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The Society of Salome’s 1890s Picnic

Readers of Wonderland City will no doubt be interested in a brief report about a splendid event which was held early in July, near Kenwood House, on Hampstead Heath.

Early arrivals, with Kenwood House in the background

The Society of Salome is “an informal group that appreciates the aesthetic & fashion of the Victorian, Edwardian & Art Deco periods. It is dedicated to people who are interested in attending events in the UK in historical styles of these eras.”  In our experience, two qualities tend to go together with this sort of endeavour: an alluring amount of elegance and welcoming, inclusive company.

Settling down to a bucolic repast

Those qualities were indeed in evidence at the Society’s recent (and first) 1890s Picnic, held on Saturday, July 3rd.  The picnickers began the afternoon with a visit to Kenwood House, Robert Adam’s 18th C. mastepiece.  The party then adjourned to one of the sweeping lawns that descend from the house towards the Wood Pond and Thousand Pound Pond. Picnic hampers were unpacked, blankets unfurled and conversation flowed.

Tea, Champagne, Bowlers and Boaters…

Despite the occasional spot of English drizzle, ably repelled by the fronds of a massive oak, the day turned out drier than the forecasts had earlier indicated.  As a result, no boater hats were damaged nor drinks watered down. Late afternoon even produced the odd ray of sun.

Elegance not just in attire but in the setting, too

Despite the gradual re-opening of social venues over the past few weeks, specialised events and meetings of this sort are only just re-starting. At the time of the picnic, for instance, indoor seating remained limited to six people, but outdoor events could include as many as 30. Friends were delighted to meet in person for the first time in months and many new acquaintances were made as well. 

An Edwardian pose struck by the pond

A charming aspect of such publicly located events is the lack of an entry fee and the opportunity to show a little style and swagger to fellow humans, with several inquisitive members of the public engaging with the picnic. We also enjoyed tremendously the opportunity to converse with some vintage enthusiasts that we had only previously known from social media. We cannot overstate how welcoming and approachable everyone was, including comparative ‘celebrities’ attending the picnic.

The sun shining through oaken fronds upon a successful event

Just as satisfying was the evident effort made by all picnickers to enter into the stylistic spirit of the event, as readers will judge by the images on show.  We can hardly think of an event whose promoters and participants better exemplify our motto at Wonderland City: “Don’t’ be a spectator, be part of the spectacle.”

We wish to thank Jonny and Olga, of the Society of Salome, most warmly for hosting this event and look forward to many more to follow.  If you are interested in this sort of jolly jape, we suggest you follow their social media presence as well as subscribe to updates from Wonderland City. Further thanks to the attendees who supplied the lovely images you see here, in primis Mr Hartley of the Candlelight Club.

Your intrepid reporter looking as pleased as he felt to be at the 1890s Picnic

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