William Barnes celebrated at Museumâ€™s Victorian Fayre
By Marion Tait
On Sunday 22nd February 2015, the Dorset County Museumâ€™s Victorian Hall was transformed into a traditional Victorian Fayre to celebrate the birthday of Dorset dialect poet William Barnes. The atmosphere was full of hustle and bustle with numerous stalls from traditional crafts to popular parlour games; Victorian paperboy selling his broadsheets and a demonstration of net making and other rural skills. The museumâ€™s Tea Room worked flat out to provide Victorian afternoon tea for 350 visitors.
The Language of Flowers proved to be really popular with people queuing to create their own style Nosegays and Tussie Mussies with fresh flowers. Likewise the demonstration on creating Dorset Buttons saw very enthusiastic folk fashion their own design.
The Herb stall gave an informative look into culinary and medicinal uses of that period.
The fantastic display of hand-made bonnets drew quite a crowd as did the dining table which depicted the difference between the gentry and the rural labourers.
The children had their own entertainment including pin the tail on the donkey, making little peg dolls, a variety of toys to buy and dressing up in period costume.
Musician and Storyteller Tim Laycock captivated the audience of his portrayal of a teacher in a Victorian classroom. Whilst fellow members of the William Barnes Society and The New Hardy Players entertained all with music, song, poetry and country dancing which was enjoyed by people of all ages.
Alastair Simpson conducted the Cantate Rustique choir to perform four pieces: Ralph Vaughan Williamsâ€™s famous Linden Lea; a setting of The Lew Oâ€™ the Rick by the blind organist of Shaftesbury, F. F. Coaker, from the 1950s; a 2002 work by Peter Lord, Come; and Alastairâ€™s own harmonisation of the folk musician Tim Laycockâ€™s touching melody to the words of Barnesâ€™s grief-stricken poem The Wife a-Lost, the last being a premiere.
William Barnes Collection Curator, Marion Tait said â€œThis was a hugely successful and amazing event where all had a great time at the Victorian Fayre raising over Â£600 towards the redevelopment of the museumâ€™s William Barnesâ€™ Gallery.â€
A huge thank you to Battens Solicitors, Dorchester, for sponsoring the event and a special thank you to all volunteers who took part in the Victorian Fayre and celebrating William Barnes Birthday