Berkhamsted’s Rectory Lane Cemetery invites families to authentic Victorian Picnic

The theme of this year’s festival is Edible England

Monday, 9th August 2021, 12:25 pm
Updated Monday, 9th August 2021, 12:26 pm

Berkhamsted’s Rectory Lane Cemetery is inviting members of the public to picnic in the style of the Victorians next month.

Families and friends can bring along their baskets of food and blankets, in an atmospheric afternoon on Sunday, September 12, that will also feature food-themed Victorian style entertainment and guided tours.

The Rectory Lane Cemetery has organised the picnic as part of the nationwide Heritage Open Days, which runs every September and sees volunteers across the country holding free events to celebrate the history and culture of England.

The image has been used for illustrative purposes

The theme of this year’s festival is Edible England and offers the public a chance to taste the curious cuisine of the past.

At the Rectory Lane Cemetery’s Victorian Picnic, guests can enter the spirit of the afternoon as much or as little as they like, sampling Mrs Beeton-inspired delicacies from the era, or dressing up in the fashions of the time.

Berkhamsted’s 19th century watercress growers will be celebrated by a school activity in the weeks leading up to the event which involves children from Swing Gate Infant School and Nursery, Victoria Church of England Infant and Nursery School, and Greenway Primary and Nursery School have been given packs of seeds to grow at home over the summer holidays, in memory of the thriving watercress industry of the River Bulbourne.

Those who wish can enter their crop into a competition on the day.

A graveyard may seem an odd choice for a picnic location, but as Rectory Lane Cemetery’s community engagement officer, Kate Campbell, said: “The Victorians saw cemeteries as green spaces to enjoy, take the air, socialise and spend time with the deceased.

"Our grounds are the resting place of so many food producers from Victorian Berkhamsted from butchers to ginger beer producers to watercress and apple growers.

"While our guests picnic in the September sunshine, we will use story-telling and talks to illuminate these local lives.”

Tickets to the Heritage Open Day: Victorian Picnic at the Rectory Lane Cemetery on Sunday, September, 12 from 11am until 4pm are free, but pre-booking is essential, click here to pre-book your tickets.