SPOOKY HALLOWEEN AND HALF TERM AT IRONBRIDGE
By Ann Evans
Step back to those candlelit Victorian days over the October break and Halloween and explore the spooky streets, shops and houses in Blists Hill Victorian Town near Ironbridge. It all creepily takes place between 22nd – 30th October.
If you dare, follow a Victorian ghost trail around the historic streets. Discover how famous authors of the time, including Charles Dickens, wrote their popular works about spirits, ghosts, fog-shrouded graves and mysterious reflections appearing in mirrors. Some of the most famous stories will be included in the spooky trail.
Having whet your appetite for ghoulish tales, each afternoon during the half term break the Prince Albert Players will be performing spooky scenes from Sweeney Todd along with Shropshire ghost stories.
In Victorian England, All Hallows Eve (31st October) was celebrated with games and rituals including the popular practice of ‘souling’, a tradition that paved the way for modern-day Trick or Treating. In the 1800s children, and sometimes poor adults, would dress up and go around door-to-door offering prayers and songs in exchange for Soul Cakes. A selection of these simple round spiced cakes, which were often marked with a cross, will be on sale in the town’s bakery during the half-term Halloween week. You can find out more about this and other curious Victorian Halloween customs as you explore Blists Hill’s many shops, cottages and places of work.
‘Ghostbusters’ join Blists Hill Victorian Town’s Halloween Fright Night on Saturday, 29th October
This annual fright night takes on a new dimension with the arrival of cult characters from the Ghostbusters 1980s movie. The Town’s Ghostly Gaslight evening will also be taking place when the streets, shops and houses will be transformed into eerie places filled with ghosts, ghouls and monsters.
Visitors are invited to dress up in their scariest costume and watch out for the Marshmallow Man, as the massive 31ft high inflatable paranormal monster will be looming over the darkened streets. You won’t miss the replica of the iconic Ghostbusters Miller Meteor Cadillac car, as it measures a vast 23ft in length, 9ft in height and weighs 5 tonnes. If that was not enough, its four bars of emergency flashing lights will be dazzling the assembled spooks and the films’ famous sound tracks will be playing from its impressive sound-system.
This popular, fun and safe event takes place between 6pm and 9pm. Tickets are priced at £9.95 adults; £6.75 children aged 3-15 years and £31 for a family (2+2). Tickets must be purchased in advance either online from any of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums’ ticket points or the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre. All under 16s must be accompanied by an adult; Ironbridge Gorge Museum Passports are not valid for this evening and dogs will not be allowed.
Visitors are advised to park at the Ironbridge Park and Ride, located at the top of Jiggers Bank (TF4 3QE) where a regular bus service will take them to the event for a small fee. Limited parking is available at Blists Hill Victorian Town.
MORE HALF TERM FUN AT THE IRONBRIDGE MUSEUMS
Make Pneumatic Monsters at Enginuity autumn half-term 22nd – 30th October. Use your imagination to design and make a scary Halloween monster from craft materials then see how quickly you can make it move using compressed air. The fun Pneumatic Monster drop-in workshops will take place at Enginuity, Ironbridge’s design and technology discovery centre between Saturday 22nd and Sunday 30th October from 10.30am until 3.45pm. Your monster’s design will only be limited by your creativity. Activities will vary from day-to-day and some additional costs will apply.
At Coalport China Museum, half-term 22nd – 30th October visitors can drop-in to a family ceramic workshops. You can paint a ceramic money box or join in some paper activities every day; additionally, between Tuesday 25th and Thursday 27th October you can sculpt a creepy creature from air-dry clay, maybe a bat, long-legged spider or gruesome rat, or a weird and wonderful creature only limited by your imagination! The hands-on workshops will be open from 11am – 1pm and 2 – 4.30pm; ceramic activities carry an additional charge from £1 per item for clay models or £4 to paint a money box. You can take all items home with you on the day.
At Jackfield Tile Museum, Ironbridge 22nd and 24th – 29th October there are spooky Halloween themed time decorating workshops. Decorate tiles with your own spooky designs. They can be as colourful and original as your imagination allows, perhaps a ghostly apparition, wicked witch on a broomstick or snarling black cat. The Victorian tube lining technique will be used to decorate the tiles, which are priced from £5 per tile (p&p extra to have your tile sent home after firing) plus the museum admission fee. Drop-in workshops start from 10am, but allowing up to 1½ hours to decorate your tile, last admission is at 3.15pm.
OPENING TIMES AND ADMISSION PRICES
Opening times and ticket prices for daytime events
Blists Hill, Enginuity, Coalport China Museum and Jackfield Tile Museum are open 10am to 5pm for daytime events. A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing unlimited entry into all ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums costs £25 per adult, £20 for seniors, £15 for children under 18, £68 for a family of two adults and all their children and £50 for a family with one adult; under 5s free (terms and conditions apply); Passports can also be bought online in advance saving 10% and individual entry tickets are available at each museum. Activities and workshops vary day-to-day and some carry an extra charge.
For further information, contact the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on Tel: 01952 433 424 or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk. The Gorge is easily reached via the M6 and M54 motorways exiting at Telford (M54 junction 4 or 6).
Where to stay:
The four star Telford Hotel and Golf Resort at Madeley is a very short drive from Blists Hill Victorian Town and within easy reach of all the other museums; B&B for two sharing starts from around £100 per night, to book visit www.qhotels.co.uk or call
01952 429977. Or stay in the heart of Telford near the Town Park and new Southwater dining and leisure centre for evening entertainment where the Holiday Inn Telford/Ironbridge is offering B&B from around £70 per night for two sharing; to book call 01952 527000 or visit www.holidayinntelford.com.