Shropshire Star

Chance for adults to dress up and step back in time at historic house

Adults are being encouraged to dress up as Victorians at a Shropshire/Staffordshire border tourist attraction.

Adults dressing up

Boscobel House has a load of Victorian outfits for adults to put on during August.

Staff there are taking part in an English Heritage programme of events as research shows that the adult imagination is not only as vivid as that of a child but even improves with age.

Our Extraordinary Summer

The venue is a Grade II listed attraction in the east of Shropshire which is one of 11 sites across the country taking part in ‘One Extraordinary Summer’.

It will host Victorian-themed dressing up after new research commissioned by English Heritage and conducted by the University of Kent has shown, contrary to popular opinion, that imaginations improve with age.

It is also introducing hands-on history sessions targeted at adults.

Adult imagination

The research conducted by the University of Kent’s School of Psychology asked more than 470 people aged between four and 81 to imagine how unfamiliar historical objects could have been used.

It was found that, with increasing age, people were more likely to imagine uses that were closer to the actual function of the objects.

However, there was also an increase in originality with age, and older adults were more likely to provide more detailed or colourful ideas.

Adolescents and young adults scored higher for fluency and flexibility of imagination.

Dr Angela Nyhout, assistant professor at the University of Kent’s School of Psychology, said: "These new findings dispel the commonly held belief that humans lose their imaginations as they age.

"Instead it shows that our imaginations continue to grow and change, even throughout adulthood, with the over 60s actually showing the most originality.

“We just need the freedom of the right environment and opportunity to explore the limits of our imagination, and historical places are a perfect place to do this.”

The new adult dressing-up costumes range from Roman togas, Medieval chainmail and WWII uniform, through to smart Victorian suits and exquisite Tudor gowns.

For further information, visit

Report by Oscar Hamilton-Russell

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