I didn’t plan to blog about volunteering at Victorian Christmas, until the last day finished. I talked with my husband about it, being so excited about everything I’ve done, so I thought it’s a great idea to blog about it. Of course, I need to be quite vague about it to keep the magic alive for anybody that might read this post, but to share a lot of things, to make it exciting.
Isn’t this outfit amazing? I love it.
Unlike other Victorian Christmas organized by other museums and trusts, the one I’ve been involved in, at Croxteth Hall, is very different. Volunteering at Victorian Christmas at Croxteth means playing a role, but, the children are involved too, it’s a hands on experience for them. Around 1,500 children enjoyed a special and magical experience at Croxteth this year and I’m happy to know that I’ve been a part of that.
Because it was my first year, I had to learn quite a lot, but all the other volunteers were so helpful that it proved to be something easy to do in the end. There are groups for outdoor staff, like Stable hands, Wood boys, and Gardeners. I’m yet to shadow those roles, but I will do it next year if I have the chance. Other children are grouped in Guests, Butlers, Housemaids, Kitchen maids, and Dairymaids.
As the names of the groups suggest, each child has a role to play. They are all dressed in period costumes, including the teachers. We, as volunteers, have to guide them in their roles. This year I’ve been a Kitchen maid, a Dairymaid, a Housemaid, a Guest so I could shadow Lady Sefton, and Lady Sefton. I’m going to talk about all of them. For obvious reasons, I didn’t use any pictures with other volunteers (except one from the back). Also, there are no pictures with the children.
We all start the day in the Hall. It looks so festive and beautiful.
My first role was as a Kitchen maid. As you can see, I have my sleeves on, to protect my uniform from staining. The sleeves must be taken off when I went upstairs, obviously. As a Kitchen maid, I prepared truffles and biscuits with the help of the children. The children are very involved in the making of the food, and all of them enjoyed it a lot. I love working with children, so it was a treat for me.
Along with other volunteers, we had to prepare three types of food in three kitchens.
This is the biggest kitchen, built in the Victorian era.
This is another one, where I’ve started. I enjoyed working in here a lot. The children were so eager to learn and were really interested in their roles.
As a housemaid I had other tasks to do.
This is the Housekeeper’s room with all the polishes and brushes. The children learn about different aspects of the live of a Victorian housekeeper. It’s very interesting and I think they enjoyed it very much. As in the kitchen, the children have hands-on activities.
For a couple of days I’ve been a guest, as a way to shadow Lady Sefton. It’s a complicated role, with visits to see the guests and the activities they are doing in the classroom, and all indoor staff.
For my outfit, I’ve used the same skirt, with a pendant with Queen Victoria’s portrait. I’ve had flowers in my hair every time and lots of jewellery.
Now, let’s talk about my role as Lady Sefton. I had a list of things I had to do in my pouch and I had to hide a couple of times to check if I’m on the right track. It’s also fun.
It involved spending a bit of time in the Sitting room, to wait for the guests and some of the staff.
I had a pen and I would use it to “write” something every time someone got in.
It was very enjoyable. As Lady Sefton, the children were nervous to talk with me. The children were delightful and cute. Some of them saw me going up the main stairs at Croxteth after I’ve been downstairs, and they were excited to spot me again. I overheard them saying “It’s my lady Sefton”. It was so nice to see them so happy.
The day finishes with a party in the Dining Hall. The party involves enjoying the food we’ve prepared earlier, carols, and games. It’s a wonderful way to finish the day.
This is what volunteering at Victorian Christmas at Croxteth means. It was a very special thing to be involved in. It was something on my 40 before 40 list, volunteer at an event. I will volunteer again next year, it’s too amazing to miss it.