Film ID:
YFA 5212



Visitor Tabs


This is a film of a Halifax school’s pageant performed on 11-13th March, 1948 at the Grand Theatre.  The historical pageant has different scenes presented by different schools.  It has intertitles describing the action and some of the dialogue, including text from Rudyard Kipling and William Blake.

Credits – Script by W A Davies, Produced by Allan R Bracewell Richard Halifax played by Norman J  Somers, Scenery and Design by Halifax School of Art
Continuity Richard Halifax, John Dyer, Ann Webster, Mary Shepard, Norman J Somers, Barrie S Ingham, Thelma Hiff, Alison G Davies.

Intertitle – Prologue: In a school of the present day, choir of boys of Heath, Cressley and Porter and the Modern Schools under the direction of E A Huntley.

The children’s choir is singing, crowded onto the stage.

Intertitle – Dancers from the Modern School under the direction of Miss Shelley.  Richard Halifax, historian, visits the school.

Girls are dancing on the stage as the dance teacher is introduced to two men.  The dance teacher gives a demonstration which the girls copy and they then go on to perform various other dance movements.

Intertitle – Verse speaking chorus from Crossley and Porter School under the direction of Miss G Brown.

An all-girls choir is singing on stage.

Intertitle – “She is not any common earth, water or wood or air.  But Merlin’s isle of Gramarye where you and I will fare.”

The choir continue singings, and it followed by a teacher [playing Richard Halifax] at a desk with three older students.

Intertitle – Richard Halifax: In its way Halifax is as rich and thrilling a history as most towns.  Have you ever heard of John Hodgson of Colep?  I have his book here, let me read you a page from it.

The scene continues with Richard Halifax reading to the three students.

Intertitle – Scene One.  Presented by Battinson Road School.  John Hodgson takes the sword for Parliament and Liberty – Coley Church, December 1642.

The stage is filled with children in historic costume, and there is a man on a pulpit.

Intertitle – Isaac Anbum brings bad news from Bradford . . . Because I have matters that cannot wait.

A messenger enters and relates the news.

Intertitles – Hodgson: Here is one who will go, who will go with me?  Who is on the Lord’s side and who will go for him?

Many of those present leave the stage with him.

Intertitle – Scene Two: Presented by the Junior Technical School.  The Royalists occupy Halifax July 1643.  Samuel Faccar (?) brings news of Parliament’s defeat at Adwalton.

A man brings the news to the gathered roundheads.

Intertitle – Ensign Selby: Take charge of this man . . . No, you fool, not this gentleman, the long eared rogue.

One of their members is apprehended, and a troop of Royalists arrive.

Intertitle – Sir Francis Mackworth takes charge of Mackworth.  Who is in charge here?  You fellow, who is your officer and where is he?

A man steps forward.

Intertitle – Priestley: Sithee, soldier, I’m naan death, and I heard what you colonial said.  He hangs looters.

The Royalists have a toast.

Intertitle – Scene Three.  Presented by Northowran School.  A dissenter’s conventicle in 1668.  Oliver Haywood preaching.

The congregation kneel in front of the preacher.

Intertitle – Mr Thompson arranges Heywood’s escape.  Thompson: Hide him in the barn until all is quiet.

Mr Heywood is led off.

Intertitle – Alderman Foxcroft: Morrice, do you see this Haywood here? No?  Then search for him you fool.

The scene of the Alderman and Morrice.

Intertitle – Scene Four.  Presented by Sunnyside School.  John Wesley mobbed at Halifax Cross, 22 August 1748.

Colourful market scene with children playing.

Intertitle – The Ballad Singer. Oh where have you been, Lord Randal my son?

A boy leads a group of children as they sing the famous ballad.

Intertitle – Stop thief!

The crowd chases the boy off the stage.  John Wesley preaches to those at the market.

Intertitle – Mr Wesley attempts to preach from the cross. “Throw him in the Beck.”

Wesley gets off the platform in front of the cross, and he gives a speech to the crowd.

Intertitle – That, having all things done and all your conflicts passed ye may overcome through Christ alone and stand entire at last.

Charles Wesley is led away.

Intertitle – Scene Five. Presented by Siddal School. A meeting of luddites at the St Crispin Inn.  John Baines administers the Luddite oath to a new recruit.

The illegal oath is sworn in front of a group of luddites in a room.

Intertitle – Scene Six.  Presented by Haugh Shaw School.  Yorkshire slavery, 1831. Mrs Briggs prepares the evening meal.

Mrs Briggs sits at the kitchen table with her husband and daughter.  The scene switches to show a brief shot of a teacher and three school students.

Intertitle – Is that trembling cry a song? Can it be a song of joy? And so many children poor? It is a land of plenty. And the sun does never shine.  And their ways are bleak and bare. And there ways are filled with thorns. It is eternal winter there.

More of above, with the teacher and school students commenting on the kitchen scene.

Intertitle – The child labourers come home.

Two boys arrive in the kitchen and join the rest of the family to eat.

Intertitle – Briggs: There’s nowt for it lass, we mun get hun to bed.

One of the boys is put to bed.

Intertitle – Mrs Briggs: Henry, come here, look at these marks.

Henry does so.

Intertitle – Scene Seven. Presented by Ovenden School.  A Lancasterian School of 1831.

Children holding blackboards sit in a school classroom.  A boy at the front stands on a chair gives instructions to “clean slates” and “ Draft  . . . stations”.  The children get up and stand in groups.

Intertitle – The arithmetic lesson.

Intertitle – Scene Eight. In the present day school again. A physical training lesson presented by Pellon Lane Junior School under the direction of Miss Pilling.

Boys and girls in shorts do various exercises and acrobatics.

Intertitle – A percussion band from All Saints School under the direction of Miss Turner.

Junior school boys and girls stand on the stage and play various instruments.

Intertitle – Scene Nine.  Presented by Crossley and Porter School.  Last meeting of the committee to obtain a Charter, 1848 – Mr Edward Ackroyd, the Chairman, thanks the committee.

Edward Ackroyd addresses the committee.

Intertitle – Mr Michael Stocks explains the provisions of the Charter.

Another man addresses the meeting.

Intertitle – Dr Alexander: I sometimes have visions of the sort of people we should see if we were to come back in 1948.

Dr Alexander, Michael Stocks and Edward Ackroyd are in discussion.

Intertitle – Finale.  The doctor’s dream. Entry of Young Halifax, 1948.

Troops of girl guides and scouts who are carrying Union Jacks march onto and assemble on the stage.  They are followed by the Boy’s Brigade, ordinary school students, and other notable Halifax people.

Intertitle – Richard Halifax: I charge you therefore, citizens of no mean city, children of no common stock, that you now highly resolve to be worthy of your blood and lineage, to defend and enrich your heritage, to devote yourselves to the upholding of peace, the pursuit of freedom, and the service of all righteousness – what answer will you give.

Richard Halifax makes his speech to those assembled.

Intertitle – The answer of young Halifax: “I will not cease form mental fight, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, till we have built Jerusalem, In England’s green and pleasant land.

The crowd assembled on stage sings the song.

Halifax Centenary Schools’ Pageant, March 1948.