The Year of the Pageant

by Andrew Swift and Kirsten Elliott

This book tells the story of the Bath Pageant – and much more besides. The Bath Pageant of 1909 – with over 3,000 performers – was an astonishing achievement. It was the highlight of a remarkable year. 1909 saw the birth of the welfare state and the dawn of mass motoring. Bleriot’s epoch-making flight across the Channel established aeroplanes as a viable form of transport. Political crisis at Westminster was accompanied by a deep and growing recession, with millions of men thrown out of work. Over all hung the threat of German invasion and an escalating arms race. Closer to home, the battle to save Bath Street from the developers marked the birth of the Bath preservation movement. The year was marked by coal strikes, riots, suffragette rallies, battles in the council chamber – and vigorous debates as to whether the rugby club should stay at the Recreation Ground. Using hundreds of archive photographs – many never before published – as well as personal testimonies and original documents, this fascinating book lifts the lid on what it was like to live through this momentous year.