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Charles Rex

Guidebook: Chelsea

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Chelsea is a rustic village of around 10,000 inhabitants, which due to its closeness to London and the charm of the clear waters of the Thames,a little bay created by a bend in the river, had attracted an ever growing number of nobles. Many took to swimming and bathing in the Thames, a great deal safer than in London, and barges could be seen floating between London and Chelsea at Thursday and Friday nights, pleasantly lit up in the darkness, sometimes with a little music drifting over the water.

 

The large gardens, making for pleasant strolls in warm weather were of growing fame with the courtiers who often came from London the countryside to make merry. Chelsea is also known for its much prized buns, which served those that took a walk in the surroundings well.

 

Entry Point to:

  • Grays Inn Fields
    • Rolling pastures dappled with wild flowers and stands of aged trees, the fields have many beautiful walks that are popular for gentle recreation. The fields are also a popular location for duels, as well as being used for artillery practice.
       
      It was claimed that if a maiden found a piece of coal underneath a plantain root in these fields on midsummer's day, then placed the coal underneath her pillow that night, she would dream of her future husband. Every year on midsummer's day, the fields were filled with young women on their hands and knees, digging for coal.

    [*]Cadogan Pier

    • Visitors to Chelsea by water, landing at the Cadogan Pier, will not fail to be struck by the appearance of the long terrace of houses stretching away eastward, overlooking the river, and screened by a row of trees. This was named the Walk. The houses are mostly of dark-red brick, with heavy window-frames, a very modern style. The place, from its air of repose and seclusion, has always reckoned among its inhabitants a large number of successful artists and literary celebrities. Near the river and Walk was a large mulberry-garden, one of those established by order of James I., about the year 1610, to aid English silk production.

    [*]Bedlam

    [*]Chelsea Physic Garden

    • The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, in 1673, as a training garden for apprentices to learn proper plant identification. Plants were essential in practice of medicine, although many people treated mild ailments on their own, often with the helpful advice of an almanac. The gardens quickly became a place of study for Botanists, as well as Apothecaries. The Royal Society occasionally holds lectures here about botanical matters in the large greenery where the more exotic plants are kept.
       
      Situated in Chelsea, on the Thames, the location was chosen to allow the maximum number of plants to grow successfully and survive the English winters. The collection included many non-native plants, including olive trees, Asters, and Yuccas.
       
      It is the second oldest botanic garden in England.
       
      The garden is surrounded by a red brick wall, and is situated near the river. Above the spacious greenhouse is a library, furnished with a large collection of botanical works, and with numerous specimens of dried plants. It is open to the public during the day but closed at night.

    [*]Royal Chelsea Hospital

    [*]Chelsea Mainstreet

    • George Inn
      • The building stands in white plaster with black painted beams, as so many Tudor houses and inns that still survived till this day. The ground floor looked like any Inn would, with the stables just to the side. The courtyard, with other houses enclosing it, was filled with wooden tables and benches. The weather was still a tad chilly, yet nonetheless some patrons favoured to sit outside and take advantage of the clear blue skies.
         
        The first floor had a nice gallery, with a separate stairs outside, allowing visitors to not use the common room if they would prefer not to, yet it still ended in the courtyard so it offered little privacy from watching eyes.
         
        A big painted sign, showing St. George combating the dragon, the patron saint of England, declared this to be "George Inn".

    [*]Fulham Palace

    [*]Tudor Chelsea Place

    [*]O'Roarke Hall

    [*]Mansion of Lady Alyth

    [*]Melville House

 

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The Royal Hospital or Chelsea Veterans Hospital

 

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With King Charles II's blessing, Lady Catriona Patterson (now Lady Alyth) and Mistress Nell Gwynn founded the Royal Hospital Chelsea as a home for old and injured soldiers. The impressive Wren-designed buildings represent one of the outstanding glories of English architecture and sit in 66 acres of beautiful parkland - an oasis in the heart of London by the river Thames embankment.

 

Entry point to:

  • Figure Court
    • The Figure Court is enclosed by buildings on its northern, eastern and western sides but its southern end lies open to the grounds and the river. The northern range contains the Chapel and the Great Hall, with an Octagon vestibule between them. The colonnade which extends over the whole length of the range on its inner side is surmounted by a cornice bearing a Latin inscription said to have been composed by Wren himself.
       
