Market Lavington Museum

Clyffe Hall entrance – 1898


Taking another look at the fascinating brochure for the auction sale at Clyffe Hall, Market Lavington, in 1898, we will see what it tells us about furnishings and fashions in the entrance hall.

Looking through the lots, we can imagine the scene to a certain extent. Boots and shoes might well have been muddy and the footwear would have needed cleaning using a scraper. Hats were a usual part of the outfit and worn by ladies and gentlemen. The mahogany hat stand offered a place to leave hats when entering a house. There was also an umbrella stand available. The drugget in the hallway would have been a long, narrow hardwearing carpet made of wool or wool and cotton. This was before the time of fitted carpets and the stair carpets would also have been long and narrow and held in place with stair rods. There was usually a border of painted or stained wooden treads visible on either side of the stair carpet.

The copper coal box reminds us that homes were not centrally heated and that coal would have had to be carried to numerous fireplaces throughout a building.

As Clyffe Hall was a grand residence, perhaps servants took the occupants’ letters to be posted. The residents may have left them in the letter box in the hallway ready for posting. Maybe this involved a walk to the post office as the letter box in the wall outside Clyffe Hall is GR not VR, so would not have been there at the time of this auction. (See A black box.)

It was obviously fashionable to have cases of stuffed birds and other animals as well as butterflies. We know that this was still in vogue in the 1920s, when Sybil Perry wrote of her Granny’s Sitting Room in another Market Lavington home.