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Collection highlights at Mr Straw's House

The Lumber Room at Mr Straw's House, Nottinghamshire. The room is filled with all sorts of objects, including jars, crates, tins and papers.
The Lumber Room at Mr Straw's House | © National Trust Images/Geoffrey Frosh

Enter Mr Straw’s House and step back in time to the 1920s. Treasured possessions and domestic items can still be seen exactly where their owners left them. Find out more about the stories these seemingly ordinary items are able to tell.

A surprising collection

Although a relatively modest semi-detached house, 7 Blyth Grove holds over 30,000 items left behind by the Straw family, each with a story to tell.

Servants' bells

Above the door in the kitchen sit a row of servants' bells. When the house was originally built in the early 20th century it would have been expected for the family to have had a staff of servants. The Straws, who moved into No. 7 Blyth Grove in 1923, never had any live-in servants.

Florence's sampler

Hanging on the wall of Florence's parlour is a sampler she worked on as a child whilst at boarding school, demonstarting her proficiency with a needle and thread.

Florence's watercolour

Florence enjoyed making things and was skilled at many arts and crafts. Inside the spare back bedroom, have a look at her watercolour hanging in an oblong frame with an oval mount. It's a wonderful example of her talents.

William's hairbrush

On top of the chest of drawers in the bathroom is a very worn hairbrush, obviously used for many years. As the Straws were quite wealthy, it gives you an idea of their attitude towards their possessions, that they likely insisted 'If it ain't broke...'

The Parlour at Mr Straw's House, Nottinghamshire, showing bookshelves filled with books and next to them on the wall can be seen the sampler created by Florence Straw as a child.
The sampler created by Florence as a child can be seen in the Parlour | © National Trust Images/Geoffrey Frosh

William's book

The Straw family regularly attended services at the local church, St John’s. For its centenary, William wrote a book entitled 'St John's Church.' You can see stacks of the published books in brown wrapping in the parent's bedroom on top of their wardrobe – perhaps they didn't sell very well?

Walter's tea chests

After the death of his father, William Sr, Walter Straw took over the running of the grocer's shop until he retired in 1962. In his bedroom you can see two tea chests which were used to store tea in the shop. W. Straw grocers was well known for its many varieties of excellent blends of loose tea.

Baby Daisy vacuum

The Baby Daisy was a vacuum cleaner dating from the late 1800s. It took two people to operate, which could explain why Florence decided to upgrade to a newer version later in her life relegating the Baby Daisy to the Lumber Room on the top floor of the house.

Baby Daisy vacuum cleaner in five parts. Box (bellows), pipe, hose, two attachments. Wooden box with 'Baby Daisy' label, metal attachments.
Baby Daisy vacuum cleaner | © National Trust / Mike Kennedy

Children's chairs

In William's bedroom, in front of the fireplace, there are two small wooden chairs. Before he died, William took the time to label the rocking chair on the right as being made as a childhood present for his mother, Florence, by a Worksop chair maker. The chair on the left simply has 'W.S' burnt into its wood, meaning we're none the wiser which of the many W. Straws this chair belonged to.

Gladstone bag

In the Glory Hole, you'll see amongst the many objects piled high, a Gladstone bag emblazoned with the initials 'W.S.' This was a wedding gift to William Sr from Florence on their wedding day in 1896.

View of a chair with a polished pair of men's shoes sitting neatly underneath at Mr Straw's House, Nottinghamshire

Mr Straw's House collections

Explore the objects and works of art we care for at Mr Straw's House on the National Trust Collections website.

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