In 1883, twenty years after St Peter’s Italian Church was consecrated, permission was sought from the local authorities and police force to hold the very first “Italian Procession” in the streets of Clerkenwell. It is said that Queen Victoria gave her special consent to the local police Chief of Holborn for it to take place. This was of great significance as this was to be the first outdoor Catholic event held in England since the reformation of King Henry VIII.
The procession was to celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. An annual occurrence did not take place until 1896. However from then onwards it was a regular event each July, except during the war years when such gatherings were banned.
The feast day falls on the 16th July and the procession was held on the first weekend following this date.
A fascinating British Pathé film clip entitled: "Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. 2,000 Italians in procession through gaily decorated streets of London's little Italy." Year: 1927.
Description : M/S of a procession, as it makes its way through the streets, which are decorated with bunting. There are large crowds on both sides. C/U of the statue of Our Lady being carried aloft, with people watching from houses in the background. . The procession includes girls in white dresses and veils. Further shots show the statue decorated with garlands carried through the crowded streets. Mounted policemen follow.
Here are some photos of the Procession in honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in recent years:
Many thanks to StefZ for sharing her beautiful photos.
Many thanks to Alan Denney for sharing his beautiful photos.