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Belton House revives war-time morale booster

By Paul Grinnell

Belton House - historical event
Belton House - historical event

A two-day extravaganza will be hosted by Belton House to recreate the morale boosting festivities staged by the owners of the stately home during the war years.

One hundred years ago, the grounds of Belton House were full of bunting, music, and people enjoying a piece of cake or a go on the coconut shy.

Although it was the depths of the First World War, the Brownlows, the owners of Belton, played their part in raising the morale of the community by hosting garden fetes on their estate.

To commemorate their efforts and recapture the spirit of those events, Belton is hosting a garden fete on June 27 and June 28.

Visitors can tuck into a piece of cake, a cream tea, or something even sweeter with a stick of candyfloss.

To drink, choose between a visit to the temperance tent for a refreshing cup of tea or head over to the Oldershaw Brewery beer tent for something a little stronger.

There will be live music throughout the weekend, with authentic wartime songs performed by the fantastic Miss Marina Mae.

The team at Belton have been hard at work putting together a coconut shy, shove ha’penny games, splat the rat, and arranging tug of war events and races.

Visitors can also stroll into the formal gardens and have a go at sketching or painting the garden (all materials are supplied).

And the living history group History Revisited will recreate a training camp in the grounds of Belton of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and Scottish Horse Troopers.

Visitors are invited to explore the camp with the 110-year-old ambulance, medical and officers’ tents, meet the horses, mascots, medical dog and fully costumed people who are always happy to chat.

Not to be missed are the twice daily arena displays, as the team demonstrate horse riding drills and mounted firing exercises.

Marketing and events officer Sam Gee said: “It’s particularly special putting together an event that’s been directly inspired by a bit of Belton history.

“We know that the Earl and Countess Brownlow held fetes like this, and we have archive material to help us piece together what sort of activities would have been on offer.

“Just like the fetes of a century ago, the garden fete is all about welcoming visitors into Belton to enjoy some traditional, feel-good games, food, drink and community spirit.”

Belton’s Summer Garden Fete takes place between 9.30am and 5pm on both days and everyone is invited to join in the festivities.

The new outdoor adventure playground will also be open, as will the mansion, gardens, shops and restaurant.

National Trust members enjoy free entry. Normal admission charges apply for non-members.


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