What are Kitchens, Sculleries, and Larders?

Kitchens, sculleries, and larders: Victorian Kitchen Maids
Victorian Kitchen Maids, Public Domain

Kitchens were used for cooking and usually connected to Larders, Entrances, Sculleries, Dining-rooms, Sideboard-rooms, Servant-Halls, Steward-rooms, Housekeeper’s room, and Still-rooms. The most important features of a good Kitchen was coolness, dryness, and good lighting. Ventilation was also of primary importance because people did not want odors or cooking smells permeating into a family’s living quarters or greeting guests at the front door. Continue reading

What are State-Rooms?

State-rooms of Blenheim Palace Marked "C" and "D", Courtesy of Wikipedia
State-rooms of Blenheim Palace Marked “C” and “D”, Courtesy of Wikipedia

In the 1700s, State-rooms were generally found in large European mansions or palaces. Admittance into these rooms was considered a privilege, and the further a person penetrated, the greater the honor. State-rooms also implied one of a suite of very grand rooms that were designed to impress guests, but at the same time State-rooms did not necessarily sacrifice family comfort, even if the mansion that contained them was to be maintained in palatial style. Moreover, State-rooms tended to be specialized rooms with specific purposes. State-rooms included such rooms as Ball-rooms, Domestic Chapels, Great Libraries or Museums, Music-rooms, State Dining-rooms, State Drawing-rooms, and State-Galleries. Continue reading

What are Upper-Servant Offices?

Upper-servant offices

Status was just as important among servants as it was within aristocratic ranks. Upper-servants supervised under-servants (sometimes called lower servants) and under-servants deferred to upper-servants. Upper-servants included the house steward, butler, valet, head housekeeper, head nurse, and lady’s maid. Upper-servants also enjoyed privileges that under-servants did not, and, in order for upper-servants to perform their jobs effectively, they were often allotted special offices or quarters for their use. Such offices or quarters included the Butler’s Pantry, China-closet and Scullery, Gun-rooms, House-Steward’s Office, Housekeeper’s-Room, Service or Sideboard-rooms, Still-rooms, Steward’s-Room or Upper-Servants’-Hall, and Store-rooms. Continue reading

What are Supplementary Rooms?

supplementary rooms
Family Residence of the Early 1800s, Author’s Collection

Houses of the eighteenth and nineteenth century had a variety of different rooms that functioned in different ways. One important categories was supplementary rooms. Supplementary Rooms were additional rooms sometimes connected or attached to other rooms. Supplementary Rooms included such rooms as cloak-rooms, lavatories, bathrooms, plunge or swimming baths, service-rooms, and water-closets. Continue reading

What are House Thoroughfares?

House Thoroghfares Consisted of Rooms such as this Gallery of the 1890s
Gallery of the 1890s, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Thoroughfares were the routes or entrances used to access a house or various rooms inside a house. Thoroughfares also sometimes functioned as secondary rooms, but their main purpose was to accommodate traffic flow inside the house and allow entrance and egress to the house. Areas considered thoroughfares were Ante-rooms, Entrance Halls, Garden Entrances, Lobbies, Luggage Rooms, other Secondary Entrances — Corridors, Galleries, Passages, Nursery Entrances, and Secondary Garden Entrances — Porches, Saloons, Staircases, and Vestibules. Continue reading

What are Sleeping-Rooms and Children’s Rooms?


Houses of the eighteenth and nineteenth century had a variety of different rooms that functioned in different ways. Two categories of rooms were sleeping rooms and children rooms. Sleeping Rooms were rooms used by families for sleeping, dressing, and for privacy. Children’s Rooms were preserved for children and were usually located in a house so as to relieve “the main part of the house…from the more immediate occupation of the Children.” Continue reading

What are Day-rooms?

Boudoir of Louis XVI's Time Period, Day-rooms
Boudoir of Louis XVI’s Time Period, Public Domain

Houses of the eighteenth and nineteenth century had a variety of different rooms that functioned in different ways. One category of rooms were known as Day-rooms. Day-rooms were rooms used by a family during the daytime. They included such rooms as billiard-rooms, boudoirs, breakfast or luncheon-rooms, conservatories, dining-rooms, drawing-rooms, gentlemen’s odd-rooms, gentlemen or business-rooms, libraries, parlor dining-rooms, morning-rooms, saloons, sitting-rooms, smoking-rooms, and studies. Continue reading

The Grecian Bend

Grecian Bend from 1868, Courtesy of Wikipedia
Grecian Bend from 1868, Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Grecian Bend was a stooping fashion that first made its appearance England in the 1820s, although it did not reach the pinnacle of popularity until Victorian times (somewhere between 1869 and 1880). It supposedly acquired its name from the graceful Venus de Milo as she inclined slightly forward. The stooping fashion was also imitative of a physical affliction. Because physical afflictions often could not be corrected or because famous people had the afflictions, people copied them and adopted them as a fashion statement, just like they adopted the Alexandra Limp. Moreover, the Grecian Bend seemed erotic to Victorians because a woman’s breast and rear jutted out. Also making the fashion more appealing, was the belief that any woman who adopted the Grecian Bend was bold and daring.

Women who adopted the Grecian Bend quickly discovered they were more than bold or daring because they soon found they were in severe pain. Being stuck in such a strange position caused back aches and was said to be “wearisome” for those who had to maintain the position for hours. However, despite the aches and pains, thousands of woman embraced the Grecian Bend. At its peak it was seen regularly at watering places, such as Bath. But Bath was not the only spot where the Grecian Bend became popular. Soon the fashion spread across the ocean to America. Continue reading

Jane Austens Vocabulary From Mansfield Park

Mary Crawford Plays Her Harp, Public Domain
Mary Crawford Plays Her Harp, Public Domain

Mansfield Park was Jane Austen’s third novel. It was published in 1814 and is likely her most controversial novel because of Fanny Price, a character who some nineteenth century readers found timidity, priggish, and unlikable. Additionally, while it is a morally wholesome novel, Austen avoided many of the important issues of the day, such as the Napoleonic War, the Industrial Age, and abolishing the slave trade.

While Austen may have been indifferent to the happenings in the outside world, the world she created inside her book took readers on a journey of of love and romance. Helping in this romantic endeavor were the interesting words she chose when writing her book. Fifteen of the words found in Mansfield Park are described and defined below. Continue reading

The Bottle Conjuror of 1749

Haymarket Theatre where the Bottle Conjurer of 1749 Appeared
Haymarket Theatre as it Appears Today, Courtesy of Wikipedia

On 16 January 1749, at the New Theater in Haymarket, an anonymous person known as the “Bottle Conjuror” or “Bottle Conjurer” was set to perform a variety of amazing feats at six-thirty in the evening. He advertised that while wearing a mask he would be able to identify anyone who came to him and that he could draw the likeness of any dead person requested by any audience member. He also promised to take a common walking stick from someone in the audience and play “the music of every instrument … [while singing in perfect harmony].”

But the conjuror’s final feat was to be the most startling and amazing. According to the Bottle Conjuror, he guaranteed that while on stage and in full view of the audience, he would stuff himself, from head to toe, into a common quart bottle. After doing so the bottle was to be passed to audience members so that they could examine and reassure themselves he was contained within it. Moreover, supposedly, this amazing and miraculous feat had already been witnessed by many of the “crowned heads of Asia, Africa, and Europe.” Continue reading