Wednesday, May 25, 2016

England: The Darby House

One of my future books will be set in Ironbridge and that means I needed to learn about one of the most influential families in the area . . . the Darby's. Here's a picture of their house.

The house Abraham Darby built in Coalbrookdale.
I learned lots of interesting things about the family, but I'll save those tidbits for my story. In the mean time, there were lots of quirky things in the house. Check out this small cabinet of drawers. Victorians were superstitious, so there's no number 13.

Notice the iron tobacco box on the right of the pen and ink stand on the desk. I couldn't get closer to get a real clear shot, but the embossment on top is that of a slave. Not that the Darby's were pro-slavery. Quite the opposite, bringing attention to the plight of slaves.

When I think of a dumb waiter, I think of a tiny elevator-type shaft that one can send food up from the kitchen to the dining room. Not in this house. See this terraced stand that was in the corner of the dining room? Yeah. That's a "dumb waiter."

Moving upstairs to the bedroom . . . even back then reading in bed at night was a relaxing pleasure. The reading light was a candle and see the porcelain upside-down little cup next to it? That's the snuffer.

And last but not least, umm . . . what if you had too many glasses of water before you went to bed? I'll just leave you with this picture and let you figure it out. This is what's in the bottom drawer of the night stand.


Southern-fried Fiction said...

My mom had a tiered table like that. And the bottom drawer in the night stand? The lower classes used a "goes-under" which was a bowl with a handle that you slid under the bed. My Hubs grew up with one. They had an outhouse containing a flush toilet in the courtyard and used by 4 families. They lived in northern England, where they'd get several feet off snow in the winter. They had to leave an oil lamp or candle burning in the outhouse all winter. If it burned out, the toilet would freeze and they had to use the goes-under until Spring.

chappydebbie said...

I remember reading somewhere that during fancy gatherings, the "ladies" would simply go into a corner of the room and straddle a gravy boat looking thing.....I'd hate to get them mixed up with actual gravy boats.
That house looks like an apartment building to me. I guess it's the angle.

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