Chelmsford Carnival

  • Theme - Events
  • Year - 1923
  • Location - Chelmsford
  • Filmmaker - F.A. Letchford


The Chelmsford Carnival began in 1922, yet this event, filmed in 1923, enthusiastically claimed to be the "biggest one ever". Held in order to raise funds for the old Chelmsford and Essex Hospital, the carnival consisted of cars and small floats parading through the town centre. Early on in the film, the parade can be seen travelling through Tindal Square, with the Sir Nicholas Conyngham Tindal statue visible in the background, overseeing the day's festivities.
Although the route of the carnival varied year on year, it always paraded through the main streets of the town, most likely trailing along High Street, Moulsham Street, New London Street and Duke Street. In 1923, the lively procession finished up at Hoffman's Recreation Ground, where Lady Curtis Bennett awarded prizes. Celebrations carried on into the night, with the local press subsequently announcing that "much fun was had by all."

This footage of the local carnival in Chelmsford was taken in order to keep a record of the event for future generations. The film was produced for the Select Cinema, formerly the Picture House in Chelmsford, in New Writtle Street and was eventually presented to the public. The last known record of the Chelmsford Carnival was from 1997.


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  • My grandmother, who died in 1961, often told how she watched the first Chelmsford Carnival and continued to do so every year until she passed away. She established a family tradition so that all 3 generations of the family would annually stand at the same place in Moulsham St, outside the Barbers shop and almost opposite Myhill's fish and chip shop - towards Lady Lane. I recall the parade being lead by John Bull on his huge horse and that it was on the first Saturday in July. I actually participated in (I think) 1959 or 1960 when I marched and played bass drum in the Sea Cadet corps of bugles. After the carnival it seemed the whole town would go to Central Park and the evening always ended with fireworks over the nearly 70 and visiting Chelmsford again in July 2014...can't wait......would love to hear from anyone with similar memories.By: Chris Conway - 2248 days ago
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