History of Yarm

Pageant type


The pageant was organized by the local branch of the Women’s Institute.

Jump to Summary


Place: Social Service Centre (Yarm) (Yarm, Yorkshire, North Riding, England)

Year: 1953

Indoors/outdoors: Indoors

Number of performances: 1


3 June 1953

Name of pageant master and other named staff


Under the auspices of Yarm Women’s Institute

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion

The Coronation of Elizabeth II

Audience information

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

Prologue. Spoken by Guy Davies

Link 1. The Salters

Scene I. Granting of Manorial Rights to Robert de Brus, 1089

Link 2. The Hospital of St. Nicholas c.1185

Scene II. The Charter 1207

Link 3. Leper, Woman and Child

Scene III. The Dominican Friars, c.1266

Link 4. Mediaeval characters

Scene IV. The Church Frescoes, c.1350

Link 5. Sumer is y-cumen in by the choir

Scene V. The Bridge, 1400

Link 6. The Recorder

Link 7. Pages and the Shipbuilder

Link 8. The Grammar School, 1590

Scene VI. Elizabethan Traders, 1580-90

Link 9. Madrigal by the Choir


Link 10. ‘Song of Yarm’ by the Choir

Scene VII. Battle for Yarm Bridge, 1643

Link 11. Tom Brown 1743

Scene VIII. John Wesley in Yarm, 1764

Link 12. Woman Spinning

Scene IX. The Flood, 1771

Link 13. Captain Stonehouse

Scene X. Railway Meeting, 1820

Link 14. Duke of Wellington’s visit, 1827

Link 15. Fine Knacks for Ladies

Scene XI. Victorian Market

Link 16. Dress Parade

Scene XII. The Fair, 1923

Link 17. Yarm Still Makes History

Link 18. The Epilogue, spoken by Guy Davies

Link 19. Queen Elizabeth I hands down heritage

Link 20. Long Live Elizabeth by the Choir

National Anthem

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Wesley [Westley], John (1703–1791) Church of England clergyman and a founder of Methodism
  • Wellesley [formerly Wesley], Arthur, first duke of Wellington (1769–1852) army officer and prime minister
  • Elizabeth I (1533–1603) queen of England and Ireland

Musical production


Newspaper coverage of pageant


Book of words

None noted

Other primary published materials

  • History of Yarm. Helmsley, 1953.

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of Programme in Mass Observation Archives, East Sussex Records Office, Reference SxMOA1/2/69/10/I

Sources used in preparation of pageant



Many pageants were held in association with the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II; this is one example (see entries for Sandy and Warwickshire). It was staged by the Yarm branch of the Women’s Institute (an organization that had been actively involved in the pageant movement since the 1920s and 1930s and had put on a number of pageants for the Festival of Britain, see Blenheim (1951)). The pageant seems to have been quite elaborate, with many episodes—though these were likely quite short. Its focus was very much the history of Yarm, with—like other WI pageants—particular attention being played to the role and place of women in that history. The climax of the performance was a scene in which Elizabeth I ‘handed down heritage’ to her twentieth-century namesake. This chimed with the contemporary optimism about the dawn of a ‘new Elizabethan’ age. Similar connections between the two Elizabeths were made in other pageants held around the same time.


How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘History of Yarm’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1454/