At Home with the Soanes: Upstairs, Downstairs in 19th Century London

At Home with the Soanes: Upstairs, Downstairs in 19th Century London

by Susan Palmer

Paperback(Revised ed.)

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A look at the day-to-day life once lived inside the home of celebrated British architect John Soane, now a museum that attracts 100,000 visitors a year

The product of many years’ research by Susan Palmer, archivist to Sir John Soane’s Museum, At Home with the Soanes paints a detailed picture of the social and domestic life at Nos 12 & 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, in the early 19th century—how the buildings were heated, the servants’ daily duties, what meals were cooked, wines purchased and teas drunk—even the fate of the family’s pet dog. Family life with two children—in many ways as difficult as modern offspring—is brought vividly to life and the below-stairs relationships of the servants are poignantly recorded. The evening social whirl of visits to theaters and supper parties is chronicled, and the description of seaside holidays on the Kentish coast, when Margate was in vogue, portrays the social niceties of promenades and dances. Originally published in 1997, At Home with the Soanes has been updated to include the latest discoveries that have come to light during restoration of the house and redesigned to include more than 100 illustrations, mostly in color, from the extensive Museum archive, including photographs of the newly-recreated "lost" private apartments. At Home with the Soanes offers a fascinating insight into this London family’s life, both upstairs and downstairs.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781910258446
Publisher: Pimpernel Press
Publication date: 08/01/2015
Edition description: Revised ed.
Pages: 112
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Susan Palmer is archivist at Sir John Soane's Museum in London.

Table of Contents

Introduction 7

Prelude 8

1 The Houses and the Household 10

The neighbourhood

The houses

Pitzhanger Manor Chelsea Hospital

The household

2 Servicing the House 20

Water and drains



The Kitchen

3 The Servants' Daily Round 32


The Housemaids

The Cook The Butler

The Footman

The Coachman

Leisure time Arguments among the Servants, 1827

4 Family Life in the House 44

Morning toilet


Daily activities


5 Food and Drink 66





Dairy Products Herbs and Spices

Sugar and other dry goods Fruit and desserts

Evening tea

Menus Tea, Coffee and Chocolate

Alcoholic Drinks


6 The Children 82

7 Holidays 90






8 Illness and Death 100

Epilogue 106

List of illustrations 108

Acknowledgements 112

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