W.S. Gilbert’s Dulcamara

Samantha PillingHistory

comedy and tragedy masks old background

Dulcamara, otherwise known as The Little Duck and the Great Quack, was W.S. Gilbert’s first piece of stage-work. It came about through a chance conversation between Tom Robertson and Miss Herbert, lessee of Saint James’s Theatre in London. Miss Herbert was after a Christmas piece – the only downside was she needed it written in a fortnight!  Dulcamara, or The … Read More

5 things to consider when picking your wedding venue

Samantha PillingWeddings

Winter wedding

With so much choice available, it can be really difficult to narrow down your choice of wedding venue. The initial request would be to check they have your preferred wedding date available – but what next? How can you then narrow down your choices, to find the perfect wedding venue for you? #1: Know what type of day you want … Read More

Top 7 tips for organising your wedding

Samantha PillingWeddings

Wedding Tips

A wedding can be one of the most daunting events you’ll have to organise. With so much to coordinate, the secret to success is knowing what needs doing and in what order. Here’s our top tips for helping cut down the stress associated with organising your wedding. #1: Plan your wedding well in advance Start your wedding planning as early … Read More

Grim’s Dyke and The Cry of The Banshee

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

VincentPrice

Grim’s Dyke has a rich history. Not only has it been home to several influential people, including W.S. Gilbert, it’s architecture has a rich history too. It’s unique blend of Victorian, Tudor and Gothic styling, along with its remote location, make it an ideal location for several different film niches – including horror. The Cry of The Banshees Filming for … Read More

Pen pals of W.S. Gilbert

Samantha PillingUncategorised

Calligraphy

W.S. Gilbert loved writing letters. From the short to long, plain to illustrated, he loved to put his thoughts and opinions down on paper to share with friends and confidants. He would always show a notable, if ironic, courtesy to the recipient of his words, regardless of whether they were friend or foe. His letters gave a glimpse into his … Read More

Grim’s Dyke and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

Prime-of-Miss-Jean-Brodie-Pamela-Franklin-Maggie-Smith-1969

Starring Maggie Smith, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was a 1969 British Drama film, based on the novel by Muriel Spark and distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Productions Limited. Although it only achieved moderate success, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was nominated for several awards and won several others. Telling the story of a liberated young school teacher teaching … Read More

Gilbert & Sullivan Reunited over Utopia, Limited

Samantha PillingHistory

old binoculars

Following on from the infamous ‘carpet quarrel’, Gilbert and Sullivan had gone their separate ways. However, Carte and his wife worked unsuccessfully, to reconcile the pair. In 1891. Tom Chappell stepped in to mediate and, two weeks later, they reconciled. This resulted in two more operas – Utopia, Limited being one of them. Production on Utopia, Limited Work didn’t immediately … Read More

John Harvey, W.S. Gilbert and the boat that bonded them

Samantha PillingHistory

Victorian Yaucht Building

John Harvey was a yacht builder from Essex. Father to actor, Sir Martin Harvey, he designed and built W.S. Gilbert’s second boat – the Chloris, a 110 ton yawl with a lead keel. During the spring of 1881 W.S. Gilbert spent a lot of time corresponding with John Harvey about his new yacht. It was nearly twice the size of … Read More

Victorian Calling Cards and their place in society

Samantha PillingHistory

Butlers hand with tray and note

Social interaction was a very formal affair for Victorian England. Calling Cards played an important role in the social etiquette of the time. There were strict etiquette rules, not just around how you socialised but also how you used calling cards too! The idea of using calling cards wasn’t just reserved for the upper-class Victorians. Early examples go back as … Read More

Pressing flowers – a quintessential Victorian pastime

Samantha PillingHistory, The Gardens

Flower Pressing

The Victorians loved flowers! Not only did fresh flowers adorn their homes, flowers were also depicted in paintings, carvings, embroidery and clothing. Pressed flowers were a simple art form that can easily be traced back to ancient Egypt. In the 1500’s Oshibana (the art of pressing flowers in a way to create a whole picture) was meticulous and skilled – … Read More