of the British Legion (Preston Branch) play for dancing in Ribbleton Park.
  • 9.00 pm: Costume Ball

Thursday 7 September

  • 8.30 am: Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show in Moor Park.
  • 9.30 am: procession of Amalgamated Friendly Societies through the streets.
  • 11.00 am: Guild Mayoress and 'Ladies of the Town and District' process through streets and attend service at the Parish Church, preceded by a reception in the Guild Hall where the Mayoress receives the ladies.
  • 2.30 pm: Commencement of the historical pageant in Avenham Park.
  • 7 - 9.00 pm: The Band of the British Legion (Preston Branch) play for dancing in Haslam Park.
  • 7.30 - 9.30pm: The Preston Excelsior Brass Band play for dancing in Market Square.
  • 9.00 pm: Popular Costume Ball.

Friday 8 September

  • 8.30 am: Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show in Moor Park.
  • 11.00 am: Ceremonies at Preston and County of Lancaster Queen Victoria Royal Infirmary. Opening (by the Guild Mayoress) of the Electro-Massage Department. Laying of the foundation stone of the extension of the Nurses' Home by the Guild Mayor. Processions through the streets to and from the Infirmary.
  • 2.30 pm: Second part of the historical pageant.
  • 7.30 - 9.30 pm: The Longridge Brass Band play for dancing in the Market Square.

Saturday 9 September

  • 8.30 am: Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show in Moor Park.
  • 11.30 am: The Guild Mayor receives the 'Members of the Council, Nobility and Gentry'.
  • 12 noon: 'Adjourned Guild Court', in the Guild Hall.
  • 2.30 pm: Third part of the historical pageant.
  • 3.00 pm: At the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show, the Preston Guild (Gold) Cup and the Lancaster (Silver) Cup presented by the Guild Mayoress to the successful competitors in the butter-making competition held in the 'Model Dairy'.
  • 3.00 pm: Football match at Deepdale - 'North End v Liverpool'.
  • 5.00 pm: The Guild Mayoress presents prizes to successful competitors in the 'Horse Ring'.
  • 6.30 pm: Popular Ball
  • 8.30 pm Torchlight Procession through streets.20

Pageant outline

Prologue to First Day's Pageant

The Pageant Master delivers an introduction to the pageant in verse. The first stanza is as follows:

The bark now launch'd, with necessaries stored,
Rigg'd, mann'd, well-built, and rich freight on board,
All ready, tight and trim, from head to poop,
And, may be, later made a royal sloop.
May Heav'n from tempests, rocks, and privateers
Preserve the good ship Pageant. Boys, three cheers!

The verse then goes on to mention Shakespeare's character of 'Queen Mab' and asserts that she has been an influence of the pageant's author and director, guiding him:

Look round this Park, and various proofs you'll see,
Strong glaring proofs, that Mab has been with me.
She caught me napping, knew where I was vain,
And tickled every fibre of my brain.21

Episode I: In the Beginning

Scene I: Monastic Church at Ripon—Easter Eve—The Sun Setting in the West

In this scene, set at Ripon the players appear dressed in white to 'symbolise the clear light of religion devoid of materialism'. The drama begins with singing of an 'Evening Prayer'. St Wilfrid and his assistant priests then enter and the choir sings a chorus of welcome. Wilfrid states that the end of his life is near and he asks that another will 'take up the Baptist's cry and announce the Lord is nigh'. Boniface steps forward to offer his services. Wilfrid tells Boniface to go to the land of the 'Ribble's flood' and there build a church. Wilfrid blesses Boniface and departs; as he leaves, there is chanting of further narrative on 'the legacy of the departed' by two groups of monks: this is accompanied by 'rhythmic dancing'.22 The chorus then sing 'Peace (Pax vobiscum)' to conclude the scene.

Scene II: Boniface Arrives at Preston, and Approaches the Settlers at Work in the Fields

The scene opens with the choir singing 'A Song of Peace' as Boniface comes upon the settlers who are described as 'a band of rural people whose interests had previously been bounded by earthly pursuits'. A colour scheme for the scene, presumably expressed through the costumes of the performers, is employed as follows: 'red to symbolise human life. Blue to symbolise the heavens. Green to symbolise the earth'. The settlers ask Boniface if he comes in peace. Dialogue between the settlers and Boniface is then conducted in verse, at the end of which the settlers agree to build a church. The scene continues with two narrative choruses on the themes of 'toil and reward' and 'the gradual majestic building of the church', while girls from a number of local schools perform rhythmic dances suggesting these themes.23 All concludes with singing of 'O Gladsome Light'. A new colour scheme for this final tableau is described in the book of words as follows:

Green in the foreground passing through red and Blue to White and Silver in the rear symbolises respectively the earth, human life, the veil between this world and the next, the life beyond the grave.

In addition to the girl dancers, boys and girls from St Ignatius School, under the direction of Sister Ursula and Mr R. Hosker, performed in both scenes in

Episode I.

Episode II: The Formation of ‘Peace’ and ‘Religious’ Gilds

Scene I: [no title]

The episode opens with singing of 'Honour and Praise to the Men of Old'. Townsmen are engaged in conveying tithes to the 'Tithe Barn' when fugitives come running in from all sides with news that the Danes have landed on the shores of the Wyre and burned the church of St Michael. The priest from St Michael's then runs in confirming this. All decide to take refuge in their church. The Danes enter and cry:

Yield ye Saxon dogs,
Foes of our Ancient gods
Your Christ can no more you defend,
Thor and Woden will make you bend.

Preston's priest tells the townsmen to stand firm, but is killed by the Vikings who then return to their ships. The priest of St Michael's then states that they must bury the dead priest of Preston [the text indicates that this in included because it exemplifies one of the first duties of the early gilds, which was to take charge of the burial of the dead]. A narrative chorus is then sung about remembering the evil deeds of the past. The scene ends with a song sung by mourning women about recalling the existence of heaven and the immortality of human life.

Scene II: The Danes Having Withdrawn Themselves, the Townsmen Meet in the Future Market Place to Discuss Plans for the Future

The townsmen ask St Michael's priest if he will stay with them and he agrees; the priest reminds them that the Danes have been successful because they 'band together' and he advises that the townsmen do likewise. A 'Peace Gild' is formed and all swear allegiance to it: a narrative chorus on this theme is sung, accompanied by rhythmic dancing in which 'squares' to signify strength are formed. Girls performed the dancing. The scene ends with singing of two songs by the choir —'Fraternity' and 'Ode to Joy'—while performers arrange themselves in the 'arc of a rainbow', which symbolises 'God's covenant of mercy'. In addition to the girl dancers who came from a number of different schools, pupils from Deepdale Council School, under the direction of Mr Ward, acted in both scenes within this episode.

Episode III: The Formation of a Merchant Gild

Scene I: The Townsmen Are in the Market Place Celebrating Harold's Victory Over Tostig at Stamford Bridge

The scene begins with a 'vocal march' glorying in Harold's victory. An 'Ale Feast' is taking place and among the crowd four groups are prominent. These are: a group listening to two minstrels who sing of Harold's prowess; another jeering at a trader who has been convicted of dishonesty; a group watching two wrestlers, and, a band of 'young hero-worshippers' who follow a group of 'returned warriors'. Messengers arrive bringing the news of Harold's recent defeat at Hastings and the people are in despair. Conversation about prospects under the Normans takes place; a narrative chorus is sung about the 'gulf between rich and poor'.

Scene II: Roger of Poitou Comes North, and Fixes His Headquarters at Penwortham, Where He Decides to Enlarge the Castle

The scene opens with the townsmen of Preston arriving at Penwortham to swear fealty to Roger [otherwise known as Roger the Poitevin]; they encounter his jester who taunts them. Roger appears accompanied by Warinus Bushell. The jester runs towards his master. Roger announces that King William had declared that a church bell must be rung at sunset to warn all to put out their fires: he calls this a 'curfew'. The townsmen are indignant that they are to be 'told the time to go to bed'. The jester sings a song entitled 'Don't Worry'. The citizens ask to come another time when the jester is not around. Roger says no, and dismisses the jester who goes off singing 'Old King Cole'. The townsmen and Roger converse; the townsmen say that they have learned from Norman traders about Merchant Gilds and wish to set up these in Preston. Roger warns them that merchant privileges involve feudal dues to him. The townsmen agree to this but suggest a yearly sum instead of piecemeal dues. Warinus Bushell encourages Roger to agree to this plan for he has learned that Preston's fortunes as a trading place are increasing. Roger further tells the townsmen that since King William 'is most anxious to secure peace and order throughout his land' the citizens remain entitled to 'lay by the heels any thief found in Preston and hang him by the neck'. He announces that he has appointed Bushell as Baron of Penwortham. Roger and his Baron exit and the townsmen discuss Roger and congratulate themselves on this deal. The scene ends with a narrative chorus on the subject of making great developments from a small start. Pupils from two local council schools performed in this episode. Mr Haydock supervised pupils from Roebuck Street School; and Mrs Plumb oversaw those from Eldon Street School. The pageant programme further describes 'a band of jesters' as taking part in Scene II. Playing these parts were boys from 'Roper's and the Talbot Schools, under the respective directions of Mr. Stirraker and Mr. Crombleholme, and headed by Mr. James Worsely, of the Tramways Department'.

