Pageant of Heroes

From Historical Hastings

During Whit Week, June 1st to 6th, 1914, Hastings hosted a 'Pageant of Heroes'. This week was dedicated to celebrate those famous men and women that had some connection to the town throughout history. The pageant was proposed by an Argus reporter, Mr. Charles A. Farmer during 1913, and culminated in a procession of vehicles, pedestrians and animals decorated in such a way to represent the aforementioned individuals.[1].

Initial Planning[edit]

Various events were listed as being proposed in the initial press release in the Observer of 23rd August 1913 including the simulated rescue of a boat in distress between Hastings Pier and St Leonards Pier, with a demonstration of the rocket apparatus that was installed at the various coast-guard stations along the coastline.[2]

There were to be 'live' fire-fighting demonstrations, mine rescue and even a battlefield simulation demonstrating what was considered at the time to be revolutionary advances in casualty rescue.[2]

Originally, the event was planned to run over two days with the first day carrying a programme of demonstrations and the second as a procession to culminate at the Town Hall with bronze tablets unveiled in various locations by an assortment of celebrities to celebrate local heroes/events. The time-tabling of the Pageant was originally set to be in the Autumn.[2]


A prospectus was issued in April 1914 and itemised all of the varied events carrying on over the week. At this stage, there were confirmed performances by various aviators in waterplanes among other aircraft who in addition to giving demonstrations of rescue techniques would also take people on pleasure flights. Details of the parade were listed and included a number of school children who would participate in the various tableux. The following tableaux were detailed as to be represented in the parade with many others;[3]

It was also planned that there would be a pageant of sea heroes, raft building demonstrations and motor boat displays.


As it transpired, the pageant did not realise its costs, although a parade was held together with some demonstrations and a number of commemorative tablets were placed around the town. Individuals/events recognised in date order;

  • 1066 - The Last Stand (Battle of Hastings); Illustrated by P. W. Cole & E. Leslie Badham[1]
  • 1066 - William the Conqueror; Poem by Thomas Campbell[1]
  • 1269 - John O'Gaunt; Illustrated by P. W. Cole[1]
  • 1661 - Edmund Waller; Designed by Mr Emmerson[1]



  1. a b c d e Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present (Henry Cousins - 1911) pg.332 ISBN: 9789332862449 ESCC Library Google Books " Amazon
  2. a b c Hastings & St Leonards Observer 23 August 1913 pg. 7
  3. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 11 Apr 1914 pg. 5