      A large open lawn provides space to wander and enjoy the clement weather and the view of the Thames. There are benches edging the lawn where people may take their ease. The court is dominated by a 7'6' statue of Charles II, from which the Court takes its name, the work of Grinling Gibbons. It shows the king as a Roman general, holding a baton as a sign of his Imperial authority. He does not have the customary wig and moustache and with its bare arms and legs, is considered rather daring.
       
      The South Terrace overlooks the South Grounds. These were originally laid out as water gardens and meadows, with ponds filled with water lilies, a favourite of the local ducks. The meadows are pleasant, and often populated with rabbits.

    [*]Octagon Porch & North Front

    • The octagon supports the Royal Hospital’s distinctive cupola and lantern. This rises to a height of 130 ft. Over the north entrance is the Royal coat of arms. The ceiling is a marvel of modern architecture, rising in a high dome with windows to let in the light, making the entire space glow.
       
      The floor is decorated with a mosaic of an elderly soldier, worn by time but still proud and strong in his bearing. Around the edge are set the words of the soldiers’ prayer, based on that said by Sir Jacob Astley before the Battle of Edgehill (1642) – “O Lord you know how occupied I shall be this day. If I forget thee do not forget me”.

    [*]The Great Hall

    • The Great Hall is the dining room and is furnished with sixteen long tables (one for each Ward). Each table provides space for two sergeants, two corporals, a drummer and twenty-one private soldiers (in all twenty six, the number that lodges in each Long Ward). The kitchen is adjacent to the Great Hall. Heating is provided by a large fireplace in the middle of the hall, with an ornate mantlepiece.
       
      The large mural painting at the far end represents Charles II on horseback surrounded by allegorical figures, with the Royal Hospital buildings in the background. Along the walls hang portraits of various nobility and patrons of the Hospital. Large crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling and the highly polished wooden floors reflect their light.

    [*]The Long Wards

    • The four-story Wings enclosing the East and West sides of Figure Court contain the In-Pensioners’ living quarters, which are known as Long Wards. The berths measure six feet (1.8m) square. Each berth is provided with a bed, a straw mattress, a flock mattress, two pairs of sheets, three blankets and a coverlet. There is minimal space for furnishings but these include a wooden chest with a padlock and key, and a built-in table fitted with a drawer.
       
      Washing facilities are provided in each Long Ward. All the privies are located at the end of each outer courtyard where they can be easily emptied. For night use each Ward therefore has 8 brass pails, along with a pewter bedpan for the Sergeant. Lighting is provided by nine lanthornes in each ward, and candlesticks in each berth.
       
      The East and West Wings are symmetrically planned, with a pair of Long Wards arranged back-to-back on each of the four floors. Each Long Ward is 200 feet (61m) long with a line of wainscoted berths running down the inner side. There are provided separate stairs at the south end of each Wing as a means of escape in case of fire.
       
      Each Long Ward contains two large fireplaces, kept well lit. Pleasant landscape scenes are hung over each, and long, plush runner carpets cover the corridor floors.

    [*]The State Apartments

    • The Council Chamber, which, unusually, is 1½ stories high was intended as the dining room for visiting Royalty, but when not serving that purpose it is used by the Board of Commissioners for their meetings. Capacity is up to 180 standing, 80 seated for dinner (round tables) and 120 seated (Lecture style). The heavily moulded ceiling displays elegant plaster work and paintings, and the fireplace is surrounded by fine limewood carvings. The walls are decorated alternately with mirrors to reflect the candlelight and with paintings.
       
      Other rooms in this area are the Ante Room, also on the Ground Floor, The Governor’s Apartments, above the Council Chamber, contain the suite of rooms intended for the Governor. These rooms are panelled in handsome dark oak, with luxurious red velvet drapes.

    [*]Infirmary

    • A state of the art infirmary capable of holding 50 invalids, the Infirmary serves the need of those residents requiring medical care. Fifty beds with starched linen sheets are separated by linen drapes for privacy, but ease of access by nursing and medical staff. The drapes are usually drawn back during the day and closed at night. The room itself is high and airy to prevent the accumulation of foul miasmas, and the walls are painted a clean white. The floors are polished wood, and the whole place smells slightly of herbal concoctions overlying the scent of the chronically ill. Nurses move here and there in demure white uniforms, along with the odd physician.

    [*]Light Horse Court

    • Next to the Infirmary, the Light Horse Court is intended for the refreshment of those invalids able to move outside, Light Horse Court is a pleasant grassy area with arrangements of benches and beds planted with roses, and snow-drops which appear in the spring. An apple blossom tree stands in each corner, and the centre holds an ornamental fountain.

