The cellars at Arlington

Many visitors to Arlington ask where the servants would have worked. When the house was first built this was in the cellars of the house. However, these rooms are now home to a colony of bats, so they can't be accessed.

First plans

The original design of the house had the kitchens and servants areas underneath the main house. You can still see the dumb waiters to the kitchen below in the original Dining Room, now displayed as the Morning Room. There was no space for servants to sleep upstairs as the design of the roof of the house means there are no attics, only small roof voids accessible by ladder. This was considered inconvenient and a fire risk so after only thirty years they were moved into a new two storey extension.

Re-thinking the plan

A new double height kitchen was built, with large windows looking out over the gardens, now the old kitchen tearoom. Other rooms in the wing were used as servants’ bedrooms, larder, scullery, butler’s pantry and the like. A terrace was built around the house which blocked sunlight to the basement rooms so it is thought that they were then used as stores, certainly the kitchen range was removed. At some point the bats started to move in.

Taking up residence

We now have a colony of around 150 lesser horseshoe bats which use the basement and roof voids as their home. As all bats in the UK are protected species under law we are not able to disturb them so cannot allow regular access to the basement rooms. However, a bat cam has been set up where you can watch the colony in their roost in the roof space.