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Store Room Shuffle

October 10, 2013

People often ask where the maids would have slept. The arrangement was a little different here to many country houses, which would have traditionally accommodated the servants in an attic space. At Cragside we have two towers, one which accommodated female servants and another which accommodated male servants.

The male quarters were in the tower which now has visitor toilets on the ground floor, with one medium-sized store area above, but the tower is mostly unusable / derelict.

The north east wing was originally the male servants quarters

The north-east wing was originally the male servants quarters

The female servant’s rooms were in the “Central Tower”. As you enter the house and pass through our reception area, you face a wooden staircase. This staircase leads to many more, in an almost spiral fashion and narrowing all the time, to the maids bedrooms and living areas. At Cragside each servant had a room of their own and each room had either a heating pipe or fireplace for heat. By modern standards it may not sound like anything special, but at that time it was one of the best living arrangements a servant could hope for.

Maids Bedroom Corridor - handy for storage!

Maids Bedroom Corridor – handy for storage!

Anyway, the reason I’m telling you all this is that all the female servant’s bedrooms are now used for storage of our collection not being displayed in our show rooms. Each store rooms are organised according to their contents, so we have a Picture Store for paintings and other framed pictures, a crate store for small objects which are wrapped and packed carefully in crates, several furniture stores etc.

The current Picture Store is a small room, which had some MDF dividers to provide extra hanging space, was a real squeeze. I decided to swap it with another room which is larger and had a lot of wasted space. It sounded like a good idea when I suggested it…

To be continued

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