Thursday, 11 June 2015

From York Show (7th June) part 2

Here come some more things I bought at the show.....

As you can see this is my collection from Harlands of Hedon.  This is always a stall I have to stop by at a show.  They do the loveliest and often amusing, set pieces.  One of my favourites is a baby's pram stuffed full of household goods, right down to a small roll of lino, all ready to do a moonlight flit.  As well as the gorgeous farm things such as cute chickens and ducks, there are a lot of 'core' needs such as coal and spuds.  

I picked up some folded linen.  I may replace the ties with some ribbon in different colours.  Linen was often tied with different coloured tapes to identify its 'destination'.  Family linen, servants linen, different linen for different bedrooms and so on.

The coal and over-sized kindling/logs will be needed to keep the kitchen range going.

I will remove the candle label from the crate of candles and these will be locked away with the ale.  Issuing white candles was again the responsibility of the butler or housekeeper.  They were very expensive and had to be accounted for.  Susanna's husband ordered theirs from London and it was a major expense in their household budget.  Servants were not allowed any light to get them to bed because of the fear of fire in the house and they would not have had these quality wax candles any way.  The 'lower orders' used tallow tapers and candles.  As late as the 1930's (and really even into my 1945 electric childhood) people generally got around their home in the (semi) dark.  You sort of developed 'night vision' sufficiently enough to get around without the light on (or candle lit) as 'it all costs money' .

The sugar loaf is a relatively small one and very white.  The Philips sisters have a decent income which goes a long way in Lyme Regis.  They were raised in a large house in London and still like the very best of things.

The larger and less white a sugar loaf was, the less fine the grade of sugar.  Refining molasses was a repeated process with each stage rendering the sugar whiter and whiter.  A cone of about five inches diameter and five inches in height was just about the very best quality and was expensive enough (again) to be locked up.  Generally they were about 10 -14 inches wide and 30 inches high.  They were wrapped in paper and weren't used in the way we see them displayed in NT houses and their ilk.  They were broken down into large chunks with a hammer or mallet and these large chunks were the pieces which were then nipped with the sugar nippers that we see around the 'dressed' kitchens that we visit.  The size of the pieces after that decreases all the way down to (pestle and mortar ground) powdered sugar (icing sugar) depending on what it was being used for.  It was said that the sign of a well-run kitchen was that the sugar and spices would be stored in their various drawers already ground and ready to use. 

Valerie Claire's site is a wonderland that you can get lost in for hours.  Indeed, typing that, I just a had a vision of feet up and a cuppa with iPad and a looooong trawl this evening.  I bought a ton of her things when I did my Edwardian dressmakers and milliners but you don't need to be doing a shop to find lovely little bits and bobs on her site.  I was very restrained at the show and just bought a few findings.  Lovely to have someone go and find your findings for you!  

The eight little bullets on the right, I hope, are going to make feet for my linen cupboard.  The five at the top and three on the left are destined to be the connecting piece into the wall for the bell pulls in various rooms.  The four at the bottom - I wanted more but that was all she had - are for the bells in the servants hall.

We see a lot of service bells just as bells on springs with a room label.  An essential thing that seems to be missing more often than not is the little tag that dangled from them.  often by the time you got to the bell board the bell would have stopped ringing but there was a tag tied to them which would still be twitching on its string for quite a while.

Side-note here....  my first clerk/secretary job in 1962 was in an office I shared with two other girls.  Between us we worked for six people.  On the wall beside my desk was a service bell board only a little more sophisticated than this.  The bell was rung by one of 'the bosses' and a red disc dropped into place.  You reset this when you heard/saw it, identified the ringer, and hared off to find out what they wanted.


Glasscraft is nothing less than a passion of mine.  This man's work is exquisite and he has a phenomenal range to choose from.  He is rightly famed for his cranberry ware.  Sadly ruby ware, as it was known then, wasn't in full flood until about 1870 so it is unlikely my ladies would have had any unless I give them some collected early 18th century Bohemian glass and put them in advance of mere fashion.

Meanwhile I have acquired (from the left) Georgian celery vase and celery, Georgian decanter, glass chamber candle, wine glass (I have five right now, may get more) and a large storm lantern type affair for a candle.  This will reside in the vestibule.  Susanna W's instructions for the very last chore to be done in the house before bed was that the housekeeper and butler were equally responsible for ensuring there were no lights left burning and the fires were left safely settled.  However she did want one constant candle left lit in case of emergency but it must be stable, sited in a safe place and available to everyone.  In my house the vestibule makes best sense.  The candle would need to be large enough to burn all night and protected from draughts to ensure it didn't go out. I expect to be severely reprimanded if I have made a wrong choice.

Ray Storey

Anyone who has been in this hobby a while will know that Ray Storey is a legend in his own lifetime.  His lights are identifiably his and I can count on one finger anyone making lights like these any more.  As he keeps reminding us when he is no more what will we do then?  Luckily, in my case, I will probably also be 'no more'.

For now I have these.  A kitchen oil lamp. I think I have another of these oil lamps (unsold) in the cupboard so with luck I have a pair for my large kitchen. Fairly good oil lamps were just about around in 1830 and the Philips sisters have just had a modern kitchen installed, so they may as well stretch to improving the lighting.  Fashionable (with guests) dinners were beginning to be served in the evening so cooking and serving a 6.30 pm dinner in the winter would be something of a challenge without some lighting.  Indeed it was the advent of improved lighting - oil lamps, then gas and then electricity that allowed more and more 'nocturnal' activities.  Prior to this it was early to bed and early to rise - living with the natural circadian rhythms of our planet.

 The brass wall lamps are probably destined for the dining room as I am still dreaming of being able to find a girondelle mirror (times two) with candles for the drawing room.  Right now the plan for the dining room is a wall candle or two above the sideboard/serving area and a lit candelabra on the table.  With firelight included it should be well enough lit to see your fish.

The small bedchamber candle may go in the housekeeper's room as she was privileged and trusted with fire.  Not a good move as cook's were notorious drunks.

The oil lamp may well go in the library.  It is not especially pretty but it would have been more impressive than candlelight and more practical when showing off your collection and needing a lamp to read by.  I am looking out for a nicer one for the parlour.

hall lantern

enough room
I bought a two candle lamp for the vestibule which will give a powerful light in such a small area; might be overkill.  I couldn't wait to get home and make sure my little people could walk under it.  I need a small Regency/Adam (calm decoration) ceiling rose for it.  Other than the oil lamps in the kitchen this will probably be the only ceiling light.

Last four vendors tomorrow.

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