Time to dress up . . .

Noel and Cathy Varley in Dickensian costume

One of the hopes for “Great Expectations” day in Rye on December 12 was that as many people as possible would come in costume to celebrate Christmas – and the Varleys (above) did just that, dressed in costumes appropriate to the novels of Charles Dickens, written in Victorian times.

And our slide show (below) features others, including the staff at the Mermaid Inn who, not satisfied with winning the Christmas Pudding race, pulled out all the stops with their costumes. Indeed one of them makes it quite clear that if the notice (above his head) says “Residents only” that is exactly what it means.

Outside another couple are more welcoming though, as they apparently wait for a coach and horses to arrive at the historic 15th century hostelry. Inside however history has moved on, but a Victorian maid may not be too sure about how to use the computer screens.

And not all those in costume came just from Rye. Our photographer tracked down three ladies from Hastings in the garden of The Standard, and also spotted a stilt walker from Tenterden in the procession who attracted lots of interest from the children.

Neither were those in costume restricted just to the town centre. Another photographer tracked down Little Nell and a Santa lady to the Kings Head up Rye Hill.

Back down in the High Street however Rotarians Roger Evans and Eric Bourne looked more like they were heading for the races at Ascot than a Victorian venue, while John Izod in his nightshirt could have been any one of a range of characters from a variety of Dickens’ novels – but he definitely looked the part.

And another photographer found even more costumes in the Standard at a later stage, when the sun had gone down, including Rye News‘ movies expert Neale East and Heather from the Museum taking a well earned rest after the grotto closed.


Photos: Kenneth Bird, Ray Prewer, Tony McLaughlin and John Minter