This film is part of Free

Carnival Processions in Birkenhead (1902)

May Queens and drag queens, cadets and clowns: thousands turn out for an Edwardian fundraiser in the Merseyside town.

Non-Fiction 1902 13 mins Silent


These extraordinary pictures give a real sense of the magnificent scale and splendour of an Edwardian street carnival. In this procession, snaking around Birkenhead's Hamilton Square from the Town Hall to Price Street, thousands of revellers exhibit their grandest, most ingenious, or most outrageous outfits to raise cash for the town's local hospitals.

The film was shown at the nearby Argyle Theatre of Varieties, at the time one of the UK's premier music halls. Having hosted some of Britain's foremost entertainers - among them Marie Lloyd, Dan Leno, Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and George Formby - the Argyle was destroyed by a Luftwaffe bomb in 1940 and finally demolished in 1973.