Kitchen Range

The kitchen range is the most impressive exhibit in the kitchen. It dates from around 1850 and is unusually complete. Most ranges of this kind were updated towards the end of the century but the Towneley kitchen was never modernised, as it was never used after 1903. It would run on coal and could be banked up using adjustable rack for one burn for the whole day. There is an adjustable cheek - depending on how many people there were to cook for. The bars on the top of the range are not for spits but to adjust the hooks on chains nearer or further from the fire. These hooks would have held chickens or joints with a drip tray underneath.

There are two baking ovens either side of fire with fireboxes underneath. They were controlled by opening the door beneath the fire and by the knobs above them (the two knobs immediately above are for pulling the soot scraper to stop soot accumulating above the oven and creating a fire hazard - it would disperse up the flue).

The middle oven is a charcoal grill. A charcoal fire is made beneath the central lid on the floor of the oven and meat placed on a sloping grill hooked on to the two acorn topped rackholders at the back. In the nineteenth century it would have been whitewashed.

The large oven is a warming cupboard with fabricated shelves made in two pieces (later ones were cast) heated by hot water from a back boiler behind the main fire. A pipe under the floor probably fed the hot plate by the serving hatch. Above the main fire is an adjustable hood. It would be down when in use to build up heat, allow fire to draw and prevent the kitchen from getting too hot.


Author: tk - October 2018