Saturday, November 20, 2010

Elva's Bedroom: The Brain-Watkins' House

Hallo my historical darlings, let me show you another room in the wonderful little house known as, The Brain-Watkins'House. The Victorian Villa built in 1881, that still sits on Cameron Road in Tauranga. Come and see the bedroom, known as Elva's bedroom, because it is set up with many of her personal belongings. However it is believed that the room now known as the pink bedroom, was actually the room Elva slept in.

This wiew shows the remains of the fireplace, which has been boarded up, and now functions as a display area for some of the dresses in the collection.

It is also where a part of the hat collection is displayed.

The top of the dressing table houses a collection of personal artifacts. Look closely at this display, it has been set up as a display of the objects, it doesn't feel natural. No woman would lay her shoe horn, tablecloth duster, clothe's brush, and hand mirror in a line like that. My feeling is that this makes this dressing table look more like a museum display, rather than a group of personal objects in a private setting. Displays in historic houses look great when they give the impression the owner of the house has just walked away and left an area as she or he was using it. This can take a lot of careful research, to gain an understanding of the life, personal habits, and taste of a person, so that you start to unravel and understand their personalities. For me, as a social historian, this is when historic houses become really interesting.

This beautiful stand-alone wardrobe, with its elegant oval beveled mirror, has a small group of hat cases stored on it. These metal cases were popular when train travel was the way of travelling from one end of the country to the other, and woman wore hats. The strong metal cases protected the hats when they were stowed in storage, when one went on a journey.


  1. When I organise my dressing table, I line everything up. But that only happens about once a week!

    Do you draw the curtain over the clothes in the fireplace when there aren't visitors to help protect the clothes from light?

  2. Yes I believe the Historical Society do, I do not work in this house.