Cheers! You’re now inside the historical public room of Rosing Farm, now a-restaurant.
At the far end of the room, you can see the former kitchen, a very small, isolated space at the end of the hallway. That’s where the housewife would have made soup early in the morning and then again late in the evening. In those days, kitchens usually had just one small window and were completely blackened by the open fire – which is why they were sometimes known as “Rußkucheln”, soot kitchens. To the left of the door, you can see the remains of the flue – the curved bricks directed the smoke up the chimney.
Today’s historic public room, with the bench running along the walls, was once two rooms – the parlour and the chamber. People congregated in the parlour to chat, to spin or to weave baskets together. The chamber usually served as a bedroom. A wooden partition or a curtain gave people a degree of privacy.
These days, as visitors settle down with a glass of beer or a cup of coffee and let their eyes wander around the room, they’ll notice a plain crucifix hanging in the rear corner, to the left of the entrance. That’s the traditional place for a Christian shrine in this region – called “the Lord God’s corner”, or Herrgottswinkel. The Christ figure is old and was carved with just a few skilful flicks of the knife. Figures like this one were the work of a “Kreuzlmacher”, a specialist crucifix carver working from home. They were often sold at fairs.
When the restaurant was being rebuilt in the museum grounds, and the old roof truss, which weighed a ton, was due to be placed on top of the shell, this Christ figure fell out of a gap in the clay ceiling. It had been right over the front door. No doubt it had been blessed and was meant to protect the house.
But people also found time for entertainment in those days. Outside in the beer garden, there’s a historic skittle alley, where the fenland folk enjoyed themselves playing skittles.