Station: [14] Öxler Hof - Parlour

Come on into the parlour! Until the mid-19th century, farmhouse living rooms were both communal spaces and work rooms. People would have woven baskets in here, carved tool handles, or been busy knitting and spinning. Then, the parlour of the urban middle classes came into fashion in the countryside, too. The farmhouse parlour became a room designed to impress.

The sofa and the glass case made an appearance, as you can see in this room. On the wall to your right, there’s an elaborately decorated wall clock and a looking-glass. The woman of the house no doubt tucked picture postcards from friends and relatives behind the mirror. The glass case contained a coffee service along with wine and liqueur glasses – the latter quite often made of coloured moulded glass, the laverage person's equivalent of crystal.

Take a look at the coffee service – does something strike you? It includes an especially large milk jug, but no dessert plates. The milk jug would have contained cow’s milk, and visitors and family members considered cake as the finger food of the day.

The door at the back of the room leads into the parent's bedroom with its double bed. Only new-borns slept next to their mother; once they were old enough to go to school, the children had their own beds. When you look around the house, you’ll see the girls’ bedroom, where Bertha, Maria and Juliana slept.

As you walk on towards the threshing floor, you’ll pass the kitchen – where the farmer’s wife and the maids held sway. At four in the morning, the housewife made hot soup for everyone, followed by breakfast, elevenses, lunch, a little something in the afternoon, and more hot soup late in the evening. This was the center of people’s social life, in part because the stove was always lit. Neighbours would sit around the large table when they dropped by – to have a drink, or a chat, or indulge in a spot of gossip. A little diversion on an otherwise very tough working day.