Objects In The Room

No. 1 for Kids
For Kids

The Kitchen

An 18th-century townhouse kitchen was often cramped, hot and poorly lit. It was hard to regulate the heat when cooking on an open range, but skilled cooks could still produce everything from roasts to stews, sauces to syllabubs.

The Cook

Traditionally cooks were men and preferably Frenchmen because they were considered the most skilled (and expensive). However, by the mid-18th century, many smaller households were employing women, mainly because their wages were lower; a male cook was paid about £60 a year (£5,235 today), whereas a female cook was rarely paid more than £10 (£872 today).

Cooking Methods

Until the 18th century meat had been roasted over an open fire of logs but by the late Georgian period coal was the most widely used fuel. A shallow fire basket with horizontal bars was developed, which allowed the coal to be piled up so that it burnt more effectively. Either side is an iron ‘cheek’ which could be wound in when cooking smaller joints and the top, or ‘falling bars’ dropped down to hold pans.

Georgian Recipes

Georgian England saw the publication of several English cookery books and this fuelled an interest in English food and recipes. One of the most popular books was Hannah Glasse’s, ‘The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy’ and this cartoon demonstrates a cook using the turnspit like the one on display in the Servants’ Hall.

Objects In The Room

Georgian Dresser

These are very rare, original examples of Georgian Bath dressers, unique to the city. They were discovered during the restoration project that re-united the servants’ rooms with the rest of the house. It is an original feature of the house and displayed as it would have been seen and used. There are very few publicly accessible examples in the UK.

Sugar Nippers

Sugar was purchased in a cone shaped block called a Sugar Loaf. The required amount of sugar could be cut off and then broken into smaller pieces with sugar nippers before being ground down for cooking. The British were the main providers of sugar and its production on West Indian plantations underpinned the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Smoke Jack

Spits were turned by means of a mechanical jack. You can see the one in this kitchen is a smoke jack, it would have been built into the flue (chimney) which used the power of the smoke and air being forced up the chimney to operate a pulley, thus turning the spit. It has been removed from the flue so you can see how it worked.

Range, 18th Century

This range was originally from another house in Bath and was salvaged during the late 1960s. Many orignal Georgian kitchen ranges have been lost in Bath as basement kitchens were converted into flats during the 20th century.