Episode IV: The Visit to Preston of Edward I and Its Sequel In the Visit of Bruce

Scene I: The Moss Butts—Townsmen Go to Practise Archery. Many Take Their Boys with Them

Men are at the butts; included in the group are a weaver, a tanner, an arrowsmith and a carpenter. A child demands that his father let him try shooting with a long bow; the child makes an attempt and all laugh at his efforts, but his grandfather says 'Well done, worthy of a Lancashire lad! Longshanks will have thee for one of his archers'. The men discuss the king; it is mentioned that the king has commanded there will be 'no fair held till he has supplies enough for his army'. A narrative chorus is sung on the subject of time passing which ends with the remark that each man makes their own destiny. The sheriff, Richard de Hoghton appears; he congratulates the men for practising with their bows as the king commands and reminds them of how the English routed the Scots at Falkirk with their prowess in archery. The scene ends with singing, the metaphoric meaning of which is that all contributions, however small, count towards overall success.

Scene II: In Anticipation of the Coming of Edward I the Mayor Removes Certain Butchers' and Fishmongers' Stalls From Cheapside, In Order That the Thoroughfare May Present a Creditable Appearance at the King's Visit

Men, women and children enter from all sides while the choir sing a song celebrating spring. All cheer as King Edward and his retinue approach; Sheriff de Hoghton and the Mayor greet the king. The king states his pleasure at being in Lancashire and proceeds to knight the Mayor. The jester jokes 'there will soon be as many Knights this year as days', but the king is unrepentant and states this will 'knit together what is best in this fair land'. De Hoghton introduces the Prior of the Franciscans who have recently been installed nearby by the king's brother, the Earl of Lancaster. The prior extols the humility of the Franciscans and a song called 'The Modest Daisy' is sung. The townspeople then perform a dance for the king's entertainment 'such as hath been danced by our forefathers time out of mind'. The king states that he would love 'to tarry in this fair town' but 'this fellow Bruce must be dealt with'. He departs and children strew flowers in his path while singing 'Dawn Gentle Flower'. A note in the book of words states that 'this beautiful song' suggests the king's imminent death 'near Carlisle when apparently within reach of his fondest hopes'. The scene closes with a narrative chorus on the nature of chivalry. In Scenes I and II of this episode, pupils from the Catholic Boys' Central School, under the direction of Mr Taylor, undertook the performance; with dancers coming from St Ignatius Boys' School (directed by Father Ratcliffe) and children from St Ignatius Infant school acting as the flower strewers.

Scene III: Archers Appear in the Market Square, Covered in Dust

The archers announce that King Edward has died and his son has returned to London; an alderman pronounces he is fearful that Bruce will now take advantage of this opportunity. A priest comes on the scene and states that Edward will now 'exchange his armour for a well-earned rest' and the choir sings a lament about the contrast between temporality and eternity—this is accompanied by a dance performed by girls. The priest speaks in verse about how death comes to all, even kings. The Mayor states that they must send envoys to London to urge action; the alderman replies that the new king does not understand 'that time and tide wait for no man' and the choir sing a chorus on the theme of the perils of delay. In addition to the girl dancers who came from a number of local schools, the scene was undertaken by pupils from St Stephen's Mixed School, and directed by Mr Hartley and Miss Tomlinson.

Scene IV: The Beacon Fire Is Flashed From Lancaster, and Is Repeated Hill By Hill to Bleasdale and Longridge

The Mayor orders the church bell rung to summon the people to the Market Square. Plans are made to defend the town from the Scots. When the invaders arrive, they find the cattle have been driven away and the townsfolk have fled; seeing this they burn the town and retire. The townsfolk return and find their homes ruined, but the church has survived. A song entitled 'The Storm' is sung by the choir; the lyrics denote the 'destruction of Preston and its phoenix-like reappearance with a Gild celebration'. A light-hearted conversation takes place between some townsmen about what has happened. It ends with the following exchange:

Billy the Carpenter: ‘I fancied the Scotties had finished with raids long since, and they were only tales to fritten the bairns with.’

Fred the Baker: ‘There again you fancied wrongly. They are a hungry lot and will never tire of this pastime so long as they can get a square meal out of us, at a cheap rate.’

The Mayor announces that the Gild must help the homeless of the town and an alderman proposes that Preston holds a Gild celebration in order to 'obtain fees to refresh the town'. The scene ends with a narrative chorus that celebrates mutual support; during this, a tableau depicting the Gild emblem of the 'Square' takes place. The Book of Words states that this:

symbolises through its ‘right’ angles the Gild enunciation of the ‘upright’ dealing which should take place between man and man... the Gild stood four-square to the interests of all, whether masters, journeymen, or apprentices.

Pupils from St Andrew's School performed under the direction of Mr Houghton and Miss Hodson. Special scenic arrangements were made to suggest the burning of the town and these were undertaken by Mr R.T. Jones who was head of chemistry at the Harris Institute in Preston. This scene concludes the first day of the pageant.

Day 2:

Prologue to Second Day's Pageant

The Master of the pageant delivers a short verse as follows:

With hesitation, apprehension, fear
Before this audience I now appear
My conception's wrong you may complain
If so, the right will History make plain
And no religious bitterness need stain
The Gild whose teachings here we do acclaim
Of this great principle we may be sure
That truth to all the ages will endure
Deliberately my views are here expressed
And I have cause to think they'll stand Time's test.

Episode V: Annual Festival of the Gild

Scene I: Annual Festival of the Gild—Midsummer Day

An opening hymn is sung. A procession of the Gilds to church takes place while the choir sings religious music. A sung 'Grace Before Meat' in Latin follows this and it is presumed that the assembled gilds therefore leave the church and assemble at table.

Scene II: Gathering At the Festive Board—Passing Round the Loving Cup—Collection of Alms

This opens with singing in Latin of 'Grace After Meat' led by a cantor. The Book of Words indicates that the sharing of food was an expression of brotherhood and a great emphasis was therefore placed upon this by the gilds. The Mayor then speaks in verse on this theme. The scene proceeds with the narrative chorus singing; the first lines of this chorus are: 'Turn to the prudent ant thy heedless eyes / Observe her labours, brethren, and be wise.'24 At the conclusion, and after the loving cup has been passed around, the accounts books are removed from a chest and examined. Students from the Catholic College, directed by Father Irwin, took part in Scenes I and II of this episode.

Scene III: Mystery Play—‘The Angels and the Shepherds’

The scene recreates a traditional mystery play said in the Book of Words to be one of those presented in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries by 'the chandlers of York'. It begins with the entry of the bellman; he rings his bell and proclaims 'that no man go armed with swords not none other defences in disturbance of the King's peace... And men that bring forth the Pageant that they be good players well arrayed and openly speaking upon pain of losing one hundred shillings!' The Mayor calls for the players to enter and townsfolk come forth dragging a platform and crib. The choir performs 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' after which the play opens with three shepherds seated round a fire. An angel then appears and addresses them in Latin. The play proceeds in the usual fashion with the shepherds following the star and arriving at Bethlehem and the nativity scene. The players sing much of the shepherd's narrative and the scene ends with choral music. Pupils from Winckley Square Convent Secondary School performed in this scene; the crib used is said to have been modelled on that shown in a tapestry by Burne-Jones held at Exeter College, Oxford.25

Episode VI: Loss of Property of the Religious Houses, Chantries and Gilds

Scene I: Convent of Greyfriars – Meeting Between the Friars, Chantry Priests, and the Abbot of Whalley, Who Has Come To Consult With Them

The scene opens with the choir singing a song entitled 'Resignation'. The Abbot tells all that Thomas Cromwell's agents have reported to the king and he is now determined to close the religious houses. The friars are aghast and remarks are made asking who now will care for the poor, the sick and the young. Two songs, entitled respectively 'Covetousness' and 'Retribution' are sung. A robin appears and the abbot tells of the legend of the robin appearing at the crucifixion—this tale is delivered in verse. A further song is sung entitled 'Softly Fall the Shades of Evening'. People are heard clamouring at the gate of the convent and the abbot and friars go to greet them. The people ask 'what shall we do?' and the Abbot sings his response in verse 'dare to do right, dare to be true... Stand firm like heroes and battle till death.'26 The Abbot, friars and priests depart and the people kneel to receive a blessing; the choir sings a doxology.

