18th Century Lifestyle
This trip was one of the best experiences that has ever happened to me. I have learned so much over the past two weeks in Edinburgh and London. While taking this class I have gained so much knowledge about the 18th century in both London and Edinburgh. Even though this class did not have to do with earning my degree it helped me with my communication skills and that is what my major is about. Communicating with others was huge in this experience because asking questions about the person or place was important to understand how they lived during the 18th century. I have learned how to how to use the tube in London, which was a popular way of getting around place to place. Going from London’s big city life to Edinburgh’s small town was a huge difference. In Edinburgh you can always walk from place to place and not have to go on the tube everyday unlike London. London’s buildings seemed more modern looking when Edinburgh’s buildings looked more Medieval. But it was not what the outside of the buildings looked like that I was interested in but it was the inside. I was curious about how the people’s lifestyle was back in the 18th century. We went as a class to many places together and explored each one in detail but the places that stood out to me the most for me were the differences and similarities in the upper and middle class lifestyle in both Edinburgh and London. This was all taken part in the Enlightenment period during the Commercial Revolution. This was when commerce was going on in the 18th century, which was big for some of the people. They learned different style of architecture and clothes which helped in create their own sense of style. Over the years the upper and middle class housing has been growing. New technologies were being created or imported which improved there way of living over the year. The houses that have caught my eye were Soane’s house in London and Gladstone land in Edinburgh. Both of these places were upper and middle class in the 18th century. The houses look so different but yet similar. Both of theses places looked different because they each had different ways of living.
Gladstone land has upper class house’s sitting on the Royal Mile of Edinburgh. Thomas Gledstanes was a wealthy merchant and landlord of the high-living spaces. Times were tough in the 18th century and you were lucky to live in such a nice looking house. This place was in the Old Town of Edinburgh before the New Town was created. In the Old Town it was over crowded with little room to walk. The staircases were spiral and narrow which was hard to get around with so many people. The only way to get furniture in the house was up that spiral staircase or through the small windows. The Old Town buildings had so many people and cramped living space. The houses were six rooms split across two levels, which was not a lot for the amount of people living there. The buildings of Gladstone were built in depth and width. Each of the families had a floor to live on so the space was limited. The city was overpopulated so people were crammed in some of these houses. In this house the rooms are big and the walls and high ceilings are painted with much detail. There was a lot of trade going on in the 18th century in which some of the furniture came from different countries. Just as Hume says “preserve money nearly proportionable to the art and industry of each nation” (11) The money and art are very important to people and are kept either on display in there homes to show off there wealth or preserved in other places for safe keeping. In Gladstone land it was not only over populated but many people had the plague, which took a huge turn on the city. Many people died not only because of the plague but of the horrible sanitation. There was no pluming in the city so all the waste was thrown out the window and streamed into the loch, which was there drinking water. Since the plague was so bad, people had to start to move out of the closes and into a better area away from the plague. Even though the living was better the sanitation was not and there were still so many people. The homes were crowed and only had enough room for the necessities. Lawnmarket was the world’s fastest-growing and influential city with very much a living, breathing hard working people.
Soanes house is really different from the Gladstone house that we have seen. Sir John Soane is the owner of the house and he is an architecture. The museum is located in the Holborn area of central London. He had many designs for different things such as an entrance to London. Also he designed 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which were near his house in London. He wanted to rebuild Buckingham Palace because he did not like the way that it looked. Soane had a design in mind but the other architects did not take his ideas, but instead took another mans work, which his was eventually torn down. After Soane’s wife’s death he lived alone and started to collect items and placed it in his middle class house. He had so many things to which there was barley any room to walk. In J. Dodsley’s reading he stated “Time may soon come, when every public-spirited collector of rare medals, minerals, animals, plants, insects, or stones and, in fine, of everything that either nature or art produces, worthy the observation of the curious, will deposit the produce of his labour in this most valuable cabinet.” (4) This is when commerce was huge because Soane wanted everything he could get his hands on. He spent a lot of money on things that seemed worthless to some people but meant everything to him. In his house there were items such as Greek statues, paintings, books, and stain glass windows. Eventually Soane wanted to make his house open to the public to they can view all of his pieces he collected over the years. In 1833 he decided to make his house a museum which was established by Act of Parliament. Just like Gladstone the house was very crammed and hard to live in. You could not really tell that it was a middle class house, besides the size, unless you went on the second floor of his house. On the second floor he has beautiful rooms that are large with the walls painted just like in Gladstone. The rooms upstairs were surprisingly welcoming because of what the downstairs looked like. Gladstone and Soane’s house looked similar besides all the clutter with the artifacts. They both had nice furniture which showed their wealth. Soane did not want all his nice furniture and other house supply on the first and basement floor because there was no room for it. Overall both of the house’s were similar and different even though they were from different classes.