Speke Hall turns back the clock to celebrate Christmas in a Victorian style
- Credit: Archant
There’s a clear Upstairs, Downstairs divide in the festive decorations at Speke Hall.
The huge tree in the Great Hall and the luxurious garlands in the other rooms create a warm, homely Christmas atmosphere which contrasts with the sparse paper chains of the servants’ quarters.
‘The house is decorated as it would have been in the Victorian times,’ said visitor experience manager Laura McAllister. ‘The head gardener collected the greenery from the grounds and the staff and volunteers have all been involved in making the gorgeous garlands and the paper chains for the servants’ quarters.
‘There is a special atmosphere around the hall at Christmas. In Victorian times Speke Hall was at the centre of the local community and that’s how we try to be today as well. There are events happening throughout December and we pride ourselves on the local specialities in the restaurant.’
Christmas will be Laura’s final involvement at Speke Hall before she returns to Hampton Court after a five month secondment in Liverpool. ‘It’s been brilliant,’ she added. ‘I couldn’t say no to coming here and working with such amazing properties as Speke Hall and the Beatles’ houses. I have loved it here.’
The festive celebrations will take Speke Hall back to the Victorian era when many Christmas traditions began – Christmas cards, trees and crackers were all popularised during Queen Victoria’s reign – but the hall’s history goes back much further.
Speke Hall, which stands on the banks of the River Mersey, is one of the finest surviving examples of a Tudor timber-framed manor house. Building work began in 1530, with only minor additions made since then. The hall was neglected for a time in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and was even used as a cow shed at one time but has been restored since it passed to the National Trust in 1942.
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Extra festive activities will be taking place on the weekends of December 6-7 and 13-14 with donkey rides in the grounds on Saturdays while on Sundays Charles Dickens will be seeking inspiration from visitors for his new work A Christmas Carol. There will be carols in the Great hall and children will have the chance to make sugar mice in the hall’s kitchen, to take part in other crafts and to meet Santa is his grotto.
For more information on Christmas events and opening times go to nationaltrust.org.uk/spekehall or call 0151 427 7231.