Victorians prepare to return to the streets of Ilfracombe

Joseph Bulmer

Town gears up for the Victorian Celebration from June 11-19

THE colour and splendour of a bygone age return to Ilfracombe from tomorrow (Saturday) as the town embarks upon its nine day Victorian Celebration.

The town will be abuzz with petticoats, top hats, tails and the range of entertaining events that make the annual celebrations what they are, plus plenty of new additions to the programme, which falls under the North Devon Festival umbrella.

It begins on Saturday with Queen Victoria’s Royal Parade along the High Street at 1.45pm to the traditional Trinity Fair at the Vicarage Gardens in St Brannocks Road. There will be cream teas, side shows, stalls, amusements and bargains plus a best dressed Victorians competition.

On Sunday at 2pm will be the crowning of the Victorian Prince and Princess, with a competition at the Runnymede Gardens bandstand open to boys and girls aged from seven to 12.

Throughout the week Ilfracombe Museum offers the chance to enrich the Victorian experience with a visit to view the model steamers and photographs, the Victoria Pavilion, royal memorabilia, costumes, a Victorian kitchen and much more. Various events will be taking place at the museum and normal admission price enables visitors to return as often they like during the week.

Popular spectacles include the Victorian Bathing Belles and Beaux gathering for a bracing dip at the harbour beach on Tuesday at 2.30pm, plus the Mayor’s Garden Party at Runnymede on Wednesday, also from 2.30.

The loud and liberated Suffragettes will be marching along the High Street from noon on Thursday and there is a Mock Court at the Lantern Centre from 8pm as “miscreants” are brought before the beak.

A Grand Victorian Ball will be held at the Landmark Pavilion on Friday from 7.30pm, tickets available from (01271) 864362.

Saturday, June 18 concludes with a candlelit procession from the harbour to the Landmark - bring your own lanterns and all welcome.

At 10.15pm a spectacular Grand Firework Display to Music will erupt above Capstone Hill.

At 3pm on Sunday, June 19 there will be a final pageant and parade to the Pier, featuring most of those who have participated in the week.

For the full programme visit www.ilfracombevictoriancelebration.org.uk.

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