Scene II: The People Decide To Rise Against the King's Closing of Religious Houses, and Earl Derby Is Ordered to Come to Preston With a Large Army

This scene opens with the Mayor and aldermen meeting with the Earl of Derby and Lord Monteagle. The Mayor reminds the earl that his family name (Stanley) is held in high regard locally, and that Preston men had supported the Stanley family at the Battle of Flodden (1513). He further states that the town's Gild supports peace and 'enables kindred sons of man to live like brothers). Derby and Monteagle state that they should like to join the Gild; and the Mayor states that they will be accommodated when the Gild next convenes six years hence. The chorus sings a verse on the subject of peace. An alderman addresses the earl and tells him that they want 'none of the King's new-fangled schemes'. He is warned to watch his mouth by the earl for the king also has the gilds and the chantry houses in his sights, as well as the monasteries. This statement is met with general outrage. The parish priest leads a song entitled 'Faith', with the choir taking up the chorus. The character of the jester then sings a song which carries the repeated line 'There's a Good Time Coming'. At the conclusion of this, it is evident that some time has passed and the parish priest declaims that in this time things have gone from bad to worse and that the succession of 'Protector Somerset' brings events that are worse than those under 'good King Hal'. The parish priest tells a chantry priest that his post is to be abolished and tells the Mayor and aldermen that they must give up the Gild's funds for the Gild is judged to have 'a religious foundation' and is to go the way of the religious houses. The narrative proceeds with verses from a blacksmith, a shoemaker and the jester who states that 'the innocent must suffer for the guilty'. The Mayor ends this piece by stating that though 'shorn of its wealth' the Gild will survive. A hymn entitled 'Trust in God' is sung during which all exit. The scene ends with the choir singing that 'the epoch ends'. Both scenes in this episode involved pupils from Preston Grammar School (directed by Rev. N. Trewby and Capt. McNicholl), boys from St Mathew's School (directed by Mr Ashton) and girls from St Saviour's School (directed by Miss McCourty).

Episode VII: Reconstruction

Scene I: Royal Palace at Greenwich

This scene is set in Greenwich where the 'Mayor and leading townsmen' wait to speak with Queen Elizabeth; chanting is heard from the chapel. The queen and a large body of courtiers, including 'the Lord High Chancellor of England bearing the seals in a red silk purse', Robert Cecil, Roger Ascham and the Earl of Derby, then process out of the chapel. During this, she occasionally lingers to speak with ambassadors and it is clear she favours the French ambassador—in taking off her glove to allow the Frenchman to kiss her hand, she drops the glove. The Mayor retrieves it and is addressed by Her Majesty. The queen asks for information about Preston and the earl who states that he is an out-burgess of the town's Gild and can testify that Preston gildsmen are to be relied upon. The Mayor asks for the return of the Gild's privileges. The queen answers: 'I am pleased to grant your petition, and as you are a chartered town will give you my old tutor Master Ascham for your representative in Parliament'. The scene ends with the Preston party calling out 'God save the Queen Elizabeth!'

Scene II: Return of Leading Townsmen With Charter From Queen Elizabeth

The arrangement of this scene is described as reproducing a scene depicted in 'the Fresco under the Lantern of the landing leading to the Gild Hall... designed by Mrs. Sparkes of Guildford'.27 The choir sing a verse on the coming of 'the new age'. The Mayor announces that the queen has granted a charter with 'extensive privileges' and she 'will encourage the work of the Gilds' in fostering 'home industries' and enforcing apprenticeships. He further tells of her suggestion of Roger Ascham as parliamentary representative for Preston and that he is duly elected. The Mayor comments that Ascham is present and though he is a Yorkshire man will 'commend himself to Lancashire lads in that he is an archer of exceptional skill'. The apprentices cheer Ascham. Conversation ensues between a schoolmaster, the Mayor and Ascham about education; this ends with a narrative chorus entitled 'The Training of the Young'. Ascham thanks the Gilds saying:

I appreciate the aims of the Gild in the fostering of brotherly love. Your town's coat of arms and motto, I see, refer to the Prince of Peace. The Queen is anxious to secure peace at home, peace abroad. Her policy is designed to encourage English industries and to develop among her subjects the laudable ambition that the name of England shall be respected throughout the world.

The scene ends with singing of Parry's 'England'. Pupils from Park School, under the direction of Miss A. M. Stoneman, performed in both scenes within this episode. This concluded the second day's pageant

Prologue to Third Day's Pageant

The Pageant Master delivers a prologue in verse on the theme of resisting the urge to try to please everyone.

Episode VIII: The Spacious Times of Queen Elizabeth

Opening Choruses

The episode opens with the choir singing two songs; the first entitled 'Wake! Wake! the Morning Bells', the second, 'Fairies'.

Scene I: Merrie England

The Book of Words furnishes few details of this, but it is assumed that games, folk music and dancing such as were typically offered in pageants to represent this era, took place. A maypole and morris dancers appear. Also in the background was the 'Company of Robin Hood and a collection of nursery rhyme characters including Little Bo-Peep, Red Riding Hood and Old Mother Hubbard. Pupils from Deepdale Council Infant School played the nursery rhyme parts; and pupils from Grimshaw Street School performed the morris dances and a 'pastoral dance'.

Scene II: The Fair in the Market Place (Feast of the Assumption, August 15)

The following description is provided in the Book of Words:

Temporary booths are provided with stalls forming distinct streets for the several trades. The local butchers, fishmongers, bakers, leather sellers, glovers, and corn dealers are kept distinct from the foreigners (strangers) with pots and pans, salt, spices, silks, iron etc... No sales are allowed till the opening of the Fair by the Bellman. The Traders and Apprentices immediately take up the cry, Buy! buy! buy!... Pigs make their way into the market, and perform the duties now carried out by the street sweepers and scavengers... Gild officials appear. There is the Towler to collect tolls, the Aulanger to test the width of the cloth, the officers who watch the ‘assize of bread’ and the ‘assize of ale’. Defaulters according to their offences are hurried off to the pillory or stocks.

The choir provide a narrative chorus while all of this action takes place; this tells a story on the theme of applying justice and honesty in the business of trading.

Scene III: People Are Buying at the Stalls

Several townsmen run onto the scene and call the following traditional rhyme:

Hark! Hark! the dogs do bark,
The beggars are coming to town,
Some in rags, some in tags,
And some in velvet gowns.

Women appear fearful and run away. The Mayor is called for. The beadle warns all to look out for the 'Bang-beggar' [the leader], who then enters followed by his 'motley crew' who all perform a dance. The leader addresses the Mayor saying they are honouring Preston with a visit as they have heard it is the best-run town in the land. The two continue a conversation in verse in which the Mayor asks if the beggars come from Todmorden; the leader replies:

'Oh, ay! All our chaps say the Beggars' Litany—‘From Hell, Hull and Halifax, good Lord deliver us'. The Mayor asks the beggar leader to tell them all a tale and he agrees, proceeding to tell a humorous story in verse about two spiders: one who works hard but does not prosper and the other who takes things as they come and profits by this approach. The clear inference being that one spider represents the worthy and industrious Preston, the other the beggars—and it is the latter who have the last laugh. Before exiting, the Mayor concedes the beggars may remain, but warns them off casual thieving. The scene ends in good humour with the choir performing the song 'The Three Beggars'.

Scene IV: Court of Pie Poudre

This depicts a scene in the so-called Court of Pie Poudre (meaning ‘court of dusty feet’) in which 'a jury of experts' give judgement on cases identified of bogus and deceitful selling, following the close of the fair. It is unclear if the narrative in verse that accompanies this was spoken or sung; this is quite short and compares the work of the Pie Poudre to the final judgement after death when 'the claims men have refused to pay' are 'Made good in that last "Court of Dusty Feet."' Pupils from the Harris Institute (directed by Mr Moyle, Mr Woods and Miss Wilding) performed in scenes II to IV depicting the fair; and this group was 'assisted' by children from Ribbleton Avenue School (directed by Mr Williams).

