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Interior. View of bell board in basement corridor. Digital image of C 43637.

SC 769808

Description Interior. View of bell board in basement corridor. Digital image of C 43637.

Date 25/5/1994

Catalogue Number SC 769808

Category On-line Digital Images

Copy of C 43637

Scope and Content Bell board in basement corridor, Arniston House, Midlothian This shows the bell board in the basement servants' corridor near the kitchens. The board has rows of circular windows labelled with the names of each of the upstairs rooms, including bedrooms named 'tiger', 'hawk', 'lion', 'dove' and 'dolphin'. When a servant was being summoned to a particular room, drums behind the windows would turn to show a dark-coloured indicator band. Systems of bells like this became necessary as the houses of the gentry grew larger. Servants could tell which room was calling by a moving bell, or even by the different chimes each bell made. Later systems included moving 'flags' or 'drums' behind glass indicator boards, electric bells, speaking tubes and even internal telephone systems. Arniston House, the seat of the Dundas family, was built in the Palladian style from 1726 onwards by architect William Adam (1689-1748) on the site of a c.1600 U-plan tower-house. His son John (1721-92) added the west wing and orangery in 1753. The house was further altered during the 19th century, and comprises a central three-storeyed block with flanking two-storeyed service pavilions joined to the main building by two-storeyed links. Source: RCAHMS contribution to SCRAN.

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/collection/769808

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