At Home with the Soanes

At Home with the Soanes

Upstairs, Downstairs in 19th Century London

A fascinating glimpse of real life for a London family in the early 19th century

The product of many years’ research by Susan Palmer, archivist to Sir John Soane’s Museum, At Home with the Soanes paints a detailed picture of the social and domestic life at Nos 12 & 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, in the early 19th century – how the buildings were heated, the servants’ daily duties, what meals were cooked, wines purchased and teas drunk – even the fate of the family’s pet dog.

Family life with two children – in many ways as difficult as modern offspring – is brought vividly to life and the below-stairs relationships of the servants are poignantly recorded.

The evening social whirl of visits to theatres and supper parties is chronicled, and the description of seaside holidays on the Kentish coast, when Margate was in vogue, portrays the social niceties of promenades and dances.

Originally published in 1997, At Home with the Soanes has been updated to include the latest discoveries that have come to light during restoration of the house and re-designed to include over 100 illustrations, mostly in colour, from the extensive Museum archive, including photographs of the newly-recreated ‘lost’ private apartments.

At Home with the Soanes offers a fascinating insight into this London family’s life, both upstairs and downstairs.

Susan Palmer is Archivist at Sir John Soane's Museum in Sir John Soane's houses at Nos 12 and 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London.

"Rich in incidental information."

The Oldie

"Constitutes a fascinating and detailed account of the social and domestic experience in London at the turn of the 19th century."

Journal of the London Society

"Superb little handbook to a 19th century way of life. Well illustrated and well presented. Full marks to Pimpernel for presenting us with this excellent and updated reprint of the original 1997 document."

Kent Life

"What was life like for the Soanes and their servants was a question that intrigued Museum Archivist Susan Palmer. What did they drink? How did they keep warm? What was their social life like? ...Illuminating."

Ham & High
The Pimpernel Press Ltd
The Pimpernel Press Ltd
Product Format
216 x 135
Publication Date
May 21, 2015
Number of Pages