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Interior, basement, detail of servants' bell board. Digital image of D 41703/cn

SC 764700

Description Interior, basement, detail of servants' bell board. Digital image of D 41703/cn

Date 16/11/1998

Collection RCAHMS

Catalogue Number SC 764700

Category On-line Digital Images

Copy of D 41703 CN

Scope and Content Electric-Bell Indicator Board, Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries & Galloway This early 20th-century electric-bell indicator board, made by the electrical engineers, Loudon Brothers & Company of Dundee & Glasgow, was strategically placed in the servants' corridor in the basement. Each circular window represents a room in the house, and is numbered or named accordingly. Some of the names of the rooms on the board, such as 'Smoking Room' and 'Duchess's Boudoir', conjure up a world that is now lost. A waving 'flag' in each window would indicate in which room a servant was required. Electric bells were developed in the 1850s, and were an improvement on the old bell-pull wire-tension system which frequently broke down. By the early 20th century an electric bell-board was regarded as an essential internal installation in a country house. Wires, in conduit pipes, ran from the board to bell-pushes around the house, ranging from the obviously necessary ones in reception rooms and at entrances, to less predictable sites such as the maidservant's bathroom and the hall lavatory. Drumlanrig Castle, one of the great Renaissance courtyard houses of Scottish domestic architecture, was built between 1679 and 1690 for William Douglas, 1st Duke of Queensberry, on the site of a late 14th-century Douglas stronghold. The castle passed to the Dukes of Buccleuch in 1810, and is now the home of the 9th Duke (11th Duke of Queensberry). Source: RCAHMS contribution to SCRAN.


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