Behind the scenes: domestic arrangements in historic houses
National Trust, Sep 1, 1997 - Architecture - 256 pages
Behind the Scenes is a fascinating exploration of the history of housekeeping through the well-preserved properties of Britain's National Trust.
In today's world of fully stocked supermarkets and astonishing appliances, it is hard to imagine how people managed to run a household in the days before gas, electricity, central heating, refrigeration, and running water. How did they cook meals and launder clothes? And how did they keep their houses clean?
Christina Hardyment answers these and other question as she reconstructs the ingenious domestic methods used in great mansions, medieval castles, Victorian townhouses, and farmhouse cottages in days gone by. The result is an informative, amusing history of the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry, as well as of the bakehouse and brewery, dairy and dovecote, lamp room and larder.
A wealth of color photographs, many taken specially for this book, combine with archival documents and accounts to bring Hardyment's descriptions to life. For tourists, a handy gazetteer provides a guide to the properties.