Shrouded in a thick layer of dust and hidden under piles of junk, a complete Victorian kitchen lay forgotten for more than a generation. Archie Graham-Palmer and his wife Philippa discovered the incredible time capsule when they began rummaging in the basement of the family home. They found an entire kitchen kitted out as if the cook had just stepped out for a breath of air.
The old cooker in the Victorian kitchen, which has been uncovered after decades of gathering dust in a country house in mid-Wales
Cooking utensils from the Victorian era remain in place on the walls, shelves and sideboards
House proud: Archie Graham-Palmer and wife Phillippa discovered the relic in the basement of their home
The kitchen was discovered when the room, which had been used as a dumping ground, was cleared.
The kitchen’s entrance had been blocked since the Second World War with a collection of unwanted belongings. A kettle from the Victorian era left on a hotplate
It is a far cry from the stainless steel kitchens of today. The kitchen was stocked with everything the staff needed to prepare meals for the household, as well as a full cooking range, they discovered kettles, pots, pans, pastry cutters, antique fire extinguishers and jelly moulds. There was a spit for roasting pigs on, as well as a table and benches in the middle of the room which could easily seat 20 staff.
CEFN LEA PARK’S HISTORY
The current house at Cefn Lea Park was built around the turn of the 19th century, the previous building on the site having been destroyed by fire in 1794. In the 18th Century it had been the home of the Griffiths family before passing on to the prominent Kenyon family of Gredington. The house was sold in 1830 at an auction held at the Wynnstay Arms Hotel. It was bought by Rev Nathaniel Roberts whose wife, Frances, was daughter of John Matthews, attorney of Chester. However, another fire that same year meant that the house needed extensive renovations. What we see today is likely to date from this period. On Frances’ death in 1850, Cefn Park passed to Sir William Henry Roger Palmer, Bt, of Kunure Park, Dublin, who was married to Frances’ sister Eleanor. It subsequently went to their son, Sir Roger William Henry Palmer in 1854. The kitchen is thought to date back to the 1830s when the house had a full complement of servants.
Unused for more than 100 years, the kitchen was apparently briefly recommissioned during the Second World War because it offered protection from air raids. But it was mothballed after the war and became a dumping ground. Cefn Park near Wrexham, North Wales, has been passed down through the family since it was bought in 1830. Mr Graham-Palmer, 41, who worked in commercial forestry, moved back to the family home this year to take over the estate from his father. With his wife, Philippa, 37, he began investigating the nooks and crannies that had been left undisturbed for decades. ‘The basement had been a dumping ground for years,’ he said. ‘We discovered that the room was as it would have been. ‘We even found a cookbook. Most of the recipes would have needed an army of cooks.’ He and his wife intend to preserve the kitchen because of its links to the estate’s Victorian past and it is being redecorated in colours from the era.
Archie Graham-Palmer and his wife Philippa discovered the below-stairs kitchen in the 200-year-old stately home in Cefn Park
Bells so the staff knew when they were being summoned to each room, a relic from a bygone era hanging on the wall.
The bells with which the servants were summoned, as well as an unidentified weighted pulley system, remain mounted on the walls
The Cefn Park house is surrounded by 50 acres of land near Wrexham
Article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.