King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
The David Clarke Collection


Pevensey Historical Pageant Final TableauPevensey Historical Pageant Final Tableau, 1908Pageant of Warwick PostcardWarwick Pageant Postcard, 1906Bath Historical Pageant, Book of WordsBath Historical Pageant, Book of Words, 1909The David Clarke Collection provides a wide overview of historical pageants. With enormous numbers of performers and spectators, they undoubtedly captured the imagination of a whole nation.

In a sense, these pageants, in celebrating historically significant events of the past, have themselves become historical events.

We must remember that although historical pageants have almost disappeared as spectacles, we have large scale celebratory events of our own in Britain today. For example the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics produced by Danny Boyle and the enormous and numerous Royal Weddings both of which look like they have been picked straight from an act in a historical pageant.

It is a testament to people like David Clarke that we know so much about pageants as we do, thanks to the books, programmes, postcards, documents and other materials kindly donated to King’s College Archives by his family.

We can look to pageants to better understand how people of the early twentieth century engaged with their own past, and how this became an influence in the forging of a cohesive identity across Britain.

This exhibition featuring the David Clarke Collection, has been researched and compiled by Fraser Simpson, MA student History Department, King’s College London.
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