Iron Stove

An iron stove was noted in an inventory of the Carleton Rode House of Industry in 1787. The stove was located in the paupers’ bed chamber and was fixed to the wall. Though a stove is not an intimate, personal object, its function of keeping people warm would have been important at night and in the winter. This object allows us to infer that the chambers of a pauper might have been a relatively comfortable place for them, and possibly even a sanctuary within the workhouse.

An attempt to physically convey the importance of a stove in a museum could engage the senses of a visitor to a museum, and by doing so, help create an authentic representation of the past. Something as simple as placing an iron stove with an electric heater in it in a corner of chilly room allow visitors to experience the comfort this object could have provided, and how important it could be. As visitors gravitate toward its warmth, they would be able to imagine paupers in a workhouse doing the same on a cold winter day. A digital projection of a group of paupers around a similar stove or a fireplace would help them relate this experience to one that an actual inmate may have had.

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