Whilst researching the past early history of the historic ROYAL HOTEL,GRAHAMSTOWN THAMES NEW ZEALAND, in PAPERS PAST, I was amazed and filled with wonder at the, sheer opulence of that giddy gold mining era. A lot of wheeling and dealing went on, fortunes were made and lost, and life was lived to the full, with steamer loads of tourists coming into the town of THAMES for a good time, plus all the Miners hitting the Hotels for some entertainment and relaxation, it was a busy vibrant time.
The Hotels of Thames did a very very good trade and the HOTEL THEATER ROYAL AND CAFE as the Royal Hotel was known before the disastrous fire of 1903, was as beautiful and as luxurious as any European Hotel & Theater, with its huge glittering crystal gas lit chandeliers, sumptuous velvet drapes and Victorian/Edwardian fittings etc., international stars gracing her stage, she must have been a real beauty to behold !
Here I have displayed some of the articles that may/would have been used in the Hotel Royal's kitchen, which by the way was enormous, and also other articles of the period in that heady time.....
The HOTEL ROYALS Kitchen would have had a massive coalrange, I found the original old kitchen chimney stack in an old photo.
The cooking dishes, pots, pans etc., were usually made of cast iron bought out from England, other kitchen ware was usually tin covered with white enamel,ie bowls jugs
The serving dishes and dining table ware etc., would have been good English silverware and English china.
I have a cook book by the famous MRS BEETON, going by the recipes of the time and the photos of the completed dishes, the guests at the Royal Hotel would have supped very royally, oops excuse the pun.
The Hotel staff would have been neat & well dressed, ie staff apron at right
At the back of the Royal Hotel were 3/4 out buildings, one being the Hotel laundry. One gentleman living at the ROYAL, unfortunately was found deceased one day in one of the Royal Hotel's outside loos
Washing days would have been long and tiresome to we modern ladies, ie washing boards, primitive hand held agitators and of course the most important Mangle!.
All in all very hands on, from the cleaning and lighting of grates, silver polishing, floor scrubbing and polishing, laundry work, starching and ironing with those so heavy coalrange heated irons, the kitchen with its heavy iron pots, and continuous baking, all the guest rooms etc., to be cleaned and polished and beds made up with fresh clean linen. Then there was the Royal Hotel's Smoking Room & Bar//Bars and all the work that they entailed, with the many kegs of malt beer being hauled in by horse and cart from the ever busy wharf a block away,where ships from Auckland where continuously discharging goods and passengers.
To the right of the ROYAL HOTEL'S Brown St., entrance, only a couple feet away, slap bang up against the side windows, was a small GENERAL GROCER'S SHOP. The close proximity of this Grocery establishment must have made the ROYALS front Lounge very dark.
Indeed the Royal Hotel was for some period of time in History a very busy vibrant business.Enjoy the photos below which gives an idea of what the Royal Hotel could have looked like.....