After nine years as an active member of the steampunk community, Gloucester’s David Lee, founder of Hatton Cross Steampunk, still has trouble coming up with the exact definition of steampunk.
His daughter, Jessica Lee, however, takes a good shot and calls the steampunk genre “what the people of the Victorian era thought the future would look like.” This trend tends to manifest itself into literature, film, fashion and just about every other art form branching off into science fiction and alternate history.
Although David Lee didn’t hear the word “steampunk” until 2009, he had already had some unofficial experience in costume design. He had made costumes for friends who were working as extras on the set of “A New World.” It was this experience that made Lee realize how easy and enjoyable costume design is.
In addition to his light experience in costume design, David Lee also joined Jessica in local historical reenactments. She did not appreciate that for most aspects of reenacting; she either had to sacrifice historical accuracy or her participation.
In 2009, Jessica Lee wrote her first book. Shortly after she finished a sequel, she was traveling to local conventions to sell her books. This is how she and her father found the world of steampunk. After hearing about steampunk, David and Jessica Lee decided to pursue this hobby. The inclusive nature of the steampunk community as a whole appealed to them because the limitations of expectation and accuracy do not apply to fiction. As Jessica Lee comments, “the genre allows you to push the boundaries of expectation.”
In 2010, just one year after hearing the word “steampunk” for the first time, David Lee founded Hatton Cross Steampunk. HCS is a collective of makers, artists, authors, entertainers and fashion aficionados that have come to embrace their talents to contribute to the steampunk genre. He started the group with his fellow steampunk enthusiasts after realizing that many steampunk creators they met at conventions belonged to a guild. A friend recommended looking at a list of London underground stations and combining the best two names to get a guild name. That is how Hatton Cross Steampunk came to be, turning a hobby into a community.