Steampunk Research at Lanhydrock

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I love visiting stately homes and grand country houses.  There’s something about these glimpses into long gone lives that I find really fascinating. I’m also a sucker for costume drama and historical novels.

Copper kettles and pans in the kitchen
Copper kettles and pans in the kitchen

However when I started writing a steampunk short story for the Write Romantics charity anthology I realised that I’d not learned as much as I’d thought from all of this.  Suddenly, every detail became important.  Although steampunk is an alternate history I didn’t want to get it wildly wrong so I found myself researching when men started wearing wristwatches, wasting hours looking at photos of ladies fashions from 1890 (the hats are incredible – I will never know how anyone did anything in a hat that size!) and trying to get my head around steam technology.

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When I visited Lanhydrock House in Cornwall, a beautiful late Victorian country house, I was determined to pay more attention to the details.  Especially the innovations that were state of the art at that time.  The National Trust have done an amazing job with Lanhydrock and it feels like a home which is still lived in, almost as if the inhabitants have just walked out of the rooms.

Rack for draining dishes in the scullery
Rack for draining dishes in the scullery
Dairy - I'm told that they would fill the channel with hot water when they were making clotted cream.
Dairy – I’m told that they would fill the channel with hot water when they were making clotted cream.
Lady's travelling medicine chest
Lady’s travelling medicine chest
Picnic basket with small kettle. My Mum told me that her uncle had one that was a bit like this (but not as posh) and the kettle was powered by meths.
Picnic basket with small kettle. My Mum told me that her uncle had one that was a bit like this (but not as posh) and the kettle was powered by meths.

The Write Romantics charity anthology which includes my steampunk story, A Pistol for Propriety, will be out in early November.  You can find out more about it at here

6 thoughts on “Steampunk Research at Lanhydrock

  1. Really interesting post, Alys. I also love looking round country houses. Lanhydrock looks fascinating. Will definitely put it on my list for my next visit to Cornwall.
    Having read your fantastic steampunk short story I can say that anyone who buys the anthology is in for a treat. Actually, they’re in for several, but yours is unique. It’s the first steampunk story I’ve ever read and I loved it! I’m sure everyone else will, too. X

    1. I’m sure you’d love Lanhydrock Sharon. It’s very Downton Abbeyesque if you know what I mean. Thanks for saying such lovely things about A Pistol for Propriety. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and that I’ve introduced you to steampunk! xx

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Jessica. It’s a plate on the wall or maybe it’d be better described as a dish. I loved the way the colours complemented the William Morris wallpaper. Now if only I could achieve something like that in my house…

  2. Enjoyed your post :-), I really love the lady’s travelling medicine chest! Every lady should have one at their disposal! xx

  3. What an excellent post! I’ve been to Lanhydrock, it is gorgeous. It is so inspiring you could imagine setting any number of stories there the setting is so inspiring. I am so looking forward to reading ‘A Pistol for Propriety,’ I’ve never read a steampunk story and am so looking forward to it 🙂

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