Here we go again - it's time travel Tuesday! Back to late 1700s. Of course still in Edinburgh, to be exact 7, Charlotte Square where you can find a building which is nowadays called the Georgian House. As we arrived, we started with a movie about the first owner of the house and his family, followed by exploring the house.
By Kim Laura Kühne
The first owner of the Georgian House was John Lamont, born in 1741. He was the eldest of seven children. He became the 18th Chief of the Clan Lamont in 1767. With his wife Helen Campbell he had five children: John, Amelia, Georgina, Norman and Helene Elizabeth. He used the Georgian House as his summer residence from 1796 - 1815. Today, I'll take you on a wee tour through the house and let you know how the Lamont family would have lived there.
First of all we have the basement, which was a hidden world where servants supported the lavish lifestyle of the family living above. At the heart of it was the kitchen, where a cook, assisted by a young kitchen maid, would have worked hard to feed the family and their guests. Nowadays it's hard to imagine how hot and smoky it must have been inside. It was also very noisy and full of different smells. Did you know that they used to paint the kitchen blue as it was believed that it scared flies?
On the ground floor we have the dining room and the bedchamber. In the dining room the family would have their normal dinners as well as glamorous dinner parties. The owner, Mister Lamont, would also have used this room to handle his business and meet clients. The Lamont family would have dinner in the traditional French style, with all the courses on the table at the same time. Having one course after the other came in fashion in the early 19th century and is called the Russian style. The Lamonts would usually have dinner at 5 o'clock.
The bedchamber was not only the place where Mr. and Mrs. Lamont would sleep at night, it was also an informal breakfast room and a ladies sitting room. During the day the ladies would use this room as a hobby room and do some sewing. The bedchamber is connected to a dressing room, which is not on view for the public.
On the first floor is the Parlour and Drawing Room. The Drawing Room was the grandest room in the house and was used for entertaining guests. A typical dinner party would have looked like this: First of all they would all have dinner together in the dining room. After dinner the ladies would withdraw to the Drawing Room. This action is also the reason for the rooms name. The men would stay in the dining room smoking and drinking port and brandy. Meanwhile the ladies would have tea and perhaps talk about gossip until the men joined them for cards, dancing and singing. A typical party at the Lamonts would go on until two or three o'clock in the morning.
When the room wasn't used for parties, all the furniture was protected with a cover. The carpet would have been covered with another one called a "drugget". During normal days the girls, Amelia, Georgina and Helene Elizabeth would use the Drawing Room as an exercise room and promenade around it, as unmarried ladies weren't allowed to leave the house without the company of a man.
Next to the Drawing Room you can find the Parlour, which is what we call the living room today. And similar to what we do in our living room, the Lamonts would have done the same. They would have used the room for reading newspapers or books, listening to music or other hobbies. Children were allowed in the Parlour as Mrs. Lamont would have taught them the basics of reading and writing there. A more formal use of the Parlour was for the afternoon tea. Mrs. Lamont would have invited the ladies over for tea. On a typical invitation it would say that the guest should arrive at 4pm. The Ladies would then first play cards before they would take their tea around 6pm.
On the second floor the Lamonts would have more bed and dressing rooms. Those are used today as a film room and exhibition rooms. The attic, where you would find more bedrooms and the nursery, is not on view to public. However, the Georgian house hopes to open it next year.
Go and visit the Georgian House, it's absolutely worth it. Have a wander and explore all the rooms. You will find loads of interesting objects and the very friendly volunteers are happy to tell you more about them and all the rooms. And don't forget to tell us your thoughts about the Lamonts and the Georgian House.
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