This May half-term the team have stepped out from their usual Victorian clothing and stepped forward into the 1940s to become secret agents!
This meant big changes for the female staff in the House, who by the 1940’s had far greater freedom in their choice of career and clothing styles, so this half-term the House has welcomed its first female driver, Agent H, who can be found driving a Morris 8 around the site.
Upstairs, the Library has been transformed into the S.O.E Headquarters, where new secret agents are assigned their dangerous missions and shown how to crack secret codes using a cypher wheel. On the Library desk there is a selection of items to discover such as hairbrushes, cigar cases, wine corks, bolts and fountain pens, some that contain secret messages, maps or even dynamite!
In the Ante room visitors were trying on the various period hats, helmets and jackets, most having a military feel about them. Whilst sorting through the hats and uniforms for the dressing up station, the supervisors decided it was time to give the costume wardrobe a good tidy. Having spent all day ordering shirts by size, boxing up loose pieces of lace, matching socks and so on, senior supervisor Michelle decided to lighten the mood by surprising us with the most outrageous costume she could find…crown and all!!
Down in the kitchen, Cook has been preparing wartime biscuits using only the rations provided, which turned out to be rather savoury! On the long kitchen table rations had been laid out for one person with their weights, such as; tea 50g per week, sugar 225g per week, one egg per week, 450g jam every two weeks and 12oz of sweets every two weeks. Cook tells us that “1953 was a good year for children as sweets were no longer rationed!”
On the subject of warfare, Mrs Chadwick has been keep very ‘buzzy’ this month, rescuing her own casualties in the form of honey bees. Several swarms have appeared from the gardens and they had decided their queen needed her own stately home and tried to move into Palace House! Some of the bees had managed to cross the threshold of the Entrance Hall only to find they could not get back out, so Mrs Chadwick quickly grabbed a jar and set about releasing them back into the gardens.
Our Spies and Soldiers May half-term activities run until Sunday 3rd June 2018. Join us to enter the daring realm of World War II spies and soldiers and embark on a secret training mission!