Sunday, 11 May 2014

Samson House

Samson House is virtually never open, but it was on Mother's day.
So, as a present to my darling mum I dragged her along to have a sticky beak.

It's run by the National Trust having been transferred from the Western Australian Museum to whom it was bequeathed by the late owner Sir Frederick Samson, Mayor of Fremantle.

The right hand bedroom, used by the various mistresses of the house (if memory serves). Prior to the extension, this room was the drawing room. 

The left hand bedroom, belonging to the various masters of the house (again, if memory serves).

Originally the dining room, this became the sitting room when the extension was built. Given the fine oil painting  of Michael Samson hanging above the fire place and delicate furniture, this room would have been an official entertaining room. 

This was a picture hanging on the wall of the extension corridor. It is a view of Perth city from Mt Eliza, made in the 1850s. 

Originally the house was just a little bigger than the average Federation house built in and around Fremantle at the turn of the 20th Century. Built in 1888 to a Talbot Hobbs design, it consisted of a central corridor flanking two bedrooms with bay windows, a dressing room/nursery behind one and the dining room and sitting room behind the bedrooms, thereby creating a basic 2x2 structure. The kitchen rooms and bathroom were beyond this, only partially attached to the main part of the house. 

With a young wife and son, in 1899 Michael Samson decided to expand the house to accommodate a new dinging rooms and drawing room, tower, bathroom and cellar beneath the extension. 

The new dining room. Not nearly large enough for a proper dinner party, though the faces in the table leg were charming. 

The corridor of the extension, leading to the stairs of the tower. 

The new Drawing Room. It is hypothesised that the little bay window was thus designed to enable the children to have a 'stage' for their performances and recitals. 

Though typical of the time, and partially due to the louvers and scrim in the windows, the rooms were ridiculously dark despite being a bright autumn morning. The three photos of this room were all taking with flash.  

Possibly originally a side door out into the rose garden, this stain glass door now hides a dilapidated movie theatre. in the 1950s Frederick Samson closed off part of the veranda, and using seats from the defunct Fremantle trams, set up his own personal movie theatre.

Looking down the corridor from the back door towards the front door. 

Outside the back door -pre-extension (now inside the back door) is a 20m deep well, complete with hand pump.

The kitchen (because I always photograph the kitchen). My mother tells stories of a similar free standing stove in her childhood home. The cat's favourite spot was underneath it where it would absorb the warmth of the oven (as cats do) and eat spaghetti with her paw.

The new tiled and marbled bathroom outside the new drawing room. It was fun wandering around with Mum, who is just old enough to remember some of the features of the house being present in her own childhood home before it was 'renovated'.

The Rose Garden and Lilly-Pilly Tree with the Tower in the background. 

At the back of the house is a row of out houses, now used to showcase the laundry and workshop and display some of the other artefacts that were too interesting or typical a component of a house/lifestyle to go into storage.

The laundry was rather standard: your copper, wood pile, laundry basket, wringer, washboard...

however there was one contraption (to the left) which we couldn't quite place. It wasn't an early washing machine as the hatch was on the side and most likely not water tight, and it wasn't a wringer (to the right). So was it a spinner?
The labels indicate it's a 'The Vowel 'I'' by 'F.Lassetter & Co', but that didn't help much.

The workshop.

Storage/Originally a man servant's room.

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