Pageant costumes are revealed at exhibition

A massive group photograph from the Scarborough Pageant of 1912.
A massive group photograph from the Scarborough Pageant of 1912.

A new exhibition celebrating a spectacular historical pageant in Scarborough more than 100 years ago opens at the town’s Art Gallery next week.

Scarborough Historical Pageant and Play 1912 will feature photographs and items from the pageant of that year, which saw around 1,300 local performers, supported by a 500-strong ‘backstage’ crew, re-enact the town’s history from pre-history to the late 19th century.

Julie Baxter shows off the recreated costumes from the 1912 pageant.

Julie Baxter shows off the recreated costumes from the 1912 pageant.

It was staged at Scarborough Castle twice during the summer of that year.

The exhibition can be seen at Scarborough Art Gallery from next Tuesday (13 September) to Sunday 9 October.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see the original album, plus various items including a programme and seating plan, and hear a recreation of music written for the original event, The Song of Scarborough, by local musician John Pattison.

Local historian Keith Johnston will be giving a lunchtime talk about the pageant and others at the Art Gallery at 12.30pm on Wednesday 28 September.

The Spirit of Scarborough  taken from the pageant album.

The Spirit of Scarborough  taken from the pageant album.

Tickets are free due to funding from The Arts and Humanities Research Council via The Redress of the Past.

A highlight will the recreation of four costumes from the original pageant made by the exhibition’s curator, SMT collections assistant Julie Baxter.

Julie said: “During a review of our collections a couple of years ago, I came across this fantastic album of photographs of the pageant. It wasn’t something I knew much about, and I subsequently discovered that a lot of people didn’t know anything about it at all – and yet so many local people took part.

“Just a few weeks later, I was contacted by historian Mark Freeman from The Redress of the Past: Historical Pageants in Britain project, which is an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project examining historical pageants in 20th century Britain.

Photographs of warriors in the pageant album.

Photographs of warriors in the pageant album.

“He wanted information on the Scarborough pageant – it was such a coincidence.

“It felt like the exhibition was meant to be!”