Step back in time to 1914 with Spalding’s Edwardian garden party

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Dig out your largest hat and longest flowery dress to join the Edwardian Garden Party at Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding this weekend.

For men, linen suits worn with a boater will do nicely to step back in time to 1914.

The Edwardian Garden Party needs you!

The Edwardian Garden Party needs you!

Dressing up isn’t compulsory, but may help visitors to feel the spirit of the times as they are taken back 100 years to Spalding just before the outbreak of war.

Museum officer Julia Knight, South Holland District Council arts and culture development officer Rachel Rowett and Julia Gant of historical re-enactment group 4 and 20 Blackbirds have chosen to take a light-hearted look at life in pre-war Spalding for this first centenary commemoration planned under the Spalding Reflects banner.

Julia Knight said: “We decided to look at what life was like in Spalding around the time of the outbreak of war, not concentrating on the military side so much as the general life in Spalding in 1914 and the real lives of the people affected by it.”

Two days of fun are planned, with Punch and Judy shows, traditional garden games and contests and a costume competition each day.

Get ready for music hall, fun and games at the Edwardian Garden Party.

Get ready for music hall, fun and games at the Edwardian Garden Party.

There will be people playing historic music, fortune tellers, a recruiting sergeant and a Suffragette.

Saturday’s events will finish with a performance by a historical harpist from 4pm to 5pm and music hall from 5pm to 6.30pm.

However, there will be slightly more serious things going on too.

A Book of Remembrance will be begun, with visitors recording family stories from the era. It will be available until the end of the year – and then become part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Julia Knight is hoping that some of the people who come forward with family stories might be descendants of the Belgian refugees billeted in Ayscoughfee and elsewhere in Spalding who put their stonemasonry and woodwork skills to good use in the town.

Research by Spalding Grammar School into old boys involved in the war will be exhibited at the museum until the end of the year.

The home front will also be recorded in a display of objects of the time from the museum’s collections and from Spalding Gentlemen’s Society.

Poet Peter Sansom will be leading workshops in the hall (1pm Saturday, 10.30am Sunday) encouraging people to create their own poetry as a response to the objects .

Artist Maria Maidment will be helping people to create a piece of art for a patchwork memorial wall she is making that will become a permanent part of the collection.

• The Heritage Lottery-funded event is free (donations for the War Memorial Fund) and runs from 10.30am to 6.30pm (Saturday) and 10.30am to 4pm (Sunday).