Scene V: Rushbearing Ceremony

In this scene, a ceremony associated with Gild celebrations, which commemorates the custom of laying new rushes on the floor of the church twice yearly, is performed. It includes the character of the Rush Queen, and involves the use of 'the Rush Cart'. The choir first sings a 'Rushbearing Hymn' and then a tripartite song series with the headings 'Getting Comes From Giving', 'The Gild was One Large Family', and 'Religion Was the Gild's Foundation'. Overall this is described as enunciating 'the fundamental principles of the Gild'; the last part tells a short, sentimental tale about the naming of 'a little blue-eyed' flower as the 'forget-me-not'. To accompany these songs, various tableaux are presented. In these, children dance in formations to recreate:

a cross, an anchor, and a heart to suggest Faith, Hope and Charity respectively. The book [meant to represent the family] with its golden clasp is similarly illustrated in suggestive groupings, while the glittering raiment of the children in the closing scene of the Episode of the ‘Forget-Me-Not’ [sic] is intended to typify the glorious treasure laid up for those who work out in their lives the Master's first and greatest commandment.

Pupils from Hincksman Memorial School (directed by Mr Haworth and Miss M. Gardner) enacted the scene.

Prologue to Pageant of Empire: Past and Present

This final episode begins with a recitation by the Pageant Master. This glorifies the recollection of triumphs from the past from as far back as the Romans up until the near present, for example:

And then to recent times, when the Great War
Search'd Britain's valiant sons as ne'er before.
Shall Lloyd George pass and be forgot? Oh No!
Warm from our hearts let grateful mem'ries flow;
His matchless ardour fir'd each virile brain,
His faith increased when others thought all vain.
When others' courage vanish'd 'neath the load,
His dauntless heart with patriot fervour glow'd.
Like Hercules, he bore himself the weight,
And on his shoulders took all cares of state.

The prologue then leads into a procession on the theme of empire.

Pageant of Empire.

This begins with choral singing of a song entitled 'Men of Preston'; this is followed by several more songs named as: 'County of Lancaster', 'The Empire Flag', 'The Soul of England', 'The Campbells Are Comin', 'Killarney', 'Let the Hills Resound' and 'One Brotherhood Is Ours'. The singing is accompanied by 'various tableaux'; these assemblies took the form of a series of choreographed formations, each made by a large group of children. First of these were the Preston flag, the Red Rose of Lancaster and the Union Jack. 'Mr. Reeves, Mr. Helme and Mr. Ashton respectively' oversaw the arrangement of these emblems, their work described as 'tasks of very formidable magnitude'. Tableaux representative of the 'Home Countries' and of the 'Empire, Past and Present' then followed. In the latter, 'typical and historical characters' were depicted and in respect of the 'colonies', some geographical features were symbolised. The following countries are itemised in the programme as appearing in this succession, presumably given in order of their appearance: England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, India, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Each group was made up of pupils from individual schools. At the conclusion of these displays, the groups remain in formation and are joined by a representation of 'Proud Preston' accompanied by 'the other Preston's of the world': these entries are accompanied by singing if the Preston anthem 'Ribble's Town'. The final song for this part of the pageant is 'Hail Happy Day'.

Grand March Past

It is presumed that this procession involved all of the performers from the third day's pageant, and those who had taken part on previous days, although this is not specified in the programme or book of words. The hymn 'O God Our Help in Ages Past' accompanied this element and the audience were asked to join the choir in singing this.

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Wilfrid [St Wilfrid] (c.634–709/10) bishop of Hexham
  • Boniface [St Boniface] (672x5?–754) archbishop of Mainz, missionary, and martyr
  • Roger the Poitevin (b. c.1065, d. before 1140)
  • Edward I (1239–1307) king of England and lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine
  • Stanley, Edward, third earl of Derby (1509–1572) magnate
  • Elizabeth I (1533–1603) queen of England and Ireland
  • Cecil, Robert, first earl of Salisbury (1563–1612) politician and courtier
  • Stanley, Henry, fourth earl of Derby (1531–1593) magnate
  • Ascham, Roger (1514/15–1568) author and royal tutor

Musical production

There was a choir of 5000 children; they were split into two groups who performed as the 'general' choir and the 'narrative' choir.28 A band accompanied the performance: this was the band from the engineering works of 'Dick Kay and Co. Ltd.; they were conducted by Mr C.F. Howard.29 Some music, particularly in respect of narrative choruses, is unattributed; local music teachers likely composed this.

Music detailed throughout the Book of Words as follows:30

  • Hymn: 'Evening Prayer' [words by A.J. Berry; music 'Ave Maria' by Charles Gounod], (Episode I, Scene I)
  • Chorus: 'Behold St Wilfred' [music/arrangement by F. M. Lovett], (Episode I, Scene I)
  • Chorus: 'Pax vobiscum' [words by Franz von Schober, music by Franz Schubert], (Episode I, Scene I)
  • Song: 'A Song of Peace' [music by Henry Smart], (Episode I, Scene II)
  • Narrative chorus [writer and composer not specified], (Episode I, Scene II)
  • Chorus: 'O Gladsome Light' [music by Arthur Sullivan], (Episode I, Scene II)
  • Chorus: 'Honour and praise to the Men of Old' [from Faust, libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, music by Charles Gounod], (Episode II, Scene I)
  • Narrative chorus [writer and composer not specified], (Episode II, Scene I)
  • Chorus (sung by 'weeping women', writer and composer not specified], (Episode II, Scene I)
  • Song: 'Fraternity' [music by Mendelssohn], (Episode II, Scene II)
  • Song: 'Ode to Joy' [music by Franz Schubert] (Episode II, Scene II)
  • Vocal March (Episode III, Scene I)
  • Narrative chorus [writer and composer not specified], (Episode III, Scene I)
  • Song 'Don't Worry' [composition, C. F. Howard], (Episode III, Scene II)
  • Sung rhyme: 'Old King Cole' [traditional], (Episode III, Scene II)
  • Narrative chorus [writer and composer not specified], (Episode III, Scene II)
  • Two narrative choruses [writer and composer not specified], (Episode IV, Scene I)
  • Chorus: 'A Spring Song' [music - 'Rubenstein's melody in F'], (Episode IV, Scene II)
  • Song: 'The Modest Daisy' [music Johann G. K. Spazier], (Episode IV, Scene II)
  • Song: 'Dawn Gentle Flower' [music by William Sterndale Bennett], (Episode IV, Scene II)
  • Narrative chorus [composed by C. F. Howard], (Episode IV, Scene III)
  • Song: 'The Storm' [composed by John Hullah], (Episode IV, Scene IV)
  • Narrative chorus: 'The Elem and the Vine' [writer and composer not specified], (Episode IV, Scene IV)
  • Opening hymn: 'Awake, My Soul, and With the Sun' [words by Thomas Ken, music/arrangement by F. M. Lovett], (Episode V, Scene I)
  • Hymn: Psalm 133 [music by Mozart], (Episode V, Scene I)
  • Hymn: 'Psalm of Praise' [music - Ave Maria by Jacques Arcadelt], (Episode V, Scene I)
  • Hymn: 'Grace before Food' [writer and composer not specified], (Episode V, Scene I)
  • Hymn: 'Grace after Bread' [writer and composer not specified], (Episode V, Scene II)
  • Narrative chorus [words based on a poem by Dr Johnson, music by I. Sidney Smith (sic)] (Episode V, Scene II)
  • Hymn: 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' [music by Mendelssohn] (Episode V, Scene III)
  • Narrative song by shepherds [writer and composer not specified], (Episode V, Scene III)
  • Hymn: 'Sleep Holy Babe' [words and composition not specified], (Episode V, Scene III)
  • Chorus of farewell: [attributed to Frederick Helmsley], (Episode V, Scene III)
  • Narrative Chorus [writer not specified, music from the 'Pilgrims Chorus' in Tannhauser by Wagner], (Episode V, Scene III)
  • Song: 'Resignation' [writer not specified, music - Handel's Largo] (Episode VI, Scene I)
  • Song: 'Covetousness' [composed by P. G. Coles], (Episode VI, Scene I)
  • Song: 'Retribution' [composed by P. G. Coles], (Episode VI, Scene I)
  • Song: untitled song performed by the abbot [words likely based on the hymn 'Dare to Do Right' by George L. Taylor, music by P. G. Coles], (Episode VI, Scene I)
  • Hymn: described as a 'Women's Doxology' [writer and composer not specified], (Episode VI, Scene I)
  • Song: 'Faith' [composed by P. G. Coles], (Episode VI, Scene II)
  • Song: 'There's a good Time Coming' [composed by C. F. Howard], (Episode VI, Scene II)
  • Hymn: 'Trust in God' is sung [music composed by J. Raff] (Episode VI, Scene II)
  • Narrative chorus [writer and composer not specified], (Episode VI, Scene II)
  • Religious chant: [writer and composer not specified], (Episode VII, Scene I)
  • Narrative chorus: untitled [writer not specified, composed by B. Lofthouse], (Episode VII, Scene II)
  • Narrative chorus: 'The Training of the Young'[writer not specified, composed by B. Lofthouse], (Episode VII, Scene II)
  • Song: 'England' [words by Esme Howard, composed by Hubert Parry], (Episode VII, Scene II)
  • Song: 'Wake! Wake! the Morning Bells' [writer not specified, composed by G. A. Viazie], (Episode VIII, opening chorus)
  • Unspecified folk music (Episode VIII, Scene I)
  • Song: 'Come to the Fair' [writer not specified, composed by F. J. Easthope Martin], (Episode VIII, Scene II)
  • Narrative chorus [writer and composer not specified], (Episode VIII, Scene III)
  • Song: 'The Three Beggars' [words by F. E. Weatherly, music by J. L. Molloy], (Episode VIII, Scene III)
  • Hymn: 'Rushbearing Hymn' [writer and composer not specified], (Episode VIII, Scene V)
  • Song: 'Getting Comes From Giving' [writer and composer not specified], (Episode VIII, Scene V)
  • Song: 'The Gild was One Large Family' [writer and composer not specified], (Episode VIII, Scene V)
  • Song: 'Religion Was the Gild's Foundation'[writer and composer not specified], (Episode VIII, Scene V)
  • Song: 'Men of Preston' [writer not specified, music to the tune of 'Men of Harlech'], (Pageant of Empire)
  • Song: 'County of Lancaster' [writer and composer not specified], (Pageant of Empire)
  • Song: 'The Empire Flag' [writer not specified, music by Handel described as the 'March in Scipio'], (Pageant of Empire)
  • Song: 'The Soul of England' [writer and composer not specified], (Pageant of Empire)
  • Song: 'The Campbells Are Comin' [writer and composer not specified but this is the chorus from the well-known, traditional Scottish song], (Pageant of Empire)
  • Song: 'Killarney' [writer and composer not specified but presumably a traditional Irish tune used], (Pageant of Empire)
  • Song: 'Let the Hills Resound' [writer and composer not specified], (Pageant of Empire)
  • Song: 'One Brotherhood Is Ours' [writer and composer not specified], (Pageant of Empire)
  • Song: 'Preston' - also known as 'Ribble's Town' [writer not specified, composition, C. F. Howard], (Pageant of Empire)
  • Song: 'Hail Happy Day' [writer not specified, music described as Wagner's Bridal Chorus], (Pageant of Empire)
  • Hymn: 'O God Our Help in Ages Past' [arrangement not specified], (March Past).

