This rare broadside was printed for a controversial Procession with naked Lady Godiva in Coventry in 1851. The text, printed in green gives the program of the procession, and on the back are advertisements for different firms, such as stores, printers, hotels and inns in Coventry. Lady Godiva was played by Madame Cassanette from the Cremorne Gardens.
The Lady Godiva Procession first took place in the late 17th century, to celebrate a 11th century legend of Lady Godiva, who rode naked through the city, covered with her hair only, to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation that her husband imposed on his tenants.
Around 1842 the first procession that encouraged the idea of Godiva riding naked took place. She wore a tight fitting, flesh coloured dress, causing fights among spectators trying to get a better view. During this time of highly moralistic Victorian Era, complaints against the procession arrived from all over the country and the city was disgraced. Despite this the procession did go ahead until 1862, when it became less frequent.
The broadside is very rare. We could not find any other surviving examples in institutions worldwide. A small format handbill of the event survives in the British Library.