Take a peek behind the scenes to find out how Palace House prepared for Victorian Christmas. Including squeezing a giant Christmas tree through the front door!
A 22ft Christmas tree, a custom-made stage and a festive sleigh... preparing for Christmas was a lot of work but it was worth it! Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Victorian Christmas.
Tackling a 22ft Christmas Tree
New for this year was a giant Christmas tree in the centre of the staircase. Standing at a staggering 22 feet high the challenge for the team was not only how to get the tree into the staircase area, but also how to get the star on top!
Breathe in! It was a tight squeeze to fit the giant tree through the front door.
It took many strong men to get the tree across the threshold of the House, by using a system of ropes in a similar fashion to how the monks would have moved the Beaulieu Abbey stone centuries before! A moving coaster had been made for the tree to stand on which could then be turned 360 degrees, so the tree could be decorated from the staircase.
Ropes were used to move the tree into position.
The pressure was on to get all sides of the tree decorated at such a height without dropping any decorations onto the valuable paintings and furniture below. There was also the added pressure of time as the work had to be completed that evening before the House opened to the public the next day.
Once the tree was firmly in place Jill Stagg and her team could begin to work their magic making the tree sparkle with lights and ornaments, some of which were hung with the assistance of a litter-picker!
The next task was to build the stage for the Christmas Mummers' play in the Lower Drawing Room. This unique stage was made in-house and inspired by a children’s puppet theatre that had been discovered in storage at the House. It represents both the theatre and the Montagu family’s love of entertaining at their home.
Pantomime rehearsals were performed daily.
Down in the Palace House workshop a festive sleigh was made for the wicker reindeer outside the front of the House; with the addition of some twinkling lights all was ready for the Christmas season.
The Palace House team would like to say a big THANK YOU to all of the visitors who helped decorate the tree in the Library with their colourful handmade decorations. The maids were very grateful for all the Christmas cards the children made for them, and we hope all of your wishes hung on the tree will come true.
Visitors helped us make decorations, Christmas cards and Thank You cards.
Good news blog readers…after a very long search of the wardrobe Mr Pleasants finally got his fez just in time for his appearance at Christmas!
The fez was gifted to Mr Pleasants by Henry, Lord Montagu.