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Blackburn Weekly Telegraph
Burnley News
Daily Mail
Hull Daily Mail
Lancashire Daily Post
Liverpool Post
Manchester Guardian
Preston Guardian
Sheffield Independent
Tamworth Herald
The Times
Yorkshire Post

Book of words

Preston Gild 1922: Pageant in Avenham Park, September 7th, 8th, 9th, Master of the Pageant: Albert J. Berry, MA (Oxon.). Preston, 1922

Other primary published materials

  • Berry, A.J. Preston Gild 1922: Historical Pageant. Preston, 1923.
  • Preston Gild 1922: Programme of the Pageant in Avenham Park. Preston, 1922.

References in secondary literature

  • Crosby, Alan. The History of Preston Guild: 800 Years of England's Greatest Carnival. Lancaster, 1991.
  • Keith Vernon, ‘School History and Civic Education: The Preston Guild Historical Pageant of 1922’, Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 162 (2013), 159-184.

Preston Gild 1922: Historical Pageant was an illustrated book published following the pageant as a souvenir. It contains many photographs of the performance and carries commentary by Berry. It was expensive and cost £1. 1s. Proceeds from the sale went to 'The Necessitous Children’s Clog Fund'.31

The Gild events also had a great deal of associated pamphlets and similar literature, which made mention of the historical pageant.32

Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Lancashire Archives and Record Office holds:
  • One copy each of the Book of Words, programme, souvenir and associated accounts and correspondence all in Preston Historical Society records, ref: DDX 1149/3/3
  • A set of postcards of the pageant 1-117 (incomplete), ref: CBP/ACC11804/83
  • Album of photographs of pupils from the Park School in costume, ref: SMPR/67/10/1
  • Correspondence relating to Preston Guild 1922 (relating to contribution by Grammar schools; includes tickets, invitations etc.), ref: SMPR/66/10/1
  • Preston Harris Library holds:
  • Several copies of the presentation programme and torchlight parade souvenir, refs respectively: P433 1922/PRE & P433 1922/BRE.33
  • The British Library holds:
  • One copy of A. J. Berry MA (Oxon.), Master of the Pageant, Preston Gild 1922: Historical Pageant. Preston, 1923. Shelfmark: 11795.s.15
  • Preston Digital Archive
  • This holds a large collection of excellent black and white photographs of the pageant, which have been donated to this archive.34
  • Pathé Film Collection
  • Extracts from a silent film made of the pageant are held on the Pathé website.35

Sources used in preparation of pageant

  • The York Mystery Plays, specifically the play in the cycle featuring the annunciation to the shepherds, was used in Episode V, Scene III.

It is clear that Berry was well educated in literature but other than the mention of Shakespeare's 'Queen Mab ' from Romeo and Juliet in the prologue to Day One of the pageant, he does not specify any literary or historical sources.


In the north of England in September 1922, all roads led to Preston as it welcomed visitors in their hundreds of thousands to its historic 'Gild [Guild] Festival', held over the second week of the month. The streets were elaborately decorated, special transport laid on, and, it was said that over one million meat pies were made in readiness for the influx.36 The crowds arriving were so vast that Preston rail station (which was then and still remains a large railway hub) was insufficient to cope and a nearby goods station had to be temporarily converted for passenger use in order to augment arrival facilities for the 200 special trains that carried half a million passengers into the town throughout the week.37 It was said that an equal number arrived by road. The highlight of Preston's ancient fair that year, and an additional cause of the great increase in visitors, was a children's pageant, which took place in sequential parts over three days. The pageant involved upwards of 10000 local children—a quite phenomenal number—and doubtless a nightmare of organisation for the schoolteachers who took charge of it. Their hard work paid off, however, and this event immediately entered the realm of local legend, assisted by the praise that was heaped upon it by the local, national and international press.

The fact that the industrial town of Preston, which at the time had a population of around 135000, managed to pull off such a feat, reveals much about the tradition of civic pageantry that had long existed in the town.38 However, it also tells us a great deal about the degree of maturity that had been reached within the world of pageantry, wherein the presentation of massive spectacles had become an essential and expected ingredient even away from metropolitan centres. The year 1922 was an unmoveable date as far as the Gild was concerned, for this was held every twenty years, but the idea of adding in a historical pageant arose from the fact that an earlier, empire-day children's pageant had been held in Preston in 1909, to great critical acclaim.39 In 1922, the pageant programme indicated that the 1909 event had 'pleased the public fancy greatly' and as a result, it had been confidently predicted that another such celebration, organised by Preston schools, would be held 'after a short interval'. 40 However, World War I intervened, and in the end it was to be the 1922 Guild festival that was responsible for resurrecting Preston's children's pageant. From the beginning, the pageant aimed to be as socially inclusive as possible: all schools in Preston and the surrounding district were invited to play a part. This strategy meant that a huge display was promised, but it also meant that the degree of organisation required would be no less than phenomenal.

While the 1909 empire pageant had taken a processional form, fashion had changed in the intervening years; for the 1922 event, the performance envisaged was modelled on what had become the standard theatrical pageant presented in the manner devised by Louis N. Parker, with episodes telling history from early times through to the Elizabethan period. Two possible narratives had originally been discussed: the first was a pageant 'based on the more obtrusive events in Preston's political history'; the second was the story of 'the origins and activities of the Gild when it served a purpose in the economic history of the town'.41 The choice between the two options was given over to a specially convened committee of teachers and this group opted for the latter course. The reason given was that this provided greater educational value and 'inculcated lessons' deemed to be 'very necessary in this period'.42 Under the leadership of the then Director of Education—A. J. Berry—work was begun on planning the pageant in February 1922.43 Berry took charge of the script and also took on the role of Pageant Master. The text he devised developed into a performance that was something of a departure from most historical pageants in one very significant way: it was held sequentially in three parts, each of which was presented on three successive days. Berry never explicitly stated the reason for this structure, but it must be assumed that the resources required to marshal ten to eleven thousand children several times was perhaps deemed to be a challenge too far. Nonetheless, on every single day 5000 of this number did appear as members of the choir. Though the choristers seem to have been relatively easy to shepherd (since they were all positioned high up on a slope behind the main arena), on the first two days that the pageant took place, at least 2000 child actors and dancers joined the young choristers. On the final day of the pageant, it is probable that the entire cast was assembled for the finale.

