The bedroom is laid out as it would have been in the house of a 19th Century statesman farmer. The Victorian middle classes in Lakeland, just like elsewhere, spared no effort on their homes. New inventions such as the sewing machine were transforming the way that people did things and the ideal home had distinctive rooms for every purpose including a comfortable bedroom, a far cry from the traditional Cumbrian farmer’s life of a large family all living and sleeping in one or two rooms.
Furnishings were numerous and sumptuous and you can see the fine carved bed alongside a linen press and kists (the local name for a blanket chest). However some jobs were still laborious and bathing was one of those. The tin bath in front of the fire reminds us that hot water was still a luxury and all the water had to be heated in kettles over the fire and brought up to the bathtub.
Featured Item – Hot Water Bottle
With no central heating Victorian homes could be very cold, especially in the notorious Lake District weather! This hot water bottle would have helped to keep away the chills. Unlike today’s light and flexible hot water bottles made from rubber this one is made from earthenware. It could be filled with hot water just like today’s hot water bottles however such items were commonly referred to as ‘stones’ harking back to the common practice of using heated stones or bricks to keep hands or feet warm if you could not afford a hot water bottle.