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Living life in a Georgian Household
What was life in a grand Georgian house really like ? The closest you may come to finding out would be to choose one as your wedding venue. This handy article digs deeper into Georgian households and discovers the true Upstairs Downstairs..
Historians say that when you visit Georgian houses now and walk through hushed rooms, with sections of them barred with the obligatory crimson rope preventing you treading on some delicate rug or sitting on some old piece of furniture, you really are seeing the skeleton of the home without the body.
Georgian homes, while they give the impression of offering much space to those living there, they were often crammed full of people. There would be no end of siblings, step children, old aunts and uncles whispering in the corners plus a whole household of staff.
These might have ranged from the scullery maid, the butler, the gardener then the master, the mistress and head groundsman – a whole army of staff.
The home might be furnished elegantly, spacious dining rooms, chinoiserie wallpaper and large picture windows overlooking clipped lawns, sculpted topiary hedges and water cascading from fountains in the garden. As a visitor, what you wouldn’t see was the mechanics of the whole operation.
Servants would have been clattering up and down the stairs with full chamber pots and there would be the unmistakable whiff of unwashed bodies and animals, the smell of smoke emanating from the many fires as the only source of heat in such a large house, and the unmistakable stench of last night’s beef and cabbage.
And while you are enjoying your Georgian surroundings at the Essex or Hertfordshire wedding venue, spare a thought for those families considered well off. Life might have been privileged, but it wasn’t perfect as even they were not afforded the luxury of privacy. It is said that Jane Austen had to share a bedroom with siblings for most of her adult life.
However, Georgian homes were truly magnificent. Architecture from this period spans from 1720 to 1840 and homes built in this style were generally box shaped with a front door centrally positioned and the windows arranged in symmetrical pattern – usually five across from the first floor upwards.
The front door was often flanked by colonnades and the door itself would have had glass as the top panels. Step behind the front door and you find the building generally two rooms deep. There were always two chimneys, one at each end of the house.
The topmost floor would contain the smallest windows. This was where the servants would live. These windows would be smaller-paned sash windows. By being smaller they also reduced the amount of window tax the master of the house would have to pay.
One of the best places to see wonderfully elegant Georgian architecture is Brighton and Hove. There you will find row upon row of Georgian town houses often referred to as Regency architecture – a sub period of Georgian, as they would have been built when Prince Regent was a frequent visitor of the area. Take a trip there – there’s much more to do than just looking at buildings.
Visit : http://www.downhall.co.uk
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