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Helmshore Mill Museum: May 2010

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"The die is cast, and more mischief will follow." - William Knox

There is something very exciting about your first living history event. I remember mine vividly; trudging up a small hill and upon reaching the crest witnessing a whole 19th century camp going about it's daily business. The first thought in my head was "wow", then turning to Alistair I said, "Can I have a go?" Fast-forward nearly a decade and with the same fresh-faced enthusiasm, on a pleasant Saturday morning, I stepped into the late 18th Century for the first time.

After four and a half years of research, practice, sewing, trying and buying, Helmshore Mill Museum was to be our first "proper" group event. The weekend before saw Corporal and Private Wilson marching myself up, down and around their garden in an attempt to instil some 18th Century British Army drill into me. They performed this arduous task with the upmost of patience even though their pupil could only remember the last manoeuvre he was taught before promptly forgetting. That week I was walking around work shouldering, poising and even erecting my imaginary firelock in an attempt to get it right for the weekend.

Rebel's set trap

After kitting up and donning wigs, Corporal Wilson formed the Company and took us through the Manual of Arms. As luck would have it I was able to remember most of the drill and soon the section was demonstrating this in front of the public with ease and even in time. Whilst the Redcoats were put through their paces, the civilian impression was proving itself popular with Pete's carpentry tools becoming a focal point for some of the Dads.


As the morning ticked by we paraded ourselves around the courtyard and soon our own minds turned to the civilian display as our arms tired and bellies rumbled. Lunch was served with a selection of cheese, bread, meat and a delicious apple pie baked by Val. Our thirst was quenched and with renewed energy we formed up for the afternoon's activities.

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