Sheffield Pageant of Peace

Pageant type

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Place: Unknown (Sheffield) (Sheffield, Yorkshire, West Riding, England)

Year: 1919

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 5


4–9 August 1919

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Pageant Master: Hart, Leolyn
  • Organising Secretary: John Bellingham
  • Publicity Department: Allin Green
  • Box Office Manager: G.W. Perry
  • Stage Managers: Arthur H. Gilbert, Harry Benson, W. Collins

Names of executive committee or equivalent

  • Patroness: HM Queen Alexandra
  • Chairman: Sir Arthur Pearson

Performers’ Committee

  • Lady Mayoress

Stage Stage and Equipment Committee

  • Colonel Leslie

Music Committee

  • Thomas Goodsir

Publicity Committee

  • J.W. Swithenbank

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

  • Hart, Leolyn

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised

Pageant in aid of the Blinded Soldiers’ and Sailors’ After-care fund

Linked occasion


Audience information

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

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

Episode I. The Empire at Peace. Tableau of the empire

Episode II. The ‘Contemptibles’, march past of regiments of the British Expeditionary Force

Episode III. The Undying Story—The Great Retreat from Mons, 1914

Tableaux—‘Heroes All’

The London Scottish regiment of Territorials repulses the elite Bavarian Corps

Episode IV. Nelson Touch—the Royal Navy

  1. The Great Naval Review, Spithead, 1914
  2. The Silent Navy


  1. The ‘Blucher’ sinking, and the ‘Arethusa’ saving the lives of German sailors
  2. The Australian Navy
  3. The Zeebrugge Raid

Episode V. Belgium – the Flight (1918)

Episode VI.

The Empire and Her Allies (represented by regiments from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, India, France, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Servia [sic], Japan, and America with their accompanying National Anthems

The Coming Generation

Procession of children who form a representation of The Great Living Flag. ‘God Save the Queen’ is sung.

Key historical figures mentioned


Musical production


Newspaper coverage of pageant


Book of words

None noted

Other primary published materials

  • Sheffield Pageant of Peace. Birmingham, 1919.

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of Programme, Sheffield City Archives, SY52/Z1/1

Sources used in preparation of pageant



In the summer months of 1919, a number of ‘Peace Pageants’ were performed throughout the country. The first of these pageants was staged in Nottingham

in July, with other performances at Birmingham, Manchester and elsewhere—including Sheffield, which staged its version between 4 and 9 August. Well over a million people saw at least one of these pageants, and over 30,000 took performing roles.1 The pageants all conformed the same format, following the same script and using the same staging, and were held in aid of the St Dunstan’s Blinded Soldiers’ and Sailors’ After-care fund, whose chairman, Sir Arthur Pearson, was a former newspaper magnate who had progressively lost his sight due to glaucoma. They were notable for their patriotism, but also their unflinching depiction of the Great War. Indeed, they marked a break with existing traditions of historical pageantry in that they focused solely on the experience of the recent war, not on the longer histories of communities. Local civic pride was not, however, irrelevant to these peace pageants. Indeed, the peripatetic nature of the pageant precipitated local rivalries that echoed those which had sometimes arisen during the ‘pageant fever’ of Edwardian times.2 In formally opening the pageant in Sheffield, the Bishop of the city told the audience that while ‘other cities have done well in giving real good support to this cause’ he hoped ‘that Sheffield will top the lot’.3

For more information on the ‘Peace Pageants’, see the article written by the ‘Redress of the Past’ project team, and published in Historical Research: ‘And those who live, how shall I tell their fame?’ Historical pageants, collective remembrance, commemoration and the First World War, 1919-1939’.4 


1. ^ Official Souvenir of the Pageant of Peace (Nottingham, 1919), 9.
2. ^ Herts Advertiser, 8 June 1907, p. 4; 22 June 1907, p. 4; E. Toms, The Story of St Albans (St Albans: Fisher Knight, 1962), p. 179.
3. ^ St. Dunstan’s’, Sheffield Evening Telegraph, 6 August 1919, 3.
4. ^ Copy available at

How to cite this entry

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