Lectures

Lectures are offered on a variety of popular topics aimed to be accessible to a general audience. These talks are a great way to bring people into your space for a few hours without a long term commitment while offering something different to the public or museum members.

Current List of Lecture Subjects

Each lecture is 60 to 90 mins depending on the requirement of the host.

Victorian Era Topics

  • Jack Sprat Will Eat No Fat: Dietary Ailments that Plagued Victorians
  • The Victorian Apothecary: Deadly Home Remedies
  • Madness, Melancholy and the Wandering Womb: How Easy Was It To Be Committed To An Asylum?
  • Darwin: Man versus God and the Plight of Facing One’s Demons
  • Death Rituals of the Victorian Era
  • Chinese Diaspora: An Opium Den of Iniquity
  • Victoriana versus Canadiana
  • Infant Mortality in the Victorian Era
  • Victorian and Edwardian New Age Philosophies
  • Corsets: Beautifully Deadly
  • Widows Weeds: A Woman’s Life after A Husband’s Death
  • Victorian Back Alley Sexcapades
  • Filth, Dirt & the Lack of Hygiene
  • Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite
  • Waterborne Disease Outbreaks
  • Dark Secrets: Freemasons, Egyptomania, and The Occult

Edwardian Era

  • From Hoops to Hats: Ladies Fashion Trends after 1901
  • Life in the Shadow of Queen Victoria
  • A Woman’s Fight For Rights: Were There Any?
  • The Introduction of the Automobile: Fast, Fierce and Forward
  • Looking for Change: Poverty & Workhouses in a New Century

Beyond 1910

  • The REAL Downton Abbey: Inside the Workings of a Manor House
  • World War I: Dynamic Changes in the Making
  • Women in Film: The Emergence of Starlets
  • Men in Film: Heroes, Foibles, and Follies
  • The Great Gatsby: It Really Wasn’t That Great
  • Prohibition & Rum Runners
  • World War II: Life on the Home-front

Courses

Halfpenny Dreadfuls offers hands-on courses developed for interpreters, museum staff, re-enactors or anyone interested in the darker side of Victorian history. If you want high brow, tea and flowers this isn’t the place!

If your museum or organization is interested in our courses or lectures with a twist please do not hesitate to contact us.

We can also customize or create courses and lectures specifically for you.

All our courses are designed for groups of 5 or more and provide a supportive atmosphere, along with a mix of practical know-how, historical information and in some cases physical skills to round out the experience. 

We offer a number of General Interest Courses that run as two, four and 8-hour programs or 2-day intensified depending on the interest level.


All courses are interactive with a combination of learning and practical experiences for those in attendance.

Current List of General Interest Courses 2019

  • To The Manor Born: Bizarre Etiquette Of The Wealthy
  • Downstairs Runs The House: Day to Day Expectations and Duties of Servants
  • Hey Victorian Era What’s With The Weird Macabre
  • Loose Women: The Ritual of Dressing and Undressing in Victorian Times
  • Hair, Wigs, and Makeup: A Ladies Guide to Victorian Beauty
  • What’s Cooking in the Victorian Kitchen?
  • Love Potion #9: Creating Perfumes and Oils of the Era
  • The Art of Victorian Letter Writing
  • Learning to Pen The Penny Dreadful

Other Services

Monument Restoration & Conservation

There is a science to stone restoration. It takes years to learn how to evaluate the effects of weather, pollution, mould, mildew and other natural and non-natural effects that can slowly erode and damage gravestones to the point of no return. The goal of cleaning and restoring is not to obtain a “like new” appearance, but to remove particulate soiling, staining, and biological growth. For example, historic family graves where the stone is barely readable and stained with pollution/mildew/etc. can often be restored to a clean readable state (which may last 50-100 years).

We do not use sealants, as these may cause further damage/degradation and make any future conservation much more difficult. Despite the fact that these monuments are made of stone they are susceptible to the environment. Stone is composed of minerals and salts and when in direct contact with the earth are constantly wicking water from the ground and evaporating it along its surface. Drawn onto and in some cases, into the stone, the water carries dissolved salts and minerals present in the surrounding soil. Another source of surface disfigurement are traces of iron and copper in the water supply; even soft water may contain trace amounts. Before making an attempt to clean away these minerals and deposits a thorough understanding of the physical and chemical properties of the specific stone or masonry is required coupled with perfected cleaning techniques and tools.

In most situations, cleaning should be done prior to other treatments or resetting. This is done with an aqueous antibacterial solution that aids in the removal of algae, fungi, and other organisms. After application and gentle scrubbing with soft brushes, surfaces are fully rinsed with water. Wet cleaning is done only when the temperature of the air, or of the stone surface, is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4.4 degrees Celsius, or when there is no risk of freezing within 48 hours.

Cemetery Mapping & Cataloguing

This is especially useful for both historical and genealogical records creating a map of a cemetery, cataloging grave sites (names, dates, symbols, etc.), historical technical explanations, photographic documentation and more. We also offer additional copies that may be filed with both the cemetery, the town/city, and local historic organizations.

Artifact Restoration & Conservation

Whether it’s a family heirloom, a prized antique, a sideshow gaffe or a museum artifact; keeping it in its best possible condition and well protected will prolong its life, beauty, and value. Working with artifacts of any kind is a delicate business; both for the obvious reasons of age & condition, but also for the sentimental value to the owner! Our love of all things historic, coupled with artifact restoration and conservation experience, offers you peace of mind when looking for someone to do the work.

Historical Consultant

As specialists in the Victorian era and its peculiarities, our expertise as historical consultants covers a variety of areas including museum and historical sites, theatre, television/film, fiction and non-fiction publications.

We offer the following services:

  • Historical research, source material & resources
  • Develop historically accurate story lines
  • Character research & development
  • Period clothing, interiors, & props
  • Script read-through and evaluation of historical accuracy
  • Deportment & dialogue

Staff and Volunteer Training

An interpreted environment is only as good as the staff or volunteers who are presenting within it. Our training courses offer practical teaching of traditional or historical skills as well as heritage communication techniques, Courses cover a range of historical topics and are outlined under Courses & Lectures

Oddity Rental & Exhibition

As avid collectors of all things macabre, we maintain an ever-changing collection of oddities, medical embalming bottles, dental equipment, antique tea settings, dolls, funerary photographs, wreaths, Masonic items, Shrunken Heads, various mummies, and other unique curiosities.
At any given time a selection of our collection may be out on loan or hire to television, film, theatre, galleries or museum collections.
If you are interested in the use of any of our items, please contact us to discuss usage.

For further information, or questions about any of the above services, please contact us!