English Kitchens, Sculleries, Larders and Pastry Rooms circa 1865

I found a reference to The Gentleman’s House: Or, How to Plan English Residences, from the Parsonage to the Palace; with Tables of Accomodation and Cost, and a Series of Selected Plans  by Robert Kerr and published in 1865 when I was preparing an excerpt from Scribner’s Magazine on floor plans from old houses in NYC.  I located Kerr’s work on Google Books, did a quick scan of images and saw a layout of a scullery. Wait! Hold everything on NYC!  Let’s take a look at English kitchens instead.

Excerpted from The Gentleman’s House: 


The rise and progress of this important item of plan has been traced in general terms in our opening treatise; first coming into view as the occasional appendage of a noble Residence in early times, with its centre fire and roof above open to the sky, its “Cellar” attached, and little else; and attaining at last in our own day the character of a complicated laboratory, surrounded by numerous accessories specially contrived, in respect of disposition, arrangement, and fittings for the administration of the culinary art in all its professional details.

Dealing with it, however, as we see it in the present day, we may begin by pointing out that it demands a position which may be called primary on the plan; having proper relation, first, to the Larders and the Back-Entrance for supplies; secondly to the Scullery for cleansing; thirdly to the Dining-room (or its Sideboard-room) for service; fourthly to the Servants’-Hall and Steward’s-room if any; and fifthly to the Housekeeper’s-room and Still-room if any.

Its purpose is essentially cooking; and what it has invariably to accommodate is the cooking-apparatus on whatever scale may be suitable, one or more dressers, a centre table, and some minor matters, all of which will be described in turn.

Light in abundance is most important; and this with equal reference to the cooking-apparatus, the dressers, the centre table, and whatever else; in a word, it ought to be well lighted everywhere. For this reason a ceiling-light is preferred in Kitchens of magnitude; although at the same time wall-lights ought probably never to be altogether dispensed with. When there is no ceiling-light, perhaps it is in all cases most advisable to form a single window of large size, rather than several small ones, unless the room be very spacious indeed. Such side-light ought, lastly, to flank the range rather than to be in front of it, and this on the cook’s left side rather than the right, when working over the fire.

Coolness is exceedingly necessary, for two reasons; first that the unpleasantness of the fire heat may not be needlessly augmented, and secondly that the air may not be tainted. The Aspect of wall-windows ought therefore to be Northward or Eastward, never Southward or Westward. Any ceiling-light ought to be so placed as to avoid hot sunshine. To make a Kitchen especially lofty (two stories in one in important instances) becomes also a means to the same end. The roofing, it need scarcely be said, ought not to admit the heat of sunshine.

Dryness must not be neglected. If there be any damp in the floor or walls, the air will so far lose its freshness, and the cook will justly complain. It is to be borne in mind too that the heat within does not always dry such damp, but in some cases is supposed rather to promote its ingress.

Particular attention must be directed to ventilation; and this not altogether, or even chiefly, on account of temperature, but rather for the avoidance of that well-known nuisance the generation and transmission of kitchen-odours. It ought even to be made matter of special contrivance in particular cases that the vapours of cooking shall be hurried off as they arise, carried in a direction away from the Main House, and if possible discharged into the outer air at such a point and at such a height as to be altogether lost. This may be effected, for example, by having a considerable vacancy of roof above the ceiling, with a discharge there from by an air-shaft amongst the chimney-flues. Steam has also to be carried off, for which the same means will suffice. A canopy or hood over the cooking-apparatus a little above the height of a man will be sometimes useful, having an air-flue for outlet. The shaft in all cases will be useless, however, unless it be large.

The floor of a Kitchen of good size ought to be of stone. A central space of wood under and around the table is generally provided; but if the stone floor be perfectly dry this may be dispensed with ; otherwise a piece of matting or carpet under the table will suffice; or, as is not unusual, a standing-board, about 2 feet wide and ledged, laid loose around a table or along the front of a dresser. In small houses, however, when the Kitchen serves also as the Servants’-Hall, a wood floor for the whole is sometimes preferred.

