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8 Jun 2022

Why we love the Georgian House

Why we love the Georgian House


6 voices: Sheonagh Martin, Indigo, Alan, two visitors, Ann-Marie

Sheonagh – Why is the Georgian House so special?
It stands in Charlotte Square, which was designed by the famous Scottish architect Robert Adam in 1790.
And its unique selling point is Charlotte Square is still intact almost as Robert Adam had envisaged it back in 1790.
What makes No. 7 Charlotte Square, or as we call it the Georgian House, so special is it’s been restored by the National Trust for Scotland to how it could have looked when it was first built in 1796.
We look at the period 1780-1820, to give visitors an idea of what it would have been like to live and work in the New Town, not just for the Lamont family who were the first owners but also for their servants.
You couldn't live in a grand house like this without six or seven servants to look after you.
They would definitely have had a butler, and the butler would have also served as Mr Lamont’s valet and as the footman.
In Edinburgh it was becoming common to hire also a housekeeper, who would then run the daily accounts rather than Mrs Lamont having to do that.
And the housekeeper would then take charge of the hiring of the female servants. Accompanying the butler and housekeeper, you also had a cook.
The cook was a very, very responsible position because your reputation as hosts depended on the quality of the food that your cook was making, so you had to choose your cook wisely.
The social season for Edinburgh were the winter months, which seems strange because it's the dark winter nights, but part of your social obligations were to host a number of dinner parties.
And in exchange you were invited to other people’s houses, also small dances and then one big extravaganza every winter, for maybe up to 100 guests.

Indigo -The thing I love most about working in the Georgian House is feeling like I've stepped back in time every morning when I come into work.
That also helps with visitors who sit down at the piano upstairs in the drawing room and play a jig.
It transports people back in time; I love that.

Alan - I really love this place.
I suppose there's a couple of things, I learn something new every day.
When I started here, how does the barrel organ work?
How is the note extended because of the longer staple?
Things like that.
But then the other thing is it’s always very enjoyable meeting all the people from everywhere.

Visitor 1 - I really enjoyed the visit today.
There were lots of many intricate details that were really well curated as well, especially using archives from old carpet companies and just replicating the same design.
Just a lot of thought and effort really put in, quite amazing.
I really enjoyed the visit as well.

Sheonagh - The Georgian House, since it opened to the public in 1975, has always run with a very small staff team.
Everyone else who works in this building is a volunteer.
Every guide you meet is a volunteer; our retail assistants are also volunteers.
Without them doing 15-16,000 hours a year, without the volunteers we don't open the door.
They bring their passion and they bring their enthusiasm.
They bring their life skills with them.
So most of our volunteers are retired but we also encourage the next generation, the students, those that are interested in going into heritage, school pupils, so we get the next generation who are going to be the next people like myself, who want to manage places like this.
And I love it because I really feel it does tell the story of life in the New Town, and what it would have been like for people who were becoming increasingly wealthy through trade and industry that was developing at this time in Scotland.

Ann-Marie - I love it as a place.
I love telling the story of the family.
I love the fact that you really get the sense that this was a family house and also how it relates to Edinburgh, the growth of Edinburgh.
I love it.

Visitor 2 - It's very fascinating to see the architecture in this house and also to imagine the way the family and the people who were here lived long long ago.
I'm also very, very grateful and I really enjoyed the chat and explanations by the lovely, lovely volunteer guides here, and yes it's really a wonderful experience.

Hear from some of our wonderful team and visitors at the Georgian House about why this is such a special place, from that feeling of stepping back in time to the thoughtful curatorship of the collection on display.

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