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22 Oct 2018

Grand and good fun - for all the family

Written by Lauren Miller
The Dining Room was one of Lauren’s highlights of her Georgian House visit
The Dining Room was one of Lauren’s highlights of her Georgian House visit
Braes High student Lauren Miller drops into Edinburgh’s Georgian House as she tries out our £1 entry offer for the Year of Young People.

If you wish to admire the stunning artwork and architecture of the Georgian era, then the Georgian House may be for you. The Georgian House has been charmingly restored to show the standard home in New Town Edinburgh in the late 18th and early 19th century. Owned by John Lamont between 1796 and 1816, this magnificent property offers a perfect family outing and great understanding of life in the Georgian era.

After a warm welcome from a member of staff, I wandered up to the second floor and into the film room where a 16 minute film continuously plays. This was a brilliant way to kick off the visit as it used actors to give an insight into the daily routines of both the owners of the house and the staff that kept it running. With plenty of information about the Georgian era that was easy to understand it meant the film was perfect for both kids and adults.

The Dress Up room gives adults and kids the chance to try on Georgian fashions
The Dress Up room gives adults and kids the chance to try on Georgian fashions

Next door to the film room was the ‘dress up’ room. Filled with costumes for people of all ages it gives everyone an opportunity to enjoy themselves and use their imagination by dressing to match this majestic property. As I walked into the room a couple were giggling and taking photos of each other posing in the outfits. Throughout my visit, I ran into them quite a few times and they would update me on all the things they’d found. It made me giggle, reminding me that this really is a property for everyone.

The room had plenty of posters explaining male and female etiquette in this era, as well as a colouring in station for kids and a table where you can attempt your best writing with a quill and ink. It’s a lot harder than it looks by the way!

Lauren tried her hand at writing with a quill, as students would have in the 18th century
Lauren tried her hand at writing with a quill, as students would have in the 18th century

Something I found fascinating was the library. It had an impressive bookcase filled with worn-out books. I spent ages engrossed, trying to read the titles on the spines.

Every room was heavily decorated with paintings from the Georgian era. This gave it a real sense of authenticity and makes this house perfect for art lovers as well as historians. 

Lauren spent ages trying to read the spines of the books in the library
Lauren spent ages trying to read the spines of the books in the library

The grandeur of the dining room presented me with a real feeling of excitement. It related to my childhood fantasies of royalty and luxurious dinner parties and I’m sure it sparks the same response in many others. I could imagine kids being able to appreciate the regal atmosphere the house carries and use their imaginations to create their own stories and games.

Arguably, the most interesting area of the house is the servants’ quarters. The first thing I noticed when I walked down to the basement was the bells hanging above the kitchen door that showed which room they were being called to, just like the movies. I’ve never seen so many pots and pans in my life! The chef was expected to cook up to fourteen courses for dinner which could put any TV chef to shame.

The butler’s room seemed to be very popular due to its ‘personal’ feel.

A little gift shop filled with Scottish tablet, books and toys finishes off the experience so that everyone can walk away with a souvenir of their day at the Georgian House.

Georgian cooks needed lots of pots and pans
Georgian cooks needed lots of pots and pans

I found every member of staff to be very friendly and approachable. I also noticed a ‘tough questions’ book in the corner of the room so they will definitely be ready to answer any questions you have. Everyone I met adored the house and said that it’s the perfect opportunity to gain a real sense of the past.

It’s so important to visit somewhere like this. I thoroughly enjoyed it and believe that it encourages people to think about preservation. As the next generation, we need to begin to consider the steps we’re going to take to protect Scotland’s unique history. Whether you are after a productive family outing, hunting for a lively glimpse into history or are desperate to appreciate some of the gorgeous paintings of the past, visiting the Georgian House will give you the perfect opportunity to gain the experience you’re looking for.

The parlour is an excellent example of Georgian grandeur
The parlour is an excellent example of Georgian grandeur