Tuesday, 31 July 2012
After visiting Rievaulx Terrace on Sunday, we went on to Ormesby Hall - at least we did when we finally found it. It was so difficult to find that we gave up and, seeing a sign for Yarm, which we knew was on our way home, we turned down there only to find a sign for Ormesby Hall after all.
The Hall itself was the home of the Perryman family the last of whom died in the mid twentieth century and left no children, so that the house is left exactly as it would have been in that day. There were some delightful touches - one that particularly caught my eye was that every bedroom has a writing desk in a prominent place with a view over the garden. This was because the hostess insisted that every guest should have a pleasant place at which to write her letters. Golly how times have changed since then. And every bedroom had a small, portable bookcase holding a selection of books which the hostess chose specially for her guests.
By the time we got out into the grounds the rain threatened. We made a quick sortie down to the stable block which is strictly out of bounds as it is the place where the Cleveland Police Force keep their horses. But we were able to peep over the stable doors into the beautifully kept stables and the huge horses with names like Pete and Dave. (What happened to names like Major, Beauty, Blossom and so on?)
And finally, in the pouring rain, we sheltered in the Laundry which told its own sad story for me at any rate, because my mother was in service in the early 1900's and used to tell us tales of the cold stone floors that she had to scrub and how the cook ruled the roost and dished out orders. There was a huge copper for boiling the white clothes (of which there were plenty hanging up overhead), a copper which needed constant stoking with wood I presume; there was a long, slate gulley with a row of rubbing boards where a line of maids would be busy using 'elbow grease' to get the clothes clean. Maybe we don't know we a born these days.