Life below stairs on view in Essex
VISITORS to Audley End House and Gardens near Saffron Walden can gain greater insight of what life was like below stairs. The kitchen, cook's room and laundry room have opened to the public for the first time.
VISITORS to Audley End House and Gardens near Saffron Walden can gain greater insight of what life was like below stairs.
The kitchen, cook's room and laundry room have opened to the public for the first time.
After conservation work undertaken for English Heritage these rooms will allow visitors to learn what life was like for staff trying to keep a grand Jacobean house in smooth running order in the Victorian perod.
Gareth Hughes, English Heritage curator of art, said: "The opening of these service rooms builds on previous work in the butler's pantry and provides the wider context for the grand dining room display – all the food, every piece of silver, glass and china had to be carried from these service rooms in the north of the house to the dining room on the first floor of the south wing."
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Caroline Sier, English Heritage's assistant director visitor operations, added: "The renovation and opening of the dry laundry, kitchen and cook's room all help provide a fascinating insight into 'life below stairs' at Audley End – in contrast with the grandeur of the majority of rooms already open to the public.
"Thanks to this work and the generous grant from the Friends of Audley End, the end result is that there is even more to see and do this year at one of the finest visitor attractions in the East of England."
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The 1760s kitchen was built as part of Sir John Griffin's work at the same time as the brewhouse and dairy. Previously used as the gift shop, it can now be appreciated with the original 19th century dresser and cast iron ranges in place.
The mid 19th century kitchen table, which takes centre-stage in the room, is on loan from Kenwood House, London.
The cook's room at the back of the kitchen was most likely built in the 1880s, following a fire in the kitchen. The head cook would have retired here - in more comfortable surroundings than the servants - overseeing the running of the kitchen. Organised school trips and specialised tours have the chance to see inside the room, which is not on general display.
The 1784 dry laundry, probably built by Placido Columbani, shows the original fittings including washing tubs, lead lined rinsing tubs and a box mangle, which have been reinstated after extensive conservation work to the ceiling and walls.