|Poplar Cottage on a cold March day.|
|No chimney in the cottage, only a "smoke bay"!|
|A kind volunteer lady freezing inside the cottage!|
This charming English cottage is called Poplar Cottage, which dates from the mid-17th century. We visited it at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex, England. It was a cold and gray day on our visit, but exercising an artistic license, I turned the scene into a sunny spring day!
At the open air museum we saw many old houses and farm buildings. The oldest was from the 13th century! They had been moved timber by timber to the museum for preservation. We felt like we have wandered into a medieval village. Magic! We learned a lot about the evolution of domestic housing for common people. For instance, Poplar Cottage used to belong to a cobbler.
As you can see in the reference picture for the painting, there is no chimney, although it was being introduced in England about the same time of its construction. No chimney, only a "smoke bay"! Smoke had no place to escape other than circulate inside the cottage. Our eyes stung! We were greeted by a kind volunteer lady who had to use a walker to get around. I felt relieved when I saw her leaving the premise soon after our departure.
The museum was practically run by numerous volunteers, who dedicated their time for the love of the place. They explained things to the visitors, cooked historical meals for us to taste, sewed period costumes with historical material and methods, toiled in the cottage gardens, and bore the freezing cold with grace. We left the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum with admiration for the English--both past and present!
|A volunteer lady showing off a period costume|
|A volunteer in a Tudor costume; another house with no chimney!|