Victorian fun at fort

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VISITORS to a historic fort took a step back in time as it held a traditional Victorian Christmas.

The festivities took place at the Royal Armouries Museum at Fort Nelson on Saturday and Sunday.

The Royal Armouries Museum at Fort Nelson held a series of performances by costumed characters, bringing to life the Victorian fort's kitchen and barrack areas.''Pictured is: (back l-r) Jane Olden as 'Mrs Blinkingsopp', Mike Howell as 'Private Dobson' and Caitlin Chappell as a Victorian maid with (front l-r) Veronica Banks with her husband Richard Banks from Locks Heath, with their children Harriet (2), Hector (4), Vincent (5) and Sebastian (6) and family friend Daniel Close, in the Victorian kitchen.''Picture: Sarah Standing (133582-2534)

The Royal Armouries Museum at Fort Nelson held a series of performances by costumed characters, bringing to life the Victorian fort's kitchen and barrack areas.''Pictured is: (back l-r) Jane Olden as 'Mrs Blinkingsopp', Mike Howell as 'Private Dobson' and Caitlin Chappell as a Victorian maid with (front l-r) Veronica Banks with her husband Richard Banks from Locks Heath, with their children Harriet (2), Hector (4), Vincent (5) and Sebastian (6) and family friend Daniel Close, in the Victorian kitchen.''Picture: Sarah Standing (133582-2534)

Costumed characters brought the Victorian fort’s kitchen and barrack areas to life, while Private Dobson, the fort’s cook, created traditional dishes in the 19th century kitchens.

One family braving the windy and wet weather was the Banks family, from Locks Heath.

Dad Richard, 31, said: ‘The kids really enjoyed running along the underground tunnels and seeing the cannon. We went to the kitchen and had a mince pie with the Victorian characters. They enjoyed seeing the Victorians in their costumes, it was like a pantomime in some aspects as they were watching something real.’

Six-year-old Sebastian said: ‘We went to see the cannons. I liked the mince pie that the cook gave us. I had fun with the wind blowing my hat and all the puddles swishing around.’

The festivities went on all weekend, with Victorian soldiers and guided tours.

Fort operations manager Nigel Hosier said: ‘This was a nostalgic and atmospheric glimpse into life at the fort, and how the Victorians celebrated. Unlike purpose-built museums, Fort Nelson is a historic monument in its own right and visitors might have even sensed the ghosts of Christmas past as they took one of our tours.’

Fort Nelson, on Portsdown Hill, is home to the national collection of artillery – the big guns – including many examples of Victorian firepower.

The fort is free to enter. For more details go to royalarmouries.org.