Victorian high jinks in Gordonton

“We wish we were playing Empire Quoits!”

Old gnomes, old games and Victorian shenanigans are on the menu at Woodlands Estate this week.

Gordonton’s Victorian homestead is hosting the inaugural Pioneer Fundays – an extravaganza of 19th Century delights and goings-on. Vintage machinery, games and pioneer refreshments will be on offer over the three days, and a new garden trail laid out to preambulate along.

old gnome

Calls for garden gnomes have been answered and some of these little chaps and chappesses will be lurking in unusual places throughout the estate.

There will also be alpacas and donkeys to charm visitors.

In addition, it will be the first outing of Lord & Lady Black’s Victorian Amusements – aka Annette Taylor (some relationship to the Annette who runs Number 8 Network) and husband David Riddell. Performers with Freelunch Street Theatre, the pair have created a special act for the Woodlands’ event, and promise it will be invigorating.

“And possibly prevent stagnation of the liver, or some other organ,” says Annette.

In addition to Spillikins (Pick-Up-Sticks, only more fun) and Skippity Rope, there will be a chance for young and old to try their hand at Empire Quoits – the game that could be the rage of the Dominion.

Students from the Atmosphere Kids school programme show how Lord & Lady Black how it’s done. Photo credit: Jacquie Haselden, who was fantastic with a badly behaved camera.

“To our knowledge this is the first quoits game ever inspired by the Union Jack. The aim is to throw a rope ring over a hob, mott or pin. It became very popular and competitive in the 19th century, and official rules were drawn up in 1881, by a body formed from pubs in Northern England. We won’t be referring to these, at all.”

Graeme Cairns of McGillicuddy Street Theatre will be performing his show Grave Era, a guided tour around a ‘Victorian cemetery’. Performances will be daily from 10 – 11am, 11.30am – 12.30pm and 1 – 2pm. “It will uncover the unusual lives and even more unusual deaths of six quirky personalities from that era.” Expect the unexpected, he says.

We will.

  • The Woodlands Pioneer Fundays hit Gordonton this Tuesday 18 – Thursday 20 July, 10am to 2pm. For further information phone 07 824 3687 or email the office. See you there!


Woodlands garden trail
The new Garden Trail map, by Jacquie Haselden.


Woodlands board
Trouble? Us?

Number 8 Network’s Annette hangs out with Woodland’s Kate Wilson, left, and Kirstie Alley, middle.

Share this page:

3 thoughts on “Victorian high jinks in Gordonton

  • July 18, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    we spent 2.5 hours enjoying everything on offer with the kids today. Well worth a visit. Good on Woodlands for organising it

    • July 24, 2017 at 10:20 am

      Thanks for your comment – we had a lot of fun putting together the Empire Quoits and other games! It was wonderful to see so many people out and about enjoying themselves. And we were lucky with the weather!

  • Pingback: Cool kid needs care - Number 8 Network

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: