Market Lavington Museum

Victorian bedrooms – Clyffe Hall


Taking another look at the auction brochure for the 1898 sale of furniture and other effects at Clyffe Hall, we get a good impression of what life was like in a late Victorian home, albeit a grand one.

There were lots of bedrooms and auction lots were up for sale in each of them.

We see that the beds had mattresses that might be stuffed with straw, horsehair, feathers or wool. This was well before the era of duvets and the bedding would have been cotton or linen sheets, topped with woollen blankets for warmth and a counterpane (bedspread) on top. The pillows would also have been stuffed with feathers. Sometimes a double length bolster in a large pillow case, would have been placed under a couple of normal sized pillows on a double bed.

We think that, at some point in time, there was a water supply to Clyffe Hall from Broadwell, using a ram, before homes were served by the mains supply. (See comments, below.) However, it is doubtful that water was on tap to all the bedrooms. Clues in the sale catalogue show washstands and ware, suggesting water being carried to china bowls in jugs. (See Wash ewer here!)

This excerpt from bedroom five mentions several hot water cans. These would have been needed, not only to fill the bowls, but also the hip baths and foot baths, as mentioned in bedrooms 11 and 12 and other rooms too.

Finally, we are reminded by item 581, the night commode, that toilet facilities were not as convenient as nowadays. The commode would have been a wooden chair like structure with a hole in the seat. A china receptacle would have fitted into this and would have needed emptying in the morning via Slop pails.