03 June 2013
The Redress of the Past: Historical Pageants 1905-2016
In collaboration with the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde, and the King's Department of Digital Humanities, the Department of History has received funding for a major research project examining historical pageants in twentieth-century Britain.
In collaboration with the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde, and the King’s Department of Digital Humanities, the Department of History has received funding for a major research project examining historical pageants in twentieth-century Britain. The Arts and Humanities Research Council have awarded the project team £777,581, to be spent over 3 years.
Twentieth-century Britain was subject to regular bouts of 'pageant fever'. Communities across England, Scotland and Wales staged theatrical re-enactments of events from local and national history with thousands of men, women and children involved as performers, organizers and spectators. This was national costume drama on a grand scale. Over the course of the twentieth century many hundreds of events were mounted by communities and institutions, ranging from small churches and village communities to large cities such as Liverpool and Manchester.
Drawing on oral and written evidence, this project will provide an authoritative treatment of a subject that has largely escaped academic scrutiny. It will offer key insights into the role of 'heritage' in leisure activities, the interaction between local, national and imperial identities, and the character of community life. It will recover the stories that communities and institutions told about themselves. It will result in a comprehensive database of historical pageants, a monograph envisaged as the key book on the subject, and an edited volume of essays situating the British movement in its international context.
The Redress of the Past website will include general commentary on the pageant movement, representative images of pageant-related ephemera, and oral testimonies from witnesses to historical pageants. It will allow interaction between the public and the project, enabling individual users and local history societies – some of whom will be actively involved in the project – to contribute their own memories and memorabilia. It will feature interactive maps, allowing users to locate pageant venues and to track the incidence of performances and themes over time.
The team for this project is:
- Dr Paul Readman (King’s, History – Principal Investigator)
- Dr Paul Vetch (King’s, DDH – Co-investigator)
- Dr Mark Freeman (Glasgow – Co-investigator)
- Dr Angela Bartie (Strathclyde – Co-investigator)
- Research Associate (King’s – to be appointed)
- Research Associate (Glasgow/Strathclyde – to be appointed)
- Technical Researcher (King’s – to be appointed)
- St Albans Museums
- St Edmundsbury Heritage Service
- Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery
- Recorders of Uttlesford History