Pear Tree Miniatures

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St.Fagan's Museum of Welsh Life.

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Click on any of the pictures for a larger image.

Nant Wallter Cottage was built in 1770 in Carmarthenshire. In the backward rural wilds, the cottage was as primitive as one built 200 years earlier

Cottage Interior.
One end had a counter for collecting tolls. The rest housed hearth, table and chairs, dresser and box bed.

Puzzle Pot.

Rhyd y Car Cottages

 
 Rhyd y Car cottage were built as a terrace for iron workers in Merthyr Tydfil in 1805. Each one has a living room/kitchen with a small lean-to room to the rear and a single low room upstairs. They would have been considered quality housing when first built though not when they were last inhabited in the 1980s. After being moved to St.Fagan's, they have been restored to illustrate the different styles of furnishing during their time of occupation

 

The first cottage is furished with Shaker simplicity in the style of 1805. Although there was no proper range, the hearth was designed for cooking with hob and oven. By the hearth is a round iron griddle, used for making Welsh Cakes

Table, chair and bench.
Plain but sturdy and functional. Wooden bowls and spoons enabled cawl (soup) to be eaten hot.

 

Corner Cupboard.
with a typical spoon rack

 

Settle.
Seats were not comfortable but high panelled backs held defend against draughts. The base would have provided extra storage

 

Cwpwrdd Deuddarn.
Such a fine piece, with elegant panelling, would have been a family heirloom. The beams of the ceilings, where exposed, are whitewashed: the inhabitants wanted light, not the quaint cottage look.

The second cottage is furnished in the style of 1855, when mass-produced furniture was becoming more readily available, in place of the work of local craftsmen. This is a typical slat-back windsor chair.

 Child's High Chair.
Another standard piece. The bar kept the small occupant from wriggling out.

Dresser.
A South Wales dresser with open shelves and pot board.

 Cupboard with drawers.

Sampler.
Employment for women was primarily "in service" or as seamstresses. Sewing and embroidery was an important part of girls' education.

The Third Cottage is furnished in the style of 1895.
The original hearth is still in plce but with an improved grate, and it is supplemented by a dutch oven

Table.
Naked legs were far too lewd for sensitive Victorians, so the table was given trousers to preserve its modesty. The chairs were allowed to be shameless.

 

Settle
One tradtitional locally produced piece remains. This settle is curved to capture the warmth of the fire while giving access behind to the stairs

 

Chiffonier
A tasteful piece found by now in every aspiring house across Britain

 

Chest of drawers.
With sampler. Note that the whitewashed beams are still exposed

  .

 

 Long Case clock.
China jugs were collected and displayed

  .

 

Bedroom.
The back room just has room for an iron bed and washstand (and child's bed.

  .

 

 

The Fourth Cottage is furnished in the style of 1935.
The original hearth has now been replaced by a small range

 

Table.
Note a tap now supplying water to the house, but oil lamp for light. Electricity didn't reach many areas until after World War II. Home sewing is still important but now with the benefit of a sewing machine

 

Corner cupboard.
China was still displayed. With books, wallpaper and pictures in a very small space, the impression is no longer simple

 

Chest of drawers.
As tall as possible to give maximum storage in a small space.

 

Wash stand.
in the back bedroom, with a home-made rag rug.

  

The Fifth Cottage is furnished in the style of 1955.
A 3 roomed cottage no longer provided enough space for a family, so a large shed in the garden provided extra space for cooking and living

Range
Built-in hobs and microwaves were still a long way off.

  

Parlour.
The original living room of the cottage could now be used as a less cramped parlour with upholstered chairs - and a television!

  

Cabinet.
China still had to be displayed, including the almost copulsory flying ducks on the wall.

  Despite advances such as electricity, hygiene would still have been catered for by an outside privy and a tin bath in front of the fire.
Grateful thanks to Carolyn Cassady for the photographs
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