The pageant was held in Avenham Park—a large area of land that was purpose built as a public amenity in the mid-Victorian era. Avenham had the advantages of being near the city centre and, it was said, supplied a landscape that provided a natural amphitheatre with ‘ample room for all’ and a ‘good view for everyone’. This was important given the size of audiences that were expected. Photographic evidence shows a vast sea of spectators, yet the press stated that all had an uninterrupted view while they watched the show unfold ‘on the rising slope towards the town’.44 Making the town into a physical and theatrical backdrop was appropriate, for history was kept close to home in this pageant. As well as providing entertainment, it is clear that it did have an educative purpose with regard to the local past, and it seems also to have had an ideological function. Though nearly all historical pageants placed a heavy influence on religion and on Christian fellowship, these themes are especially prominent in the Preston children's pageant.

The scriptwriter and pageant master also performed by delivering all of the prologues spoken at the start of each day's performances; in these he repeatedly adopts a slightly apologetic tone in respect of his approach to Preston's story. It is almost as if Berry anticipated that his take on Preston and the history of its guild, as well as the employment of children to tell this story, might provoke criticism. These types of remarks in the prologues exemplify his defensiveness:

If the work is poor
Why call it poor: affect no compromise;
But in that we have striven well, at least
Deal with us nobly, children though we be
But speak the truth devoid of flattery.45

With hesitation, apprehension, fear
Before this audience I now appear
My conception's wrong you may complain
If so, the right will History make plain
And no religious bitterness need stain
The Gild whose teachings here we do acclaim.
Of this great principle we may be sure
That Truth to all the ages will endure
Deliberately my views are here expressed
And I have cause to think they'll stand Time's test.46

If we present you with a medley here,
A hodge-podge dish served up in earthenware,
We hope 'twill please, 'cause like your bills of fare,
To please you all we should attempt in vain;
In different persons diff'rent humours reign.47

Berry need not have worried; any anticipated censure did not arrive. The Yorkshire Post commented that in the second day of the pageant 'the religious side' was perhaps ' a little too deeply stressed for a popular pageant', but this proved to be a rare and slight criticism.48 In the foreword to the souvenir of the pageant published the following year, in 1923, the author writes:

in accordance with the spirit of the present times it is befitting that the Preston Gild of 1922 should be marked by a new development in pageantry. It is also specially appropriate that this pageantry should be the contribution of the children of the town. The greatest of all Teachers placed a little child in the midst of those who were wrangling about priority of place, and while the world is trying to reconstruct its social fabric and rebuild what was shattered by the Great War; when so much depends on the rising generations of all nations in determining whether the future shall be dark or bright, the children of Preston can most opportunely be made the exponents of those Gild principles, the neglect of which causes nation to rise against nation, and kindred against kindred. The departure from Gild principles which involved the wholesale substitution of ‘competition’ for ‘custom’ has not been all gain: the spread of Capitalism, though it has produced undreamed-of material wealth, has also created a well-nigh impassable gulf between employer and employee... The production of the Gild pageant of 1922 has realised the active embodiment of Gild principles. It has cut dead across social barriers, it has brought about co-operation in a common cause. It has generated a spirit of comradeship...49

Clearly, Berry made a judgement on the mood of the moment and through the pageant, was prepared to argue his case for a return to what he imagined was a more wholesome sense of personal and collective responsibility in the past, sustained by religious faith. He was also of the view that children were uniquely placed to present the themes that this pageant invited. He was quite explicit that 'the basis of the pageant' was 'religious in character'.50 Though it seems unlikely that the pageant made a huge profit (perhaps fittingly in view of Berry's stance), it turned out to be an enormous critical success, so Berry's judgments cannot have been far off the mark.

Yet not everything in the pageant garden had been rosy from the start. Rehearsals, for example, were badly disrupted by the weather and indeed, the final dress rehearsal was completely rained off.51 However, by the time the actual performances took place, the rain stopped, the sun had come out, the crowds arrived and, despite the upheaval caused by one million visitors to the town, public order was maintained and a holiday atmosphere flourished. In the words of the Guild Mayor, 'drunkenness and rowdyism were conspicuous by their absence'.52 Following the loss of a generation of young men in the Great War, and the widespread grief that this caused, the first Preston Gild in the wake of this tragedy was a clear initiative to keep the momentum of the tradition going for the future by educating the rising generation about the Gild's historical significance. This once-in-a-generation, and much anticipated civic occasion gloried in continuities within Preston's past; nonetheless, the new addition of an episodic, historical pageant was seamlessly incorporated into the institution of the Gild festival. It is notable too, that the accent within this patriotic performance was not on battles or military triumphs, but on peace, religiosity and the maintenance of social order. Few national figures made their way onto the stage and even in the case of the obligatory visiting monarch, the sovereign chosen for this role—Edward I, a king so often associated with marshal might—was depicted in the pageant as wise ruler who acted as a reluctant defender, rather than an aggressor, against the voracious Scots.

Berry's views become even clearer when the script of the pageant is examined, for any emphasis on the Gild's mercantile functions is extremely muted in comparison to its religious functions and responsibility for maintaining peace and social justice. In the wake of World War I and political upheavals, Berry's aim in telling the Gild's history was something of a morality tale meant to show the relative wisdom of the town's ancestry compared to that of contemporary society. The ambition to demonstrate that although times had changed, not all changes had been for the better seems to have been the message the pageant wished to communicate to the audience. For this reason, Berry's script can easily be viewed as something of a partial tale, and a romanticised one: the author seems to have been at pains not to praise the guildry over much for their past business acumen, but instead to show them as a Christian brotherhood whose influence on Preston society in the past was entirely benign. It is difficult to know to what extent his views on the Preston Gild's legacy met with wholesale approval. Yet the fact that this pageant was performed by children seems to have ameliorated any possible dissent about the drama's underlying message. Moreover, the at times sentimental version of history presented, which glossed over many difficult subjects, seems to have met with general approval.

On day one, four episodes were presented. These began with a scene featuring St Wilfrid, traditionally thought of as the founder of a church in Preston. Though a controversial saint because of his championing of Roman religion at the expensive of Celtic Christianity, he presented no special challenges in this pageant: for Preston had the reputation of being a Roman Catholic stronghold where religious reform had been unpopular in the past and in which there still lived a sizeable Catholic population. The scene also functions to introduce the concept of 'peace' and the value of spirituality, and these points are made principally through the musical accompaniment. However, to underline the musical and dramatic mission further, 300 young girls all dressed in white performed dances that alluded to similar ideas. For instance, in the first scene, they make a literal association with peace through movements that resolve into a configuration spelling out the word 'Pax'.53 Such dancing persists in the episode's second scene, which continues to propound messages of peace and the rejection of materialism when St Boniface, at the behest of Wilfred, arrives and encounters local 'settlers' who are described in the Book of Words as 'a band of rural people whose interests had previously been bounded by earthly pursuits'. 54 Boniface encourages their redemption by influencing the settlers to build a church, the aim being to turn their thoughts away from material matters to 'the temple on high'.55

Episode II moves forward in time, but stays with the same themes and introduces the idea that the gilds had their foundations in religion. In these scenes, set during the era of Viking invasions, the audience is informed that Danish 'violence to the Saxon social system' meant that 'society had to protect itself by the formation of "Peace Gilds" cemented by the sanctions of religion'.56 The idea of commercial interests being pursued by the guildry is dealt with in Episode III, and it is the Normans who are credited with encouraging this path. The Norman overlord, Roger de Poitou—who regularly turns up in pageants within the north of England—is depicted as an initially unwelcome interloper, but one whose good sense and just governance promotes greater civility, peace, and social stability. The introduction of a guild system by the Normans is thus painted as ensuring greater civility in the process of commercial expansion, rather than being about acquisitiveness or the development of any form of local protectionism. The Book of Words is not particularly clear on their role, but the episode also features a band of jesters, and it must be assumed that whatever comedy they performed, this was meant to leaven what otherwise might have been an overly didactic message.

