Based on childhood recollections
of working class family life in north London in Edwardian times.
In the early 1900s when I was a child, the scullery was where the food preparation,
cooking and washing took place and where brooms and brushes were kept. The sketch
shows its arrangement in a typical Victorian-style
terrace house where I grew up in Edmonton (now Enfield) in north London.
The layout of the scullery in a Victorian-style terrace house in the early
The entrance to the scullery was from the kitchen.
The scullery floor
If you have an old photo which would illustrate
this page, I would very much appreciate a copy.
The floor was stone and it was two steps lower than the rest of the downstairs,
probably to allow for water inevitably getting splashed and spilt on
The scullery table and other whitewood items
Against the window was a white wood table made by one of the carpenters at
the Infirmary. Lots of things were made of plain unvarnished white wood - the
bread board, the lid of the copper,
the knife box and green squeezer - and they
all had to be scrubbed to keep the dirt out of the grain.
Large items in the scullery
There was a large cooking range or
kitchen range, also called
a 'kitchener' which was used when I was young. However it was boarded up when
I was a teenager because my parents felt that it was a fire hazard. They were
right because I remember a red hot spark from another chimney getting into our
chimney and setting the wooden surround alight. Through the presence of mind of my
elder brother, the fire was brought under control quite quickly.
Next to the cooking range, in the corner was the
copper for heating our water.
On one of the walls was a naked gas jet. When it was lit it gave off a flame
like a fan shaped prong because for some reason it never had a mantle.
The sink alcove
Brass cold water tap. The only water tap in the house.
Wooden plate drainer, photographed in Fagans Museum
of Welsh Life.
Off from the scullery was a small alcove or cubby hole for the sink with
a single cold water tap made of brass. This was the only water supply in the
house. Hot water had to be heated in either the copper or in a
was well planned as it did afford some privacy when we washed there. On the
wall was a wooden plate drainer and a soap box. No exotic soap ever found its way there, just ordinary
household soap, usually with little pieces of grit embedded in where my mother
had used it to wash the floor. We used it for washing ourselves, but I don't think our complexions suffered because
The back door
The scullery had a side door into the yard which led to the
back garden and the outside
This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in early to mid 20th century Britain, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times. It is © Pat Cryer.