    [*]The Chapel

    • The Chapel was designed with a half dome above the pulpit and rises 42’ high. Dark oak pews accommodate about 500 people, all the staff and pensioners. The ceiling of the half-dome is adorned with a painting of the resurrection. The pulpit is three tiers of magnificently carved mahogany, rising majestically above the congregation. A large gilded cross adorns the altar, along with a finely wrought pair of gilt candlesticks.
       
      Elsewhere the ceiling is fine and intricate plasterwork, and long, narrow windows are of expertly stained glass, depicting various biblical scenes. Service books are bound in dark leather with gilded titles, and contain all the modern prayers and hymns.

 

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Fulham Palace

 

Fullham%20palace.jpeg

 

In the earlier 17th century, the gardens at Fulham Palace suffered from some unsympathetic attentions. The antiquary John Aubrey records among his memoranda, "the Bishop of London did cutte-down a noble Clowd of trees at Fulham", occasioning the sharp remark from Sir Francis Bacon, a dedicated gardener, "that he was a good Expounder of dark places."

 

Henry Compton was ordained Bishop of London in 1675; he imported several new plant species to the gardens at Fulham Palace and first cultivated some flora found in Britain today, including the American magnolia. The Palace is located just to the west of Chelsea.

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O'Roarke Hall - Residence of the Countess O'Roarke

 

O'Roarke Hall was situated near the mainroad of Chelsea, a few mansions down from the St. George Inn and neighbouring Fulham Palace on the other side. It had an impressive drive way, with a stable and carriage house to the right side that included guest stabling. As guest after guest arrived the gravel gave off its very distinctive sound alerting the staff within the hallway to open the doors in welcoming gesture and standing in attention.

 

The two storey high black and white Tudor cottage house had been expanded on either side with extra rooms, including a wing on the right dedicated entirely to guests. Red roses grew against the outside of the house, scenting the air and giving the 'little' hideaway a most romantic appearance. The front of the cottage had a large but simple porch that kept the waiting servants out of the rain, and alternatively was sometimes used by the Countess to sit upon and watch the traffic pass by, just visible through trees and bushes.

 

Entry point to:

  • Main Hall
    • The Main Hall could be used as a ball room, or separated into three different rooms with a fireplace each, to be used as a reception room, a sitting room and a dining room, all overlooking the garden with large French doors opening to the terrace.

    [*]Study

    • The study of the Countess was filled with bookcases, making it almost like a library, though smaller than one would expect of a lady so interested in the written word. On a side table there was a first folio volume of the complete works of Shakespeare, a large and expensive tome. The room´s furniture included a luxurious red velvet chaissez longuee as well as the lady´s green leather writing desk and a few comfortable chairs near the fireplace.
       
      The windows overlooked the Terrace, showing a nice view of the garden and the Thames beyond.

    [*]Guest Wing

    • The Guest Wing contained five rooms of the same dimensions decorated to an Arabian theme.
       
      The room was not overly large, dominated by a large four poster bed with gauze drapings that were repeated around the room. However there was a fireplace that once had two comfortable chairs in front of it, but now instead there was a large Persian carpet and some cushions. The room was further equipped with a decorative Arabic looking chamber screen behind which hid a large copper bath not yet filled with water.

    [*]Family Wing

    • In mirror to the guest wing stood the Family Wing. The exact size and dimensions, five rooms in total, three for the Countess and two for the nurseries of Caleb and Josephine respectively. However here the Arab theme was absent, and more every day decorations reigned supreme. The boudoir, contrary to popular rumour, was not well visited, a fancy that had struck the Countess to keep more privacy in this particular sanctuary.
       
      Inside the bedroom proper on the dressing table rested a magnificently inlaid box, next to her locked jewellery case. A diary of sorts, with a burgundy velvet cover, rested closed next to a quill as if recently written in.

    [*]Terrace

    • Just outside the French doors, the terrace spread along the length of the cottage, providing a marvellous overview over the garden and the Thames beyond. In the distance the Turkish Teahouse and the boating house could be seen. Stretching out before that was a large deep green grassfield, that no longer carried a hint of the daisies.
       
      With stern gardening tools geometric shapes had been cut into the brightly green bushes that stood at strategic intervals surrounding the terrace together with white marble statues of barely dressed women. On the terrace where three groupings of black ironcast garden furniture, a table with some chairs and a couch. They had been made more comfortable with large cushions in red velvet, and a large quilted throw lay over the couch.

