This film is part of Free

Crewe Hospital Procession and Pageant (1907)

A colourful fundraising pageant in support of Crewe Cottage Hospital.

Non-Fiction 1907 11 mins Silent


The local pageant was an Edwardian craze, kicked off in 1905. The Crewe Hospital Procession and Pageant was founded the following year to fund-raise for the Crewe Memorial Cottage Hospital. The 1907 carnival took over an hour to make its way through the town's streets. Mitchell & Kenyon made of this an 11-minute film, showing the best of those who had taken part, with a focus on the prizewinners.

This surviving footage features participants in historical and national costumes as well as cross-dressers, and features a number of troupes of black-faced minstrels and (very well choreographed) 'golliwog' dancers. These popular entertainment figures were imported from the USA from the late 19th century. Though racial representations like these seem shocking to us today, in the context of Edwardian Britain - so far from the culture they parodied - should perhaps be understood as more naïve than malicious. Campaigners for women's suffrage are also sent up by one of the troupes in the film's final frames.