Arundel Pageant

Other names

  • 'Sussex by the Sea’

Pageant type

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Place: Arundel Park (Arundel) (Arundel, Sussex, England)

Year: 1951

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 1


19 May 1951


Name of pageant master and other named staff

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


The performers were children

Financial information


Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion

1951 Festival of Britain

Audience information

  • Grandstand: Not Known
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: 5000


Source: The Times, 21 May 1951, 2.

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

Passing of the Romans and the sack of a British village by Picts

Arrival of Hengist and Horsa and their welcoming of Vortigern

Battle of Hastings

George IV takes a dip at Brighton from a bathing box

The Laying of the Foundation Stone of Christ’s Hospital in 1897

Youth at Work and Play Today


Key historical figures mentioned

  • Hengist (d. 488?) ruler in Kent
  • Horsa (d. 455?) ruler in Kent
  • Vortigern [Gwrtheyrn] (fl. 5th cent.) ruler in Britain
  • George IV (1762–1830) king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and king of Hanover

Musical production


Newspaper coverage of pageant

The Times
Manchester Guardian
Portsmouth Evening News

Book of words

None known

Other primary published materials

  • ‘Sussex By Sea’: Pageant. Arundel, 1951.

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of Programme in National Archives, Kew, Reference D1/FOB 3672-3674
  • Details of a film made of the pageant at the BFI Collections Website, accessed 16 January 2016,

Sources used in preparation of pageant



The Pageant was one of hundreds held across the Festival of Britain to celebrate the 1951 Festival of Britain (see entries for Brighton and Rochester). This was the first major pageant in Arundel since the great Arundel Pageant of 1923 and involved over a thousand children from local youth clubs. The Battle of Hastings scene included members of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt as mounted Norman knights.1 The Pageant was watched by five thousand spectators, as well as Princess Elizabeth (the future Elizabeth II), hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, the occupants of Arundel Castle (though the Duke, who had featured prominently in 1923 had very little to do with the 1951 Pageant). The Princess addressed the children afterwards, declaring that ‘they who portrayed the past, held the future in their hands, and would all in some degree affect the course of history. By learning now to be good citizens, their influence could not fail to be good.’2


1. ^ The Times, 21 May 1951, 2.
2. ^ Ibid.

How to cite this entry

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