Victorian Farm Christmas
Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn – return to the Acton Scott estate in Shropshire to celebrate a traditional Victorian Christmas. There’s an enormous amount of farm work to be done on the estate in the lead-up to the festive season, including the hay harvest, to make food for the animals over winter.
The Victorian farm team tackle their biggest project yet: restoring the village blacksmith’s forge. First they must make bricks to restore the chimney – a full five day and night process in which the farmer gets no sleep. As winter marches on and Christmas nears, they must source a yule log: firewood to burn for the Twelve Days of Christmas. At the cottage, Ruth winter-proofs the house, making a paper blanket and remedies for chilblains, rheumatism, coughs and colds.
Christmas is coming to Acton Scott, but first there’s a huge amount of preparation to do. Ruth Goodman and food historian Ivan Day try their hand at making a Christmas pudding using the same methods as Bob Cratchit’s wife in A Christmas Carol. Meanwhile, Alex and Peter light the forge for the first time to re-shoe the farm workhorse Clumper – the first time a horse has been shod at this forge in over five decades.
Finally it’s time for the Christmas meal in the estate’s School Hall. With a rapturous toast to Queen Victoria and a quick trip to the cattle shed to wassail the animals, day turns into night and the drunken Victorian parlour games commence. The next morning it’ll be time for the team to bid a fond farewell to Mr Acton as they depart Acton Scott for good.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 3 hours)