Tuesday 7 June 2022

Rochester Dickens Festival 2022

 Had a pleasant three days at the festival and a wonderful time at The Jubilee ball. Although this year was a lot smaller and quieter it was still enjoyable, i suppose the jubilee took away most of the crowds whom were also visiting a number of other jubilee celebrations across Medway.

One parade at 1pm each day which was a change from previous years. Walked with the lovely Gerald Dickens in the parade ( you can find his blog post on the weekend here https://geralddickens.wordpress.com/2022/06/07/rochester-jubilee-or-dickens/ ) and members of The Dickens Fellowship. 

Not as many crowds to interact with so historical interpretation was on the low end, was mostly focused on friendship and supporting The Proppers this year. It was wonderful to see our youngest members dressing up into characters and enjoying themselves.

I was planning to wear another lilac dress on the second day of the festival but the postman had other ideas. I ended up wearing my beautiful state robes at the ball and my Prior Attire dress the two days of the festival. We have tried to add more authenticity to Prince Albert ( unfortunately his faux sideburns and moustache went for a walkabout and got lost which I suspect is now in a landfill somewhere…) but not to worry we will get another set.  

Shane had a brand new frock coat made especially for the festival, i think he looks very handsome in his clothing. We invested in new trousers, original Victorian waistcoats, suspenders, cravat and of course new sashes. 

 A big thank you to Rachel Evens for this image

I also got a new bonnet from Jane Walton ( she kindly dropped it off to me when we was working for a museum over in Oxfordshire) Unfortunately I didn’t wear it much as I wore my crowns to fit in with the jubilee theme. I hope to wear it to Broadstairs Dickens festival this month, I won’t be going as Victoria and I will be going as a normal Victorian woman which will be just as fun and probably a bit better as it’s very much more relaxed when you’re not portraying royalty 

Sunday 19 December 2021

Queen Victoria’s Order Of The Garter arm band

 To complete my Order Of The Garter set I needed to have the arm band.Women have been members of The Garter since early days, as have foreign leaders. The Garters worn by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are owned by The Royal Collection and are described as densely studded with diamonds. Members traditionally wear a garter over the left knee where it would be visible while riding on horseback.

Victoria could not imagine anyone even thinking about her legs, so she wore the garter on her arm on the same shoulder as the sash.

Alice Chaucer was granted the honour of being made a Lady of the Garter, and her tomb was used centuries later by Queen Victoria to learn how a lady should wear the Garter insignia including the arm garter when Victoria was to wear the Garter herself at her coronation.

Her effigy was examined by Queen Victoria's commissioners in order to discover how a lady should wear the Order of the Garter, which she wears on her left wrist.

Me wearing the garter…

Supposedly Queen Victoria’s Order Of The Garter arm band I found on Pinterest and based it closely on it. 

I used rhinestones for jewellery making, a soldering iron, solder and metal filigree to make the elaborate lettering and other additional details. To make the velvet base I used a belt cut down and dark blue velvet material. 

To not make this post so long I’ve started taking pictures once I made the base which was pretty simple to make. I then started crafting the boarder gems which were two stones soldered together and I added a little point at the top. 

I then covered almost the whole band with gemstones:

I then used filigree to cut out a flower shape. I used individual gemstones and soldered them onto the filigree. 

Once all gems were stuck down I used a dogs nail grinder to smooth it out and get the shape I wanted. Of course I wore a mask as breathing in little bits of metal and solder isn’t good ! 

The original garter ( Both Victoria and Alberts garters have a 6 rhinestone flower which goes around the bar of the buckle ) 

I then created 3 of these and stuck them down. 

( I made an additional flower at the top )

I had to attempt to make the tongue of the garters ornate design which became a real challenge and halted the process for a while.

After a while I was able to come up with an idea ( suggestions from friends on Facebook really helped ) 

I stuck it down and started making smaller outer gems with three tiny ones. 

I moved onto lettering and started making additional flowers but a bit more pointy compared to the other four so I could place them in the middle of each word. 

I then stuck everything down and had a long hard look to make sure I did not forget anything.

May I present you the finished product ! This project took 8 months on and off between college work and daily life. 


Tuesday 30 November 2021

Valence House visit

 At the weekend we visited Valence House for their Victorian Frost Fair. We had a really great time despite having to stay in the museum itself most of the time due to the weather. We had a wonderful time providing historical interpretation and getting to meet all the visitors. We had a couple of adults who knew about Victoria and Alberts Christmas traditions including the tree suspended from the ceiling which provided us with great opportunities to converse back and forth. 