The final episode on the first day of the pageant covers war with the Scots and is something of a narrative departure compared with other north of England pageants. In common with all pageants in this part of England, Edward I is treated as a hero king and his untimely death as an unmitigated tragedy. But his arch-enemies from across the border generally do not attract direct, hostile criticism; rather they are seen simply as a thorn in the side of the English that cannot be ignored. The unspoken inference was that at some point in the future Scottish enmity would end. In keeping with this narrative line, the episode begins with an archery scene: through this tale, the skill and steadfastness of Lancashire citizens and their contribution thereby to English national strength is celebrated. However, in Preston's pageant, following the torching of the town by Bruce's army, the 'Scotties' are accused of being 'a hungry lot and will never tire... so long as they can get a square meal out of us, at a cheap rate'.57 This is a rather less optimistic view about the future of cross-border relations than is usual in pageantry, and certainly, it is a much less conciliatory approach to the Scots than is commonly presented. The episode ends with a narrative recounting how Gild festivities have their origin in mutual support, when the town's leaders suggest relieving the distress of those made homeless by the Scots through holding a special celebration to raise revenue. Overall, as well as being another paean to the saintliness of the Gild, the episode manages to end the first enactment of the pageant on an optimistic note—one that emphasises the notion that whatever misfortunes Preston encounters, it can and will rise above these through collective efforts. This point is made clear in the final narrative chorus performed by the choir, which tells a parable about an elm tree supporting a vine to grow. In this way, the stronger plant prevents the weaker from being crushed underfoot until it too becomes well established.

Day Two contained three episodes. In the first of these, Episode V, the theme on which the previous day's pageant had ended was taken up again with a 'representation of the lines on which the Annual Festival of the Gild would normally proceed, beginning with worship and ending with "holiday" amusements'.58 The holiday in question is Christmas and the drama enacted is a medieval Mystery Play; to accompany this, even Christmas hymns were sung, and a claim was made that this play was an example of those historically performed at York by chandlers (candle makers).59 Episode VI takes the pageant to a period in history that is always potentially contentious: the Reformation. Evidently, where Preston's past was concerned, this was indeed a difficult area. Yet it was impossible to ignore to it, for famously, Preston had been resistant to reform. Moreover, since this pageant's storyline argued that religion had nurtured all that made Preston and its citizens successful, how that faith might have been shaken was highly significant. The manner in which this story unfolds makes clear that despite the enormous disruption caused, which even threatened the Gilds' existence, a purer religious faith—one devoid of political or worldly ambition—conquered all in the end. The narrative is then allowed to move seamlessly on to scene set at Greenwich at the court of Elizabeth I, when the faith placed in God by the citizens of Preston is roundly rewarded by the renewal of their charter, a development that meets with jubilation, so that once again, the pageant ends its daily performance on a high note. Moreover, just to underline the fact that Preston remained loyal to the English monarchy despite religious reform, the storyline incorporates the idea that Elizabeth is a bringer of peace. Since this royal initiative is good for commerce, business-minded Prestonians were supportive, for in this way they could play their part in making England world-renowned. This scene concludes the second day's pageant, and ends with a chorus of Parry's England an unambiguous call to patriotic sentiment.

The music within the pageant is worth remarking upon, for it is clear that musical accompaniment augmented the visual spectacle in important ways. Without the aid of the Book of Words, it is very unlikely that more than a small minority of spectators could have followed the pageant's dialogue. Yet all would have heard the massive choir. For this reason, a great deal of the narrative in this pageant was sung. Moreover, it was mostly composed and arranged by local teachers of music, who for the most part, received little public acclaim for their considerable efforts. The programme includes many unattributed pieces, alongside well-known items from the classical repertoire.

Day three stayed true to the traditions of pageantry proposed by Louis Napoleon Parker and took most of the drama only up until the start of the sixteenth century and 'The Spacious Times of Queen Elizabeth', with an elaboration on the 'Merrie England' holiday fair theme. As well as the usual morris dancing and traditional games, much of this drama was also made to commemorate, through re-enactment, many of the customary aspects of the Gild ceremonials in the days when these had a formal purpose in the commercial life of the town. Thus such items as the exotically named 'Court of Poudre Pie' were performed, which gave an excuse (if this were needed) to show that unfair trading was not tolerated by the guildsmen. This approach meant that at Preston, Merrie England was given a decidedly local twist. Similarly, in another scene, the appearance of a band of professional beggars becomes the occasion for joking on the topic of local loyalties and rivalries. The press reported that throughout the Elizabethan fair scenes the atmosphere was 'ever so jolly, and the spontaneous laughter of the performers carried its contagion to the people spread over the park—a rollicking, hearty show'.60

In common with many such large-scale pageants, the entire performance ended with a procession, and in a nod to the Empire Day pageant of 1909, which had inspired the 1922 occasion, a parade on this theme was again presented. This type of massive spectacle of course allowed even more children to have some part in the pageant. The empire procession alone contained many thousands of children. For example, a choreographed formation of the Union Jack involved 3200 children; and further groups of 2000 each, made human configurations of the Red Rose of Lancaster and the flag of Preston. For day three, the crowd that turned up was truly impressive and likely in excess of 50000 people.61 The procession itself, with children dressed in the national costumes of contemporary and former parts of the empire, was said to 'stir the heart' with its 'high note of loyalty and patriotism'.62 The latter was certainly encouraged by the Pageant Master, who delivered a short prologue to the empire procession in which he stirred up patriotic fervour with reference to recent conflict, while nailing his own political colours firmly to the mast when he praised the stalwartness of Lloyd George, at the time a somewhat beleaguered political figure. Given that Preston was a notoriously marginal seat in terms of parliamentary politics, and an election was anticipated in 1922, this is a rare example of naked contemporary politics on display at a pageant.63

The numbers for attendance are testimony to the rapid resurrection of extravagant pageantry following World War I; they also highlight another interesting question about such large-scale, outdoor pageantry held in venues that were easily publically accessible. Figures for the number of tickets sold for the Preston children's pageant were made public, yet these numbers are nearly always considerably less than estimations about attendance offered by the press. Even the official retrospective souvenir book published in 1923 claimed that around 60000 came on the final day of the first of the pageant's performances; yet official ticket sales were stated to be 37735—quite a large discrepancy.64 This anomaly may simply be a result of press hyperbole and/or pageant organisers looking back with inflationary, rose-tinted spectacles. Yet it may have arisen from another cause. Policing open spaces such as Avenham Park would have been no easy matter. For the pageant, the organisers hired the services of 90 attendants who were paid a lump sum of 15s each to man the barriers erected and sell tickets on each day.65 Clearly, such a number could not have hoped to rigorously police crowds of the size and it does seem likely that many spectators managed to find a way into the park without purchasing a ticket and so saw the pageant at no cost. Such a prospect was not commented upon, though it must have been well known.

Surviving records in respect of the pageant accounts indicate that, predictably, this was an expensive show to produce. Although the vast majority of the labour and expertise was freely given, with individuals and schools providing the children's costumes for example, the sheer size of the show involved all kinds of miscellaneous expenditure perhaps not usually considered, such as for car hire to take money to and from the bank (6s 9d for one round trip). This was in addition to all of the usual types of payments, such as fees paid for the hire of rehearsal spaces, payments to professional musicians and costs for printing up programmes. In figures released to the press after the pageant, it was estimated that gross receipts would come to around £7000.66 But the expenditure was certainly heavy. Surviving accounts do not appear to be complete, but they do state that by mid-November 1922, when presumably most debts had been paid, the pageant account contained only £169. 7s. 3d.67

In addition to expenditure on staging the pageant, one of the reasons for this apparently small amount of revenue from the event was the entertainments duty due to the Inland Revenue. In the case of the Preston pageant, this amounted to £1300.68 This unpopular tax was introduced in May 1916 and was applied to all places of public entertainment; initially, a ticket costing one shilling incurred a levy of 2d.69 The tax was reduced in 1920, but by 1922, there appears to have been a tightening of attitudes towards its collection by the tax authorities. Preston came off the worse for this change. As well as the tax due from takings at the children's pageant, in a test case, seats to view the street processions that were part of the Gild festival were deemed by the courts to be taxable entertainments. At least one shopkeeper fell foul of this rule when he let his shop window to spectators and was met with a tax demand.70

The idea of running the pageant for a second time the following week, this time at reduced ticket prices, may have been, in part, an effort to increase revenue (or indeed, prevent anticipated losses). It is remarkable that all of the organisers agreed to this move, which must have taken up very significant amounts of their time. Still, in the end, financial reward mattered little where the pageant was concerned. Undoubtedly, the larger occasion of the Gild festival that encompassed the pageant helped make it a success, for this brought visitors to the town from far and wide, including visiting Lancashire émigrés.71 But the pageant also inspired a legacy of its own. In the normal cycle, the Preston Gild festival was due to be held again in 1942; as is well known, the Second World War prevented this. However, the children's pageant did not become a casualty of war, and was staged again six years later—in 1928. It had been a sufficient success in its own right to ensure this continuity. The Pageant Master stated that the pageant had inspired a spirit of 'giving', and he was confident that the skill of the town's teachers in 'music, art and the capacity for strenuous and sustained effort' would be amply rewarded through 'fragrant memories of their work' by all who witnessed the pageant. Moreover, these would 'remain a permanent possession of which Prestonians should be extremely proud'.72


