The Old Kitchen

The Hall

The Old Kitchen

The Old Kitchen first came into use in 1757, when the old Elizabethan manor house that used to stand in the Park, was being demolished.

Previously, Family Wing (the first part of the Hall to be built) had been linked to the kitchen in the old manor house via a covered walkway.

Refurbished by the second Earl in the 1850s, this kitchen was used up until the Second World War.

Over the centuries, huge numbers of people have been fed by meals cooked here. In the mid-19th century, there were 60 servants in the house alone. Even between the wars there were 25 servants living and working in the house, together with the large Leicester family, who entertained lavishly and frequently. In a typical month in the 1920s, for instance, about 1,700 meals were served. Food consumed included: 250lbs of meat, 300lbs of bacon, 54lbs. of tea, and 500 loaves of bread.

In those days, the kitchen staff never saw the staterooms. Likewise, no unauthorised staff were allowed into the kitchen. There are two serving hatches at one end of the room, one for hot and one for cold food. Orders were spoken through a voice pipe located to the right of the door frame.

At 8am each morning, two footmen would arrive in the kitchen with a trolley and a large copper container, into which boiling water and the children’s breakfast eggs were placed. By the time the trolley had been pushed from the kitchen to the nursery in Chapel Wing, the eggs were perfectly boiled ready for the children’s breakfast.