In 2006, Berwick-upon-Tweed commemorated the 150th anniversary of the end of the Crimean War that Britain, France and Turkey fought against Russia.
It is often said that Berwick-is still in a state of hostilities with Russia, due to a clerical oversight when the peace treaty was concluded at the end of the War.
“The Russians are Coming” was a weekend of re-enactments, living history displays and exhibitions, with dozens of costumed re-enactors staging scenes depicting the daily lives of soldiers, sailors and civilians at locations throughout the town.
Visitors were invited to step back in time to the year 1856 and imagine that the port and garrison town of Berwick-upon-Tweed was facing the threat of an imminent Russian assault! The historic sailing ship “Reaper” was moored at the Quayside, providing a backdrop for some of the living history scenes. Re-enactors representing a company of the 19th Regiment of Foot (Green Howards) had set up an encampment close to the Barracks and a naval press gang was scouring the streets for willing or unwilling recruits.
The highlight of the programme was an action-packed performance, scripted and directed by Berwick Museum curator Chris Green, in which the gallant British soldiers and Royal Marines fought off a surprise attack by a band of escaped Russian prisoners-of-war.
The event coincided with Berwick’s Doors Open Day weekend, which allowed free access to a number of historic buildings that are not usually open to the public.