Horrible Histories comes to Milton Keynes Museum

History was bought to life at Milton Keynes Museum last weekend through the hard work of volunteers who braved the cold weather to bring you a little piece of all your favourite eras.Tod Booth, organiser and re-enactor, hand picked all participators to ensure that all displays were authentic. ‘Nothing you see here would have been out of place in the chosen era, I won’t allow it. All volunteers have slept overnight on the grounds as that is what would have happened’.  Relenting slightly on the second day; Tod gave the option for some of the actors to get tea from the cafe on site but only if it was placed into cups of the period.
Walking around the various displays and demonstrations that were held through the day, audiences were offered a chance to participate and learn a little more about what it would have been like. The War of the Rose’s display encouraged members of the audience from all ages to join John De Vere, the 13th Earl of Oxfords, personal army. From holding the weapons to learning the war cries, the audience were enthralled.



A display by the musketeers of the English Civil War showed just how far these actors go to show their passion. ‘All weapons are replica’s of the originals and are firing live ammunition’ explained Christian Towers ‘we all purchase these out of our own pocket and hold gun licences to carry them with us’.  Being interviewed by Milton Keynes Hospital Radio; Christian went on to explain that the volunteers travel around the country to events and stay overnight at all the locations, no matter what the weather. ‘We do have the option to check into a B n B but no one takes it, it is more fun to stay out, we sit discussing things over a fire’.
Not to be misdone, a Roman tent displayed all types of instruments used in medical procedures of the time, all of which had been made by the re-enactor from replicas found on archaeological digs. This tent was definitely the place to scare the children at the event. Stall owner Fiona, Roman name Flora, showed her knowledge of Roman times by explaining what every tool was used for – and where it was used. ‘ I think a lot of the principles we have in medicine today started with the Greeks and the Romans because we have the Hippocratic oath. Things have progressed but it is clearly from the Romans.’
In the tent next to Fiona’s was her partners, and here you could watch the instruments being made and, for the avid historian, even purchase some.


 It was not all dirty and unhygienic living. The 1940’s display showed viewers what it would have been like during the war when rationing was around. The poor re-enactors were determined not to go to the Cafe and instead painstaking boiled the old fashioned kettle to have tea.  Passing the time by playing Croquet – it was nice to see the children get involved in the game.
Interviewing a member from each period, the enthusiasm for this was apparent in all of them. All actors knew copious amounts about not only their own period of time, but also each others, and were happy to talk to anyone who wanted to learn. With various displays over the two days and an ‘open tent’ policy were people could walk into their tents and learn a different trade – this really was a good day for children and adults alike.
Museum Director Bill Griffiths was pleased with the event but expressed his frustration at the weather; ‘This has been a brilliant weekend, and visitors have had a great time. It is frustrating that the weather forecast scared prospective visitors away but I’m still pleased with how it went.’


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