Explore the fireplaces at Mr Straw's House
Fireplaces have constantly evolved from the central hearth through to our modern gas and electric ones of today. They epitomise the changing eras and styles. Victorian fireplaces at the beginning of the period were very ornate with intricate floral designs whilst the later period were more geometric in pattern.
From the 1880's, Art Nouveau designs, with 5 titles often backed by `slabbing`, where tiles were laid on a flat surface, face down and covered with mortar and grouted afterwards, became more fashionable. The fireplace in Walter's bedroom is in a similar style with the five flower motifs tiles in a highly stylised form.
As with all interior design, the rooms where guests would be welcomed were more ornate than the private famile areas. Here at Mr Straw's House, the slate used in the Dining Room to create the fireplace has been decorated to give the impression of marble. The over mantle in Florence's Parlour is also typical for displaying newly fashionable ornamets.
Upstairs however, the fireplaces become far less grand. In William's bedroom it is a more basic cast iron design. This design remained fashionable for the small rooms or servants quarters until World War I when the demand for cast iron materials increased significantly to help with the war effort.
After the Second World War the demand for housing increased and saw a move away from the traditional fireplaces towards quickly installed electric fires. The Straw Family never altered their fireplaces, and didn't install central heating continuing to rely upon their fires with additional heat from ceramic electric heaters.