Article  - Victorian Kitchen Designs; inspired by Lanhydrock

There are many Victorian kitchen designs which have inspired Artichoke projects over the last 25 years, but few really hit the mark as soundly as the National Trust’s Lanhydrock house kitchen.   It is, in our view, one of the finest examples of Victorian back of house interior design and architecture in Britain.

Originally Jacobean, the house was damaged by fire in 1881 and was given an extensive restoration in the high Victorian style.  With the UK buoyed by the successes of the industrial revolution, the newly restored magnificent country house kitchen was updated with the latest equipment and technology for staff to cook food for the owners, their guests and the staff.

The Artichoke kitchen design team has been quietly obsessed with Lanhydrock for many years.  When the opportunity arose to share our passion and interest with a client, we jumped at it, travelling down to Cornwall with him to help explain why we felt we should take inspiration from it for his bespoke kitchen design.  Our initial visit was about capturing some of the detail which makes this kitchen so special.

 

Beautifully lit by natural light; the main kitchen at Lanhydrock house.

 

Cast iron ovens at Lanhydrock House kitchens

The huge cast iron oven forms the centrepiece of the Victorian kitchen design.  Note the recess in the background, framed with a cast iron mould.

Artichoke’s Victorian Kitchen Designs

Much of Artichoke’s work involves designing kitchens with aesthetic links to the past.  More often than not this is because we are designing kitchens into period buildings where some link to the past is a sensitive and pragmatic way to ensure the kitchen design has longevity, does not date and sits comfortably within its architectural surroundings.  At the same time, we try not to let the past constrain us.  After all, we are designing kitchens and spaces which need to be used for modern living.

In this particular Victorian kitchen design project, we have been more exacting than we might usually be.  Surveys were taken of moulds and copies of the Victorian handles have been made using the same lost wax cast brass method used at the time of Lanhydrock’s restoration.

 

CGIs of Artichoke’s bespoke kitchen design.

plate rack in Victorian kitchen design

Victorian island

Victorian kitchen designs by Artichoke

The plate rack Artichoke has designed above the brass sink is decorative and will be used to both store plates as well as dry them.  Each plate rack has a bespoke pewter drip-tray base.  The main sink is made from solid brass. During the late 1800’s Victorian kitchen designs often features metal sinks, usually made from copper or nickel alloy, a corrosion-resistant and robust lightweight material capable of standing up to the rigors of a large country house kitchen environment.

 

copper sink in the bakery

The copper sink in Lanhydrock’s bakery. The walls were painted blue as it was considered the colour least attractive to flies.

The Range Oven

A large cast iron range almost always formed the centrepiece to many Victorian kitchens.  Artichoke works regularly with Officine Gullo, a modern Italian company specialising in the design and manufacture of incredibly hard wearing cast iron kitchen ranges.  The ovens are known for their build quality and distinctive period character; they fit well into many of the country house projects Artichoke designs kitchens for.

This particular oven top features a pasta cooker, four large gas burners, a French plate (used typically for sauces) and put down.  A pot filler has been integrated into the back.

 

Officine Gullo coup de feu top

The heavy gauge cast iron Coup de Feu or French plate is an essential piece of kit in professional kitchens.

Casting the Frame Mould

The frame to the recess is to be made for the kitchen in cast iron.

The original moulding which surrounds the recess on Lanhydrock’s kitchen is made from cast iron, which Artichoke has copied directly for this bespoke kitchen design.  The moulding will be sand cast by a foundry in Somerset which is a highly involved process.  Starting with the mould frame pattern (made from timber), a reverse sand mould is made into specialist casting sand along with tapered edges to ensure it can be removed (similar to the reason children’s beach buckets have tapers on).  Poured molten pig iron is then poured into the mould and left to solidify and cool for 24 hours before it is then shot blasted and fetled.  The finished mould will be very dark grey in its natural state.

Cooling in the Kitchen

Domestic fridges were not invented until 1913, and until that point, a host of relatively creative methods were deployed to keep food cool in large country houses.  The method above, as seen in Lanhydrock’s dairy, is one such example and not one we’ve seen anywhere else.  A cold water feed distributed water (from the hills above the house) around a cast iron trench system to keep dairy products cool.  The dairy room uses both marble and slate to keep the dairy products and desserts cool.

 

Officine Gullo range oven in Victorian kitchen

More modern cooling methods are being deployed for this Victorian kitchen design with a Sub Zero refrigerator being integrated into the wall to the right of the cast iron range oven.

Victorian Pull Handles

During Artichoke’s numerous visits to Lanhydrock, we surveyed the handles on the cook’s table which we will be copying using the traditional method of casting them in brass.

Brass pull handle for kitchen

Stage 1:  Surveying one of the original kitchen handles from Lanhydrock.

 

Stage 2: Artichoke technically draws and details the handle in preparation for creating a mould for the brass team.

 

Stage 3: Artichoke makes a 1:1 scale version of the Lanhydrock handles in timber for the casting team to then use as a model.

 

The project is ongoing and will be added to as the project progresses.  For further information, contact Artichoke on 01934 745270 or email newprojects@artichoke.co.uk

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