Home Farmhouse Conjectured 1920s Room Usage

Bob Briscoe
Sep 2019

I've been analyzing the 1924 inventory and the 1921 sale catalogue to work out how the rooms were used. I've transcribed extracts from the sources at the end, to better pick out the room names.

The logic used to interpret the 1921 list is:
The 1924 inventory is more useful, because it list stoves in rooms, and individual bedrooms are identified above ground floor rooms. Note that in 1924 there are three downstairs rooms with stoves, in addition to the washhouse where the Dutch oven was. So the chimney serving the present-day living room must have been there in 1924. But there are only two bedrooms out of four with stoves, which must map to the Swedish and Far Bedrooms.

Lastly, notice that the context of the 1924 document is a sale from William Cooper to Isaac Larter. So perhaps Cooper won the auction for Home Farm in 1921, then Isaac bought it off him in 1924? {ToDo: There's a note (blue post-it?) written by Monica somewhere in Bob's Parham archives saying who bought Home Farm at the 1921 auction (Precious?), and that he sold it to Jack the ?following year.}

Here's my conjectured mapping of 1921 and 1924 room names to the present day:

Critical Evidence (1924)
Kitchen Washhouse
Kitchen Dutch oven
Dining room Kitchen
Inglenook Stove
Dairy Store roome
Pantry Pantry
Entrance Hall
Hall Front hall

Refrigerator rooma Passage
Back hall

Breakfast room
Keeping roomf
Living room Register Stove with tiled panels
Drawing room
Drawing room
Register Stove
Bedroom#1 Bedroom over Keeping Room Bedroom#1 (ours)
no stove
Bedroom#2 Bedroom over Parlour Bedroom #4 (far)
Bedroom#3 Bedroom over Kitchen Bedroom #3 (Swedish)
Bedroom#4 Bedroom No 2 Bedroom #2 (Library)
no stove
Lattice Roomb Cheese Room
Cheese Room
Bedroom#5 Absentg
Airing room
Bedroom#6 Absentg Bathroom#1
Lattice Roomb Absentg Bedrooms #5 & #6 (Nursery & Apple room)
Bedroom #7 Absentg Attic

Absentg Absent
Cream Housed Absentg Absent


a: The Refrigerator Room may have been the Office+Bathroom#2+Kitchen#2 (Pantry), or the Back hall (Passage), or it might have been part of some other present-day room. I assume one of the rooms along the back must have been the Pantry so I've assumed it was the same as the Pantry I remember from the 1970s. Then I've made the Refrigerator Room the other one.
b: The lattice rooms are listed with the bedrooms, so must both be upstairs. Quoting from 'Elizabethan Life':
"Glass, being still relatively novel and too readily removable, is quite commonly listed [in wills] in conjunction with locks and so forth. But most dwellings merely have 'lattices', that is, the window-openings are filled with narrow laths, interlaced and sometimes nailed together, with some spaces between the laths; or thin horn is used. They let in draughts but little light, and they seldom find mention in wills. Glazed windows are now gradually coming into fashion..."
c: Regarding the elusive cellar, 'Elizabethan Life' says:
"In our period 'cellar' apparently denotes a small store-room or closet, normally on the ground floor, underground cellars being mostly confined to inns or other substantial buildings. Seldom used, it is found in fact only twice in the wills, viz. 'cellars and sollers' and 'the chamber over the cellar'."
Altho' 1921 is obviously not in the Elizabethan period, this doesn't say that usage did not persist beyond the Elizabethan period. Without exhaustively checking the full etymological history of the word, it could be possible that the early usage of the word survived in estate-agent-speak.
d: Perhaps the Cream House was a separate building?
e: The absence of anywhere named a dairy in 1924 is odd in a farmhouse, i.e. nowhere for processing milk.
f: The concept of a 'Keeping Room' seems to be an idea introduced in American colonial times, but that might just be search engine bias towards the US. It's a living room off the kitchen where a family lives informally to benefit from the warmth in the kitchen due to the stove. It is distinct from a parlour, which is for formal guests.
g: Perhaps just not listed because there were no fixtures in these rooms

The order in which the rooms are listed in 1924 casts doubt on all my conjectures, because I assume a valuer would list the rooms in the order visited, but the order doesn't seem to follow any path or logic that I can think of.

Transcriptions of evidence

Inventory and Valuation of Farm Covenants and Fixtures

at the Home Farm, Parham in the County of Suffolk
13th February 1924


Parham Hall Estate, Suffolk, 1921

Sale catalogue

It is Stud and Plaster Built, with Flat Tiled Roof, and contains  :—
Entrance Hall ; Dining, Drawing,and Breakfast Rooms ; 7 Bedrooms and 2 Lattice Rooms ; Kitchen ; Pantry ; Dairy ; Cream House ; Refrigerator Room, and Cellar.