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Saturday, 3 September 2016

Julie has designs on recreating pageant glory with costumes

An exhibition celebrating a spectacular historical pageant in Scarborough more than a hundred years ago runs at the town’s art gallery from Tuesday 13 September to Sunday 9 October.

Julie and the costume recreations. Photo by Tony Bartholomew.
Scarborough Historical Pageant and Play 1912 will feature photographs and items from the event, 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.

It was staged at the town's castle twice during the summer of that year and four of the costumes have been recreated by the exhibition curator, Scarborough Museums Trust 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.

“He wanted information on the Scarborough pageant – it was such a coincidence, it felt like it was meant to be.”

Julie has made close copies from black-and-white photographs from 1912 of four costumes – that of Lady Cholmley, whose husband, Sir Hugh, occupied Scarborough Castle during the Great Siege during the Civil War; a prehistoric cave boy; a grey friar; and the dramatic white-ruffled blue velvet cloak worn by the ‘spirit of Scarborough’, a symbolic representaton of the town designed by renowned artist Albert Strange.

Visitors will 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 give a lunchtime talk about the pageant and others, entitled Edwardian Pageants, at the gallery at 12.30pm on Wednesday 28 September. Tickets are free.

When the exhibition finishes at the gallery part of it will go to Scarborough Library for several months.

Further information can be found here:

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