April (and a bit of May!) at the Old Chapel

A lot went on in our first full month open to the public, below are some of the highlights.One of our volunteers Charlie, in costume as Anne Abraham

Right at the beginning of April, Kate Vigurs, from History’s Maid, delivered a three day workshop on costumed interpretation. This involved looking at what this is, how it’s done and why. We learnt about how to engage the public through becoming a character from the history of the Old Chapel, it’s a way of telling the story of the building other than reading and looking.

Part of the challenge was to develop characters. We looked at real people from the history of the Old Chapel and developed them from the information that we had.  This involved thinking about characteristics such as how they might walk and talk, what props they might have, and what their personality might be like. Costumes are currently being made, once these are complete, we will be able to start character led tours of the Old Chapel for visitors.



Shauna, Erin and Olivia with their capsStudents Shauna and Erin Cadden, and Olivia Riley from Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School got to get creative during the Easter holidays when they designed their own caps. Traditionally inVictorian times, women wore a day cap to cover their hair, even when indoors. For people who went to the Chapel in Victorian times, the caps probably would have been plain. However, the students got to put their own twist on a cap and came up with some beautiful results.




Vistors and stall holders at Havering Heritage Day

We also had our first event, Havering Heritage Day, on 21 April. It was great to have our local heritage organisations here to celebrate the vibrant scene in Havering. Havering Museum, Thames Chase, the Windmill, Swan Books and ValenceHouse were among those present. The Old Chapel was the perfect space to hold such an event, and the atmosphere was brilliant.







Vistors enjoy looking at the May Day photos


We had the May Day Festival on the 5 May also. Part of this event meant I got to go out and collect the memories of local people to make a display. I went to visit several Perky Pensioners groups in the area, all of which are run by Age Concern. We held reminiscence sessions, and their memories were then included. A big thank you to the groups for letting me come along.

On Saturday 18 May from 2pm – 5pm The Old Chapel will take part in the Mini Open House in Havering. There are lots of great places to see in the area, see the website for more details: http://www.havering.gov.uk/Pages/EventSingle.aspx?eventid=530_18/05/2013

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