What a wonderful day it has been! We were hired by Black Knight Historical to provide costumed characters for the Georgian Picnic at Gressenhall Farm – the event commemarated the establishment of the workhouse there in the second half of 18th century – 1767 if I remember well.
It was an early morning for us, getting up at 6.30 ( not a common occurrance for me at all!), but it was worth it – after 2 hours of a nice drive we arrived at the stunning location, and the weather, for a change, was superb – sunny, but not too hot, and not too cold,only the wind being a pest – trying to blow our hats away!.
There were about 17 of us working there, and once the clock struck 10am, the courtyard filled with Georgian characters – and the visitors.
The tables were set with food ( pies, tarts, cakes, cheese, fruit etc) and people could discuss fashionable dishes of the day and compare the menu of the loal workhouse kitchen ( boiled meat on sunday, pottage on monday, potatoes and veggies the rest of the week…) with the extravagance of the food served to those born into the higher class of the Georgian society.
I prepared my basket and a rug to sit on and set on my task for the day – embellishing my bergere hat with lace, ribbon and paper flowers. As I worked, I chatted to the visitors about the realia of the day – the fashionable clothing and accessories, the customs, the entertainment – and all the aspect of the life in the second half of the 18th century.
There was other entertainemnt as well – the surgeon performing a tooth removal, very cheap and almost without pain; musicians played in the background and the storyteller kept all the little ones ( and not only) enruptures with captivating stories.
Muskets and guns were fired and dancing was performed at the chapel; the lucky ones even were allowed a ride in the sedan chair.
In the meantime, the museum was open for everybody to have a good look at what a life in the workhouse and on the farm looked like – and the exhibits were amazing!
The cafe and the gift shop were throbbing with customers and there was a lot of smiling, relaxed people lounging on the grass listening either to the music or to the stories. needless to say, a lot of pictures were taken too!
The premisses encompas a delightful orchard, with the apple trees in full bloom – and a woodland playarea for the kids wioth the swings and slides looked very appealing even to me – had to be persuaded that sliding down a long tune on fancy frock may not be the best idea…
Altogether, a great day was had by all – and belowe find a few more pictures from the day:-)
more pictures on Prior Attire page – here
The costumes ( the pink robe anglaise etc, Lucas coat etc, Eleanor’s caraco jacket and petticoat) – also by Prior Attire