In all cases where extensive operations are to be carried on, the wall-covering, or at least the lower part of it, ought to be not common plaster-work, but some material which shall resist damage and admit of frequent cleaning,—boarding, perhaps, or hard cement, or even stone, tiles, glazed bricks, or the like.

The doors of a Kitchen generally are these:—one for entrance from the Corridor, which is to be well removed from the fireplace; one to enter the Scullery, which is best close to the fireplace, for convenience of constant passage to and fro while cooking; and usually one to lead to the Larders. An outer door to the Kitchen-yard is probably never advisable, although appearing in some examples. In addition to these doors there may be a hatch, that is to say a lifting window or shutter, for the delivery of dinner.

Amongst the plans which constitute our illustrations the reader will find many varieties of the Kitchen and its appurtenances, which will amply illustrate almost all points of inquiry.

The Cooking-apparatus in a good standard example will be as follows. The fireplace, for a roasting-range with boiler at the back (and perhaps oven), will be placed centrally in the side wall, from 5 to 7 or 8 feet wide, with a depth of from 27 to 36 inches. A roasting-screen in front will project about 3 1/2 feet. The standard size for the chimney-flue of the range is 14 by 14 inches; for a large range, and to include any other flue, 18 by 14. This accommodates the smoke-jack. There may also be minor flues, 14 by 9 inches, as required for other apparatus; if possible, every separate fire ought to have its own flue; that is to say, the practice of carrying these into the main flue is always to be disapproved. If it do not form part of the range, the oven will be placed next the range, separately, occupying about 31/2 or 4 feet by 21/2 on plan, with its fire-grate and flue. Stewing stoves, two, three, or four in number, will be from 3 to 5 feet by 2 1/2  feet on plan; with grates about 10 inches square for charcoal: they will stand in conjunction with the other cooking-apparatus, and in the best light, probably at one extremity of the series. The hot-plate, including the broiling-stove, will probably adjoin the range, or otherwise be close at hand, and will occupy on an average 6 feet by 30 inches. A hot-closet, wherein to place the viands to be kept warm and the plates and dishes to be warmed for use, may occupy almost any position in conjunction with the rest. It will be about 4 feet by 27 inches on plan, and will be heated probably from the range-boiler. A hot-table is a useful addition in good Kitchens, set in almost any position for keeping warm the dishes during the operation of service. It will occupy about 4 feet, less or more, by from 2 to 3 feet, and will be heated probably by steam from the range-boiler. A pair ofcoppers are occasionally placed in the Kitchen (when the Scullery is less perfect than the rule), for boiling vegetables, fish, joints, &c.: they occupy about 4 feet by 3 on plan. Otherwise, as preferable for ordinary cases, there will be a set of perhaps three steam-kettles placed on a dresser and heated from the range, and occupying about 4 feet by 2. A bain-marie is a supplementary article for purposes similar to those of the hot-plate; it is about 2 1/2 feet by 2 feet, and is heated by steam or water from the range-boiler. A hot-water cistern, if required, will be placed in some corner (either of Kitchen or Scullery) conveniently, as a reservoir of supply from the range. Lastly, a coal-box ought to be provided in connection, perhaps under the hot-plate or in some other such place. In the absence of other instructions, the architect is expected to provide accommodation for all these appliances in proper order; but if the proprietor or his cook should happen to be in any way fastidious about the matter, there are so many ingenious contrivances competing for public favour that the architect will do well not to interfere further than by promoting a timely selection, and taking care that there shall be no deficiency of smoke-flues and ventilation.

The further Fittings for a case the same as before will be these. The ordinary kitchen dresser is 10 or 12 feet long by 30 or 36 inches wide; and it has one tier of large drawers about 10 inches deep. It stands against the wall, and the space under the drawers is sometimes open and sometimes enclosed with doors; in either case accommodating the cooking utensils, which are placed on a bottom shelf or pot-board raised about 6 or 9 inches from the floor. The wall-space is covered to the height of about 7 feet by the dresser-back, consisting of a surface of boarding which supports several tiers of narrow shelves for the ordinary dinner stoneware, or for the copper articles, the edges being studded with small brass hooks for jugs, &c. In a large kitchen there will be one or more side-dressers to occupy the wall-space elsewhere, but probably without back or pot-board. A coffee-mill, pepper-mill, and a spice-mill, may be fixed in convenient positions on the sides of the dresser-back, or close at hand. An ordinary kitchentable is from 8 to 10 feet long and about 4 feet wide or a little more, and is set in the midst of the floor, so as to be in ready communication with the whole of the cooking-apparatus, the hot-closet and hot-table, if any, the dressers, and the Scullery door, equally. It has one tier of drawers about 24 inches wide, and is open underneath. It may have a marble slab, or perhaps two, let into the top for the advantage of certain processes of preparation. A mortar is generally fixed in any vacant place near the dresser. A chopping-block also is sometimes accommodated similarly. Shelving for the copper things in any convenient place, if not on a dresser-back, will be required; and also smaller shelves and pins beside the cooking-apparatus at a convenient height for depositing forks, spoons, and other articles there in use. A spit-rack may occupy any spare corner. Pin-rails for metal dish-covers will be put near the dresser. A common cupboard is always convenient. Towel-rollers are required. A Fuel-closet ought also to be thought of, sufficiently near the Kitchen, for a considerable supply.

In the largest Kitchens there is generally nothing further contained except in the way of amplification of the apparatus and fittings above described. In some instances, however, where the operations of mere cooking are more extensive, those of preparing, dishing, and garnishing are excluded from the apartment, and with them the accommodation for utensils and dishes, and also tho common dresser, hot-table, hot-closet, &c, except in forms more peculiarly applicable to cooking alone. A Dishing-Kitchen, in contradistinction to the Cooking-Kitchen, is then provided. Its fittings are a range for supplementary purposes, dressers with backs, centre table, hot-plates, and hot-closets, probably a service-hatch, cupboards perhaps, and shelving, drawers, pin-rails, &C., as before. The dishing being thus disposed of, the preparing is to a large extent accommodated in the Scullery and Larders, amplified accordingly.

In small Kitchens, on the other hand, the complexity of the arrangements is much diminished. A range,containing oven and boiler, occupies the fireplace, and constitutes perhaps the entire cooking-apparatus; the smoke-jack is most probably dispensed with ; in the case of a close range (that is, one with doors and cover to enclose the fire at pleasure) there will probably be all that is required for hot-plate on the cover itself, and a substitute for hot-closet and hot-table in the open space of the fireplace above; the roasting-screen also will serve similar purposes to these; an adjoining hot-plate of small size may be added for a somewhat superior case, but nothing more; and the usual dresser and back, table, shelves and pintails, cupboard, coal-box, mortar, coffee-mill, and towel-roller, will make all complete.

In the smallest Kitchens, few if any of these items will be omitted, but the diminished scale of the whole meets the case. Let this, however, be a rule, that in no circumstances ought a Kitchen to include the fittings proper to a Scullery,—for instance, the usual sink and plate-rack. Neither ought there to be any compromise of the independence of the Larder,—as when, for example, a Cook’s Pantry for cold meats and pastry takes the form of a close closet in the kitchen corner.

The size of a Kitchen for a small house may be from 15 to 18 feet square: it should never be too small. For a Mansion it will increase to as much as 18 or 20 feet by 25 or 30; sometimes going even beyond these dimensions, although present custom leans rather towards a reduction of size and an increase of compactness. It should never be less than 10 feet high in the smallest house; 20 feet will not be too much in the largest.

The use of a Kitchen as a Servants’ Hall can only be admissible in small houses, where, for instance, there is no manservant, and where the cooking is on a modest scale, and the apparatus consequently less prominent; but the standard two maid-servants, or even three and a page, can very well make the Kitchen their Hall. Here, however, there must not be forgotten some little regard to Sitting-room conveniences; culinary smells must be got rid of; a boarded floor generally will be expected; and a little extra size will probably be required.

To place the Kitchen in proper relation to the Dining-room, so as to facilitate the process of serving dinner hot, is of the greatest importance in all cases; and it is in the best class of houses that the difficulties of this question are greatest, owing to the extension of distances on the plan, the augmented amount of obnoxious kitchen odours, the increased interference of other traffic, and of course the considerations pertaining to more delicate eatables and more fastidious eaters. The means of communication, or Dinner-route, ought to be primarily as direct, as straight, and as easy as can be contrived, and as free as possible from interfering traffic. At the same time it is even more essential still that the transmission of kitchen smells to the Family Apartments shall be guarded against; not merely by the unavailing interposition of a Passage-door, but by such expedients as an elongated and perhaps circuitous route, an interposed current of outer air, and so on,—expedients obviously depending for their success upon those very qualities which obstruct the service and cool the dishes. In respect of this we can only say that every case has its own peculiarities; and that there are few if any general rules to be relied upon. A delivery-hatch, or lifting sash or shutter (like the “buttery hatch” of the medieval time), opening from the Kitchen to a Corridor or Lobby, or Service-closet, or sometimes to the Servants’-Hall, with a dresser within and without, is a very convenient arrangement for delivering the dishes to the servants without their entering to encumber the Kitchen. When by this means the Kitchen door is rendered capable of being removed still farther from the Main House, for the avoidance of smells, so much the better. Another excellent measure for preventing smells, but at the expense of facilities of service, is to place the Kitchen door in an external position, communicating with the House only under a porch, pent-roof, or covered-way.

In some instances, the purpose of ventilation might be equally well served by forming in the Corridor a window to open sufficiently near the kitchen door, or two such windows opposite one another. The passage-way from the Kitchen to the Main House ought of course to be wide throughout, and thoroughly ventilated; and no Staircase ought to open out of it to carry the odours upwards.

When there is a Basement-Kitchen the difficulties of route are overcome by having a special Dinner-Stair (or by adapting the Men-servants’ Stair to the purpose), or by using a Lift; the transmission of smells, however, may possibly be increased by such means, and the plan of the external Kitchen door is still well worthy of consideration. Again, with a Basement-Kitchen we have to avoid the placing of its windows under those of any room where the smells will be unwelcome,— as also the placing of the kitchen itself under any room where its heat will be unwelcome; the hood over the cooking-apparatus is especially necessary.

As the position of the Kitchen governs the arrangement of its accessories,—Scullery, Larders, &C., —it need only be remarked here that all these must be kept in view in determining such position. The relations which they bear to the Kitchen will be treated of in dealing with them in their order. The relations of other Offices to the Kitchen will be taken up in the same way in the chapters on the Servants’-Hall, Housekeeper’s-room, Steward’s-room, Still-room, &C., and in the chapter on Thoroughfares and General Plan.

In some of the largest houses there is provided, as separate from the Cooking-Kitchen, an apartment under the name of Outer-Kitchen. There is no Still-room (which see) in such a case; this apartment being made to serve all its purposes, and others of like character, the making of the pastry for example. Here also the lady of the house may come to confer with the cook or to give directions in respect of the kitchen department. The fixtures and furniture will be very nearly such as are usual in the Housekeeper’s-room (which see), with a dresser and centre table, and perhaps rails for dish covers, the copper vessels being left in the Cooking-Kitchen.

The Cook’s-Room (see this under the section of Servants’ DayRooms) becomes a necessary adjunct of the Kitchen when a mancook is kept: it is in fact his official retreat where alone he can reflect upon the mysteries of his art and consult his authorities.


The Scullery is so intimately connected with the Kitchen that there must on no account be any intervening space between them, even it be the smallest Passage or Lobby. On the contrary, the door of intercommunication and the internal arrangements of both rooms ought to be so contrived that the passing of the servants to and fro between the cooking-apparatus, dressers, and table in the one, and the sinks, plate-racks, dresser, and copper or boilers in the other, may be in every possible way most convenient and ready. This door, therefore, in ordinary cases may be placed as near to the Kitchen fireplace as can be managed, leaving sufficient space for the operations of the cook to be carried on there without disturbance, but not being a single step out of the way of those operations.  The opening of the door ought to be outwards from the Kitchen into the Scullery.