  1. ^ See Preston City Council website, accessed 8 July 2016:
  2. ^ See untitled notice, Manchester Guardian, 11 September 1922, 12.
  3. ^ Presentation Programme of the Preston Guild Merchant 1922 (Preston, 1922), 23.
  4. ^ Schoolteachers who organised and directed particular scenes are mentioned in the pageant programme and many of their portraits are included in this brochure, see Preston Gild 1922: Programme of the Pageant in Avenham Park (Preston, 1922). Where identifiable, they are named in the episode synopses.
  5. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Programme of the Pageant, 23.
  6. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Programme of the Pageant, 23.
  7. ^ See Preston Gild 1922: Pageant in Avenham Park, September 7th, 8th, 9th, Master of the Pageant: Albert J. Berry, MA (Oxon.) (Preston, 1922), 41.
  8. ^ A.J. Berry, Preston Gild 1922: Historical Pageant (Preston, 1923), 21.
  9. ^ 'Guild Pageant', Lancashire Daily Post, 27 September 1922, 3; newscutting available at Lancashire Archives and Record Office, ref: CNP/2/11/7.
  10. ^ Keith Vernon, ‘School History and Civic Education: The Preston Guild Historical pageant of 1922’, Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 162 (2013), 167.
  11. ^ See for example: advertisement, Manchester Guardian, 12 September 1922, 1.
  12. ^ 'Guild Pageant', Lancashire Daily, Post 27 September 1923: available at Lancashire Archives and Record Office, ref: CNP/2/11/7.
  13. ^ 'Preston Guild Pageant', Times, 9 September 1922, 5.
  14. ^ Berry, Preston Gild 1922: Historical Pageant, 15.
  15. ^ Untitled note, Yorkshire Post 29 September 1922, 6.
  16. ^ See for example photographs accessed 30 August 2016, available at:
  17. ^ 'Guild Pageant', Lancashire Daily Post, 27 September 1923: newscutting available at Lancashire Archives and Record Office, ref: CNP/2/11/7.
  18. ^ See for example, advertisement, Manchester Guardian, 13 September 1922, 1.
  19. ^ Vernon, ‘School History and Civic Education: The Preston Guild Historical pageant of 1922’, 167.
  20. ^ Information contained in Presentation Programme, 17-27.
  21. ^ Unless otherwise indicated, quotations in text of synopses are taken from Preston Gild 1922: Pageant in Avenham Park, September 7th, 8th, 9th, Master of the Pageant: Albert J. Berry, MA (Oxon.) (Preston, 1922) and Preston Gild 1922: Programme of the Pageant in Avenham Park (Preston, 1922).
  22. ^ The pageant programme states that here, and at other parts of the first day's pageant, pupils from several girls' schools performed dance to accompany the sung narrative, see Preston Gild 1922: Programme of the Pageant, 15.
  23. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Programme of the Pageant, 15. See also ‘Preston Guild Historical Pageant’, Yorkshire Post, 8 September 1922, 10, this article states that three hundred girl dancers dressed in white performed these movements.
  24. ^ The words of this chorus appear to be based on those from a poem by Dr Johnson: 'Paraphrase of Proverbs, Chap. iv. Verses 6-11', which paraphrase the words of Solomon.
  25. ^ An image of the Burne Jones piece 'The Adoration of the Magi' (1904) can be seen online at:
  26. ^ The lyric of this appears to be based on a hymn by George Lansing Taylor.
  27. ^ It is understood that this building was demolished sometime in the 1970s.
  28. ^ Berry, Preston Gild 1922: Historical Pageant, 17.
  29. ^ 'Preston Guild Historical Pageant', Yorkshire Post, 8 September 1922, 10.
  30. ^ See Preston Gild 1922: Pageant in Avenham Park, 7-77. Where the lyric writer is not specified this was probably the work of A.J. Berry; in some cases it is unclear in the Book of Words if the named person responsible for the music is the original composer or has made a new arrangement of an existing work; in these cases this dubiety is indicated.
  31. ^ See article in the Lancashire Daily Post, 13 July 1923: newscutting available at Lancashire Archives and Record Office, ref: CNP/2/11/7.
  32. ^ See for example Presentation Programme; also Preston Guild Torchlight Demonstration (Preston, 1922). Both items can be consulted at Preston Harris Library, shelfmark: P433.PRE.
  33. ^ These items are also widely available in many Lancashire libraries.
  34. ^ Photographs of the 1922 Preston pageant, accessed 30 August 2016, available at:
  35. ^ Film available to view at:
  36. ^ 'Table Talk', Burnley News, 9 September 1922, 9.
  37. ^ 'Glorious Scenes at Preston', Sheffield Independent, 11 September 1922, 1.
  38. ^ This population figure is derived from the census data for 1921, which can be consulted online at
  39. ^ Largely processional and held in a football stadium, this event attracted a large audience and had a choir of 4000 voices, as well as 3000 child performers. See for example, 'Empire Day Pageant', Lancashire Evening Post, 21 May 1909, 4.
  40. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Programme of the Pageant, 5.
  41. ^ Ibid.
  42. ^ Ibid.
  43. ^ Berry was a career teacher, who spent 26 years as director of education in Preston; for further information see 'Obituary, Mr. A. J. Berry', Manchester Guardian, 11 September 1930, 14.
  44. ^ 'Preston Guild Historical Pageant', Yorkshire Post, 8 September 1922, 10.
  45. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Pageant in Avenham Park, 6.
  46. ^ Ibid., 38.
  47. ^ Ibid., 62.
  48. ^ 'Preston Guild: Visitors From Afar', Yorkshire Post, 9 September 1922, 8.
  49. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Pageant in Avenham Park, 2-3.
  50. ^ Berry, Preston Gild 1922: Historical Pageant, 16.
  51. ^ 'A Deluge of Rain', Hull Daily Mail, 2 September 1922, 1.
  52. ^ The Guild Mayor quoted in 'Proud Preston', Burnley News, 13 September 1922, 4.
  53. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Programme of the Pageant, 13.
  54. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Pageant in Avenham Park, 10.
  55. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Programme of the Pageant, 7.
  56. ^ Ibid.
  57. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Pageant in Avenham Park, 36.
  58. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Programme of the Pageant, 9.
  59. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Pageant in Avenham Park, 41.
  60. ^ 'Glorious scenes at Preston', Sheffield Independent, 11 September 1922, 1.
  61. ^ Ibid.
  62. ^ 'Preston Guild: the Closing Scenes' Yorkshire Post, 11 September 1922, 12.
  63. ^ In 1922, the Liberal Party were divided and in the election held in November of that year the Conservative Party, led by Andrew Bonar Law, won a majority. However, both his Premiership and his government were to be short lived; for the first time, the Labour Party came second in terms of votes. Preston returned two MPs at this election—1 Liberal and 1 Labour.
  64. ^ See 'Guild Pageant', Lancashire Daily Post, 27 September 1923: newscutting available at Lancashire Archives and Record Office, ref: CNP/2/11/7. For figures of attendance on day three, see Berry, Preston Gild 1922: Historical Pageant, 15.
  65. ^ See documents containing pageant accounts held at Lancashire Archives and Record Office, ref: CNP2/13/3. These are a file of loose papers and quite difficult to interpret.
  66. ^ 'Guild Pageant', Lancashire Daily Post, 27 September 1923: newscutting available at Lancashire Archives and Record Office, ref: CNP/2/11/7.
  67. ^ Pageant accounts held at Lancashire Archives and Record Office, ref: CNP2/13/3.
  68. ^ 'Guild Pageant', Lancashire Daily Post, 27 September 1923: newscutting available at Lancashire Archives and Record Office, ref: CNP/2/11/7.
  69. ^ For information about this see for example:
  70. ^ This case, which received national news coverage, was eventually upheld in favour of the shopkeeper by Preston Magistrates; see 'Entertainments tax and Processions: Preston Test Cases', The Times 29 March 1923, 9; but this position was later overturned on appeal in favour of the Inland Revenue; see, 'Guild Tax Decision Impost Leviable on Windows' Lancashire Daily Post, 3 November 1923: newscutting available at Lancashire Archives and Record Office, ref: CNP/2/11/7.
  71. ^ See 'Historical Pageantry', Burnley News, 28 June 1922, 4, which states that many Prestonians who had emigrated were encouraged to return for the Gild.
  72. ^ Preston Gild 1922: Pageant in Avenham Park, 3.

How to cite this entry

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