Friday, 9 September 2011

Still ante-natal

There's a slight change of plan.  I decided I couldn't cram everything in that I want to do and I couldn't make structural sense of where to put kitchens, sinks, cookers etc.. so the café is out.  Maybe that's another project with my name on it.  Honestly, Ken, I am kidding.

It has also been through several name changes.  I quite liked Top to Toe but decided I want to go with the notion of Ellen Bentley trying to bring Paris to Aston.  (Birmingham).

The shop will have an attractively decorated shop floor with several displays. There will be a couple of comfy seats and a small table so ladies could spend time choosing fabrics and pattens for their clothes and a place to try on hats.  They could also buy accessories such as parasols and other bits and bobs.  It won't have a counter (or a very small one).  In 1910 the ladies who can afford to shop here would have had their purchases delivered.

The room above is for trying on shoes as they wouldn't have wanted to flash their ankles in a shop window for all and sundry to stare at.  The room above that in the attic space will be the fitting room for fitting the clothes which will be made on the premises.  I have seen a lovely corset cupboard so lingerie might also be available.

The left side of the property will have the kitchen on the ground floor which is a bit strange as it is on the front of the building with a window on to the street.  That would be a bit unlikely but there's not really another option (suggestions welcome).  I will put in a back door to get out to the yard (and toilet) . The kitchen is pretty much the room where most working people lived - it was warm!.  The room above will be Ellen's parlour and will be reasonably nice and (almost) kept for best as she will sometimes have business to conduct in there.  Above that will be her bedroom.  Few properties at this income level had bathrooms so I have all the rooms I need.  I have seen a brilliant wheeze in one 1910 picture of a bath in the kitchen under a lid/shelf/table and I actually remember the existence of such a thing in someone's scullery when I was a child.  If there's enough room in the kitchen I might do this.  I don't have space in my spare room to do the backyard with the toilet and coal store which would have been attached to the back wall and even better a scullery but, even without that, the building will be a convincing story of a 1910 shopkeeper's life.  I hope.

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