Tabulae Ltd

Kay Rouse - The Victorian Higgler

Victorian Eye Magic!, Hands on Games & Chandlery, Storytelling

Contact Information

Contact Name:
Kay Rouse





Our newest presentation Eye Magic! offers an opportunity to join us for a hands-on experience of pre-cinema optical implements and kinetic toys, illusions and moving pictures. We have a huge range of original and re-created instruments: Stanhopes, stereoviewers, peep boxes, kaleidoscopes - and, of course, our large walk-in Camera Obscura.  Our make a thaumatrope workshop is great fun.

Our Wax Chandlery now moves toward 'Arts & Crafts' as parafin wax sadly supercedes beeswax. We also now look at the coming of the penny post and the introduction of mass produced envelopes as seals become more decorative than functional.  We continue to offer our safe child-friendly sealing wax activity - using replica period seals to impress - that also provide a take away souvenir (Our Victorian Christmas 'Letter to Santa' is especially popular)

We also demonstrate all sorts of Victorian Games: we feature a selection of the new commercially available wholesome family board games as well as puzzles and games of skill or simple amusement.  We highlight the most popular passtimes of the period, including more exotic imports from the colonies. We use replica and real boards, bone gaming chips, tokens and pieces. There is always the opportunity for hands-on participation by both children and adults.

Stories and anecdote always accompany our craft demonstrations but I also work specifically as a Storyteller. For this Victorian period I have created a photograph album full of fascinating characters: hear the story of the African princess; discover Mr Dickens guilty secret; meet the the first women doctors (& Dr James Barry), Mother Seacole - and many, many more...

 I particularly enjoy tying my Storytelling to a venue by researching and developing local legends and happenings, or focusing on particular pieces from a museum collection or property. Presentations can also be specially themed, perhaps to the season; tailored to special interest groups, whether by occupation or gender - and made suitable for all ages.