Good light and ventilation, coolness, and dryness, as in the Kitchen, are still important here; because the Scullery is to be used, not merely for washing dishes and vessels, but for preparing vegetables, fish, game, and so forth, for the Kitchen.

It is often desirable that there should be some ready means of passing from the Scullery into the open air. Sometimes there will be an outer door in the room itself; but it is preferable in most cases to place this door rather in a Passage, so as to serve the kitchen and adjoining Offices also. The purpose of the door is to lead to the Coal-Cellar perhaps, the Wood-house, and the Ash-bin, as well as to bring into connection with the Scullery the Kitchen Court for various incidental matters of out-door cleansing. It is not desirable, however, that this should be constituted the Back Entrance of the house, except in very small examples. Moreover, in perhaps the majority of the best plans the principle of communication in question is altogether ignored; the Kitchen Entrance giving access to Kitchen and Larders, but the Scullery being a mere cleansing-room behind the kitchen.

No direct communication from the Scullery is proper to any Larder, Dairy, Pantry, or other such Store-room; because the air of a Scullery, what with steam, heat, and vapours, can never be what one would wish for these Offices. If there be a special Closet for the Kitchen utensils, this may open out of the Scullery very suitably; as also the Closet for fuel.

First amongst the Fixtures there may be a boiling-copper for kitchen cloths, and for supplying hot water for cleansing, if such be not otherwise provided. There may also be a pair of coppers for vegetables, &c, if not in the Kitchen; these to be conveniently near the Kitchen range. A second cooking-range on a small scale is usually provided in the Scullery in occasional aid of the Kitchen apparatus. Next may be mentioned the sinks or washers:let these be placed if possible directly under the light. Cold water must be laid on to each, and hot water also from the Kitchen boiler probably. Let the waste-pipe be so contrived that it shall be neither liable to become choked by the congelation of fat, nor capable of being opened by the servants in their eagerness to promote the passage of substances which are better kept back. A single stone sink, 18 inches wide and from 3 to 4 feet long, will suffice for a small house; a complete set of washers for a large establishment will comprehend two of slate and as many as four of wood, the size of each being about 3 or 3 ½ feet by 2 1/2, and 21 inches deep. Next among the fixtures we may refer to the dresser, to be placed in full light,—merely a strong plain table. Sometimes there will be more than one of such dressers, and these will have backs and shelving to accommodate the stoneware of the servants. There may also be a central table as in the Kitchen, but smaller. A plate-rack has also to be provided, placed above the sink or washers, to drain there into by means of a drip-board, slightly inclined and grooved; in large Sculleries there will be two of these. Beside a sink in any case there may be formed, as a rule, a small piece of dresser of this kind by way of continuation, whereon to place articles in hand.

In smaller houses the Scullery will sometimes be made a spacious place-of-all-work, washing especially included; in other cases it will be used as a Bakehouse; if so it must be made sufficiently large, and there must be provided in the latter case a proper position for a brick Oven. The dresser must also be increased in size for handling the bread.

The Scullery floor ought always to be of paving, with a draintrap placed in a suitable corner to carry off the water with which it requires to be frequently cleansed.

The drainage is important, for the vapours from a Scullery drain are notably unpleasant.

Cook’s Pantry Or Dry-larder (and Larder Generally)

The modern Cook’s Pantry or Dry Larder is a small apartment close to the Kitchen, in which are kept cold meats and whatever may accord therewith. In ordinary cases it serves for bread, pastry, milk, butter, and so on; but the rule is to exclude all uncooked meats, including poultry, game, and fish.

It is plain that this is a modification of the ancient Pantry, the name of Dry-Larder being a modern phrase which really confuses the idea. The old Larder accommodated larded or preserved meat raw, and the old Pantry was the bread-store: the modern Larder still takes the meat raw, but the Pantry is less identified with bread than with meat cooked; so we call the raw meat store a Wet-larder and the cooked meat store a Dry-larder. The more homely phraseology however still prevails to a very considerable extent, in respect of smaller houses, speaking of Larder and Pantry simply. In large establishments the Pantry is relieved by the pastry going to a Pastry-Larder, and sometimes the bread to a Bread-Store; whilst the milk and butter may be transferred to a Dairy. In like manner the Larder becomes relieved by a Game-Larder, and perhaps a Fish Larder. 

