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We only sell our best value Annual Passports online. Single attraction tickets are available on the gate.

Family (1 Adult + up to 4 children)

This ticket offers daytime admission to all of the open museums for a family of 1 adult + up to 4 children (aged 5-16 incl). Annual Passport Tickets are valid for 12 months from the date of first use.

Price £51.00

Family Annual Pass (2 Adults + up to 4 children)

This ticket offers daytime admission to all of the open museums for a family of 2 adults + up to 4 children (aged 5-16 incl). Annual Passport Tickets are valid for 12 months from the date of first use.

Price £82.00

Adult

Daytime admission to all of the open museums valid for 12 months from the date of first use.

Price £31.00

Child/Student

Daytime admission to all of the open museums valid for 12 months from the date of first use for children aged 5-16 (incl), or people in full time education.

Price £20.00

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O little town of Ironbridge

What did a Victorian Christmas look like for the residents of Blists Hill?

It was the age that brought us the steam locomotive, the telephone and the industrial revolution but that’s not all we have to thank the Victorians for. It’s thanks to Queen Victoria and a certain Mr Dickens that we have many of the Christmas traditions that we still enjoy today from the trees we decorate every year to the cards we send to friends and family.

As Blists Hill Victorian Town is transformed into a winter wonderland ready for the festive season, we’ve taken a look back to see just how many of our Christmas festivities are rooted in the age of industry.

It was the release of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in 1843, that brought many of the traditions we’re familiar with to prominence and the Victorian middle-classes were quick to adopt them. 1843 was also the year of the Christmas card. After businessman Sir Henry Cole grew tired of writing individual well wishes, he asked his local printer John Horsely to design cards containing a verse and space for his signature. By 1880 over 5 million letters and cards were posted prompting the first ‘Post Early for Christmas!’ plea issued by the General Postmaster which would have been displayed in the streets of Blists Hill.

For most modern families, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the tree and while Victorians had traditionally adorned their homes with evergreens including ivy, it’s Prince Albert we have to thank for bringing the first Christmas tree to the British Isles. It’s The Royals who first started the custom of decorating it too after a drawing of them celebrating around a decorated tree was published in 1848.

Even at Christmas, there was a class divide and trees were often only found in middle or upper class households, who decorated their trees on Christmas Eve with delicate glass ornaments, sweets, ribbons and small toys. With a largely working class population, families in Blists Hill would have been unlikely to have their own Christmas tree and instead would have decorated their homes with traditional spheres decorated with greenery, apples and oranges known as Kissing Boughs. In fact, children in the town would have most likely only seen a decorated Christmas tree at school.

Now, for the main man himself. Father Christmas has actually been around for centuries in various guises but it was the 1823 American poem The Night Before Christmas that gave us the red Santa suit, rosy cheeks and big white beard. It was this same poem that later inspired the first Coca Cola Christmas advert in the 1930’s. Closer to home though, Father Christmas was more likely to appear as a tall thin figure, dressed in brown or green as a sign of the returning Spring.

Many of the foods we still eat around Christmas also have their origins in the Victorian period. Mince pies for example would have been found on the counter at Blists Hill’s bakery, initially made from meat until meat-free versions began to become more popular in the mid to late 1800’s. Tradition even dictates that no less than twelve mince pies were to be eaten on twelve days in December, to bring good luck and bless each month - that's a tradition we can all get on board with...

And finally, have you ever wondered where Boxing Day got its name? Traditionally, Christmas was seen as a time for charity, and many prepared boxes of food and gifts for poorer local families. Landlords would present gifts to poor tenants and middle class families would offer gifts to their servants. By the 1870’s Boxing Day had become a public holiday and it’s a day we still celebrate today, though these days it’s usually reserved for Christmas TV and turkey sandwiches.

To experience your very own Victorian Christmas at Blists Hill, the halls of the town will be decked from 27 November when visitors can wander around the town, enjoy a cosy fireside chat with residents or don their skates for a spin around the town's real ice rink.

For more information on Christmas at Ironbridge, visit www.ironbridge.org.uk

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