The Lancashire Pace-Egg Play
Eddie Cass’s history of the Lancashire pace- or peace-egg play puts traditional drama into a regional and social context. Pace egging is related to other popular hero-combat plays, but unusually is associated with Easter, not Christmas. Diffused through Lancashire’s burgeoning mill towns in the early nineteenth century, in part by chapbooks, the play was performed in the pubs and streets by working-class men (and some women), for whom it was an important way of earning money. This rare study of urban folklore explores the interplay between close-knit communities and the development of a literate working-class culture. Firmly located in the history of industrialization and its consequences, the book also considers the post-war revival of pace egging and its new social role following the death of ‘King Cotton’ and the transformation of the communities his mills sustained.