The primary considerations in a Larder of whatever kind are coolness of temperature, freshness of ventilation, and dryness. The aspect of windows must therefore favour the North and East; the transmission of heat through the roof must be prevented; floor and walls must be perfectly free from damp; a constant current of air must be promoted; and that air must not come from any tainted, damp, dusty, or heated source, from .ash-bin or drain-trap, window of Beer-cellar, Scullery, Washhouse, Laundry, Stable, or anything of the sort. There ought also to be no fireplace or hot smoke-flue in its walls.

A plan which is theoretically very good is to form a detached Larder on the North side of the house, so as to be entirely sheltered from sunshine South and West, with windows all around, a ventilator at the top, floor of stone if dry—otherwise of wood, and overhanging roof. But in most instances the requirements may be sufficiently met without going beyond the limits of the house, and without even departing from the ordinary arrangement of contiguous square apartments, provided the principles of proper situation, aspect, and construction be duly regarded as above laid down.

Another idea which is of considerable value is that of forming a series of outbuilt Larders, with a Covered-way along the front, leading directly from the Kitchen or Scullery.

When a Larder has roof light and ventilation, great difficulty will be experienced in consequence, a sufficient circulation of air becoming almost impossible. Much may be done no doubt by artificial ventilation; but it is far better to rely upon the simple plan of a thorough draught by wall windows. Mere coolness, it must be remembered, is not sufficient without freshness.

The windows of a Larder are to be filled with wire gauze instead of glass, to admit light and air and exclude flies and dust. Any ventilator will of course be similar. A Dry-Larder, however, ought to have glazed casement’s inside, to be shut in severe weather. There may also be on a centre table a safe of wire gauze, 3 or 4 feet square, or more, for additional security from insects; or covers of that material may be used for the separate dishes.

The Fittings of a Dry-Larder consist of a broad dresser (without drawers) round three sides, and shelves in two or perhaps three tiers above it. These may be of slate or marble to promote coolness; the dresser, 2 1/2 or 3 feet wide, and the shelves 18 inches or 2 feet. In a large example there will be also a small centre table of similar material, leaving sufficient space to pass round it.

A Refrigerator may be placed here, probably as a moveable box, in one angle of the apartment. It will occupy on plan about 4 feet by 2 1/2 feet, or less. There will be deposited in it such small dishes as have to be cooled in ice before being served. In superior cases it will be an enclosure of larger size and 6 feet, high.

For use in winter there may be in the Larder a hat-water circulation from the Kitchen boiler, that the temperature may be kept above the freezing point.

If the ground be not damp, let the floor be of stone, with a drain for carrying off the water of cleansing. Vermin of every kind must be carefully excluded.

The size of a Dry-Larder may be from 8, 10, or 12 feet by 6, up to 15 feet square.


This, which is also called the Wet-larder, is the separate apartment provided for uncooked meats and other similar provisions. As respects size, arrangement, and general requirements, its principles have been laid down in the last chapter, while treating of the Larder generally. In small examples it is sometimes planned as an inner compartment accessible from the Kitchen through this Pantry; but such an arrangement, although convenient, is not advisable in superior cases.

In some better examples a Meat-Larder especially, for the sake of more complete ventilation, has been preferred in the detached form described in the last chapter; but in general this is not deemed necessary, an ordinary apartment within the walls being quite capable, if well placed, of being made in every way efficient.

In this Larder, if not in the kitchen, there will probably be fixed the balance for weighing. In Country-houses there may be a bacon-rack suspended from the ceiling; unless there be a separate Bacon-Store. More generally, bearers only will be required at the ceiling, with hooks sliding thereon for hanging joints, game, &c. Under this, if space admits, there will be a table.

