MORE than 700 people stepped through the doors of Gawthorpe Hall to go back in time and enjoy the delights of the Victorian era.

Families from across East Lancashire and beyond were left thrilled with the experience that ran over two days this weekend.

Rachel Pollitt, manager at the Padiham-based historic venue, said the seasonal event was an excellent way of raising money to help with running costs of the premises.

She said: "It is a wonderful time of year to open the doors to the public and we managed to raise lots of money for the upkeep of the building to enable future events and exhibitions to carry on."

Visitors were able to learn how a Christmas pudding was made a tradition in Victorian times by Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert.

Although in the 14th Century the traditional pudding changed into a sort of porridge which was made from beef, mutton, raisins, currents, prunes, wine and mixed spices.

Miss Pollitt said: "The house keeper was in the kitchen giving an insight into the traditions behind a Victorian Christmas pudding.

"We had craft activities and children made baubles.

"They also wrote with a quail pen and it was just how Christmas cards and name places were written back then.

"It was a wonderful gathering and gave people the opportunity to have that festive feel without it being commercial.

"It was a lot like a history lesson and the children were able to find out what sort of toys children would get in the Victorian times."

The grand hall was built in the 1600s by the Shuttleworth family and Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth was the last family resident to live there until she died in 1967.

She was responsible for putting together the textile collection that is on display in the hall.

Gawthorpe Hall was given to the National Trust in the 1970s and became a college for teaching textile techniques for several years before it was opened as the historic house that we see today.

The National Trust leases the property to Lancashire County Council who manages it on a day to day basis.