Servants' Tales - Life below Stairs. A guided tour and lunch.

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The Regency Town House

13 Brunswick Square

Hove

BN3 1EH

United Kingdom

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Discover what life was like 'downstairs' at The Regency Town House as we tell fascinating servants' stories, then enjoy a two-course lunch in the original basement kitchen.

The Regency Town House is the site of a momentous restoration project. The Georgian terraced property, part of architect Charles Busby’s Brunswick Estate, is an impressive example of 19th century architecture.

Unlike most of the properties on the square, Regency Town House is remarkable as it remains relatively unchanged from its Georgian beginnings.

The three hour tour and lunch will be led by dedicated and passionate volunteers. You will get a real insight into how life used to be lived above and below stairs as we introduce you to some of the people who lived here and describe how they would have used the building.



FAQs

Q Historical servant food? Is that going to be tasty?

A Paul Couchman and his team have been cooking at the Town House for over a year at the popular Dine Like a Servant event.

What is Dine Like a Servant at the Regency Town House?

What is Dine Like a Servant at the Regency Town House?

“I cannot praise tonight highly enough. It was absolutely fantastic. We had an amazing time. Simply glorious food and met some fabulous people too. In fact we decided we should say it was all terrible as we really don’t want to make it more popular and find we can’t get tickets for future events!! Well done Paul and your marvellous team. The food was sensational. You all worked extremely hard. Looking forward to the next event with great anticipation!! X”


The event even got featured in the Argus, that’s the local newspaper!


Authentic historical recipes are recreated in a scullery kitchen, I use recipes from Hannah Glasse, mainly.

Did Servants dine? What does that even mean? The starting point for me was producing food that would have been made in the kitchen, been sent to the high tables of the dining room and worked it’s way back to the kitchen when it wasn’t eaten.

The elaborate food that was created for the super-rich upstairs was rarely completely eaten. There were always leftovers. Food was another status symbol and much of the food was not eaten. When the food made its way back downstairs the higher ranking servants, the butler, housekeeper and cook, were the first to choose what they wanted to eat. The food would then work its way down the servant social hierarchy. Eventually any food that was left over would leave the house and be taken to the local poor.

At the Regency Town House the poor were very close. Behind the Town House is Brunswick Street East, which houses the Town House’s old stables and that street would of be full of small businesses with many people rarely having enough to eat. What the inhabitants of those working class streets didn’t eat would be fed to animals, again often only a few metres away from where the food was first created. There were horses and donkeys behind Brunswick Square. One of the streets is still called Donkey Mews!

At Dine Like A Servant our guests eat in the old kitchen of The Regency Town House. Servants did often gather together and eat leftover food. I’ve used authentic historical recipes to recreate the tastes of the past including homemade pies, pickles and small pieces of elaborate desserts like Ribbon Jellies or Pears Poached in Port.

I cook, with the support of other volunteers, in the old scullery. We have installed a sink, in it’s original place. Before the sink was installed I, and the other volunteers, would carry large buckets of water up and down the stairs. Perhaps taking authenticity rather too far?

The kitchen is again the heart of the Town House, visitors often remark now on the wonderful smells that float through the entire house. Only last week the smell of candied orange peel worked its way right up into the offices, housed in the old bedrooms.

So far I have made:

  • Game Pye with duck, pork, chicken and prunes.
  • Artichoke Pye with white sauce and lemon zest.
  • Chicken Pye with leek and mace.
  • Blaized Pippins – small apples cooked until they pop in the oven.
  • Garden Things – Hannah Glasse’s way of talking about the veg.
  • Charlotte Russe – It is believed that the French Chef, Marie Antoine Careme, invented the dessert in the 18th century. The ‘Russe’ part of the name is said to have been given to honour his Russian employer, Czar Alexander I.
  • Ribboned Hypocras Jellies with white flummery.
  • Hannah Glasse’s lemon Cheesecake.
  • Lemon possets
  • Common Biscuits
  • Scottish Shortbreads




Q I’ve already been on one of Nick Tyson’s tour. Is this one different?

A This tour is very different. Volunteer guides will concentrate on particular parts of the Town House’s history that fascinate them from the perspective of the servants. Even if you’ve already been on a tour of the Town House you’ll gain different insights and hear different stories. Also after going on this tour we highly recommend also going on Nick Tyson’s tour. He provides a wonderful overview of Brighton history and shares his fascinating architectural and building expertise on his tour. The next tour is in April.

Q I have food allergies. Will the cook understand and be able to offer me something that I can eat?

A Cook Paul Couchman loves a challenge. He loves recreating historical recipes that will be suitable for anyone with allergies or food intolerances. Feel free to email him directly with any questions. Paul.g.couchman@gmail.com

Q Will we be standing up all the time on the tour? I find that difficult.

A There will be chairs placed strategically in most of the rooms that are visited. Please ask if at any time you need to sit down and one of us will do our best to help.

Q Is the tour suitable for the disabled?

A Unfortunately the old building we are in has many staircases, some of them steep. We eat in the basement kitchen which also has stairs to go down to. It really depends on your disability. Please contact us for more information about this.

Q Who are the volunteers telling the stories?

A We have a wide range of volunteers working at The Regency Town House who are all passionate about history.

Q Is the Regency Town House open during the week so I can come back and look around some more?

A No. At the moment we are only able to arrange a limited number of tours each year – the opportunity to visit different areas of the building and be introduced to its history is a special feature of this tour.

Q Will it be too cold for a tour? After all it is February?

A We’ve done tours before in the colder months of the year. All the visitors found the temperature ok. We do remind visitors that the house is unheated and is cold in the winter. We make sure that everyone moves around the building quickly. Unlike the summer tours you don’t stand still for long. We do recommend dressing warm. Some of the stories will also be told in the warmth of the basement kitchen too.

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Date and Time

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The Regency Town House

13 Brunswick Square

Hove

BN3 1EH

United Kingdom

View Map

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