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Carnival Procession and Crowning the Wick "Herring Queen" / You and Your Money

Two unrelated films spliced together for the Pavilion Cinema, Wick

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Two films made for the Pavilion Cinema, Wick Film 1: Carnival Procession and Crowning the Wick "Herring Queen" showing the crowning of the Herring Queen - Alice Taylor in 1938. (00:00 - 03:12) Title and credits. Shots of Wick harbour as trawler approaches the pier. Herring Queen - Alice Taylor with her attendant Christa Taylor on the deck of a fishing boat whilst crowds wait on the pier with an open carriage. General shots of the harbour as the boat ties up and the Herring Queen and the Provost of Wick walk to the carriage. Shots of the Herring Queen in her carriage followed by a procession of floats, particularly the New Pavilion cinema float and a float featuring Tait's Tower from the Empire Exhibition held that year in Glasgow. A naval officer lays wreath at the war memorial. Shots of the street procession, crowds, floats and a horse. The crowing of the Herring Queen ceremony. The Ladies-in-waiting, Jean Budge & Eleanor Durrand. Banner for Wick Herring Queen.Film 2: You and Your Money - A cinema trailer on behalf of a petition to oppose an increase in the Entertainments Tax from 1951. (03:12 - 04:28) Shots of long queues outside the cinema. Shots of Downing Street as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Hugh Gaitskell, leaves the house holding the black bag with the budget proposals. Various shots of a shopping precinct, ration book, crowd and players at a football match, queues outside theatre box office. Shots of long queue outside cinema and people at the box office. Cinema goers signing a petition, "Is It Fair?".

Questions & Activities


  • Why are fair and gala days important?
  • What happens at a fair/gala day?
  • Have you been to a fair day/gala - what did you see?
  • What is a float?
  • Why do you think there are lots of shots of the New Pavilion Cinema Float?
  • What do you notice about the flags? Would this be different today?
  • Where is Wick? Why is the gala procession and crowing of the Herring Queen so important to this town?
  • Why is the crowining of the Queen so central to the event?
  • Do you think an entertainment tax is fair? What are the pros and cons?
  • Why do you think they wanted to implement an entertainment tax in 1951?
  • Why do you see a ration book in this film?
  • What forms of entertainment can you see in the film that might be taxed?
  • What is the form you see being signed and what is its importance/significance?


Social History: Research the origins of the Wick gala day and the crowing of the Herring Queen. Present your findings in a report, film, powerpoint presentation or illustrated talk.

Media Studies / History: Compare and contrast this film with Ferry Fair, Bo'ness Fair and Dumfries Guid Nychburris Day.

Social Studies / History: Research the traditions of fairs, carnivals and gala days - why are they important to the community and society

History / English / Media Studies: Research your own local gala/fair day and its history and origins.

Social History / International Studies: One of the floats in this film features a replica of Tait's Tower from the 1938 Empire Exhibition. Research the Empire Exhibition using this film and other films on this site featuring the Exhibition.

English / Social History: List the fancy dress costumes/characters you can see. What is the symbolic function of the Queen both in this fair and traditionally at local events.

Art and Design: What is the purpose of role-play and dressing up? Design your own costumes for your school to take part in your local fair.

English / Art and Design: List the floats you can see. Design a float that represents something unique about your community.

History: Research how the practice of a cavalcade of floats originiated?

English: Write a story entitled "The Would Be Queen" or a story about your role in the event or piece of creative writing about your day at the fair/gala.

Business / Modern Studies: Invent your own new tradition.

Media Studies: Make a film of your local fair/gala.

Politics: Research the history of the Entertainments Tax. What effect did it have and why was it implemented? Compare to similar modern methods of tax collection.

Politics / History: Research the methods available to the public to demonstrate against perceived unfair taxes, laws or funding cuts. Pick one cause from history and look at the methods involved. Where they successful, what were the outcomes and who benefited. Try to ascertain what the most successful method of demonstration has been historically. You could look at the Miners Strike, Poll Tax, Student Fees etc.

Home Front : World War II / History / Rationing: You see shots of Ration Books in this film. Find out how long rationing continued after the war and what items remained rationed.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-173-C
Resource Rights Holder By kind permission of The Wick Society
Project Ref 1228B / 1288C
Date 19381951
Genre Local Topical, Promotional
School Subject Social History, History, English, Art and Design, Politics, Media Studies
Subject Matter Early Film
Who Pavilion Cinema, Wick (sponsor)
Where Downing Street, London, Wick
Event Carnival, Budget
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 4:28
Film Length 04:28