    [*]Rose Garden

    • Next to the wide grassfield was a small collection of rose bushes, leading to a small rose covered arbor, secluded in that it was not to be seen from the Terrace. Roses would be in season next month and were budding now. In front of the arbor was a small playful fountain with a statue of a small cupid.

    [*]Labyrinth

    • A little further from the Rose Garden was the newly planted Labyrinth. It held classic style plant containers at every corner, rewarding the visitors with the scent of flowers. In the center a small statue of Venus rising from the sea from a large sheashell, a copy of the large statue in the pool further up in the garden beyond the Chelsea road.

    [*]Thames Landing & Boathouse

    • The water of the Thames provided the most easy and comfortable way to travel to Chelsea from London. Barges were a frequent sight. Softly the river murmured past the garden of O'Roarke Hall. A recently built pier stood out like a welcoming sign. The landing could be done discreetly, for a group of bushes and trees hid it from the main road an acre away past the mansion and any curious eyes that might be upon it.
       
      To the right of the pier there was a boat house, containing the barge of the Countess. It wasn't in frequent use because the lady preferred to go by horse whenever possible.

    [*]Turkish Teahouse

    • The large teahouse sat in the back of the garden. Inside the newly decorated interior displayed a Turkish theme. Deep burgundy velvets had been used for large cushions, with no other furniture but a low, intricately carved table. All of this on top of a Persian tapestry that was lush enough to sink ones feet in. Drappings in orange and yellow created the impression of a tent. Black and gold detailing on the added columns, and the geometric tiles on the wall added the eastern touch that the Countess had sought for. To the side a discreet screen that could provide some privacy should it be required stood waiting, as of yet folded. On the wall a large picture of a harem, with nubile ladies washing and grooming while a dark skinned eunuch dressed in a loose kind of breeches and only a vest that showed his strong muscular chest was guarding the ladies. Another painting showed a sultan adored by his prized possessions, slave girls in see through clothing feeding him morsels as he sat in a tent similar to the one recreated in the teahouse. A large waterpipe stood awaiting an user, a dose of opium ready to be lit. On the table also incense sticks to light as soon as there was an occupant. The teahouse was firmly closed, curtains drawn.
       
      A large weeping willow stood next to the teahouse, a very light green foilage peeking through its yellow branches. There was a simple swing hanging from a lower branch, looking inviting.
       
      From the teahouse a path lined with roses and sweet smelling arbors, lead past Fullham palace and past the stables to an extensive garden, at one point cut in half by the road leading to main street in Chelsea.

    [*]Atherstone Thermea

    • First one was greeted by a set of small pavilions that harboured the Atherstone Thermea. Based on several such establishments that the Countess had visited in Bath, Windsor and abroad, the architect Wren had used the latest in engineering to create a paradise in steam, warm bubbling water, mosaic, decorative fountains and warmed floors. The pavilions only had glass ceilings and no windows providing a measure of privacy.

    • Pool
      • Surrounding the pavilions was a large man made pool with huge fountains depicting Venus coming from the ocean, a faint likeness of its owner reflected upon the voluptuous body looking so dainty covering herself with her long curly hair. The pool was partly visible from the road, despite bushes having been planted to prevent such. Fullham Palace though had gained a full view its upper level for as long as the bishop of London did not decide to heighten the fence. Which he might, considering that next to Venus stood the proud statue of Bacchus, god of wine and indulgence. It was a classical statue of Italian design save that it was not one in particular to indulge in public, but rather what one would find in the picture books hidden in the deep recesses of masculine libraries, unfit for they eyes of women and children. For Bacchus in all its fine, strong lines, carrying a hint of a likeness to the Duke of York, showed his erect phallus for all to see.

    [*]Waterpath

    • Along the water path a series of fountains sprouted high, and sometimes over the heads of those traversing. It was cut in clear geometrical shapes, the latest in Baroque design.The expense in engineering had been enormous considering this was just a go between from the Thermea to the Amphitheatre.

    [*]O'Roarke Amphitheatre

    • An open air amphitheatre seating 50 people, in old classic Roman style awaited the visitors who came through the waterpath. A collection of velvet cushions would be handed out to the audience every time a performance was held.

    [*]Stables and Horse Breeding Farm

    • The stables were finally finished. Two extra wings to the base of the stables still carried the smell of freshly cut wood. The Stables housed not only the breeding and riding horses of the whimsical Countess but also had two boxes free for the mounts of guests.
       
