Sunday School Centenary Pageant
- Great Sunday School Pageant
Held by Leeds Sunday School Union
Place: Town Hall (Leeds) (Leeds, Yorkshire, West Riding, England)
Number of performances: 2
27 and 28 November 1917 at 7pm
Name of pageant master and other named staff
- Pageant Master: Mercer, Mrs
- Organist: Mr. C. Benson
- Musical Director: Mr. J.H. Atha
Names of executive committee or equivalent
- Chairman: Mr. G. Winterbottom
- Treasurer: Mr. G.F. Dodgshun / Mr S.R. Dyson
- Secretaries: Mr. Ben Warhurst, Miss B. Ormerod, Mr. W. Huby, Mr. J. Hodgson
Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)
Names of composers
Numbers of performers
Object of any funds raised
Centenary of the Sunday School Association.
- Grandstand: Not Known
- Grandstand capacity: n/a
- Total audience: n/a
Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest
Beeston Hill PM Church.
St. Alban, the martyr, who declared his faith and was beheaded.
South Parade Baptist Church
Roman Slave Market, where a Roman Priest, Gregory, resolves that Britain shall be Christianised by Missionaries.
York Road Baptist Church
Augustine preaches before King Ethelbert and his Queen Birtha.
Caedmon, the herdsman, in his stable sees a vision of the Angel. Caedmon’s Song is sung.
Cademon tells his story to Abbess Hilda at Whitby
Trinity (W.L.) Congregational
The Venerable Bede, on his death-bed, dictating his translation of the Scriptures, dies immediately on completing St. John’s gospel.
Harehills Avenue P.M. Church
Alfred, the Prince, learning to read the sacred writings, taught by Queen Osburh
Alfred hiding from the Danes encounters a beggar and shares his loaf.
Blenheim Baptist Church
John Wycliffe, a Yorkshireman, sending his travelling friars with a translated English copy of the Scriptures.
Meanwood Wesleyan Church
Caxton and his early printing press.
Tableau 11. The Chained Bible
Gledhod Road Church of Christ
The English people had learned to love their Bibles, and they stood together to prevent them being burned. Heavy steel chains were used to fasten them to reading desks in the Churches.
Tableau 12. Martyrdom of Three Bishops
Latimer, an old man, Bishop of Worcester, and Ridley, Bishop of Rochester, burnt at Oxford. Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester, burnt at Gloucester.
James I summoned a council at Hampton Court to discuss differences in religious belief. So often were references made to the Scriptures, that an authorised translation resulted, which has been in use ever since.
Eldon Wesleyan Church
The farewell of the Pilgrim Fathers, Puritans who left this country for America, seeking freedom of worship, sailed in the Mayflower.
These early settlers were subject to many hardships from weather, from unfriendly Indians, and from want of food.
William Carey, a Northamptonshire shoemaker, became the founder of the first Baptist Mission in India.
Carey was chosen first missionary and became an Oriental Scholar, translating the scriptures into Hindoo dialects.
Robert Morrison, a shoemaker also, went to China and adopted Chinese costume, even wearing a pigtail. He translated the Bible and Prayer book into Chinese, as well as compiling a dictionary in their language.
Kirkstall Congregational Church
Robbert Moffatt, a pioneer Missionary in South Africa, worked among the Hottentots and the Bechuanas.
Dr Livingstone, the most famous of all missionaries. ‘His enthusiasm for exploration led him to penetrate far beyond regions where tidings of him could be heard.’ He is discovered by the American newspaper proprietor Mr Stanley with the famous ‘Dr Livingstone, I presume’.
Whitehall Road UM Church
The Gloucester Printer, Robert Raikes, discovers squalid children on a Sunday morning away from Church
Raikes’s attempt to provide occupation for these children.
Brunswick Wesleyan Church
A spelling class, shewing attempts to teach children to read. So discouraging were the conditions that many teachers were paid for their services.
