Video: Rat’s life in Victorian York

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IT WAS an era when the disparity between rich and poor was one of the most pressing social issues.

And one of Yorkshire’s most popular museums is highlighting the divide between the wealthy and poverty-stricken members of Victorian society as it turns the clock back to the reign of Britain’s longest serving monarch.

Resident rat catcher Jim Snatch tours the museum.

Resident rat catcher Jim Snatch tours the museum.

Visitors to York Castle Museum will be able to meet historical re-enactors in the attraction’s Victorian street, Kirkgate, to gain an insight into what life was like throughout the 19th century in the city.

Events are being staged during next month, including cooking demonstrations of Victorian recipes by BBC food historian Dr Annie Gray on selected Fridays in August.

Other events include talks about the divide between the rich and poor in Victorian society and the chance for visitors to design their own chocolate brand based on York’s long association with the confectionary industry.

An assistant curator of social history at the York Museums Trust, Lisa Coombs, said the activities were aimed at giving a “fascinating insight to Victorian York”.

A major £300,000 revamp of Kirkgate was carried out three years ago to give the clearest idea yet into what life was like in the Victorian era.

Kirkgate was expanded in 2012 with all the shops based on real examples from the late 19th century.