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Newstead Abbey History Assignment Part 1 - Using all the evidence you have explain the different experiences of people who lived at Newstead in 1871

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Newstead Abbey History Assignment Part 1 - Using all the evidence you have explain the different experiences of people who lived at Newstead in 1871 In 1871 Newstead Abbey was in the hands of the Webb Family. It was sold to William Frederick Webb for �138,000. From the information from the resource sheets given to us by the school I know that the Webbs inhabited Newstead for nearly 70 years. As we toured the Abbey we were given a taster of how the Webbs lived in those days. As I walked round the Webbs' living quarters of the Abby I immediately became aware of the tremendous feeling of luxury and wealth. This was seen in the decoration of the house. Richly patterned and coloured wallpaper, which was fashionable in the Victorian times, paintings and coats of arms on the walls. It was all in a Victorian gothic style which was the height of fashion in those days as I'm informed and therefore this is an indication that the Webbs wanted to impress any visitors that they had. On the main staircase there are metal stair bolts, and though it is not there now these are what would have held a stair rug in place, a luxury in those days. Also in the furnishing which is mostly made of heavy dark wood. Other indications of the wealth of the Webbs were the portraits of themselves hung on the walls. To have a portrait painted was expensive if it was to be done to the high standards that these were so they must have had money to do so. As I recall, one painting depicts a man dressed in a suit in an odd shade off pink satin. The tour guide informed me that this was a reflection of this man's wealth as the colour was not naturally or easily obtained and the material itself was expensive therefore to have a whole outfit made of it would require immense wealth. ...read more.


Obviously there were none of the modern conveniences to lighten the load of the housework. They had no vacuum cleaners but rug beaters instead. A mangle, dolly plug and a bucket replaced the washing machine. In the kitchen there was a large box containing ice. The tour guide explained how it worked. As there was no electricity like in a modern refrigerator, in the winter huge chunks of ice would be cut from the lake and stored in the ice house which was a very deep hole in the ground so subsequently very cold all year. The ice from the ice house was then put in the top of this box and the cold air would circulate, cooling things such as butter and milk. However when the door was opened warm air would rush in. therefore the door was limited to being opened twice a day. This required incredible organisation. And the Cook had to plan the meals for the day so she knew what ingredients she needed when and what to take out. Also in the kitchen there were different ovens for different types of cooking as the heat could not be controlled as easily. As the tour guide explained there was one for roasting meat only this had a tiled back and a very high heat. Then there was the stewing range. This had no fire but hot coals placed under hotplates to give a gentle heat. Lastly there was a very large baking range with a medium heat. As at least one of these would be on most of the time it would be very hot in the kitchen and not too pleasant. There was however a very innovative construction; a high dome with windows in the ceiling. Apparently this was designed along the original monastery lines. It enabled the hot air to rise and let light in. this would have helped the temperature in the kitchen. ...read more.


Although the one we see there today is a replica as the original was seen as disgusting and unholy and was taken and ritually buried somewhere in the grounds and is lost to this day. So if we were to visit we were to visit the Abbey in 1871 we would in fact come across some Byron tourism, maybe not in the same way but it still would be there. However the main reason for the Abbey not being a totally accurate representation is heritage tourism; the act of portraying selected historical elements for commercial reasons. The Abbey emphasises what will attract tourists. It was started here by Amelia Webb with Lord Byron and that still attracts many visitors today. They now know that Showing off the rich splendour of the Webbs will attract tourists, who would naturally want to experience luxury, especially Victorian luxury. The servants may be interesting to some but generally they are not such a selling point as the main family that lived there. The superstition is just another means of getting tourists into the Abbey. People like excitement and mystery and a large old stately home is a perfect setting for a ghost story. People don't have to be told whether there are ghosts or not they will draw their own conclusions but the Abbey gives out enough hints and nudges in the right direction to make people believe. However saying this is not a true reflection of the Abbey in 1871 is wrong. People in those days would more than likely have believed in ghosts and whether there were ghosts living in the Abbey then, or even now, who can say? In conclusion I think that the Abbey gives a good impression of life in the 19th century. No it's not perfect, but it gives a fairly accurate representation as well as bringing in the tourists. When you think about it if it didn't have a means of bringing in tourists it wouldn't matter if it was a good reflection of history or not, because no-one would be there to see it... ...read more.

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