A chopping-block is a proper fixture here; and there may possibly be a special place for salting-pans. A marble fish-slab may also be required. A small refrigerator or ice-box also may be placed here. A box-sink in a window-sill or dresser will likewise be convenient.

The dressers and shelving will be as described for the DryLarder; except that their being made of some such material as slate or marble becomes still more desirable.

Vegetables and fruit may sometimes be accommodated here; in a special compartment; although, generally speaking, the daily delivery of vegetables, whether by the gardener or the dealer, renders special accommodation unnecessary. Sometimes there may be two compartments to the Larder itself independently of this consideration,—an outer and an inner one,— the outer part accommodating what is most in request, and the inner being more particularly under lock and key.

For greater coolness the walls of this Larder (and indeed of others) may be lined, if thought fit, with glazed tiles; or any hard non-absorbent cement will answer the same purpose. The floor should certainly be paved.

Game And Fish Larders

The two chief Larders already described afford sufficient accommodation for moderate wants; but in some establishments these are not enough.

A Game Larder, in cases where game and poultry are largely used, becomes desirable for the same reason that the poulterer’s shop and the butcher’s are better two than one. The fixtures will consist of bearers and hooks overhead, in such number as may be required, and a slate or marble dresser at one end under a window or in the centre of the apartment. The general principles of the Meat-Larder, as already laid down, will of course still govern.

A Fish-larder is sometimes provided where the locality demands it, fitted up with a broad slate or marble table all round, and a few hooks above, with little else. In Town houses it is to be borne in mind that these Larders would be superfluous, because of the facilities of daily supply: indeed, the Larder accommodation as a whole becomes then of much less moment.


A Pastry-larder, Pastry-room, or Pastry, is especially useful in any considerable establishment. It will open out of either the Kitchen or Still-room, or be conveniently at hand; so as to be used for making the pastry and storing it, the baking being done in the Kitchen oven, or in that of the Still-room preferably if there be one. A dresser about 27 inches wide, of marble, or with at least 3 feet long of marble in the middle, is to be fixed under the light; and shelves all around the walls. The dresser being used for making the pastry, it may be filled underneath with deep drawers,for flour, sugar, and other materials. Sometimes a flour-box is formed at the one corner of the dresser (if long enough), with a hinged cover; and similarly a sink at the other. Particular dryness is essential here, and less cold is desirable than in other Larders; the floor therefore may be of wood, and also the wall-covering. The thorough draught by means of gauze in the windows is not needed if ventilation of the ordinary kind be complete. The oven ought to be readily accessible; sometimes there kis one (an iron one being always preferred for pastry) provided in special connexion, either in the apartment itself or in the Still-room.

In many cases where there is no separate Pastry-room, its purposes are very well served by means of a pastry-dresser in the Still-room, with the Pantry for storing. On the other hand, in very superior houses there may sometimes be required an amplified Pastry-room called the Confectionery, where the pastrycook conducts his part of the work. The principles are the same as before.

Salting-room, Smoking-house, And Bacon-larder

In a large Country House it may be that the salting of meat is occasionally done on so considerable a scale as to be decidedly objectionable in a proper Larder. A Salting-room may then be provided, either on the Ground-floor or in the Basement of the House, or better still amongst the Outbuildings. It ought to be as regards coolness and ventilation all that has been described for a Larder. The Fittings are chiefly a strong dresser for cutting up the meat, and the requisite number of trays of stone placed along the walls for placing it in pickle, some of these of sufficient size for a side of bacon, and others for various smaller pieces. Otherwise, part of this accommodation may be afforded by a shelf only, whereon to set moveable trays of earthenware. It is usual to attach waste-pipes to the fixed trays to carry the brine to a vessel beneath, at such place as may be convenient within the room, to be kept there for further use. A supply of water is essential, and a stone floor with a drain.

If a Smoking-house be added, it may be from 8 to 10 feet square, with several iron bearers across overhead on which to hang the meat. The fireplace, probably outside the chamber, has to be constructed for burning wood, sawdust, or peat; the smoke is led into the chamber itself, and allowed to escape only by small regulated luffer-frames in the roof.

