Monday, 20 July 2015

Lanhydrock - life below stairs!

When we went to Cornwall in April - so long ago now!! - we stopped off on the way there at Lanhydrock which is a wonderful National Trust House.  I have already shown you some of the ceiling details in an earlier post, but as I had more pictures, I decided to split them up to share with you.  So today we go "below stairs" which is my favourite part about Lanhydrock.

You may well have seen the famous kitchens on television programmes as they have been featured many times and I was told by several people that other programmes and movies have been filmed there as well, including apparently some Rosamund Pilcher films although I am not sure which ones.

Lanhydrock was a very moral house.  The female and male servants were kept well separated with different staircases and their rooms were also apart from each other.  The staff were well cared for though.

We start our journey around the kitchens with the reminder of who was wanted when the different bells rang.  Housemaid once!


The day that we visited was very busy, so I have tried to keep people "out of shot" as much as I could, but it did mean that I couldn't always get far enough back to get a wide angle - which is partly why I have so many pictures.


This is the main preparation cooking area.  The ceiling is very high to allow the smells of cooking to dissipate easily.


There are several dressers and many shelves, all adorned with beautiful blue and white china and wonderfully polished copper pans and moulds and so on.



The range is enormous.  This picture really doesn't do it justice in terms of the size.  It is taller than me and far wider than I could stretch my arms - and I am not short!  This is how meat was really roasted in the "olden days" before an open fire on a continually turning spit.  The large trays on the floor are to catch the drippings and to allow for the meat to basted with them.  The spits are turned all the time and you can see some of the mechanism below.  The brass objects that you can see hanging are called Bottle Jacks.  They have a clockwork mechanism inside and once wound up, you can hang a joint of meat from them and it will spin by itself in front of the fire - very slowly - to roast the meat.  Turning first one way and then the other.



Above you can see a Wedgwood Cane Ware dish that is for a meat pie.  The dish represents the pastry so that you didn't have to make a pastry case all the time.



There was so much copper I didn't know where to look first.  Even the sink had a copper surround and was brightly polished.


There were iron cooking pots as well, but the copper was the most beautiful of course.


Then we moved onto the scullery area where all of the washing up was done.  You need a massive plate rack of course to let all of the plates drain once they had been washed up.  Isn't this rack magnificent!  Can you imagine having that many plates though!



There was a large bench for preparation of ingredients and a warming oven to keep dishes hot before being taken to table.



Another item that really intrigued me was this slow cooker.  You can read about it above.  These were revived and were very popular in WW2 and were sometimes called a Hay Box.  Because they were filled with hay!



You then go through to the bakery area.  Although there wasn't any bread being baked, there was a large display of "fake" bread to give you the idea of the amount that could be produced.


The bread oven is very solid to retain the heat needed to bake the bread.


The large bin that you can see below is for flour.  You would have needed quite a lot at once in this house!



There was also a cold larder for storing hams and meat that you can see above and a diary for storing cheeses and so on.



You could also visit several other rooms in the kitchen area, but they were too small to get any good photos.  It is all fascinating though!  If you like to see life below stairs this is definitely the house for you.
 

We then moved on to exploring the rest of the house and we will go upstairs to the servants quarters in a moment, but on the way, we are stopping by The Stewards Room.  The Steward was the Land Agent who ran the estate.  Although this isn't strictly "below stairs" I have included it here as it was not a room used by the family.

There are many bookcases to hold all of the books and records that the Steward would have needed.



There were also plans of the house in case they needed to be referred to.




Now we have skipped upstairs to the servants quarters.  You can see that the rooms were quite dark and therefore difficult to photograph.  They were far more luxurious than you might imagine them to be, although of course still sparse compared to they way we would furnish a room nowadays.


This room held a lot of excess furniture and other objects.


The luggage room is magnificent, piled high with luggage and cases of all kinds.


The house suffered a terrible fire in the early 1880's and was almost destroyed.  It had to be rebuilt and there was obviously a great emphasis on fire prevention after that, so fire buckets and hoses were much in evidence!



There were other rooms to see as well, the linen closet and the room where the footmen hung their livery and so on.  It really is all very fascinating and well worth a visit should you get the chance to go!

Another day I will share the gardens with you and the rest of the house.  You can find my post about the ceilings here.

Amy

37 comments:

  1. I love the below stairs area of these houses, I dont have much interest in the fancy stuff and architecture of the house itself the Kitchens and gardens are what I love to see, I would to have a working kitchen with different rooms :-)

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  2. Very interesting, thanks for the tour. I have been to Lanhydrock but it was a very long time ago and I don't remeber much - I was a teenager at the time and not interested in old things!

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  3. wow..that's an amazing kitchen! And those artisan bread...o lord..just out of this world!

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  4. The dresser (and everything on it) in photo no.4 is beautiful. I can't even begin to imagine how hard people had to work in a place like that - imagine being the kitchen or scullery maid - all that copper polishing!

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  5. So interesting Amy, thanks to your excellent photos. The hay box cooker is new to me, but makes sense when you think about it. I love the pie dish, and wish I had one, as I always see pastry as too many calories! We could have pie all the time with that dish :) The amazing kitchen looks a bit familiar to me - perhaps I have seen it on some TV show or film. It must have served a large number of people in its heyday. xx

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  6. I enjoy visiting the 'below stairs' displays, you really get a feel for just how hard the work was back then x

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  7. It is such a long time since I visited Lanhydrock that I hardly recognise any of it, which tells me that I should really return again.
    I loved the photo of the large preparation bench and the sun filtering through the white nets.

