1930s historical re-enactments at Blickling Hall

The diggers costumed interpretation group putting on Blickling in the 1930's event at Blickling Hall

The diggers costumed interpretation group putting on Blickling in the 1930's event at Blickling Hall in the Long Gallery and other parts of the Hall. Pictured centre are Joy Munden playing Lady Astor and David Parker playing Lord Lothian in front of Blickling Hall and the staff of the Hall.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

An important aspect of a stately home's history is being brought to life by a group of volunteers.

The diggers costumed interpretation group putting on Blickling in the 1930's event at Blickling Hall

The diggers costumed interpretation group putting on Blickling in the 1930's event at Blickling Hall in the Long Gallery and other parts of the Hall. Joy Munden playing Lady Astor.Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

The Blickling Hall interpretation group, called The Diggers, are playing out historically-accurate scenarios from the 1930s for visitors to the house this summer and autumn.

They are focussing on that era every Wednesday because this year the Blickling Estate is celebrating the 75th anniversary of when it was bequeathed to the National Trust by its former owner Philip Kerr, Lord Lothian.

The Diggers perform in costume in the Long Gallery and depict characters from the time including Lord Lothian, famous house guest Lady Nancy Astor and Lord Lothian's secretary and housekeeper Miss O'Sullivan.

Sue Jay, 73, from Aylsham, who has been a member of The Diggers since it started six years ago, said: 'The interpretations are based on people who lived and worked at Blickling. We do it because we love it. It is great fun.


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'We get sheer enjoyment out of it and that hopefully has a knock-on effect for the enjoyment of the visitors and gives a glimpse into the past. We dig up the past and interpret it.'

There were six members when the group started but now there are more than 20, who come from a range of career backgrounds and are all Blickling Hall volunteers.

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It was formed to make the house experience more interesting for visitors.

'It is important, especially for younger generation, to keep our historical houses alive. You cannot stay in a vacuum,' Mrs Jay added.

She said some of the older house stewards were against The Diggers when it started but now the majority of people enjoy what they do.

The group is in action every Wednesday from noon until this October. It will focus on the years 1930, 1938, 1939 and 1940.

The Diggers also re-enact Blickling Hall history from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

They perform their interpretations in the February half-term holiday and between the estate's main visiting season from March-October.

Visitors do not have to pay a separate fee to watch the group.

Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling-estate or call 01263 738030.

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