Doors, Drawers, Selfie, Some Different Drawers And A Mystery


These photos were taken in one of the National Trust’s more unusual heritage properties – Sunnycroft in Wellington, Shropshire – an example of an English suburban middle class villa built by a brewer in 1880. To begin with, then, this small-town gentleman’s residence started out fairly modestly but in 1899 a widow, one Mary Jane Slaney, bought the house and set about creating her own miniature version of an upper class estate. This is what the National Trust has to say:

An estate in miniature  (from the National Trust Site)

Mrs Slaney aspired to have a home, garden and estate that had all the essential features of the much larger grand estates of the time, but much smaller in scale. She added a lodge at the top of the drive, a coach house and stables, kennels, glasshouses and an impressive conservatory.

The five acre garden today is half of its original size yet it retains all the key elements of a Victorian garden and grounds such as a paddock, orchard, and formal rose garden as well as herbaceous borders.

But perhaps the most interesting feature of the house, and this is not without a distinct touch of the Miss Havershams, is that it was lived in by three generations of the same family up until 1997 when the whole place plus contents was handed over to the National Trust. It is thus an extraordinary glimpse into family life over 98 years, all the domestic stuff – clothes, personal possessions, contents of the pantry, the medicine cupboard – still to be seen.


You can see more of Sunnycroft’s family possessions in the National Trust collection here.

Now, since I’m sure you’re curious, here are some views of the house, first showing the 1899 added ‘grand entrance’, and then the side elevation from across the croquet lawn:




And finally a teaser – who remembers what this is?



Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Doors and Drawers

35 thoughts on “Doors, Drawers, Selfie, Some Different Drawers And A Mystery

    1. As I’ve said to June and Marilyn, I’m going to have to give you the pie safe. Clearly a difference in cultural usage, possibly as you in the US got fridges sooner than we did, so no longer needed to use them as meat safes, which was what they were originally used for here 🙂

    1. After reading Marilyn’s comment I’m thinking that you and Beverly were both right on the pie safe i.e. from a US perspective. Here in the UK though these are meat safes. Fridges generally arrived here much later than in the US 🙂

      1. I’m pretty sure pies were not refrigerated, nor were breads (they still aren’t) and other things of that nature. I think they were mainly used as a safe place to let them cool off because leaving them out was a good way to lose them to pets, children, and errant husbands with a sweet tooth!

  1. We have an old pantry in our house ( I may have told you it was built in 1924) and we have a similar style storage cupboard with four, mesh-covered doors under a marble slab against the south wall.
    The wife says they were used as cold storage before fridges and the mesh was to keep out the flies.
    We are not sure if this is right reason but I vaguely remember my gran having one in her council house in Royston.
    Love the photos too.

  2. That’s really interesting. Do you wonder what your house would be if it became a Heritage site? I was just imagining how mine would be viewed. I suppose if someone has a “thing” for what you can do with a standard split ranch mid-1970s breadbox house, this has got to be “It,”

    1. OK I will concede a pie safe on your side of the Atlantic. But on this side they were called meat safes and that was their particular purpose. We had one in the early 50s before we owned our first fridge. Wish I still had it.

      1. I feel the same way….My daughter has been with me for the holidays and has now returned to Boston. Always a little sad at these times, bu grateful as well. Am now getting all my ducks in a row so that I can begin painting and writing in the new year. Happy, healthy and creative new year to you and yours. Janet X

  3. oh wow – that selfie fit into the post with smoothness – and the effects on your photos for the patina of the heritage property –
    and never even heard of a meat safe – or pie safe – and cool that you had one back in the day

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