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Lost and Found

January 8, 2013

Today I’ve been in “the Tower” rearranging some of the storage spaces. The tower was originally used as the female servants sleeping quarters. Cragside doesn’t have the traditional attic accommodation that most people would associate with servants sleeping quarters. The tower kept the maids completely separate from the family, as well as the male servants. The men had a tower of their own, above the area now used for visitor toilets at the House.

 The Maids bedrooms are used to store everything from washstands and desks to bedsteads and mattresses, as well as crates full of small objects including hundreds of Edwardian light bulbs. The rooms are fairly small and very crowded. We could do with an extension!

 My mission today was to rearrange the furniture in our 4 furniture stores to make best use of space to get more in but have everything easily accessible. I practically had to climb into the rooms to get started but once you start to shuffle things it’s like a game of Tetris and it all starts to fit together and make sense.

 I started with store 1, which is mostly washstands chairs and one huge armchair. It was a fairly easy to rearrange and extremely satisfying, now we can get right to the back of the room, imagine!

 Store 2 has a lot of large items which I couldn’t move on my own so I went on to store 3. More wash stands, chests of drawers and a few chairs. Here is a photo of the room before I started:

 

Chockablock (which might be a geordie-ism, translated it means "full, very full!")

Chockablock (which might be a geordie-ism, translated it means “full, very full!”)

 

 I didn’t really know where to start with this one, so I just started to take items out of the room until I could see exactly what we had and how I could fit it back in. There was one chest of drawers pulled forward leaving a seemingly wasted space in the corner, So when I reached it I decided I would push them back and open the room up a bit. When I got there however, there was a low table in the gap, covered with an old curtain. I pulled the curtain back and found the most fantastic thing:

Its a teeny tiny table of the Billiard variety!

It’s a teeny tiny table of the Billiard variety!

 It’s a mini Billiard table! It was made by Burroughes and Watts, the same company who made our full-sized table which (obviously) lives in the Billiard Room. According to our inventory system it was “treasury transfer” which means that it was part of the collection that came to the Trust with the House in 1977. It had a paper label saying it came from the Nursery, a suite of rooms above the Red Landing which the second Lord Armstrong used as a nursery for his two children.

It has two cues, the three balls (billiards only uses three balls, not a lot of people seem to know that) and even a teeny weeny little scoreboard! I am so completely in love with it, if we can’t put it out on display next year I might have to sneak it home!

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