I am currently locked down at Clevedon Court, our family house in Somerset, with my brother and my nephew (who do all the cooking!). One of the many things I’ve been able to get on with now I have so much time is continuing the long task of transcribing the diaries of my great-great grandfather, Sir Arthur Elton (1819-1883). They throw up a lot of interesting things about the difficulties of introducing modern conveniences to an enormous mediaeval house and I thought this entry in particular might amuse you all.
Earlier on in the diary, he mentions ordering gas lamps and pendants from the famous Birmingham firm of Hardman & Co., metalwork designers and manufacturers. Here is a photograph of the Great Hall in about 1870 with the Hardman gas pendant (Gasolier).
Some years ago Geoff Wallis restored for me some of the Hardman gas lamps, which had been lurking in an attic. Once he’d finished, he brought over a gas canister and we lit one in front of an audience of Newcomen Society members.
Here is a picture of the lamp with its globe in its original position in the old Drawing Room, again about 1870
Slightly later on, my great-great grandfather put in a gas bath. Although I don’t know the exact date (haven’t got far enough with the diaries), the bath itself still exists at Blaise Castle Museum. (see below)