The Whit Walks in Visual and Popular Culture

So I haven’t blogged in soooo long for two reasons:

  1. I have been busy doing the work!
  2. I sometimes feel like I have little ‘actual work’ to show for all the work (i.e. papers under review but not published/bids written but waiting answers).

Anyway, I was at Tate Britain last week and they have a LS Lowry painting on display ‘The Pond’

At the very bottom of this painting is a small procession with a banner. Now, I am not clear if this is a trade union procession or a Whit Walk but it got me thinking. LS Lowry has other works which depict processions more explicitly such as The Procession’  and the Whit Walks in South Wales are depicted in ‘Procession in South Wales, Whit Monday’

I am going to have a look into these artworks more closely but it got me thinking about other examples of Whit Walks in visual arts and popular culture.

The most notable example is in the film of Salford playwright, Shelia Delaney’s play, “A Taste of Honey’. More recent use of the Walks in a film is the wonderful opening scene of the 1999 film ‘East is East’ (based on the play by Ayub-Khan Din) where the walks set the scene for the working class milieu of Salford in the 1970s.

Clip from East is East opening scene (1999)

What I am thinking of doing to collating examples of the Walks representation in visual, literary (‘The Manchester Man’ being an example here) and popular culture to understand how they are imagined in the wider popular consciousness.

Please do let me know if you know of any examples! Louise@paradesandprocessions.co.uk

I also promise to blog more!

Processions: A dissertation together with practical suggestions

I have recently acquired a short book published in 1932 by Bishop Colin Dunlop (1897-1968) who was, in 1955, appointed as the first chair of the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England. In his short book ‘Processions: A dissertation

together with practical suggestions’ he outlines the nature of religious procession historically and in current form. He is critical of the decline of the proper use of procession and makes a series of suggestions of how it can be reinstated as, “a liturgical means of leading modern congregations into a more ready understanding of the Christian faith” (p. 9).

In the first section of the book Dunlop charts the history of processions. He makes the link between processions and pilgrimages in that processions had a purpose and were directional.

“Plainly these processions are not mere marching for the sake of marching; they are made in order to arrive at certain holy places; on arrival lessons are read and prayers are said appropriate to the place and season at which the visit is made” (p. 11)

Indeed, this is something that I have been reflecting on in terms of defining a procession and there seems to be a general agreement that a procession leads somewhere. However, he comments that processions have shifted from plain to becoming more lavish and whilst he is not critical of this necessarily he appears to be more aggrieved with processions that have no purpose. He speaks of processions that take place within churches and how they often end up where they started – for him this is not defined as a procession. He draws on the 1883 work of Canon T. A Lacey ‘ The Liturgical Use of the Litany and quotes him directly…

Continue reading