Show me the Old Stuff

“Wow, is this the original table that was here in the chapel in 1330?” I asked the room guide in the Old Chapel at Ightham Mote.

“It is definitely of that period. You can see it was quite stylish for the time because….”

“Yeh, but is it the actual real table from 1330? From here?”

“Well, it has been acquired by the Trust to replicate what would have been here but it’s not the original from this room, no.”

“Ah.”

And I wandered off, looking for some actual old stuff. I found one of the sitting rooms and a lovely little fireplace.

“Is this an original fireplace?” I asked the room guide, all excited.

“Yes, it was built in the Victorian times.”

Pfft! Victorian times! Whatevs. I need medieval or nothing.

When I reached the kitchen, I found out the sink had been built in 1330 and I just stood looking at it going, “O wow. What an old sink.” I wanted to get my Indiana Jones on and start having an archeological adventure but the truth is, I’m not equipped with the historical knowledge to really draw any fascinating conclusions about the development of sink building by looking at the sink.

Actually, after about 30 seconds of going, “O, wow,” the people I was with had moved into the next room so I just walked off.

There is the same thing when I am demonstrating in the Ham House kitchen. People always ask which bits are the oldest. Once they’ve looked at the table, I tell them that the mantelpiece thing over the range is original.

They go up to it – it’s a peice of painted wood on the wall – and they look at it really closely and they go “O wow.” Then they walk off.

I could understand it if I was going to do a bit of dendochronology and start dating the origins of the room by looking at the wood. But once my insatiable need to see The Old Stuff has been met by something old, I just go, “O wow, it’s so old,” then walk off.

What is this Old Stuff obsession about? Is it a bit of one-up-manship?

“I’ve totally seen older stuff than you. I saw a kitchen sink built in 1325. Beat you!”

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5 responses to this post.

  1. […] another ancient monument which we’ll come to later. Now LLM was mentioning old stuff in her Monday post so I couldn’t resist this as I can beat her, twice actually! Firstly this Cistercian abbey was […]

    Reply

  2. I have a thing about old things too. I dig up some 2000-year-old bland pottery on Hilly Fields (the rabbits did) and go “wow” then drop it on the ground again before moving on to the next rabbit hole.

    Reply

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