Workhouse event marks Dickens’ birthday

Mr Bumble from Oliver played by John Holmers, a volunteer at Ripon Workhouse museum, with  street urchins Gretel, 4 and Anna Monger, 8, sisters from London taking part in the Dickens event at the Ripon workhouse museum.
Mr Bumble from Oliver played by John Holmers, a volunteer at Ripon Workhouse museum, with street urchins Gretel, 4 and Anna Monger, 8, sisters from London taking part in the Dickens event at the Ripon workhouse museum.

Ripon Museum has been celebrating Dickens’ birthday this week.

For the first time the museum has been running a family event during half term as part of the national celebration to commemorate the novelist’s 200 birthday.

15/2/12    Gretel Monger 4 a visitor from London  playing a street urchin from Oliver part of the Dickens event at the  Ripon Workhouse museum.

15/2/12 Gretel Monger 4 a visitor from London playing a street urchin from Oliver part of the Dickens event at the Ripon Workhouse museum.

“The Workhouse is the perfect place for a Dickens event,” said Sue Dalton, the new Head of Museums at Ripon Museum Trust.

“Visiting children can even take on the role of Oliver Twist and act out the famous workhouse scene from the film when they find Mr Bumble the Beadle lurking by the bubbling gruel pot!”

Visitors have followed a trail around the museum through the tramp major’s room, night cells and mortuary, finding costumed characters en-route. They then discover the characters’ identity using clues picked up from conversations or by inspecting props.

favourites such as a forlorn Miss Haversham; a vicious Bill Sykes and an “eminently practical” Mr Gradgrind are all at the museum. Props include a very large pork pie, supplied by Appleton’s butchers, a cudgel and a bottle of ‘Daffy’, or gin, for the matron of the workhouse in Oliver Twist.

The event runs until the end of today, Friday, February 17 between 2pm and 4pm.

For more information see the web site at www.riponmuseums.co.uk or ring the museum on 01765 690799.