About 16,000 people flocked to the Victorian Christmas Event in Hull’s Old Town on Saturday 29th November.
Attractions included appearances by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Town Crier Michael Wood, Lord Mayor Mary Glew and Ebenezer Scrooge, along with several volunteers who were dressed in period costume and Punch and Judy were there to entertain the children and there was also an open air ice skating rink.
The whole event was planned between Hull City Council, Hull BID and Heritage Learning and brought together, actors, market traders and the Museums Quarter and predominantly the Street Life Museum.
Julie Buffey of Trinity Open Market was in charge of the market stalls arrangements, she told me “It’s been a very good day and very busy.
She went on to tell me “All the stall holders are local traders, we’re deliberately not replicating our Old Town Market so other traders won’t be affected.”
She also told me that the Open Market had just “Joined in with Heritage Learning and Hull BID” when the event was first staged in 2013 and that the market this year had been much busier than last year.
This was also backed up by several other traders, Andrew Harper and Andy Paxton of Magical Tea Machine said they had been “Phenomenally busy.” Mr Paxton said they hadn’t had a break all day and they had run out of virtually everything they were selling including Turkey Burgers, Pork Burgers and 7kg of Hot Chocolate and there was a “Lovely atmosphere.”
Anke Bryant also said business was “Much better than last year.”
First time traders at the event also said business was very brisk. Debbie Carroll told me she was “Well impressed” with trade and that she loves “People, selling and dressing up.”
Kjersti Emberton said she was “Quite happy. And she said it was definitely a good experience and she “Will be back next year.”
Ian Carter who normally sells chestnuts in Queen Victoria Square was asked to the market by Hull BID and told me “It’s been very worth coming.”
At another chestnut stall Darren Moss said “It’s been fantastic, can’t complain at all. He also said “It’s been better than last year and I’ll definitely be back next year.”
Town Crier Michael Wood, who started the proceedings in the morning by pronouncing the arrival of ‘Queen’ Victoria and ‘Prince’ Albert, told me “When you get the right weather everything takes care of itself and it couldn’t have gone better today because we’ve had snow…… No really, we’ve had snow.”
Ebenezer Scrooge, who was inside the Street Life Museum, said “It’s been a rotten day having Christmas forced upon me by a shower of simpering fools who’ve got nothing better to do with their time. A lot of children could be better employed sweeping chimney’s or in service, Bah Humbug.”
‘Queen’ Victoria and ‘Prince’ Albert, however, were in better form. Her majesty said “Myself and Albert have had a wonderful day.
“It’s been lovely to see our loyal subjects and so many happy faces.” ‘Prince’ Albert said “Hull has surpassed itself.”
The actors Naomi and Ben, from Heritage Learning, who played the parts of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert said it had gone fantastically well for them, Naomi said “We’ve stayed in character all day and everybody has taken to it really well.” She said the visitors to the event had interacted really well with them and had taken to the characters and the way it was being delivered.
Other performers included Beverley Town Handbell Ringers, the Band of the 150 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps and Shiznitz, The Grinnigogs and Juggling Jim.
There were also Horse and Carriage Rides and St. Mary’s Church, Lowgate was open for refreshments, Boots on Whitefriargate was transformed into a Victorian Pharmacy for the day and the Land Train was also operating between City Hall and the South Museums Quarter gates.