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The David Clarke Collection
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The David Clarke Collection

Carlisle Historical PageantCarlisle Historical Pageant, 1977York PageantYork Pageant postcard, 1909David Clarke (1931- 2014) was a pageant master. Not only did he produce pageants, but he also researched and documented pageant history from 1905 onwards. 

His collection includes books of words (essentially scripts), pamphlets, ground plans, photographs, sheet music, posters and more. From historic pageants to his own productions, the materials provide a valuable and unique insight into all aspects of pageant productions.

It can be suggested that pageants were an outward expression of local historical identity in relation to wider national identity. The solidifying of local identity gave the people of a particular town or village an understanding of the role that they, and their ancestors, may have played in the history of Britain.

Festival of Empire postcardFestival of Empire, 1911Pageants were also seen as a way of making history more entertaining to a mass audience.

Before television became readily available, these historical pageant productions offered a way of increasing interaction with any historical subject or period.

This exhibition will display various objects of interest, whilst providing useful background knowledge on the history of pageants, pageant masters and why these events took place.

This exhibition has been researched and compiled by Fraser Simpson, MA student (History Department, King’s College London), and features the David Clarke Collection, recently acquired by King’s College Archives. You can find the online catalogue here.
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