Queen St. Congregational Church
A white missionary shewing the medical side of his work.
Little London Wesleyan Church
A graded Sunday School. A small part of Primary School Session.
Salem Congregational Church
A junior School in session.
Harehills Avenue PM Church
Another branch of the Graded School – Scouts at work.
Boys’ and Girls’ Life Brigades demonstrating “First Aid”.
An Open-Air Sunday School in Norway
Woodhouse Carr UM Church
Brittany. A festival day known as ‘Children’s Pardon’. A Protestant Missionary, chatting with children returning from the Roman Catholic Church.
Bible Class for Girls in Spain.
Sheepscar Congregational Church
An Indian Zenana. The Missionary’s attempt to win the Children.
Final Procession of Allied Countries and Massed Tableau
Key historical figures mentioned
- Alban [St Alban, Albanus] (d. c.303?) Christian martyr in Roman Britain
- Augustine [St Augustine] (d. 604) missionary and archbishop of Canterbury
- Æthelberht I (d. 616?) king of Kent [also known as Ethelbert]
- Cædmon (fl. c.670) poet
- Hild [St Hild, Hilda] (614–680) abbess of Strensall–Whitby
- Bede [St Bede, Bæda, known as the Venerable Bede] (673/4–735) monk, historian, and theologian
- Alfred [Ælfred] (848/9–899) king of the West Saxons and of the Anglo-Saxons
- Osburh [Osburga] (fl. 839) consort of Æthelwulf, king of the West Saxons
- Wyclif [Wycliffe], John [called Doctor Evangelicus] (d. 1384) theologian, philosopher, and religious reformer
- Caxton, William (1415x24–1492) printer, merchant, and diplomat
- Ridley, Nicholas (c.1502–1555) bishop of London and protestant martyr
- Latimer, Hugh (c.1485–1555) bishop of Worcester, preacher, and protestant martyr
- James VI and I (1566–1625) king of Scotland, England, and Ireland
- Carey, William (1761–1834) orientalist and missionary
- Morrison, Robert (1782–1834) missionary and Chinese scholar
- Moffat, Robert (1795–1883) missionary in Africa and linguist
- Livingstone, David (1813–1873) explorer and missionary
- Stanley, Sir Henry Morton (1841–1904) explorer and journalist
- Raikes, Robert (1736–1811) promoter of Sunday schools
The following hymns were sung:
- God Bless Our Native Land
- The Call to Action
- Glad Creation
- Your Land and My Land
- Nearer, My God, to Thee
- A Message to the Nations
- Praises of Our Sabbath School
- Fight the Good Fight
- Tell me the stories of Jesus
- Forward the Life Brigade
- The Whole Wide World For Jesus
- Onward, Christian Soldiers
- The Growing British Empire
- Mine Eyes have seen the glory
Newspaper coverage of pageant
Book of words
Other primary published materials
Sunday School Centenary Pageant. Leeds, 1917. [Price 3d.]
References in secondary literature
Archival holdings connected to pageant
- Copy of programme [owned by Doris Hargraves] in Leeds Library, Local Studies Section, reference LP 782.5 LEE.
Sources used in preparation of pageant
With the outbreak of war in 1914, the Edwardian ‘pageant fever’ went into remission. Yet while large-scale pageantry was abandoned, smaller events were occasionally put on, particularly by schools or church groups. This pageant, held in Leeds to mark the centenary of the Sunday School Association, is an example of the latter. It seems to have taken the form of a series of tableaux, rather than dramatic episodes, the focus of which – as might be expected – was almost entirely religious. One interesting feature of the pageant is the emphasis it placed on missionary work in the empire. Given the wartime context, it is also notable for its avoidance of military subjects: Christian militarism was certainly a feature of British propaganda during the Great War, but does not seemed to have loomed especially large here. Leeds held a Tercentenary Pageant, performed by local schoolchildren, in 1926.
How to cite this entry
Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Sunday School Centenary Pageant’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1118/