The Redress of the Past: Historical Pageants in Britain

Welcome to the online home of The Redress of the Past, a major Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project examining historical pageants in twentieth-century Britain. In July 2019, we were awarded follow-on funding for Impact and public engagement. This funding supports a programme of events, exhibitions and other activities.



We have now completed work on a documentary film about the historical pageant movement, which we have been making in collaboration with Windrose Rural Media Trust. The film includes footage from pageants of the past, but takes the story right up to the present, featuring the Axbridge Pageant 2022, three sold-out performances of which were staged over the course of the August Bank Holiday weekend. 




The Redress of the Past team is pleased to announce some new publications:

  1. Restaging the Past: Historical Pageants, Culture and Society in Modern Britain. A book of essays by team members, project partners, colleagues and friends. Available for free download via the UCL Press website.
  2. Mark Freeman's wonderful Illustrated History of the pageants of St Albans, available via the publisher's website.
  3. Our Local History Study Guide to pageants research, available as a free download here.



Our Pageants Database can be found at You can also access it via the 'Pageants Database' tab at the top of the screen. We'd be really interested to hear what you think about the database. Thoughts, comments, suggestions for amendments and corrections all much appreciatedas we will be updating the database for many years to come. Please email us about the database on We'd love to hear from you!

Please see the database FAQs for information about how to use and cite the database.



In January 2020, we collaborated with St Albans Museums to stage an evening of pageant film and music. Our friend Parker Gordon has made available some excerpts from the music he played at that event. To listen to these, visit his website, here



We are delighted to announce that a treasure trove of historical pageants-related material has been donated to King’s College London by Juliet Renny. Juliet’s husband David Clarke was one of the leading pageant-masters of the post-war period, responsible for major productions such those held at Guildford and Carlisle (both 1977), Farnham (1988), and many others. David’s friend Bob Page remembers him as “a creative and dedicated author and inspirational pageant master” whose “enthusiasm gave his cast members and helpers, most whom had little or no acting experience, with a sense of theatre and drama that would live with them for future years.”

The David Clarke Collection includes "books of words" and programmes related to David’s own historical pageants, as well as a fascinating set of scripts and souvenirs related to earlier pageants staged by other exponents of the art of pageantry, such as Louis Napoleon Parker and Frank Lascelles. David himself had a keen interest in history, and indeed wrote a book about historical pageants, drawing on and recounting his own experiences. The typescript of the book has also been donated to King’s as part of the David Clarke Collection. An online exhibition of the collection can be viewed on the King's College London website. There's also this interesting article on Clarke himself, by archivist Sarah Coggrave.

We are extremely grateful to Juliet for this generous gift, which will help ensure that David’s important contribution to historical pageantry is fully appreciated now and in years to come. As Juliet has told us, “I know that David would be so pleased that everyone who was involved, or saw a Pageant, would be able to find and re-live the amazing 'Pageant' experience.  He loved enthusing people towards a combined achievement, getting them to do something different—'a new world'. The excitement overcame all the difficulties—rehearsing when they were exhausted, waiting in the pouring rain and mud, and wearing strange costumes that they did not always like! I am relieved that all his research and creative work will be saved for the future.”

The David Clarke Collection is held at King’s College London, and is free for the public to consult. For inquiries about accessing the collection, please contact The Clarke collection catalogue is available here.

We need your help!

Do you have any materials relating to historical pageants?

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