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About Us

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The Seven Dials Rapscallions are a group of like minded individuals who portray characters living the side of Victorian life that is always overlooked… ‘down and dirty’.

These type of characters were in the majority but their lives are never really seen through re-enactment or street theatre.

We go to extraordinary lengths to achieve a high standard of authenticity which makes us stand out against other Victorian portrayals you may see.

We chose to bring these people and their lives to the fore through our passionate interest in historical interpretation and interaction with the public.

 

How it all began

By A Rapscallion

To turn left, or to turn right…

63412_10150139774109447_72958714446_8033236_8357251_nGloucester Tall Ships, 2009. A chance encounter at The Folk Museum in Gloucester marks the roots of The Seven Dials Rapscallions. A pleasant, very hot day around the docks in costume ends at the Folk Museum, where a ‘class’, made up of mums, dads and children, are being ‘taught’ by a Victorian school teacher in the upper part of the building’s ‘school room’. The gauntlet was thrown down when I passed the viewing window into said room, and the teacher announced ” Ah, class. I see the inspector has arrived.”

To accept, (turn right), or ignore, (turn left) and continue my tour of exhibits? What the hell. Go for it. The upshot of which was an E-mail of thanks at a later date for the hospitality received that day from those at the museum. Followed by an enquiry “Could you do anything for us here at Christmas this year?” Certainly, on a Victorian bent? “Yes please.”

A couple of events later, followed by an introduction to one Andrew Mitchell-Stead who was currently engaged in organising the first Gloucester Christmas Market the following year and, Bingo, the Seven Dials Rapscallions were born, after a question loosely worded along the lines “Could you get a few people in Victorian costume together to help give the market some period flavour?”

The Seven Dials was infamous for it’s crime, poverty and lower class inhabitants.

We needed a name, a ‘raison d’etre’ and a place to be unleashed, for want of a better phrase. The rest, as they say, is history. ( If you’ll pardon the pun ). The Seven Dials area of our capitol city, in Victorian times was infamous for it’s crime, poverty and lower class inhabitants. As a group, it was decided to turn away from the well to do look of prosperous, middle and upper class city dwellers so frequently represented by other re-enactors of the same period. Besides, ‘down and dirty’ had far more potential for fun. And it has. Ever since.

That was Christmas 2010. Since which time, we have bare knuckle fought, thieved and pickpocketed our way around, to name a few, the

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likes of Isambard Kingdom Brunel at The SS Great Britain. The Dickens characters from his novels at Rochester and Portsmouth Christmas Markets , hung out with Fagin and co. at Dickens World, terrified adults and children alike at Avoncroft Museum of Buildings on Halloween, stowed away on ( or been forcibly placed aboard transportation ships ) at Gloucester Tall Ships 2011 and 2013 events.

It must be said that, given the right motivation, we have also donned our best ‘dunnage’ and promenaded at Disraeli’s country residence, Hughenden Manor, entertaining folk with a typical Victorian gentlemen’s game of cricket, { shirt sleeves and toppers on. Oh, and underarm bowling only, if you please.} As well as Great Witley Court and baroque church for a special ‘in group’ private event. Oh yes, we can scrub up very well we need arises.

154277_10150096322281518_516401517_7243247_4601625_n - CopySo, the ride continues. And each event throws up another batch of excellent photographs to add to the already enormous portfolio. We even have our own group of ‘stalking’ photographers, so it seems, who have captured some superb images of us in action. {Noticeably, more in a candid way than posed, which I feel always works better.}

If you’re reading this, and showing enough interest in what we do to get this far, then please enjoy the site and the pictures contained herein. Re-enacting doesn’t have to mean shouldering a musket and sleeping in a field on a gum blanket. Twenty eight years of that cured me. It also gave me rheumatoid arthritis, so the limp isn’t acting!