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Pageant July 1938

G G Jean

Brummy Wench.
On the 14th it's the 70 year celebration of the Pageant of Birmingham on the above date. I am privilaged enough to had an original booklet well preserved of the event held in Aston Park. Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester we in attendance. Lord Mayor Councillor Ernest Robert Canning. J.P gave hisuntiring help and patronage to the pageant. Jean.
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master brummie
Jean it is so nice that you have so many of your families photos, post cards, letters, and also the booklet. I have seen pictures from the booklet in various books, and often wonder if my parents perhaps took me as a baby to Aston Park to see the pageant. They lived in Wilson Road in Perry Barr/ Birchfields, until 1938, and then Witton. I have a vague feeling that mom mentioned it.


master brummie
My old street guide shows a Wilson Road off 172 Birchfield Road, Handsworth, B19. but I've always known Birchfield Road as Perry Barr, no doubt the guide gives the correct postal address.


I have just found a copy of the Aston Pageant thanks for reminding me Jean! It's facinating to read all the names of the people who took part. I often wonder if my family were involved?

G G Jean

Brummy Wench.
Wendy is there anyone by the name of Lyndon on the list?. I have the magazine but no names only the dignatories in attendance. Jean.


Jean mine is different to yours I will scan some of the photo's. Sorry I could not find a Lyndon. I have just had a look and it has so many names of all the players actors dancers and organisers. I had fogotten what a lovely piece of history it is.

polly kettle

knowlegable brummie
The souvenir booklet I have is from The Pageant of Birmingham ,at Aston Park from the 11th to the 16th of July 1938 .The pageant master was Gwen Lally.There were 8 episodes in the pageant and the participants are named but I can find no mention of a Lyndon.regards Polly.


master brummie
As I say I know nothing of it. It is of good quality stamped metal/enamel though and so not sure if given to everyone, to organisers/participents or sold as souvenirs. On the back, under the Pin it is stamped "Thomas Fattorini Ltd, Regent Street, Birmingham" and they appear to be still going https://www.fattorini.co.uk/Pin_and_Button_Badges.aspx so may have records?


master brummie
What I don't get is it seems an enormous event but why, and why a pageant with dressing up? And why didn't it continue?
Think I have now an answer to my own question - seems it was the 100th anniversary of the City's Borough Charter. Although the Charter was not only "dodgy" but the Council had had their control of the Police taken away. It was not until 1842 when the Police Act concluded and the Council allowed to Police it's own Borough and erect a Borough Gaol that the Charter was confirmed. Even then there were still independent Street Commissioners, Overseers of the Poor etc


master brummie
The pageant is my earliest memory. I can remember being held in my father's arms and seeing large strange monsters (dinosaurs) being chased by cavemen. I had spent the majority of my life with that memory lost to me, that is until I saw some old film on the T.V. when like a curtain opening, it all came flooding back. I was 2 and a half years old! The moral of that tale is to be careful of what experiences you expose small children to since they can retain memories at a very young age. Unsuitable experiences may have a lasting effect. However on a good note, wonderfull to see the old pictures. Thanks! willey


Super Moderator
Staff member
My brother left behind a snippet of memory about that event. He had been writing about his membership of the School Cadet Force and the various "set-pieces" they had been involved in.

Another show that comes to mind was staged around 1938. This was the time of the Birmingham Centenary Pageant, and our role was to look smart, and march around Handsworth Park performing a Trooping of the Colour, which involved complex parade ground manoeuvres. Major Tully was in his element in command of the ceremony. The music was supplied by the brass or military band of the Cadet Corps, or maybe O.T.C. of some other local school, as our fifes and bugles were presumably thought to be inadequate. Every verbal command issued by the Major was prefaced by the word "Guards", which the members of the band found most amusing; insults and catcalls being exchanged between the two groups after the performance ended.​



master brummie
The souvenir booklet I have is from The Pageant of Birmingham ,at Aston Park from the 11th to the 16th of July 1938 .The pageant master was Gwen Lally.There were 8 episodes in the pageant and the participants are named but I can find no mention of a Lyndon.regards Polly.
I have only just come across this thread, but referring to the above quote I have what I beleive to be the same booklet, which I am now looking at and it confirms the dates mentioned above.Unfortunately I am unable to scan or post photographs but the front cover says" Birmingham Centenary Celebrations 1938" Pageant Of Birminigham, Aston Park, 11th to 16th July 1938. It also has the Birmingham Coat Of Arms and a Knight on horseback, which apparently was the design for the pageant poster.
My father at the time was a St.Johns Ambulance driver and was on duty at the Pageant and was able to obtain addmission for my mother and myself and I remember the scene very well with the "Cavemen and Dinosaur" with smoke coming out of the Dinosours mouth.I wonder if the Pageant was repeated on the 24th July. ??
Regards Reg

Ray Griffiths

master brummie
Hi Folks.

I bought a Video some years ago called Birmingham a journey through time it is Video by design production no other info available.

It's video of events in Birmingham including a movie of the Aston Pageant in 1938.

I think I bought it from WH Smith's in Sutton Coldfield it's very interesting to see such a display.


David Weaver

gone but not forgotten
I lost a photograph, in Cyclone Tracy 1974, of me standing in front of an old coal lorry in Gladstone Street dressed as a Pea Pod. Even then I felt a bit of a twit but I'm now sorry the photo has vanished amongst the coconuts and rubble. Regards, David.

Colin B

gone but not forgotten
I have recently been given a copy of the programme for the Centenary Celebration which took place over 5 days, 11th July-16th July.
The public buildings of the city were decorated and floodlit, a pageant arranged at Aston Park, exhibitions to be held at the Museum and Art Gallery with floral displays and lighting at several parks and concluding with firework displays arranged for Saturday 16th.
The highlight of the celebrations was a visit by the King and Queen on Thursday 14th July, and the programme details their visit.
10:30 arrive New Street Station (platform 3)
10:35 leave New Street for Birmingham Hospital Centre (Q.E.) via Hill Street,
Broad Street, Hagley Road, Lordswood Road, Metchley Lane.
11:10 arrive BHC
12:10 depart BHC for Cannon Hill Park via Metchley Park Road, Bristol Road,
Pebble Mill Road.
12:20 arrive Cannon Hill.
12:50 depart Cannon Hill Park for Council House via Bristol Road, Suffolk Street,
Paradise Street, Victoria Square.
1:06 arrive Council House.
1:30 Luncheon in Council House.
2:45 depart Council House for Aston Park via New Street, Corporation Street,
Aston Road, Witton Lane.
3:00 arrive Aston park.
4:00 depart Aston Park for New Street Station (platform 3), via Trinity Road,
Villa Road, Great Hampton Street Snow Hill, Victoria Square, Hill Street.
4:26 arrive New Street.
4:30 depart New Street.

The programme also list the dignitaries who were to be presented to the King and Queen

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Big Gee

master brummie
I've only just looked at this thread, and I've been trying to locate my great aunt Lilian Sims who definitely took part, but can't find her in all of those wonderful photos. I'm sure she's there somewhere! Unfortunately I can't remember what kind of character she portrayed - knowing her, a nun would have been favourite.

I think we've lost the ability to enjoy ourselves as all those people obviously are, without a trace of self-consciousness either. Lovely stuff!

Big Gee