Journey back to a Victorian era of elegance and leisure at York’s Castle Museum

Lauren Masterman, of York Castle Museum, takes tea in the Victorian parlour

Lauren Masterman, of York Castle Museum, takes tea in the Victorian parlour

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VISITORS can take a journey back to a bygone age of elegance and leisure at York’s Castle Museum this week.

Turning back the clock the museum is transporting visitors to the Victorian era to live the life of the upper classes through their food and leisure activities.

The “ladies who lunch” of that period were upper-class women of leisure who planned extravagant dinners with as many as 13 courses to impress their guests.

The museum is recreating their parties in its kitchen studio, and giving visitors chance to learn about the elegant menus and even taste a favourite delicacy of the time – savoury cucumber soup.

It’s all part of a half-term project allowing visitors to get closer to authentic objects from the museum’s collection, and to promote the project the museum’s communications assistant Lauren Masterman got dressed up in full Victorian costume.

She said: “It was great fun dressing up as a Victorian lady to promote the half-term events at York Castle Museum – I think most girls have hoped for the chance to try on one of those elaborate dresses.

"Even more fun though, are the Victorian themed workshops and activities taking place at the museum over the school holidays – I’m looking forward to trying some cucumber soup.”

The Victorian theme continues with a focus on the popular pastime of silhouette making.

Visitors can have a go at making their own silhouette portraits with black card – just as accompished Victorian ladies would have – or can have a Victorian artist make a portrait of them on the museum’s Kirkgate.

Assistant curator of social history Lucy Knock added: “Taking inspiration from our fantastic Victorian collection, we have planned some fun, family activities for this February half-term.

Children can learn about Victorian life and get involved in some hands on activities too.”

Children under 16 go free at the museum with a paying adult, and York residents qualify for free entry with a York Card. Half-term Victorian events run daily from 10am to 4pm.

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