Film ID:
NEFA 19709



Visitor Tabs


A record of a King Edward VI Grammar School (Morpeth, Northumberland) pageant re-enactment in July 1952. The schoolchildren perform plays and dances in fancy dress to an audience of parents. The pageant celebrates the school's 400th year since King Edward VI granted a charter for the school on 12 March 1552.

[Colour:] A boy wearing a medieval-style fancy dress costume, complete with snood or hood, sits at a flower stall. Other schoolchildren in medieval costume tend stalls

A large audience of parents is assembled on a lawn, seated on rows of wooden folding chairs.

A child dressed as a town crier rings his bell, surrounded by other schoolchildren in medieval costume.

Jesters perform acrobatics for the crowd.

Girls dance around a maypole.

Choristers wearing either red or blue smocks parade past the audience, singing.

A play is performed on a low outdoor stage. One of the stage backgrounds is a ship, and the play perhaps a telling of Noah’s Ark. Some of the children wear animal masks: cows, pigs.

Boys and girls perform a group folk dance on the stage.

A master reads from a lectern, with choristers in attendance.

[Black & white:] The scene continues.

[Colour:] A pair of bagpipers lead a march of cowboys or lumberjacks.

A cricketing scene is performed as part of the pageant.

A group of girls perform a folk dance.

[Black and white:] A rugby team assembles in front of the school steps, and erects some model rugby posts as a backdrop; the team then jogs into position, passing the ball between them before.

Six army cadets, rifles on shoulders, march to the foot of the school steps, and are then joined by another band of cadets. Together they perform rifle drills.

[Colour:] The cadets perform marching and rifle drills.

Girls set the stage for another play.

Girls and boys enact a wartime scene of putting out a fire. They wear rounded metal helmets and rain macs.

Next, a tin man or robot is on stage.

A long pageant of schoolchildren passes by, led by two figures in medieval costume carrying placards, which read 1552, the date of the foundation of the school.  The children wear costumes from various historical ages. Some are dressed as animals with papier-maché face masks, others are soliders, and rugby players; some wear school uniform.

Note: "The re-foundation of the school is frequently associated with William Turner (c. 1508–1568), nonconformist divine, known as the "Father of English Botany", who was a native of Morpeth, and is believed both to have attended the grammar school before going to Cambridge and later to have been its headmaster.

Morpeth Grammar School was involved in the lawsuit of longest duration in English legal history. The case, concerning the recovery of lands granted to the school by Edward VI and later leased to the Thornton family, began in 1710, was reopened in 1833, advanced in 1847, and determined in 1870, concerning the recovery of lands granted to the school by Edward VI later leased to the Thornton family.

The school lost its status as a grammar school in the educational reforms of the 1970s and became a comprehensive under its present name. As part of this, the school had a new building built which still stands today."