      There were boxes for the Blackheath pair, the race champion Princeton and two palfreys that Heather had deigned to buy, one of them called Daisy. Then of course there was the Turkish mare, and the two breeding mares that were to form the beginning of her farm.
       
      Further the stables gave room to several birds of prey, including a snow owl on a ledge and a hooded falcon. A pack of hounds had made the stables their home, and while Busby was normally kept in the house, this night he had made due with settling among his brethren. Curled up in a bowl Bianca the cat had sought out a higher perch, the attic which was filled with hay. The amount was far less than it had been after last summer, most of it used up during the long winter. Still, there was enough left to serve till the next haying. Equipment was neatly tucked on the wall. There were also buckets to water the animals. Finally there was room to store coaches, the Countess having both a closed couch and an open carriage, both decorated with the O'Roarke shield.
       
      Outside a large grassfield allowed the horses to roam free and graze when they were not put to work.

 

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Bedlam

 

A noble pile of building, a magnificent stately building; Bedlam, a hospital for mad folks...

 

Having paid their viewing fee, of one penny each, men and women pass through a iron gate, within which sits a brawny Cerberus of an indigo colour, leaning upon a money-box. Then through another iron barricade they continue on upstairs - towards the growing sounds of rattling chains, drumming of door, ranting, hollowing, singing and rattling -- one might conjure visions of Don Quevado's vision, where the damned broke loose, and put Hell in an uproar...

 

Spectators may view the frantic humours and rambling ejaculations of the mad folks from an upper story, looking down upon a courtyard sized area with smaller rooms disappearing off it.

 

Such a popular pace it is, considered one of the wonders of London and a must for foreign visitors, many hawkers stroll amongst the spectators, selling sweetmeats and refreshments.

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Lady Alyth's house

The new home of the Dowager Countess of Alyth and her daughter was set in a lovely area of Chelsea. The drive up to the house was paved in a pale granite composite gravel, obviously fairly new in construction as it is almost completely free of holes or dips. On either side of the drive is a row of stately trees with branches just starting to spread wide over head as one nears the house. The drive becomes a circle in front of the steps leading to the front door, then loops back on itself. Off to the side of the house one can see the carriage house and the nearby stable. The front is also surrounded by a garden. Roses line the front of the house while ornamental trees provide shade and whimsy to the yard.

 

The house itself is a full three stories plus attic made of granite. It is up by the attic where the servants have their rooms but most rooms have a window to allow for cooling during hot summer months. On the first floor is the common area. Here you would find the Dining room, Library, North and South parlor, Music room and attached Orangery. The kitchen is also found down here along with the larder and steps down into the cellar. As close to the river as the house is, it sometimes gets a bit damp down in the cellar, so shelves were installed to help keep things up off the floor.

 

The second floor consists of the family rooms. The master bedroom and attached lady’s room share a walk in closet. Lady Alyth sleeps in the Master’s room. Down the hall is the nursery, where Nessia sleeps. More rooms have been set aside for the rest of the MacBain girls in case Cat sees to have them come down. Down at the end of the hall is the room set aside for Douglas, should he wish to stay with them.

 

The third floor is for guests. There are six chambers, but only two are currently ready for guests. The other four need more furniture. That which had been in the Pall Mall house didn’t adequately fill this new house.

 

Out back of the house was another garden, more ornamental than the one out front, though one patch near the kitchen is taken up with more useful items, including herbs. But the back has a maze that surrounds a three tier fountain topped with a leaping dolphin. More flowers bloom back here and make their way down towards the water, where a small boat house rests near a sturdy dock. A flight of stairs leads down from the lawn to the dock. A small rowboat bobs gently in the water near the dock. The water is deep enough for a river barge to dock and is just clean enough to swim in. A weeping willow reaches out from the garden over to the water, making a lovely spot for a lazy afternoon.

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Melville House

This older house used to be the residence of Sir Thomas More. It was a two-story building with numerous chimneys, a slate roof, and many windows mullioned with white limestone. The otherwise severe façade of white plaster and blackened half-beams was softened by carefully pruned rose bushes of many colours planted all around the house.

 

The house stood rather nearer to the King's Road than to the river. Between it and the way along the waterside were two large courtyards, and opposite was a quay. First was an outer court with a wide and straight graveled driveway flanked by carefully kept lawns, and then there was an inner green court with an oval-shaped driveway that reached the terrace in front of the house.

