Beamish, Part 4: The 1900s Town – Ravensworth Terrace

Beamish, Part 4: The 1900s Town – Ravensworth Terrace

Part of a series of reviews on the open air living history museum in County Durham, UK. Other posts in this series are:

1 – a review of the 1940s Home Farm
2 – a review of the 1900s Pit Village 
3 – a review of the Colliery (Coal Mine)

When we arrived at Beamish, we weren’t quite sure where to start, so we hopped on the first transport we saw and decided to disembark wherever it took us.  Have I mentioned the transportation at Beamish?  It’s authentic too!  Check out two of the vehicles we got to ride while we were there:

streetcar beamish ravensworth terrace 1900s town

Beamish ravensworth terrace 1900s town

And so it turned out that the first place the transport took us was the 1900s Town.  It was so magnificently done and there was so much to look at that I really wish we had saved it for last instead of heading there first.  I’m going to have to break this portion of our visit down into more than one blog post because I have so many wonderful pictures to share with you.

Today we’re looking at the residential portion of the town, Ravensworth Terrace.  The homes there are two-story attached row homes.  They were originally built in Gateshead for professional people and tradesmen between 1830 and 1845.  Due to be demolished in the 1970s, Beamish saved six of them, then had them dismantled and rebuilt as part of their 1900s town site.

ravensworth terrace row homes beamish 1900s town

The Dentist at Work

First, we visited Nos. 3 & 4 Ravensworth Terrace, the home (and office) of the town Dentist.  It was not at all uncommon in that era for dentists to operate their practice out of their homes.

A costumed young lady in the dentist’s office told us about the dental practices of the day.  Most of all, we were struck by the tradition of families paying to have all of their daughter’s teeth pulled at age 21 and dentures made to replace them.  This made the young lady a better “catch” as it would spare her future husband the expense of having to buy her dentures when she got older.  It seems barbaric, but this practice actually continued into the 1950s.

ravensworth terrace dentist 1900s town beamish
One of the old sets of dentures on display at the dentist’s office.

There were plenty of dental artifacts in there for us to look at… so many that at times I did not even know what I was looking at.

ravensworth terrace beamish dentist 1900s town
The technician’s room, used for preparation of dentures.

ravensworth terrace dentist beamish 1900s town

The dentist was also there, but he was content to sit while his assistant talked to us.

ravensworth terrace beamish dentist 1900s town
The Beamish dentist, chillin’ by the window.

(There was an issue that day with the wind blowing smoke from the fire back into the room, hence the fuzziness on  the left side of this picture.)

After a while, the dentist answered some questions for us as well.  Here you can see him standing behind some of the equipment.  The dental patient’s chair (amazingly similar to its 2016 counterpart) is to the left, behind a tray of tools.  The contraption on the right side of the picture is a gas apparatus for anesthesia (dentists used a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen).

dentist ravensworth terrace 1900s town beamish

The Dentist at Home

From there we moved on to the dentist’s home, which was right next door. Seems like the dentist was doing quite well for himself! His house had some very modern features for the time period. Most noteworthy was the bathroom.  An entire room dedicated to bathing and other personal matters!

bathroom dentist ravensworth terrace beamish 1900s town

Did you notice how PRETTY that toilet is?  My word!  I had to zoom in and get a better look.

beamish toilet ravensworth terrace 1900s town dentist home bathroom

Also, the fact that it flushed was quite a novelty then.

My favorite room in the dentist’s residence was the children’s room.  I loved seeing all the playthings.  It really looked lived in – as if they had just stepped out a moment before we arrived.

ravensworth terrace dentist home beamish 1900s town

ravensworth terrace dentist home tea party beamish 1900s town

ravensworth terrace dollhouse dentist home 1900s town

The Music Teacher

When we left the dentist’s place, we realized we had overlooked No. 2 Ravensworth Terrace, the home of the music teacher.  The teacher was an unmarried woman and, since her home was decorated in mid-Victorian furnishings, it seemed like she was a spinster who inherited the house from her parents. I only got this one photo:

music-teacher-house ravensworth terrace beamish 1900s town

The Solicitor

Finally, before concluding our tour of Ravensworth Terrace, we visited the solicitor’s office.  Due to all the shelves full of books, and the stacks of papers on the desk, this was my favorite room.  It felt like the lawyer had just stepped out and would return at any moment.

solicitor office ravensworth terrace beamish 1900s town

So, that’s a look at the homes of Ravensworth Terrace. Next, I’ll be writing about the 1900s town’s businesses.

Beamish is located at postcode DH9 0RG in County Durham, England.  Telephone 0191 370 4000. Open daily at 10:00 AM except holidays.   Beamish recently received a £10.9 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to add a 1950s section, which should be open by 2021.

 

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