Many people mistakenly called PRINCE Albert a king and of course this Queen snapped back and abruptly corrected him to Prince. Although Victoria campaigned for Albert to have title King consort it was not approved and he was given Prince consort. She really did rely on him once having children but still made sure he knew she was The Queen.

Sunday 10 October 2021

Replicas 2021

 A new year means new replicas ! I have not really updated this blog for a while due to no festivals ect but exciting news… the Dickens festival is back on. Hearing this news I have been speed stitching and getting all my replicas together to see what else I need. New gloves came in the post and a new crown.

I cannot wait to be gracing around the festival In these new glittery beauties ! Some of the new jewels include a new lesser George, Pearl drop earrings, order of the garter arm band ( in the making ) and the marvellous George Iv diadem. And some new replicas for Prince Albert of course.

Monday 3 August 2020

Starching petticoats

I decided to starch my corded and tucked petticoat

I followed a 1856 recipe from " Facts Worth Knowing" Facts Worth Knowing 1856

  • Whisk together 2 tbsp starch (I used cornstarch) with cold water
  • Pour about 1/2 l of boiling water over the starch solution, and ‘boil it half an hour’
  • After the starch has cooked about half an hour, stir in 1/2 tbsp sugar to increase the stiffness of the starch. Let the starch cool for some minutes.
After these steps i hung the petticoat up to dry, you can put the petticoat over a round barrel ect to get the perfect round shape. 

1830-40's corded petticoat 

Friday 24 July 2020


Most of Alberts and my outfits are made up of replicas. Most of the replicas are either custom made or hand made by me. I made The Order Of the Garter arm garter, Queen Victoria's Lesser George, George Iv diadem and a replica of Queen Victoria's petticoat from 1840. 

Albert's replicas currently consist of a replica of Prince Albert's:
  • Lesser George
  • Breast star
  • Prince Albert's pocket watch. 

Queen Victoria's replicas consist of:
  • Queen Victoria's silk white dress featured in multiple portraits from 1840-50
  • Victoria's breast star
  • Victoria's heart locket containing my Albert's hair
  • Lesser George
  •  Queen Adelaide of the United Kingdom's Hanover Fringe Tiara
  • George IV diadem
  • Victoria's bar brooches
  •  a sapphire brooch given to Victoria by Prince Albert
  •  Victoria's Lahore collet necklace and earrings
  • oriental circlet tiara

Introduction of the young Queen

For a few years now i have been portraying Victoria, it first started when my dear friend Pete from The Rochester Dickens Festival suggested I portray Victoria. It began with a little “ Victorian “ ( more of an 1980’s party dress that was over exaggerated ) Pete gave me a little gold and sapphire crown, a blue heart necklace and some beautiful earrings. That was it i thought i was set to be Victoria but oh how wrong i was ! The months running up to the festival I began to do a lot of research on Victoria and the fashion of the Dickens era. The Dickens Festival had a mix of women in crinolines, petticoats and bustles ! All these types of styles and dresses really overwhelmed me and it took me quite a bit of time to find the right time line of dress I wanted to follow. I eventually found the 1840’s, a very big sum of years for Victoria including; her wedding, her becoming the first monarch to ride a steam train, Victoria's first child, and Victoria's first assassination attempt. Victoria reigned for a very long time and was the longest reigning monarch and had a very eventful life. 

Many people see the plump widow in her weeds when they are reminded of Queen Victoria, my goal is to portray Victoria in a whole new light. I wanted to show Victoria as the music, dance, food lover and thrill seeking queen she was. Even in Victoria's later life she loved to drink and write, she remained in black for the rest of her life when her darling Albert passed but she still had a spark of the Young Queen she once was. I want to focus on the Young Victoria in this blog. Portraying the Queen was not only taking on the role of a monarch but as a wife, mother and party lover. I also give educational talks but my favourite has to be using Victoria's memories as if my own, Victoria wrote around 2,500 words per day and only stopped writing till a couple of days before her death. She is one of the most recorded monarchs in history, i am sure Victoria knew her diaries would one day be read by someone that was not herself this is perhaps why she added so much intimate details in her diary. Sadly after Victoria's death her daughter Louise re-wrote all of Victoria’s dairies so not all of the words are Victoria’s. 

Rochester Dickens Festival 2022

 Had a pleasant three days at the festival and a wonderful time at The Jubilee ball. Although this year was a lot smaller and quieter it was...