Tag: victorian

Our Victorian Home

In June last year we moved from our village home near Dorchester to an old three-storey victorian house by the sea. Restoring this wonderful home back to its former glory is a big task with huge amounts of work in every room. So, when it came to our sitting room we knew that restoring the real fireplace was going to be a challenge.

old rusty fire surround

The original chimney was in good working order and the old gas fire was safely removed by a registered Gas Safe contractor. Unfortunately the chimney breast needed some work to make good the plasterwork – so Steve looked into the possible solutions for tying in new plaster with old 19th Century rendering. The thing with fireplaces is you need a flexible plaster that can withstand the heat without cracking. With this in mind, we settled on using a traditional lime plaster.

rose of jericho logoWe purchased the plaster from traditional mortar and paint merchants the Rose of Jericho (at Holywell on the A37 Dorchester/Yeovil Rd). They are really experienced in all kinds of traditional building materials so it was really helpful to talk with them about what we needed and how to tackle things.

Having repaired the intrastructure, we then had the chimney swept by the lovely Jon from Broadmayne. Luckily for us we had already been given a mantlepiece so we were overjoyed when Jon also found us an old fire basket that he’d been given just the day before. But, we still needed a metal fire surround to fill the large gap of the fireplace and make the fire more efficient.

wire brushing a cast iron fire surround

finished polish

One very frosty day just before Christmas we went out to Dorset Reclamation at Bere Regis. Here (underneath a pile of very rusty and frozen bits of metal) we found the perfect fit for our surround. Equipped with this and a slate slab for our hearth we were nearly ready!

The next step was to get messy. With my wire brush in one hand and Hotspot Black Grate Polish in the other – the cleaning began

Shortly after this we put all of the pieces together, had a new chimney pot to replace the gas cowl and fitted everything in place. Whilst we do still have the skirting board to fit, we’re very pleased with the results. A real fire is so warming and the mantlepiece is the perfect place to display my latest favourite teacups!

Our fireplace restored

Teacups on the mantlepiece


Published by annie, on 9th March 2011 at 3:29 pm. Filled under: Vintage Activities,Vintage Homeware Tags: , , , , , , , Comments Off on Our Victorian Home

Our Vintage Christmas – mince pies

mince piespastry and making mince piesToday has been a bit of a mince pie day! Not only have we been making and munching our own home-made pies we’ve also been baking extra for a Christmas event at the Park Community Centre.

I always make my own pastry at Christmas time as it tastes so much nicer than the supermarket kinds. However, I have tasted great pastry that tastes home-made from Dorset Pastry – so if there’s no time for home-making then order some of theirs online and just tell your friends you made it yourself (if Nigella can do it…?)

Mince Pies, like Christmas Pudding, were originally meat-filled ‘sweet-meats’ including lamb or other meats and were traditionally oval shaped representing the manger from the nativity with a pastry topping of swaddling clothes. We tend to make round ones nowadays but I sometimes substitute the cut air-vent with three little holes representing the Three Kings.

Steve doesn’t care what shape they are just so long as he’s around whent they come out of the oven!
For more about Mince Pies and where to buy the best ones visit the UK- based Mince Pie Club.

For Mince Pie-making from the Victorian Farm watch this clip:


Published by annie, on 11th December 2010 at 6:57 pm. Filled under: Christmas,Vintage Events,Vintage Food Tags: , , , , Comments Off on Our Vintage Christmas – mince pies