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  8. Thoroughly enjoyed this! I'm trying to imagine how hot the kitchen got when all the heating elements were on the go for a large dinner!
    I can imagine the kitchen maid listening to the rings very carefully just in case the third "triiiiiiiiiiing" was for her.
    Even the colours of the cold pantry are cool,it felt chilly just looking at the pictures.
    I could go on and on...just one last thing...(honest) my Mum used hay boxes for her catering business. Things could be part cooked and left to finish off in the boxes,it saved fuel and meant easy transportation to outdoor events.
    Jane x

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  9. Lovely, Amy thanks for sharing the photos. I love the 'downstairs' rooms of these places. Last time we visited the south-west we went to Cotehele and Castle Drogo, Lanhydrock was the one we didn't get to so it was lovely to see your photos:)

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  10. What magnificent kitchens. Fantastic place to visit but can you imagine working there?

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  11. Hello Amy, thanks for such an interesting post. I really enjoyed your virtual tour.
    Have a good week!
    Ingrid xx
    Myfunkycrochet.blogspot.be

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  12. We visited this place a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. Thanks for the reminder.

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  13. I love this - this is so "Downton-Abbey-ish" ! Nothing more intriguing than seeing how old houses & estates were run by the staff !

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  14. I think the 'below stairs' bit of these houses are the most interesting part. I love that huge range and the bread oven. I must make an effort to go to Lanhydrock when we go to Cornwall again.

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  15. Thanks Amy for the tour, which brought back memories of my visit there in 2011 with my penfriend and her husband. I loved it, especially the kitchen and work areas plus the garden. Have a good week and take care.

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  16. Simply fabulous! I'd love to visit a place like that one day.

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  17. Fascinating place, so interesting seeing all the pictures. xx

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  18. Can you imagine having to polish all that copper? It would be amazing to have those pot and pans for daily cooking though.

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  19. very cool. i love seeing the innermost parts of homes like this ... i think it will be neat to see this in person too. i love history & seeing how folks lived. what an interesting trip. ( :

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  20. What a lovely tour Amy! I love seeing the working areas of the home too. What a gorgeous kitchen, and that ceiling is incredible!
    Wendy

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  21. Fabulous photos of a fabulous looking place - I've not visited Lanhydrock - yet! It must have been unbearably hot in that kitchen when they were on 'full roast', so to speak. I didn't realise you had to ring three times for the kitchenmaid - that explains a lot...

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  22. Hi Amy! Oh, I've just loved the tour. That kitchen is amazing! Move over Downton Abbey! :) I love all of the copper pots they used and love seeing all of the dishes too. I know you enjoyed this so much I sure did.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  23. These are my favorite parts of a great house, because if my family had lived there that's where they would have worked. Loved that Wedgwood pottery dish.

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  24. Amy, wonderful pictures....it's fun to imagine living and working in this house/kitchen area.

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  25. Great photo's, I love old fashion kitchens. That dresser is a dream! X

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  26. 'Below Stairs' is always my favorite part of the NT buildings - and the kitchen gardens :) Thanks for the tour of this gorgeous house.

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  27. I love looking at the working parts of these big houses, much more than the family rooms. I am also tempted to take the household accounts books, gamekeeper's records etc. off the shelves and have a leaf through them.

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  28. I love seeing old kitchens - it is fascinating to see how everything was kept highly polished - what a lot of work!!

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  29. Very fascinating post today Amy.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  30. Wow! Amazing photos, Amy. I love the hay box.

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  31. It's all so well preserved, so interesting. You can just imagine all the clatter and cooking smells. x

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  32. I love the old kitchens and servants' quarters in old houses. In fact, I'd rather visit those than the upstairs parts! These ones look amazing! :o)

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  33. very interesting post. LOVE the pictures. Such organization for large gatherings. I Love the plate drying rack.

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  34. What a marvellous post, thank you so much for sharing all these images Amy. The downstairs of a big old country house always fascinates me far more than the upstairs.

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  35. Oh how I enjoyed this! I would be in heaven to get to see this house, especially the kitchen which is a DREAM! I'm sure everyone had to work so hard there that they didn't enjoy all the wonderful things about it, but looking back at it with my modern eyes, I would adore having a kitchen like this! Yes, a modern little kitchen could be tucked off to the side, where no one would see where the real cooking is done, but to have a kitchen like this to just absorb all the history and enjoy every day would be glorious! What a wonderful historic house! Great post!

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  36. Just love this Amy! So fascinating and like right out of Downton Abbey! Such a different place in time and it's amazing to see how far we've come with modern conveniences. My that kitchen (high ceiling or not) must have been hotter than blazes much of the time with giant meat roasting fires and bread ovens! And it wasn't like you could wear a nice cool tank top, you'd be covered up to your neck in proper dress. But what a romance to it all too. That's why we're so fascinated and watching shows like Downton. thanks for sharing!!

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  37. Wow! I love the pictures--I'm always fascinated by social history. Though it does make my arms ache just to look at what kitchens were really like. :)

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