It may be necessary also to provide a special depository by way of a Bacon-larder, which will be fitted up with a rack or shelves for bacon, and bearers with hooks for hams. Otherwise the Salting-room may serve this purpose also.

These Offices, by the bye, are amongst those which it is well, if possible, to remove altogether from the house,—to the Farm Buildings for example.

Dairy and Dairy-scullery

Under this head we need only describe such special accommodation as is required for properly domestic purposes, and not any sort of Farming Dairy, or even that pleasant plaything, a Fancy Dairy. It will be a small apartment not far from the Kitchen, similar generally to a Larder, perfectly cool and well ventilated for summer, and supplied with glass inner windows for cold weather. Heating-pipes may perhaps also be introduced; the object being to keep the temperature equable at all seasons, from 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. All vapours or odours of whatever kind ought to be most carefully excluded, except those of milk itself and fresh butter. The floor may be of stone or other like material, with drainage for copious cleansings; and there ought to be a cold-water tap for this purpose. The walls may be lined with tiles or non-absorbent plaster. The shelves, one tier all round, will be about 2 feet wide, of slate or stone, for portable milk-dishes. Otherwise there may be milk-trays formed as fixtures, with taps to draw off the contents; some are made occasionally with a hollow compartment around for containing water to keep them cool.

A Dairy-scullery may be placed adjoining, and will contain a copper or boiler, a dresser, and benches. The vessels are scalded here, and set up to dry; the operation of churning the butter is also here performed. The making of cheese need not be taken into account. If there be no Scullery of this kind, the cleansing ought to be done in the Kitchen-Scullery, and the churning in the Dairy.  It is always best, by the bye, that the Dairy itself should not have any door of intercommunication whatever,—even to its own Scullery, for instance, on account of the steam.

When the Dairy is on an extensive scale, it is much preferable to build it apart, either in connexion with the Farm Offices or as a little establishment by itself; the arrangements may be then considerably amplified, although the principles remain the same.

It has been already pointed out that the Cook’s Pantry is made to serve as Dairy in all ordinary cases.


4 Replies to “English Kitchens, Sculleries, Larders and Pastry Rooms circa 1865”

  1. An interesting article. As far as my understanding goes, the description fits Brodsworth Hall and Gardens very closely. This is a Victorian countryhouse in the county of South Yorkshire, England, that was built between 1861 and 1863 and was regularly used as a family home until about 1920.

    I am a volunteer Room Steward for English Heritage at Brodsworth Hall and Gardens. My role is to familiarise myself with each of the 30 rooms – the individual items, the nature of the activities that took place and then convey information to visitors.

    Most visitors pay a quick visit because it is one of the last rooms. Although impressed, most just want to get to the tea rooms and have a sit down with a cup of tea. However, it’s exciting when a visitor asks how it was, since then I can give them a guided tour of the kitchen and how it worked with the Scullery and the Dining Room.

  2. Hi, Brian,

    Room steward? How wonderful!!! I would be one of the visitors who would ask for a guided kitchen tour and ask too many questions. I hope to post more from this book. Of course, you can access it directly from Google Books. Please keep in touch!


  3. “A Refrigerator may be placed here, probably as a moveable box, in one angle of the apartment. It will occupy on plan about 4 feet by 2 1/2 feet, or less”

    About the size of the ordinary meat safes I remember, and pretty small when you think of how much ice they would need, constantly melting, to keep even small things cool! I suppose they must also have had an ice house in the grounds? Not sure.

    My mother’s first fridge was bought in the 1950s. Before that all our milk was boiled at bed time, left to cool overnight, and poured over cereal at breakfast (lovely taste of clotted cream!) presumably what everyone had done for decades. Our milkman (in Surrey village in the late 1940s and 1950s) delivered bottles every day with a horse drawn cart.

  4. @Judy, Wow! I had no idea that people boiled milk at bedtime and let it cool overnight. Oh, I adore clotted cream. Yum. I wish I could have seen that milkman on his route. It must have been interesting during and after the war years. Thank you for leaving this comment. I truly appreciate it.

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