This film is part of Free

Coronation Festivities at Accrington (1902)

The Lancashire town greets Edward VII's big day with a cheery spectacle.

Documentary 1902 8 mins Silent


A cleverly positioned camera captures off-guard facial expressions and details of clothing as the procession of clown cyclists, marching bands, Morris dancers and decorated floats pass by. Commissioned and filmed by Accrington-born Albert Wilkinson in late June 1902, it played to packed audiences in the Town Hall. "One big kaleidoscopic fantasy," enthused the Accrington Observer & Times.

The country was gripped with coronation fever when Edward VII came to the throne after the epic 63-year reign of his mother, Queen Victoria. Much of this pageant celebrates pride in local trade and industry (from iron manufacture and mining to chimney-sweeping and confectionery) - with the occasional irreverent twist. Pride in the British Empire is another feature, with many in colonial military uniform and even a group of cyclists dressed as African tribesmen (something that clearly wouldn't be tolerated today).