10 Herbs for every Victorian Herb garden

Samantha PillingHistory, The Gardens

10 Herbs for every Victorian Herb garden

No Victorian garden was complete, without some herbs – and spring was the perfect time to get them started. Not only were they used in the Victorian kitchen, they were used to help keep the home clean and fresh smelling. Herbs were also used for their medicinal properties, along with their cosmetic value too – with the essential oils also being … Read More

The Pall Mall Gazette

Samantha PillingHistory

Pall Mall

The Pall Mall Gazette was a popular conservative newspaper, known for its news and reviews. Throughout W.S. Gilbert’s career, he was no stranger to the pages of the Pall Mall Gazette. His Savoy Operas were often reviewed within its pages and he was also regularly interviewed at his home in Grim’s Dyke. The earliest interview being published on 21st January 1887 (Ruddy-Gore and Savoy … Read More

Irish Soprano Rosa D’Erina

Samantha PillingHistory

Rosa D’Erina

Rosa D’Erina, was an Irish soprano who appeared in a few of W.S. Gilbert’s pieces. Born Rose Anna O’Toole on 22nd February 1848, in Armagh, Ireland, she became known as the prima donna of Erin.  Trained in Paris, D’Erina she was known as Rose of Erin, whilst in her homeland of Ireland, she was always referred to as Rose of the Songs. By the age of 12 she had already become the … Read More

The perennial Allium

Samantha PillingHistory, The Gardens

The perennial Allium

Lady Lucy Gilbert loved her flowers. Having planted the formal garden at Grim’s Dyke, along with the sunken rose garden, she ensured there were always beautiful and colourful flowers to break up the seasons. Dotted amongst the roses in the sunken garden, Lady Gilbert had planted both Geraniums and Alliums. The Allium family Alliums are part of the large Amaryllidaceae … Read More

John Martin: Painter, Engraver, Illustrator

Samantha PillingHistory

Installing John Martin paintings at the Millennium Gallery 1. Photo Museums Sheffield (small)

John Martin was an English painter, engraver, and illustrator. Known for his melodramatic religious-themed paintings, he served as an important inspiration for W.S. Gilbert’s work. Martin’s art was typically fantastic and imposing. He painted imposing landscapes, with minute figures and fantastic compositions. For some, he was known as the most important painter of his day – but his work wasn’t … Read More

Marie Litton – English actress and theatre manager

Samantha PillingHistory

Picture of old theatre

Born Mary Jessie Lowe in 1847, Marie Litton was an English actress who made her Haymarket debut playing Zayda, in Gilbert’s ‘The Wicked World’, in 1873. She went on to become a theatre manager who produced several of W.S. Gilbert’s plays. Marie Litton’s stage debut Marie Litton made her London stage debut playing the title character in Dion Boucicault’s play … Read More

The History of Music Hall

Samantha PillingHistory

Music Hall

Our music hall themed murder mystery dinners are incredibly popular. With many of the actors previously completing stints in the West End, the acting, murder and mayhem are always well received. But for those of you who haven’t heard of music hall, what exactly is it and why do we use that as the theme for our murder mystery evenings? … Read More

W.S. Gilbert’s fairy play: The Wicked World

Samantha PillingHistory

Wicked World

The Wicked World was W.S. Gilbert’s third fairy play. It was a dramatization of Gilbert’s own illustrated story ‘The Wicked World’, originally published in Tom Hood’s 1871 ‘Comic Annual’. This half joking dramatization took Gilbert several months to write. It centred on the action within a twenty-four-hour period, focusing on a fairyland scene floating above the world. Broken down into … Read More

November poppies: Their poignant history and interesting facts

Samantha PillingHistory

Amazing poppy field . Summer flowers .

  November is a month marked and remembered by poppies. In Britain, iconic red poppies are distributed by volunteers for the Royal British Legion every year. They are worn as a mark of respect for the fallen service men and women killed in conflict, during the two World Wars, as well as those who have fallen since. Wreathes made of … Read More

Annie Hall Cudlip

Samantha PillingHistory

Book

Better known by her pen name Mrs Pender Cudlip, Annie Hall Cudlip was considered one of the most prolific romantic fiction writers of the Victorian era. She was also an early sweetheart of Sir William Schwenck Gilbert. Annie Hall Thomas was born on 25th October 1838. The only daughter of George Thomas, a gentleman officer from County Cork and lieutenant … Read More