Characters Representing The Victorian & Edwardian Period

Mr Berry: Hangman

‘Mr James Berry’, the Hangman during the late Victorian period, was responsible for refining the ‘long drop’, the process by which death was delivered, in a humane fashion, to those given a capitol sentence. He is a dour man who takes his duties very seriously. In top hat and frockcoat, he explains the process by which he arrived at his ‘table of drops’, making reference to the ‘mistakes’ that occurred whilst seeking to perfect his method.

This presentation, which is complemented by 12’ gallows (complete with ‘body’) and an array of ropes and straps, is suitable for both an exterior and an interior location as, from 1868, executions were conducted within prison buildings and thus, a high-roofed hall may prove suitable.

The Exorcist – A Catholic Priest  

When things ‘go bump in the night’, and spirits walk the face of the earth; when the souls of the dear departed are restless, or poltergeists make the lives of the living a misery (!) – it is time to call upon the services of ‘The Exorcist’!

With their very existence never fully acknowledges by the Church, the ‘Exorcist’ is empowered to conduct the full rite of exorcism – which is explained in detail and demonstrated, against the background of the history of the sacred and ancient rite. The presentation, which is suited to both an indoor or outdoor setting (particularly one having a Gothic theme or a ‘haunted’ reputation) would suit a Halloween or ghost-themed event, as a walking/mobile presentation. This chacterisation was used to very good effect in a live/international TV broadcast.

Mr Mackett: School Master

‘Mr Mackett’, the School Master in the local Village School during the Victorian Period, is the only teacher employed there and teaches all subjects to all the village children, regardless of their age. He is a strict disciplinarian and expects good behaviour at all times!

The presentation introduces a range of concepts: the harshness of school life, writing on slates, reciting ‘times-tables’, honouring the Queen, and the strong belief in the justness of Empire. The presentation is suitable for an internal setting and is supported by a considerable quantity of ‘props’ and other items that serve to create a classroom setting. Costume is for the mid to late Victorian period.

The presentation is also offered in schools in relation to the Key Stage 2 Syllabus. (See Educational Programmes)

Mr Meakin: Butler

‘Meakin’, the Butler in a large house during the late Victorian and early Edwardian period, is charged with managing the household and attending to the many needs of his Master and the numerous ‘house guests’. The soul of discretion, he is a professional (having been in ‘Service’ his entire life) who performs his duties in a calm and unhurried manner. In addition to managing an extensive ‘below stairs’ workforce, he oversees the management of the wine cellar, the cleaning and safe custody of the dining silver, the ironing of newspapers, the polishing of loose change, and the blacking of boots!

The presentation, which is supported by a considerable range of items appropriate to ‘Meakin’s’ role and station in life, is suitable for an interior location, particularly the domestic officers or public rooms of a Victorian or Edwardian house.

The presentation may be specifically themed to address the employment of children as servants (for which ‘props’ and items of equipment are available for child visitors to experience). Additionally, a Christmas themed presentation entitled ‘The Traditions of Christmas’, is offered in which ‘Meakin’ details the way in which Christmas was popularised during the Victorian period.

 

Mr Ambrose Hazel – Undertaker 

Resplendent in black, with a top-hat festooned with crepe ‘weepers’, Mr Hazel, a Victorian Undertaker, deals with the ‘dear departed’ in a professional and sympathetic manner.

In a time when, due to industrilisation, life expectancy was low and mortality rates were high, Mr Hazel recounts the Victorian way of dealing with death – of the customs and traditions associated with the discharge of the final duties due to the departed. Complete with coffin (which IS occupied), wreaths, muffled drum, and all the other ‘trappings’, Mr Hazel encourages audience participation’ in a Victorian/Gothic funeral – children are particularly encouraged to take part!

Suited to both an indoor and outdoor location, the presentation is supported by a considerable quantity of ‘props’ that serve to recreate a funeral of the Victorian period.

St. Nicholas – ‘Santa Clause’ or ‘Father Christmas’ 

‘St Nicholas – or ‘Father Christmas’ (as he is known in the UK) or ‘Santa Clause’ (as he is known in the USA), and by any number of other names around the world (!) is here, represented, as he appeared during the Victorian era. A traditional ‘Father Christmas’ who regales his audience with tales of his origin (in 4th century Turkey) and other Christmas-themed stories.

The presentation, which is suited to an interior setting, is supported by a range of ‘props’ and offers an ideal photo-opportunity for children!

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