1 week to go and we are frantically dressing and naming the avatars. All the student avatars have Chantry as their surname and a first name that sounds remotely plausible as a Victorian name but is actually an attested Pompeian name e.g. Eumachia or Atticus. The names are purposefully a mix of names that belonged to upper class elites, freedmen and women and slaves. All 15 of these avatars have to be dressed in Chantry School uniform. they come in a variety of skin tones and hair colour. They also have in their wardrobe a Victoruian and Roman costume so that we can recast them as we take them back in time.

The Roman costumes are not quite ready so we’ll have to do them on the fly but all the Victorian avatars are dressed and named. Their names are made up but they are all matched to plausible character types and carry information in notecards that relate to their statsu and experience of the Crystal Palace. For example, Davey Shaw is a little working class boy who gives visitors a newspaper clipping of the terrible accident in which a number of workers building the Palace were killed. He’ll tell visitors that one of these was his step-father. Coming up with the back stories was pretty difficult because each story had to match a precise bit of authentic material (clipping, advert, review etc) that we wanted to convey to the students. We also have a shareholder and his wife, a governness and her charges, Palace employees etc. I’m pleased with the results.

The key Pompeian characters are all named after characters in Lytton’s 1834 novel Last Days of Pompeii (Ione, Sallust, Nydia). That way we keep the idea of them being largely a Victorian invention. We have kept our favourite from the SL model though – Acheron will still be our cook.


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