Missionaries are no strangers to students and researchers of the British Empire. The hackneyed image of the rough-hewn Anglican vicar preaching salvation, Christ, and colonialism to legions of natives is one of the enduring archetypes of British colonialism. This image, like so many similar ones, is not without basis in historical fact.
Paul O’Leary’s Claiming the Streets: Processions and Urban Culture in South Wales, c.1830–1880 provides a detailed and lively account of mid 19th-century processional culture. It takes us on a journey through Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath and Swansea and investigates the diversity and complexity of street procession in these towns.
In January 1988, hundreds of people gathered in Cardiff for a rally organised by ‘Wales Against Clause 28’. Held aloft ‘were signs identifying the places the mainly lesbian and gay marchers had lived and where they were from to disprove the popular notion that “there were no gays in Wales”.’ (p.