Explore the fascinating world of the Victorian judges at this award-winning historic house.


The Judge’s Lodging and the National Curriculum

The Judge’s Lodging is an invaluable resource and learning experience for Primary, Secondary and Higher Education. It is ideal for the study of the Victorians within the National Curriculum and can be approached from a range of perspectives: social; cultural; technological; political and aesthetic. Students can compare many aspects of the past to those of the present and use our ‘Hands On’ policy to experience these differences for themselves.

History in your hands

The Judge’s Lodging is a real working Victorian house and is exceptional in allowing total freedom to touch everything. Visitors are actively encouraged to sit down, look in drawers, pump water, experiment with kitchen appliances and even test beds for comfort. (We would rSandford Awardather you didn’t use the commodes!). This proves invaluable in creating a relaxed and stimulating environment in which to learn.


Holder of The Sandford Award for Heritage Education 2005, 2010  & 2015

Life Below Stairs - KS1 & KS2

Day session - Available all year

The Judge is arriving at his house this very evening and the servants are scurrying around preparing his rooms for him, but they really need help if they are going to finish their chores in time. Join Mr Luggar the housekeeper, Mary the hardworking maid and the cook in our totally interactive sessions and experience what life was really like below stairs.

Activities include:Children

With the maid - preparing the Judge’s private rooms using traditional cleaning methods, filling baths and bed-making.
With the Housekeeper -
preparing the period lights and setting the huge dining table.
With the Cook -
making a menu for the evening meal, chopping, sorting and a lot of scrubbing!
• And finally…
a trip to the gloomy cells and vast courtroom.

Sessions start in the morning, to suit your requirements and finish mid afternoon - they can be extended or reduced to your requirements.

£5.50 per child. Accompanying adults free   


ClownsChristmas Past - KS1 & KS2

14 November - 21st December 2018

Day session with start / finish time to suit your requirements.

In December 1870, the servants of The Judge’s Lodging were busying themselves in preparation for the festive season. The smell of plum pudding drifted through the house as they strung garlands of holly and ivy over the fireplace in the warm glow of gaslight.

The stunningly restored Judge’s Lodging invites you to experience a true Victorian Christmas. Meet the servants of this busy household who will lead you through an informative and entertaining session full of activities and discussion, culminating in Victorian games, storytelling and a traditional gift from the servants. Topics to be covered include the meaning and traditions behind the twelve days of Christmas; decorations; food; presents; pantomime; pastimes and how the celebrations differed between the social classes. Your arrival will be welcomed with roaring fires and traditional festive decorations.

£5.50 per child. Accompanying adults free.


More Christmas Past info here

Not got pdf reader reader?  Click here



horn lanternLiving Without Electricity - KS2 & KS3

Available all year

One of the servants will take you on a journey through the upstairs downstairs world of the Victorian servants and their employers, telling you about each of the rooms and demonstrating how a house could be run without the help of modern inventions. There will be an opportunity for pupils to help in domestic tasks.
Sessions last 2 hours. £3.95 per child. Accompanying adults free


Voices From The Past - KS3 and Higher Education

Available all year

A superb audio tour allows you to wander through the Victorian rooms, led by its inhabitants. From Mary, the hard-working maid, to Richard Lister Venables - Chairman of the Magistrates and employer of the famous diarist Francis Kilvert, to name a few - you journey through the life of a Victorian household, sharing their grumbles and joys, hearing their private thoughts and ambitions. Mr Venables (portrayed by Robert Hardy) reminisces about all the changes he has seen in his life - the railways, photography, gas lighting to name a few; Mary gets tired carrying water the 41 steps from pump to bath; the cook shows off where the servants live and work, whilst poor William Morgan complains about the rats in his cell to Constable Rogers. Highly recommended for older children and adults studying the Victorians.

Allow 1.5 hours. Every party taking the audio tour will be accompanied by a member of staff who will help whenever needed, answer any questions and point out interesting details. You may alternatively, have a personal guide to take your group through the building.  £3.95 per pupil.


See you in Court!

Whichever type of tour you choose, you will find yourself in the dock! The Courtroom has its own audio experience allowing you to eavesdrop on a real trial from the 1860s as the voices from Judge to felon are projected around the room. The ‘Lanshay Duck Theft’ deals with the disappearance of certain fowl from a farm in neighbouring Knighton, (a case made comical by the production of the duck skins in court for identification), with serious consequences for the accused. This trial runs for 20 minutes and you may listen to as much or as little as you like.


Have you got any ideas of your own?

Is there anything you would like to know about or try out in a real Victorian house? We are happy to try and accommodate any ideas, from cooking and cleaning to re-enactments of whole trials! Let us know what you would like, (bearing in mind we do not have a huge staff).

The Judge’s Lodging also holds a collection of Victorian toys with which sessions can be constructed, if requested.

If you would like to link your visit to other topics being covered at school, do let us know - we have, for example a collection of World War I & II artefacts, clothing, tools and trade goods.


Victorian seaside


Making the most of your visit to The Judge’s Lodging

Here are a few notes and suggestions which will help you get the most from your session with us.

Please do leave yourself enough time.  Although the sessions last for 2.5 hours, we do not kick you out! Most groups take time after their session to have lunch and look around the shop. We are also happy for you to spend time with your students looking around, taking notes etc afterwards. We do not recommend that children take notes during the sessions, as we work them very hard and they rarely have their hands free!



There is plenty of space for you to each lunch, usually in the Courtroom public gallery.  We will provide a bag for rubbish. Some groups like to bring only things that the Victorians would have had in their packed lunches.


Other Facilities

The shop sells a selection of small items suitable for children, including slates and pencils, replica Victorian toys, colouring cards and books ranging from 10p to £10.

There are three toilets on site (2 Victorian and 1 modern) and children will be asked before and after the session if they wish to use them.


Getting Dirty!

We do warn that children might get a bit wet and/or grubby whilst performing their tasks. We will provide everyone with suitable maid’s and butler’s aprons which usually deflect the worst! It can often prove all the more fulfilling for the children if you consider making the visit ‘dressed up’. If you would like some ideas on easy and suitable clothes your pupils could wear, do not hesitate to contact us.


Just in case we are ill!

On ‘Life Below Stairs’ sessions you will usually meet at least two servants. However, illness, freak weather conditions etc may mean that one of us cannot be with you. In this event, the other staff will take over the tasks of those not here, ie. we will not cut out any of the activities. Likewise, please do let us know if you are having trouble getting to us - we understand that weather may sometimes stop a trip altogether or make it difficult to get through - if we do not know you are having problems, we sit around in costume talking to ourselves and feeling rather silly.


Forthcoming Events

Strange But True

  • list arrowHow did Victorians try out a new invention?

    Test it on the servants of course! That's what happened in 1860 at The Judge's Lodging, when gas lighting was put into the basement and not the Judge's rooms. They wanted to see if they got sick from the fumes. The servants were fine - that's why we got the lights working again.

Historical Handy Hints