Who is Victoria?
Victoria Mansford (1870s) – Cecilia’s cousin, was named after the Queen. Her side of the family have fallen on ‘hard times’. With no dowry she has little prospect of marrying and so works as a governess. Her tale is of Victorian childhood and nursery life. Or, if you prefer, holidays by the seaside. Victoria is a good choice for topics on childhood, toys, Victorian holidays by the sea and relationships between servants and their ‘families’.
Victoria is travelling ahead of ‘her family’ (employers) who are returning from a break by the seaside. She has been sent ahead to prepare the nursery and school room and is grateful of the opportunity to stop for a rest at your school. She has a range of packages and parcels that need to arrive safely at the family’s second home. As ‘gentlewoman’ needing to work for her living, she is neither accepted by servants or family as one of them, and so is pleased to find an audience to chatter with before resuming her journey. Travel worn and hungry, she may open her picnic or unwrap parcels to check and discuss their content. Don’t be surprised if she starts deportment lessons, teaching the correct way to drink tea, or discovers a letter from her cousin to read aloud.
There is no set script for the presentation, it depends on what artefacts or subjects the audience become interested. However, the material can be steered in the direction(s) desired by class teacher. Victoria can tell tales about:
- Life ‘understairs’ in Victorian times – clothes, hygiene, food, leisure, homes, healthcare, social customs and etiquette, the Victorian nursery.
- Victorian childhood in the’ nursery’ and for the poor
- Servant life
If desired, Victoria (or her historian alter-ego) can run workshops with the children in conjunction with the teachers. Or teachers can opt to run these themselves whilst the character works with another group/class. Workshop themes can include: decoupage, writing practice with slates or ink and quill, scraps, netting, making simple toys, French knitting, games, dancing, water colours or ink drawings of plants, food tasting, taking afternoon tea.
More details about a character visit can be found here.