The Interior

 

Downstairs were, besides the service and kitchen areas, a spacious receiving room, a huge library, a conservatory full of orchids and other tropical plants, and a large, wood-paneled formal dining room. On the first floor were the master's suite including his private study, the lady's suite, the nursery and adjoining nurse's bedroom, a guest's suite and three additional bedrooms. The attic held the servants' quarters, while the cellar contained the food and beverage stores, and the wine racks.

 

The Grounds

 

To one side of the house were the stables, built later but in the same style as the house, with enough space for housing carriages and horses, plus hay and their keepers in the attic. In the back were the ample gardens, and in the center of the farthest one stood a large gazebo, designed for entertaining on summer evenings.

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Duchess of Buccleuch's Private Residence - Tudor Chelsea Place

 

Purchased in the winter of '75 from Charles Cheyne. Chelsea place is an externally plain house of brick with Artisan mannerist details. Consisting of nine (south) by ten bays (west), the entry is from the south overlooked by mullioned and transomed cross windows. Part of the house is three storeyed, and part two, with an array of garrets with dormers.

 

Chelsea Place is flanked by another house, Tudor House (owned by the Bishopric of Winchester) thus sharing the front courtyard, with stables and coachhouse on the west, and gardens on the north and west.

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Winchester House

 

Set on an acre of fertile land in the now very popular village of Chelsea, a brand new townhouse has been constructed in the finest style. A gravel drive loops around a circular garden bed freshly planted with roses, giving access to the two story building of fine grey stone via an oak door painted a lush green as though to match the surrounding countryside. A garden is being gradually laid out around the house in an orderly and logical fashion, predominantly roses and shade trees in front and vegetables out the back, however the majority of the land is still vacant, as though perhaps other things were planned for the future. A side branch of the drive leads to a coach-house.

 

In contrast to the orderly nature of the architecture and garden layout, the interior of the house has been furnished in a rather more whimsical fashion. Warm, honey-coloured wood floorboards are polished to a high gleam and overlaid with white sheepskin rugs that make one want to remove one's shoes and bury one's toes in them. The furniture of the drawing and dining rooms are made of the same warm maple wood and upholstered in cream fabric with brocaded patterns of flowers and fairies. The upper arches of the windows are stained glass in a similar theme, and one might consider that there was possibly an excess of crystal prisms hanging around the various candle fixtures, causing stray sparkles and rainbows to appear about the rooms. The only place where this theme wasn't all-encompassing was the study at the rear, overlooking the herb garden, which contained furniture of somewhat darker, more masculine shades and green upholstery. At least, what could be seen of it under books and papers and the odd plant in a pot.

 

The bedrooms upstairs were decked out in a similar whimsical theme to the rooms below, perhaps a little more muted in the master bedroom but positively rampant in the Lady's room and the nursery, where lilac silk satin bows with little bells adorned every conceivable point, bedclothes in white satin were carefully embroidered with angels, fairies and flowers, and a mobile of the same hung above an object so heavily bedecked with bows, lace and frills that it took a few moments for the casual observer to realise that it was a baby's crib.

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The George Inn

 

 

Upon arrival the first thing a visitor would see is the white plaster and the black painted beams, as so many Tudor houses and inns that still survive till this day. The ground floor looked like any Inn would, with the stables just to the side. The courtyard, with other houses enclosing it, was filled with wooden tables and benches.

 

The first floor had a nice gallery, with a separate stairs outside, allowing visitors to not use the common room if they would prefer not to, yet it still ended in the courtyard so it offered little privacy from watching eyes.

 

A big painted sign, showing St. George combating the dragon, the patron saint of England, declared this to be "George Inn".

 

Inside was a normal common room if a tad rectangular and long stretched which was to be expected due the shape of the building. The bar was one like all others, with many taps and a suitable number of tables. The patrons were a mix of locals and one or two gentry from nearby manors or mansions. There are two serving wenches, very pretty French sisters (Minette and Yvette), serving the guests and behind the bar the burly figure of the bartender, Master George Hughes. His wife Margret can be found in the kitchen, supervising. She also attends the rooms.

 

The rooms were of different sizes, there being only three floors of them, ten rooms in total with two very large ones on the first two floors. The third level was new and sported two large well furnished suites for the gentry with balconies offering excellent views of the Thames. One was available for rent while the other was leased on a permanent basis by an unknown court figure.

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