For our final talk before the summer break, David Hinchliffe, one of our own members, told us all about the Torquay Historical Pageant of 1924.
Our April speaker was our own member, David Hinchliffe. David had researched the Torquay Historical Pageant of 1924, but opened his talk with a description of, “the mother of all pageants”, which took place at Sherborne in Dorset in 1905. The country was subsequently gripped by, “pageantitis”, and by 1911 a huge Pageant of London took place as part of the Festival of Empire staged to mark the coronation of King George V.
The Master of the Torquay Historical Pageant was Arthur Applin, a noted classical actor, author of pot-boiler novels and war hero. The pageant was held in the grounds of Rock End, with a cast of almost 2,000 local people. David summarised the various episodes, from scenes of Stone Age people in animal skins, through to the visit of Princess Victoria in 1833, using illustrations from the newspapers of the time.
Although the Pageant was proclaimed a success, it made a financial loss, and did not achieve the publicity it might have due to much larger pageants taking place that same year. Despite this, David suggested that the day of the historical pageant was not yet over, citing the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics as an example, and concluded that it might be quite nice to see another pageant in 2024 to mark the centenary of the one that he had described.