St. Albans Pageant, 1907: Queen Elizabeth at Gorhambury.

Courtesy of St. Albans Museums.


The project team produced regular blog posts over the course of the period 2013-2017 (covering the years funded by the first AHRC) grant. These blog posts can be found below.

  • A Visit to Carlisle

    Mark Freeman

    Today I made a belated visit to Carlisle to see the pageants exhibition at Tullie House. Tom and I had missed the preview event back in August, as we were representing the project at the ICHS conference in Jinan, China – see our blog post here.

    It was worth the wait, and the long journey from London. The team, led by Linda Fleming, has created a superb exhibition, with a selection of objects, costumes ...

  • Tales from the Bury St Edmunds Pageant - (10) Patricia Balaam (nee Sharpe)

    Patricia Balaam was born in Pakenham in Suffolk, but moved to the village of Ixworth when she was just three years old. In 1959 Patricia, at the age of 11, took several parts in the Bury St Edmunds Pageant. She kindly invited Tom into her home in Great Barton to record some of her memories of the event - including the funny story of King Edmund's papermachier head! 

    Patricia Balaam

    Patricia today, in Great Barton. Photo taken ...

  • Tales from the Bury St Edmunds Pageant - (9) Judith Poole

    Judith Poole was a young girl when the pageant was staged in the Abbey Gardens in 1959, but she vividly remembers going to see the pageant - and it inspired a lifelong interest in historical pageantry! Judith has very kindly allowed us to share some clips from the interview she gave to Tom Hulme back in July 2015 - which you can listen to below.

    Judith Poole

  • Tales from the Bury St Edmunds Pageant - (8) Sheila Martin (nee Ellingham)

    Sheila Martin lives in Clare, a small village just outside Sudbury in Suffolk. In 1959, at the age of 12, she took a role in the Eatanswill Election scene of the Bury St Edmunds Magna Carta Pageant. Tom interviewed Sheila in July, and she has very kindly allowed us to share some clips from the interview. For Sheila the pageant was a huge and exciting event, and one that has stayed with her until this ...

  • Pageants and the People: Bury St Edmunds and Magna Carta

    Our exhibition on the town of Bury St Edmunds and its pageants took place from May to August 2015 at Moyse's Hall Museum. Now the exhibition has finished, the exhibition panels and info-paddles are free to download below - so if you couldn't make it over the summer, you can enjoy the exhibition from the comfort of your own home!

    *warning: large download files*

    Pageants and the People: Bury St Edmunds and Magna Carta ...

  • Tales from the Bury St Edmunds Pageant - (7) Roger Arbin

    Roger Arbin lives in Elmswell, just outside Bury St Edmunds (where he was born), and has lived in Suffolk all his life. At the time of the pageant he was 14 years old. Roger was in the first scene, where he played one of Edmund's East Anglian army, defending against the invading Vikings (not the Normans, as Roger first remembered - after the interview he realised he'd got it wrong!), and also the Pickwick ...

  • Tales from the Bury St Edmunds Pageant - (5) Mike Hickford

    Mike Hickford is a long-time resident of Clare, a small village near Sudbury in Suffolk. He took a role in the Election at Eatanswill scene, which was drawn from Charles Dickens's Pickwick Papers. 

    Mike has a fantastic memory, and has very kindly allowed us to play some extracts from the interview Tom did with him in July. 

    Mike Hickford and others in the Bury St Edmunds Pageant of 1959

    Mike (centre in black jacket) posing with others from the Election scene. By kind permission of Peter ...

  • Tales from the Bury St Edmunds Pageant - (6) Margaret Steed

    Margaret Steed (nee Byford) was born in Sudbury, and has lived in Suffolk her whole life. When she was 15 she took a role in the pageant in the Eatanswill Election scene, which was based on Charles Dickens's Pickwick Papers. Margaret kindly agreed to be interviewed by Tom, and shared some of her lovely memories of the pageant - as well as some photos!

    Margaret Steed at the time of the 1959 pageant 
    Margaret at the time of the pageant. Photo by kind permission ...

  • The Return of Grand-Master Parker!

    Louis Napoleon Parker was, as I am sure regular readers of our blog are now fully aware, the ORIGINAL pageant-master. His invention at Sherborne went national - nay global - and defined historical pageants for a generation. But, by the time the guns of 1914 interrupted his blossoming movement, he had actually stopped mastering grand historical spectaculars. In his 1928 autobiography, Several of My Lives, he reflected on what he thought had happened to the movement:

    ...imitators ...

  • Meet the Team: Alexander Hutton

    We are delighted to be welcoming Dr Alexander Hutton to the project from the 1st October. Alexander says...

    "I am a cultural historian of twentieth century Britain, with a particular interest in the ways in which the industrial past has been represented and remembered. My doctoral thesis at Darwin College, Cambridge covered a variety of topics including the adult education movement, the history of literary criticism, the Communist Party of Great Britain, and the British ...