Meet the Victorians at Arlington Court

VISITORS to Arlington Court can step back in time on Saturday, March 14 as costumed characters give an authentic guided Victorian tour of the estate. The guides are volunteer actors, who portray those who lived and worked on the estate in 1883 and have no

VISITORS to Arlington Court can step back in time on Saturday, March 14 as costumed characters give an authentic guided Victorian tour of the estate.The guides are volunteer actors, who portray those who lived and worked on the estate in 1883 and have no idea they have "time travelled" and are still living in the Victorian period!This new programme for 2009 will happen on the second Saturday of every month until October and there are three tours during the day, at 11am, 12 noon and 2pm.Each character is based on the name and job title of people found on the 1881 census for Arlington and the surrounding villages. There is a gamekeeper, the schoolmistress, dressmakers, a garden woman - still working at 74 years old - plus house and stable staff and even the local miller's wife."We wanted to tell the whole story of Arlington Court and its estate," explained Michelle Fullard, visitor services manager."In 1883 Sir Bruce Chichester had just died and his widow and young daughter had been thrown into turmoil. Lady Chichester married again, which ensured the estate's survival, but the industrial revolution and changes to agriculture during this period meant that life could be quite uncertain and the local people had to deal with all sorts of change. "The estate and surrounding area worked together as a self-supporting unit, sharing tools, relying on each other for income and work. It was a fascinating time."Victorian enthusiasts can even take the opportunity to see Queen Victoria's Pony Bath Chair, which she used on the Isle of Wight, which is held in the Carriage Museum at Arlington. If all this leaves visitors hungry they can enjoy a piece of home-made Victoria sponge in the newly refurbished tearooms at Arlington. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/Arlington for more information or call the property on (01271) 850296.


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