WHEN Queen Victoria came to open Leeds Town Hall in 1858, she was greeted by huge crowds of 58,000 people.
For the next fortnight the traditional Victorian streets at Abbey House Museum in Kirkstall, are undergoing a celebratory transformation with white roses and draped fabrics adorning them, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth.
Sarah Allen, learning and access officer at Abbey House Museum, said: “She was born on 24 May 1819 but it was not until September 1858 that Queen Victoria came to Leeds, to open the new town hall, with husband Prince Albert.
“The streets of Leeds were filled with garlands of white roses in her honour as huge crowds gathered in the centre and on Woodhouse Moor.
“She arrived by train and every school child in the area came to see her as she demanded a sword and knighted the then Mayor of Leeds Paul Fairbairn.”
The Queen also met Cuthbert Brodrick, the architect of the town hall.
Ms Allen said there would be highlights from the collection of Queen Victoria objects for visitors to see and the museum will be producing an authentic newspaper for visitors to take away.
The newspaper is based on the Weekly Advertiser – Bramley and Stanningley Districts, which will include information about the 200th birthday and various other interesting and entertaining pieces for people to enjoy.
Visitors can also join in with Victorian games and dressing up in the Victorian Parlour, complete with a parlour palm and a selection of the Queen’s favourite animals to pose with – including a Pug and a Parrot.
Ms Allen added: “We have had some American tourists in today having fun with the dressing up box. There are adult costumes too.”
Some of her majesty’s favourite treats will be available as recipes, as taken from 'The Book of Household Management', 1861, edited by Isabella Beeton, including a curry sauce and an aptly named ‘tipsy cake’.
There will be a chance to hear about her life, and to explore some of the objects she had an influence on in the museum’s social history collections.
The traditional streets at Abbey House will be decorated for the next two weeks.