As part of our new property theme this year, Fortune and Philanthropy, we are trying to tell new stories about the Bearsted family and how they used Upton. The Back Hall is a key linking space, helping us navigate from the show rooms to the back stairs, kitchen and servants’ areas. It’s also a cleaning and laundry store as well as a marketing space. With the re-presentation it is now a show room too.
So, what is the story?
The Back Hall is a space that is still used in the same way that it was in the 1930s with staff and deliveries coming in and out. Alan, a gardener, still comes in and removes his muddy boots before he goes into the house to change over the house plants – just as his predecessors would have done. We thought that it would be a good idea to tell visitors these stories and show them how we still care for the house today.
We have added plans of the house with access for the servants showing areas they would have been able to visit and a telephone list of places they might have rung: Phones in Scotland, 1 Carlton Gardens in London or Heritage’s, the baker in Tysoe.
We found a receipt from our archive with a shopping list, and have replicated the items beneath the bell board.
We have incorporated a servants’ notice board alongside a space for normal advertising posters. We know the servants went to the cinema in Banbury on the bus called the ‘Upton Chicken Coop’ so we have added a sign-up sheet.
We have made up a tea tray ready to go to Lady Bearsted with receipts for her to check: