A Dickens of a Christmas Mansion! | Knutsford Times

A Dickens of a Christmas Mansion!

By on November 13, 2012

In keeping with tradition Tatton Park’s mansion this Christmas will be spectacularly dressed and open to visitors throughout December. This year the team at Tatton have chosen to reflect on the significant part played by Charles Dickens in influencing the way in which Christmas is celebrated in Britain today.

It is 200 years since the birth of Charles Dickens, widely regarded as one of Britain’s finest novelists. Experts suggest that one of his greatest masterpieces, the 1843 A Christmas Carol, saw the revival of the Christmas spirit in the Victorian times. In the late nineteenth century Christmas was lavishly celebrated by aristocratic families including the Egertons of Tatton Park.

Colourful characters and scenes will be re-created with the assistance of Springbank Flowers design team who joined Tatton last year in creating a hugely successful Venetian Christmas display. This year’s scenes will include the fun of Mr Fezziwigs Ball and Miss Havisham’s cobwebbed dining room!

Dickens’ described Christmas as “a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of other people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. This was what Dickens described for the rest of his life as the “Carol Philosophy” and is one that Tatton adopts and shares throughout their Christmas celebrations.

One of the most popular aspects of Tatton’s Christmas Mansion is the beautiful natural foliage from Tatton’s parkland and gardens used in many of the displays. During the months of November and December the rangers and gardeners work tirelessly to source the very best greenery from specially selected plantations. Western red cedar, variegated holly, ivy, laurel, pine cones and yew are cut, transported in trailers and delivered directly to the cellar doors where the Mansion team work their magic!

In addition to the decorations and displays, visitors will be entertained with a changing live music programme including a harpist, flautist, harpsichordist and choirs.

Christmas is not only evident in the grand staterooms; the humble servants’ quarters will also be getting into the festive spirit.  In the scullery our costumed still room and kitchen maids will be cooking Christmas delicacies. Count on some lively ‘Great Expectations’ style banter with the below-stairs staff.

Visitors can also learn how to create beautiful decorations for their own home during free demonstrations in the servants’ quarters.

Mansion and collections manager Caroline Schofield said: “We have planned a spectacular display this year to reflect Dickens the great novelist. The mansion will look sumptuous for the Christmas season”’.

The Dickensian Christmas mansion
The Christmas mansion is open from Saturday, December 1 to Sunday  December 23 from noon to 4pm (last entry 3pm), closed Mondays.

Prices: Adults £8.50, child £4.50.  Prices apply to National Trust members.  Park entry of £5 per car applies to all. Special group booking discounts and opening times are also available.

For further information on all events this Christmas (including Father Christmas at the Farm, Christmas Concerts and Stableyard Carols) call 01625 374400 or visit our website at www.tattonpark.org.uk

About Vicky Wilby

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